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Create a Relaxing Spa at Home

One of Jaynie's many hobbies is home improvement on a budget and another is sharing great ideas with readers.


Few things are as relaxing after a long day than slipping into a warm bath, a glass of wine in hand, dim lights and soft music. The stresses of your day can literally melt away if your bathroom is conducive to relaxation. Yet some bathrooms are not exactly the sanctuaries we might like them to be. Many can be cold, sparsely decorated and far less clean than we would like them to be. They may include mismatched towels, one for each member of the family; plastic tubs full of kids' toys; shampoo bottles scattered about; loose cosmetics and makeup brushes; and other products. While leaving things lying about may facilitate the process of getting ready in the morning, it also leaves an untidy impression and assures that we spend as little time in the bathroom as possible. It turns the bathroom into a purely functional space as opposed to one in which we might like to retreat for a bit of R & R.

If this sounds a lot like your bathroom, don't despair. The following are a few tips that will help you to transition your space into your own personal haven.

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Getting Started

In order to do it right, you'll want to remove everything from your bathroom so that you can properly clean and paint it. Nothing feels as good as retreating into a spotless, tidy room. To assure that your room is as clean as possible, don't overlook the small details. When scrubbing your floor, wipe down the baseboards, vents, and base of your tub and toilet. Be sure to remove the vent cover on the ceiling and vacuum it out thoroughly. Hair, dust and lint tends to become easily trapped in the venting, making it impossible to manage the moisture in the room when showering or bathing in hot water. This forces condensation onto the walls and into the grout and consequently, mildew will form.


Choose subtle colors for your bathroom. Colors such as pale yellow, lavender, and soft blues, greens or beige lend themselves to relaxation. Before painting, apply a layer of Kilz in places where mildew tends to form such as the corners where walls meet the ceiling. The Kilz will prevent mildew from forming. Be sure to follow the directions for pre-cleaning of the walls before applying the Kilz.


Selecting Decor

Once you have decided upon your color, you can select your linen accents. While your paint is drying, you may take a break and do a bit of shopping. Select an understated shower curtain that will pull colors from the walls and towels. The best towels are solid colors which are darker than the wall color and are oversized and significantly plush. They should pull accents from the shower curtain. If you prefer, a monochromatic color scheme can also be very relaxing. White or off-white works best if you are going for a monochromatic look.

Every bathroom should have a large mirror as a centerpiece. This is not only the space at which makeup is applied, men shave and hair is styled. A large mirror also helps to add depth and space to what is often a very small room.

Additional accents might include potpourri, dried reeds and flowers, greenery, smooth stones or glass balls and larger candles. Minimalist accents work best as they reduce the amount of distractions in your environment. Some of the best accents are those that allow you to bring some of the outside in.

Be sure to have a vanity or cupboard that will conceal extra towels, toilet paper and products. This will lend a subtle, orderliness to your room. Your vanity may be old and in need of replacement, yet many people are not skilled at replacing items or may not be able to afford new items. If that is the case, consider painting your existing vanity. You might be amazed at how a paint job can add an entirely new feel to an existing piece, and for very little cost.

Toilet seat and tank covers haven't been in style for awhile. Avoid using them. The sight of clean porcelain adds a crisp, clean element to your room.


Lighting is always a critical element to relaxing space. If your lighting is too harsh, you will not be able to relax. If it is too soft, you will not be able to engage in grooming habits without straining your eyes. If your bathroom has an overhead light, consider adding a dimmer switch so that you can adjust the level of light to the task at hand. Lights that sit on both sides of your mirror are perfect for grooming, but are not necessary when taking a relaxing soak in the tub. If you are able to have those lights on a separate switch, do so. If not, select lights that have their own switches.

If your tub cannot accommodate candles and you do not have a full top vanity, consider hanging a decorative shelf on which to place several small candles. This will allow you to keep all lights off and bathe the room in a romantic glow.

If you happen to have a large bathroom with plenty of space, consider putting a standing floor lamp or two, with dimmer switches, in the corners and use them to relax instead of the overhead lights.

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Shower/ Tub

If you have an oversized spa tub with a separate shower, you are very fortunate. Most people have a standard sized step in tub with a shower head built in. That need not be a problem. If you're looking for ways to spruce up an existing bathtub, consider installing ceramic tile over the existing wall surrounding your tub. It holds up well against mildew. The grout can collect mildew, but if you clean it regularly and dry it after using the shower, it will be fine.

You will have to choose between a shower curtain and glass sliding doors. Doors can be nice, but they tend to collect water spots that can be quite unsightly. I prefer curtains which can be pulled to hide the tub when not in use. They can also be easily removed and laundered. Brass rods and rings make nice accents. If your shower stall is separate, consider using no shower curtain. Instead, leave your tub open. It will create the illusion of having more space.

To keep your tub orderly, consider installing a small shelf or cupboard at the back of the tub, farthest from the shower head, for storing shampoo, loofas, and other bath products. Be sure to mount a towel rack within easy reach of the tub.

If you do not have a whirlpool tub already, consider adding a portable whirlpool fixture for use during your spa treatments.

Aroma Therapy

Lighting candles during your bath will obviously add a pleasing aroma, but you'll find it even more relaxing to incorporate essential oils into your bathwater. Be sure that you do not create a situation in which your oils and candles conflict. If using oils, consider non-scented candles. Aromas such as patchouli, lavender, sandalwood, and fresh fig are subtle and lend themselves to the relaxing experience.


Choose your music carefully. Having a small CD player on a shelf or in an obscure location will allow you to fill your room with pleasing sounds that facilitate your relaxation. Surf and other nature sounds are perfect choices, but you can choose whatever music speaks to you.

Enjoy your new spa.

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© 2011 Jaynie2000


Jaynie2000 (author) on April 06, 2011:

Me too. Mine is okay, but I would love a big one with a double sink and set in spa tub!

Fluffy77 from Enterprise, OR on April 05, 2011:

Useful, voted you up here. I hope to have a bathroom similar one day too very beautiful and relaxing looking.

Jaynie2000 (author) on March 23, 2011:

Thanks ErinElise. I would love it too. I've always thought I have impeccable design taste, but not the budget to support it. )-:

But it is fun coming up with ideas for for those of us on a budget or who are limited by space.

Erin from Near Sacramento, California on March 23, 2011:

Love your hub, very nice and informative. I would love to have a bathroom like one of the ones you've got pictured.

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