Create a spa bathroom to relax and recharge with high-performance fittings and a design to make you feel good.
Image: Terrassa oval freestanding bath, £3,215, Victoria + Albert Baths
Having a space where you can escape everyday life to rejuvenate your body and mind has great value in this frenetic world. The plethora of massage showers, whirlpool baths, steam cabins and saunas tap into a desire for a multipurpose bathroom with therapeutic benefits. Designing a scheme with high-performance fittings that are a pleasure to use and that look good too, is a balancing act between function and aesthetics.
Space and budget
Image: Effe Hammam steam room
Whether renovating your bathroom or building a new one, take time to decide exactly which features you want. You may need to prioritise a wish list, taking into account the size of the room and your budget limitations. Massage showers, whirlpools, steam cabins and saunas are pricey and you’ll also need to factor in the cost of installing adequate services, ventilation and drainage.
What about access? Will the spa bath you have your heart on fit through doorways and up the stairs? And is the bathroom floor robust enough to support it safely?
If you are renovating and want to invest in a luxurious scheme but your bathroom is small, consider stealing space from an adjacent room, corridor or landing. Changing the position of pipework and the soil pipes may also free-up space and give you greater flexibility with the layout but moving the soil pipe will add to the cost of the project.
Bathroom water management
Image: Horizontol shower by Dornbrcht
Having an efficient plumbing and drainage system is crucial. ‘The first thing to check is the water heating and pressure capabilities,’ says Adam Logan, training manager at Grohe UK. ‘Multi-jet showers often require high pressure, without which you could end up with something that looks great but performs poorly.’
A system that allows for adequate removal of waste water is also a necessity. ‘A shower waste should have a greater flow-rate than the head,’ adds Adam. ‘And the drain of a steam fitting is best placed next to, but not directly below, the generator.’
As the installation of hi-spec fittings can be complex, seek out firms with relevant skills and experience. Search the database of registered professionals at the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering and National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. Alternatively, hire a specialist bathroom design company to manage all aspects of the project.
Spa bathroom décor
Image: Dekton Helena surface, from £450 per sqm, Cosentino
By definition, a multifunctional bathroom can serve different activities and change ambience from day to night. Creating a well co-ordinated scheme is the key to achieving this feat in the relaxed style of a luxurious spa. Avoid cramming the space with overtly hi-tech gadgetry and keep the materials and colour palette limited to promote a sense of calm. Incorporate plenty of storage so that everything is easily accessible and has its own place, reducing clutter to a minimum.
Avoid overtly hi-tech gadgetry and keep the materials and colour palette limited to promote a sense of calm glamour by including a statement light fitting to supplement practical recessed spotlights, operated via a dimmer switch or remote control, or fit a marble countertop on a vanity unit. To make the room even more inviting, bring in a stool, armchair or even a chaise longue. And there are few things more welcoming and soothing on a chilly evening than stepping onto a cosy tiled floor warmed by underfloor heating.
Spa bathroom technology
Image: Vero Air bath, from £1,182, with C1 mixer tap and shower, £2,546, Duravit
Designed to create a sense of wellbeing, home spa fittings combine sophisticated technology with ease of use and the precision of digital control.
The spray strength and patterns of hydrotherapy showers work to ease tired muscles. Advanced systems, such as the Aquamoon by Dornbracht and RainTunes from Hansgrohe, also include coloured light, sound and fragrance for a multisensory experience.
Hydro massage baths can soothe or revive and some models include light and sound. The versatile Sound Wave system from Kaldewei can be fitted and retrofitted to any of its baths. And if you suffer with stiff, aching joints, the Flotation Tub from Toto is designed to relieve pressure for complete relaxation.
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