Create a spa bathroom to relax and recharge with high-performance fittings and a design to make you feel good.

stand alone bath with gold tap - spa bathrooms: how to create a therapy room - home improvements - 

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

sauna bathroom- spa bathrooms: how to create a therapy room - home improvements -

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 

water management spa bathroom - spa bathrooms: how to create a therapy room - home improvements -

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

spa style shower enclosure - spa bathrooms: how to create a therapy room - home improvements -

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

bathroom conversion - spa bathrooms: how to create a therapy room - home improvements -

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.


For more bathroom planning advice, read Grand Designs magazine digitally for free now by registering your details

read a free issue of grand designs magazine



5 design ideas to help create a relaxing bathroom

Eco bathrooms: A guide to taps and showers

Bathrooms in loft conversions: what are the requirements?

Kevins Column

Grand Designs Live Online: Self Build & Renovation Weekend 31 July – 1 August 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
Home Improvements

How to choose a water feature for your garden 

A water feature plays an important role in an overall garden design.
Home Improvements

How to get the perfect gravel driveway

Gravel driveways are a classic way to finish your home’s exterior, but can drift, shift and sink, leaving a messy finish. We look at a...
Home Improvements

Expert interior design tips to create a home you love

Create a beautiful, unique home that brings you joy with help from an online interior service
Home Improvements

Bathroom renovations: 15 steps to a new scheme

Make sure to take the time to carefully plan a bathroom renovation to ensure it is successful and the results are long-lasting.
Home Improvements

Balcony design ideas: choose the best option for your home

Advice to help you select the ideal balcony material, build method and design to suit your needs, budget and the style of your house
Home Improvements

The difference between a good room and a perfect one is the lighting.

Lighting control systems can change how your home feels and add both security and style. Here’s why smart lighting needs to be at the heart...