Welcome back to Bath Restyle 101, a design series where we work together to style your bathroom like a luxury spa. I hope you’re gathering lots of useful ideas and enjoying this home decor journey as much as I am.
In our last lesson, I discussed incorporating materials like wood, stone, wicker, and greenery into your bath. These elements are eco-friendly and add to the naturalistic, spa-like vibe we’re hoping to achieve. Today we’re going to build on that with a more detailed conversation about accessorizing. With accessories, the goal is to add visual interest without sacrificing practicality. Maximizing form and function should always be the objective, especially when space is at a premium. The clean lines and hand-enameled pieces in the Mike + Ally Essentials Collection perfectly fit this bill.
Product featured on left - Matouk Cairo Wave Bath Towels
Before we discuss specifics, I’d like to share a few general guidelines for accessorizing. I never like delivering advice that sounds too much like a hard and fast “rule” but, when it comes to home decor, there are some great suggestions straight from the professionals. Taking these into account will elevate your accessory game quite a bit:
The surfaces in your bathroom are your personal design palette; your goal is to make the most of them while still maintaining an airy, uncluttered feel. Along with your shelves, think more about these spaces:
Stools and Tub Trays: In our last lesson, we talked about adding a wooden stool and tub tray for a natural feel. These make ideal surfaces for adding a spa-like style. Your corner stool is a great place to artfully roll and stack bath towels or, if it is adjacent to the tub, bath products. You can make a strong accessory statement with your tub tray by grouping a practical display of your favorite bath and relaxation items (think specialty soaps and a loofah, candles, or even a small succulent plant).
Featured: Mike + Ally’s Marbelous Boutique Tissue, Medium Rectangle Tray, Small Lotion Pump
Vanity or Counter Tray: A small vanity or counter tray can be placed on a countertop, shelf, or storage furniture. Vanity trays can be elaborate statement pieces, but for a spa-like look, choose a simpler design with clean lines in teak, bamboo, or other wood; woven wicker or jute; or even stone. For the look of stone without the weight, I love the Marbelous collection from Mike + Ally which replicates the look of marble in a lightweight enamel. Choose from two sizes of rectangular trays with a range of coordinating accessories made to camouflage everyday items, including soap/lotion pumps, jars, tissue boxes; a wastebasket with liner; and more. The Lowell Tissue Box Cover from Matouk is another wonderful option that's available in a range of stylish neutral tones.
One of the most daunting (and exciting!) parts of accessorizing your “spa bathroom” is knowing where to begin. I’m happy to share some of my favorite ideas and pieces to help you get started.
A growing number of shampoos, lotions, liquid soaps, and creams are being offered in beautiful packaging you’d be proud to display. From luxury brands like Kiehl’s to big box and discount store products, you’ll find a wonderful array of items sold in stylish containers. If you use multiple brands, invest in a set of reusable bottles and pumps and transfer products to them for an understated, uniform presentation.
For smaller spaces and items you don’t mind displaying, I recommend clear apothecary jars. These are wonderful for storing cotton balls, Q-tips, makeup sponges, and even purely decorative objects like a shell collection or a few dried flowers. The possibilities are nearly limitless for size, shape, lid styles, and more.
Sculpted and beautifully wrapped hand soaps have been around forever, but these days you’re just as likely to find delightful styles in larger bar soaps. Stack a few wrapped soaps on your shelf or arrange them in a favorite dish for guests.
Ambiance, scent, and style come together in well-chosen bathroom candles. Experiment to find a look you love: a large jar candle, a cluster of three votives, or a row of five tealights are all beautiful and relaxing. As you know, safety should always come first: NEVER leave a candle burning unattended and use battery-operated candles on a timer when possible.
Whether they’re spiny, spiky, squat, or sprawling, plants are a lovely accessory for your bath. As we mentioned last time, choose a plant that will thrive in the growing conditions your bathroom offers. If you get adequate light, an orchid is one of my favorite bathroom plants because it is elegant, colorful, and relatively low maintenance. A spay of dried flowers or a cactus are other low-maintenance choices.
I love using baskets in my bath. With that said, I place them judiciously and never overdo it. I store my guest towels in a small woven basket and use a lidded basket weave hamper to keep laundry out of sight. A basket used as a wastepaper basket is also a great alternative to the standard plastic options. When it comes to baskets in the bath, subtle sophistication is the way to go. Less is definitely more!
Art in the bath should absolutely reflect your personal taste. Keep in mind that neutral tones and soothing scenes add to the soothing spa style. Also remember that using a large or dramatic piece of art tends to take over as a focal point of the room. If this happens, all other accessories should be toned down so as not to compete or distract from the serenity of the space. For a small-scale bath, I like the idea of three smaller pieces of art displayed on a shelf or ledge to start. These won’t overwhelm the rest of the decor and you can always add a statement piece of art later. (Of course, make sure that anything you hang or place on a shelf can handle being in the humid environment of your bathroom).
Incorporating seasonal decor into your spa bath is a surprisingly fun and easy way to switch up the look. Put some dried lavender in an oversized apothecary jar for summer (leave the lid off when you can!) and swap it out with miniature pumpkins, pine cones, or mercury glass as the seasons change. Rotate your candle collection throughout the year.
Towels are the very definition of a stylish and functional accessory for your bath! They can be displayed stacked, folded, or rolled and placed on shelves, countertops, baskets, towel bars, and furniture. The traditional spa towel, as you might expect, is white. The good news is that many luxury towel manufacturers like Abyss, Matouk, and Graccioza offer heavyweight, spa-quality towels in a range of colors that are perfect for accessorizing and accenting your bath.
Towels are the perfect place to wrap up today’s lesson, as they will be the focus of our next conversation! Until next time, enjoy experimenting with bath accessories to create a look you love.
Founder and Lead Designer, Fine Linen and Bath