Welcome back to Bath Restyle 101. I’m so excited to work with you to help restyle your bathroom like a luxury spa.
In our last lesson, we covered the basics of getting started. I talked about gathering inspiration, setting a manageable budget, identifying your priorities (where to splurge and where to save) and the wisdom of playing with paint to see what a color will actually look like on your walls.
The next step is one of my favorites: bringing the outdoors inside by incorporating natural materials such as wood, stone, and greenery into your bath. Along with being eco-friendly, these natural elements really add to the spa-like vibe in your bath. Let’s begin!
Nothing adds the feeling of natural beauty and comfort to your bath like wood. I love the outdoors, so the soothing vibe, the back-to-the forest feel, and the practical versatility of wood pieces really speak to my soul. Here are a few of my favorite wood items:
A tub tray lays across the width of your tub to hold soap, scrub brushes, bath accessories or even candles, books, or your tablet as you settle in for a serious soak! These “tub caddies” have grown in popularity in recent years and can be found in nearly limitless design options. I love the look of teak, maple, and bamboo in medium to dark finish or even the subtle grain of natural acacia wood. (Note: a dark finish adds a hint of glamor for those that crave a more stylized look). Find a design that suits you, and avoid styles with unnecessary embellishments that detract from the natural beauty of the wood. (If you’re handy like my dad, you can even build your own custom design). And of course, safety first: don’t use anything electrical on your tub tray!
This simple accessory is one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your “spa bath.” Use it for more than just sitting! A wooden stool can be styled to hold an attractively folded set of towels; bath accessories; or even mood-setting accent pieces like candles. Your imagination is the only limit!
A small dresser or chest in either a distressed finish or natural wood is a storage solution that makes a spa-like style statement. Look for pieces that complement the size of your bathroom so as not to overwhelm the space. The neutral tone contributes to your spa feel; you’ll enjoy having the storage; and the top provides a fun surface to style with accessories.
A wooden ladder or shelf serves a dual purpose in your bath: adding warmth and a space to store items, hang towels, or style accessories. Another bonus? The height of ladders and shelves add visual interest to your space. Make it a focal point by styling with plants, pretty accessories, and baskets to hold bath and beauty products.
Look for storage solutions and vanity accessories in wicker, rattan, and bamboo. Along with serving a practical purpose, these natural materials provide texture, depth, and visual interest in a natural look. Some ideas:
Feel free to mix and match these pieces in your bathroom. You need not buy a matching set; I like to focus on finding individual pieces that strike my fancy. These types of woven materials are both strong and lightweight, so you should be able to move them around your bath space and switch up your look when you feel like it.
I’ve been blessed with a green thumb, and have always had plants in my bath (and every room in my house). But you don’t need to be an expert gardener to use plants to transform your bath into a relaxing oasis. Of course, you want to make sure you select plants that are appropriate in both size and likelihood to thrive in whatever natural light is available. You also need to consider how much maintenance you’re willing and able to provide; if you travel frequently or are super busy, I recommend sticking to succulents like snake plants and cactus or dried sprays.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on selecting indoor greenery.
I love the look of vertical potted plants that sit on the floor and grow tall. Consider a succulent “snake plant” with variegated leaves. These plants are notoriously low maintenance and provide a stylish focal point.
Spider plants and aloe plants make wonderful shelf plants for the bath, but they do tend to need a bit more light, so choose and place them carefully. A fern is another good potted option that will thrive in humidity.
These are fun, resilient plants that thrive in light and moisture. And they don’t need soil or traditional potting. They can even be hung to grow right in your shower.
A flowering orchid will thrive beautifully in the indirect light and humid environment of your bathroom. The elegant arch of this plant adds visual interest. Bonus: orchids can be watered once a week by adding several ice cubes to the soil. A peace lily is another option for a flowering plant for the bath.
While not my personal favorites, cactus are solid, low-maintenance bathroom plants. The varieties in shape, size, and color are nearly limitless. A miniature with cactus and leafy succulents can adorn a shelf or even a vanity top; require little water; and tend to be quite forgiving when “neglected.” . Remember, though, that succulents do better in drier environments so growing them in a bathroom that is always moist and humid comes with the risk of mold and fungus developing.
For anyone with a decidedly NON-green thumb, dried sprays are a beautiful and fragrant option. I love a dried eucalyptus arrangement placed on a shelf or vanity. A bundle of dried lavender is beautiful, soothing to the senses, and will keep your bath smelling wonderful for weeks or longer.
As a veteran beachcomber lucky enough to live on the shore, I have accumulated quite a collection of beach stones, sea glass, and shells. If you’re the same, consider showcasing these beautiful objects in glass containers or vases and placing them strategically around your bath where you need a spot of color or focal point. They also look beautiful on a tray paired with a candle to add a feeling of meditative serenity and calm.
I hope this installment of our series inspired you to find ways to incorporate nature and natural elements into your “spa bath.” I look forward to getting into more detail about how to specifically accessorize with these and other pieces in our next letter.
Founder and Lead Designer, Fine Linen and Bath