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Transform your bathroom into a sanctuary for self-care


MarsBars | Getty Images

Natalie van der Meer - published on 03/14/17

With some imagination, you can create an intimate, elegant, and therapeutic space full of style.

Women have to do away with the misconception (and the guilt), and learn to pamper ourselves from time to time. We deserve to relax and we deserve simple joys. We deserve the time to delve into our thoughts and seek solace and clarity.

But where can you accomplish any of that when you don’t have the time or budget for a trip to the spa? Your bathroom may very well be the ideal location for prayer, meditation, and, yes, even some pampering. Bring a spa ambiance to your home and relish little luxuries in the tub or at the sink. Just a tiny bit of planning and style are all you need to make this relatively small investment a pleasurable reality.

Here are some simple ways to lend your everyday bathroom into a more spa-like atmosphere:

A blank canvas for your imagination

Off-white and large swaths of empty space can help you achieve a soothing, minimalist kind of glamour. Some of the most spectacular spas in the world aren’t opulent at all. Choose a light, neutral color to anchor your bathroom and then make conscious choices about the few decorations you’ll invite into your meditative space. An uncluttered bathroom may just mean an uncluttered mind as you sink into the tub and contemplate your day, or your life.

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Enliven your sink with fresh flowers

Your favorite toiletries don’t have to be the only items that lend your bathroom a fragrance that fills you with joy. Put your favorite flowers in a vase by the sink for special occasions or even every day. When you have guests, putting their favorite flowers in a vase by the sink is a thoughtful (and pretty) gesture. You can even tailor your flower selection to the seasons or by color or theme. Match your flowers to your towels or candles for some coordination.

Build a forest that will flourish

Rather than (or in addition to) bringing in flowers, you can adorn your bathroom with a small tree or two. This can mean a species that grows small, a Japanese bonsai tree, or a sapling for a bigger species that you may wish to relocate to your garden once it outgrows the space. For a more tropical vibe, opt for jungly plants like a palm or even a banana tree. Trees are more than beautiful; they serve multiple purposes, too. A tree friend will filter the air for you, making it fresher and cleaner for you to breathe as you exfoliate your skin or treat yourself to a pedicure. If you opt for a tree bearing fruit, such as a lemon tree, you may wish to incorporate that fruit into your beauty routine. Lemons are great for teeth whitening and even blackhead treatments.

Create a desert oasis

Cacti aren’t prickly enemies; they’re prickly friends—and they come in about 2,000 species, too. The low-maintenance lady will be happy to know that bathroom-inhabiting cacti will need even less watering than normal because of the moisture they absorb during your bath time. Ditto for succulents, which are also in vogue right now. The hardest part will be finding containers you love! The possibilities are almost unlimited. Do you want artisanal clay pots? White ceramic planters? Wicker baskets with plastic planters inside? It’s up to you.

Vary your candles and candleholders

Tea candles are a common but lovely bathtub staple for many bath-loving women, but they are not the only option. Candles and candleholders exist for every style and sensibility, so why not personalize your set with your particular flair? Make or acquire candles in different colors, shapes, and heights and mix them up for variety. As long as they match or complement each other, they’ll look classy, not random and disorganized. For candleholders, you should keep the rest of your bathroom’s aesthetic in mind, but that doesn’t mean standard glass is the only option. Choose a tray for the candleholders to contain dripping wax, too.

Choose a signature product line that works for you

Finding your ideal toiletry line may take some trial and error, but the effort will simplify your life in the long-run. Plus, the bottles and jars will look perfect when grouped together in your bathroom. Many professional spas choose one line and stick to it for ease. The ingredients and fragrances usually complement one another and because of the uniform packaging, no product appears out of place.

Aim for the spartan Scandinavian look

Stone and bare wood may feel a little masculine or even ominous, but a lighter palette and clean design can achieve just the opposite effect: feminine and uplifting. While you may wish to have a new sink installed, you can also think smaller: driftwood is free. You just need a spell to find an artful piece at the beach or riverbank. You can buy or make a stand or lay the driftwood on the counter.

Go with nontraditional towels

Not all towels are created equal. And if you have children at home, you may have an overabundance of towels with cartoon characters. Purchase a towel or two that are just for you, but go for a distinctive vibe. Instead of terrycloth, you could go with linen, for instance. Instead of pastels, go for a less common muted tone or a rich jewel tone. Whatever you decide, be sure you’re in love with the design. It should feel special. It is, after all, yours and yours alone.

Craft a stone bed for your sink

So often spas have stones: a signature of serenity in nature. Your bathroom can, too. Get smooth, round, dark stones and put them at the bottom of your sink. You’ll soon have your own miniature babbling brook to put you at ease.

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