I'm a decor editor and these are my style secrets for achieving a spa bathroom

My simple design ingredients are all your need to create a luxe-hotel-style bathroom, perfect for pampering and relaxation

Freestanding bath in front of wooden panelled painted wall with decorative plants and towels in spa bathroom
(Image credit: Future Plc/Adam Carter)

If you're constantly dreaming of getting away to a luxurious spa hotel, but never quite make it there, then perhaps it's time to indulge in your own spa bathroom at home. 

Yes you might have to turf out the barrage of kids toys first, or find a fresh towel that hasn't been left damp on the floor, but once you've slipped into a fluffy robe, lit some candles and locked the door, your bathroom ideas can soon become a reality.

But knowing how to turn a bathroom from drab to fab is the tricky part, so I'm going to let you into my style secrets so you can easily tick off the essentials to achieve a boutique, spa-like space.

My style secrets for achieving a spa bathroom

Freestanding bath in front of wooden panelled painted wall with decorative plants and towels

(Image credit: Future Plc/Dominic Blackmore)

With over 12 year of experience working on Interior Magazines, and a degree in Interior Design, I know my way around a successful room refresh. Every space in my home has seen a slow, yet complete DIY overhaul to create the bright, comfortable and colourful home that works for me and my family.

A beautiful spa-style, luxury bathroom is the perfect place to unwind after work, prepare for an evening out or just indulge and pamper yourself in your spare time. And while I haven't quite got my own one yet, with a house move imminent, I know exactly how I'll be looking to create one in the new place.

So take your cue from myself and your favourite spa, and inject some tranquil style into your bathroom. Think chic modern fittings, fresh colours and sleek accessories and you will be on the road to creating a glamorous, but understated, spa bathroom.

1. Elegant wall lights

Wall lights on wall of bathroom with brass mirror hung between them

(Image credit: Astro Lighting)

Like any other room in your home, there should be the option of different light levels when it comes to your bathroom lighting ideas, not just the ceiling lights. Wall lights wired on a separate switch like the Tacoma wall lights, from £133 each, Astro Lighting, or those operated with a pull cord, will allow you to create a cosy, intimate space, ideal for long soaks in the tub. 

A great spot to place them is either side of a wall mirror above a vanity unit or basin, to give you the most pleasing illumination that is balanced, as well as helpful when applying make-up or contact lenses.

2. Sumptuous Scents

Candles, toiletries and diffusers on bath board in bathroom of all white

(Image credit: The White Company)

The easiest and quickest way to transform your bathroom into a sensual, spa-like space, is with some gorgeous fragrances, such as the best candles, diffusers and room sprays. 

Just lighting a posh candle like the Spa Escape signature candle, £20, The White Company, that fills the room with scents such as lavender or neroli, will instantly lift your mood, relax your mind and transport you to somewhere fabulous. A room spray is great to have on hand for an instant boost of freshness, and there is nothing like the flickering glow of a scented candle to accompany a deep bubble bath. 

3. Stone flooring

Terrazzo stone flooring in a spa-style bathroom with white freestanding bath tub

(Image credit: Amtico)

When it comes to bathroom flooring ideas, for a boutique-hotel-look, large-scale floor tiles will instantly create a streamlined and spacious feel, for any size bathroom. It’s a common misconception that small bathrooms should only feature small-scale tiles, but in fact the labyrinth of grout lines between small-format tiles can make a small space feel cluttered. 

Terrazzo and marble are both hugely popular choices for both floors and walls, and with some pretty competitive prices on the market these days, you don’t have to blow the budget to get this luxe look in your bathroom. We love the Spacia Elemental Terrazzo Amalfi tiles, from £43.99 per sq m, Amtico.

4. A lightweight blind

Simple monochrome patterned roman blind over window in bathroom with large white freestanding bath tub

(Image credit: Prestigious Fabrics)

A bathroom blind is the perfect finishing touch for a beautiful scheme. Practical and stylish, blinds offer that all-essential privacy whilst allowing you to control light levels too, and can even become a feature of the room. Plus it's fairly simple to learn how to make a roman blind, so you can create one bespoke to your space. We love this Pampas grass frost fabric, £28.08 per m, Prestigious Textiles  

Quite often bathrooms can feel a little cold or stark due to the natural lack of soft furnishings, so rather than opting for shutters, or simply sticking with frosted glass windows, a lightweight blind could be just what you need to inject some colour, pattern and softness into your space. 

5. Towels to hand

Trio of woven baskets on wall of bathroom with stacks on towels folded inside

(Image credit: Future Plc/Carolyn Barber)

Say goodbye to scrabbling around to find a clean, dry towel after washing, but keep a sumptuous stack of them to hand in stylish baskets hung on the wall. These paper rope baskets, £20 each, John Lewis & Partners are a practical and decorative addition to your bathroom and can be simply screwed in the wall through holes in the weave of the basket. 

Fill with the best bath towels and face cloths in shades to compliment your decor and even dedicate a basket to each family member.

6. Simple storage

Freestanding bathroom storage of ladder shelf and towel rail made of beech wood

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Opt for open shelving like the Southbourne ladder shelf, from £180, Garden Trading, to house bathroom belongings beautifully, and make a display of your prettier toiletries and smellies. You’ll need to ensure you have an alternative spot for tidying away the cleaning products and more mundane essentials, but things like cotton pads and bath salts can be decanted into glass storage jars and lined up neatly. 

Lidded baskets are a great bathroom storage idea, ideal for popping in refills for soap dispensers and a houseplant scattered amongst your products will bring some life into your space.

7. Freestanding bath

Freestanding bath in front of marble wall with gold side table and large house tree in corner

(Image credit: Future Plc/Adam Carter)

A freestanding bath is the ultimate luxury in a bathroom, and if you're looking for modern bathroom ideas, a sleek, minimal design will set the scene for a contemporary space.

Pick a bath that is truly covetable- there is a host of freestanding roll-top baths in a multitude of materials to suit any space and budget. For a truly sculptural look, opt for a bâteau or slipper-shaped tub. 

Create a statement by setting your freestanding bath in the centre of the room, but if that's not possible, putting it on a raised platform or sinking it into the floor will make a stand-out feature. 

8. Built-in storage niche

Built-in bathroom cubby in marble shower to house bathroom toiletries

(Image credit: Future Plc/Rachael Smith)

There is nothing worse than the sight of multiple bottles of shampoo and shower gels lined up on the floor of a shower, really killing the luxe-hotel-bathroom vibe. Mounting refillable bottles on the wall is one way to get around it, especially if you're looking for a solution retrospectively to having your bathroom refreshed. 

Another option if you're about to embark on your transformation, is to plan for built-in cubbies or niches. Niches ensure that there are no shelves encroaching on the space and are striking features in themselves. Plus they can be created at a height perfect for you, in any shape or size. 

A built-in niche makes a great display spot for not just toiletries but houseplants and candles too, so think about having them in other places than just the shower enclosure. 

9. Metallic hardware

Bathroom with brass hardware and accessories including shower screen

(Image credit: Armac Martin)

Chrome has been king of the bathroom for some time, but as with kitchens, this is all changing. Though I'm not advocating the return of gaudy, swan-shaped brassware or wall-to-wall copper tiles, there is definitely a trend for modern metallic finishes, and it's worth tapping into for your own spa bathroom design.

The easiest way to introduce metallics is via your hardware. For traditional schemes, got for taps in brushed copper or antique gold, as these will give a softer finish. Buy the best you can afford too, as poorly plated taps will tarnish easily- go for high-density, high-carat gold plate on a nickel base for optimum longevity and durability. 

You can even do these small changes yourself, so if you're wondering how to change a tap, now is the time to look into it and reap the benefits.

How do I style my bathroom like a spa?

A classic spa look that's easy to achieve? Choose pale, neutral colours throughout. All-over cream, grey or white will instantly evoke that elusive spa feeling. Keeping your bathroom muted will create a relaxing retreat that you can accessorise with woven basket for storage, candles and soft white towels. Bliss.

Stone, pebble, marble, wood - all of these materials have a timeless elegance that will make you feel like you are stepping into an opulent spa, every day. Go for pebble baths, or marble walls, or use the natural textures of wood and stone to awaken your senses each bath time.

If you want to inject a dash of colour, you can achieve a luxe spa-style makeover with something as simple as blue and white soft furnishings. Or choose coloured tiles on one wall to add a chic feature to your bathroom. Printed wallpaper and framed pictures will also add a softer touch to a spa-like sanctuary.

What should be in a spa bathroom?

Probably the most important element to include in a spa bathroom is some low lighting. Whether this is via candles dotted around the room, or dimmable wall lights, trying to relax in a room filled with harsh, bright light is never going to work. Setting the scene with an array of fragrances will help create that spa-like vibe too, so scented candles, diffusers or room sprays are a must.

A freestanding bath makes quite a statement, but even a built-in bath can have spa-like qualities, especially if you work in space for a ledge running around one side, as a spot to pop candles or a glass of wine.

Greenery, fresh or faux will bring some life into a spa bathroom, so dot a few plants around the room too. 

Holly Walsh
Content Editor

Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.