Why The ‘Spathroom’ Is The Interior Design Trend You Need To Invest In For 2024

6 min read

As self care becomes an increasing priority at home, our bathrooms are following suit with the rapid rise of the ‘spathroom’. Hotel-style luxury is coming home…

Hands up if you remember the days when the bathroom was simply a place to shower after a long day at the office. A distant memory for many, today’s bathrooms are arguably the most ritualistic room of the home and, influenced by the growing popularity of spaces created to support self care, an increasing number of interior designers are seeing a surge in demand for spa-inspired bathrooms — otherwise known as the ‘spathroom’ — that can double up as a private sanctuary. More than just a space for a blissful bath, we’re talking everything from humongous free-standing tubs, bio-saunas, ice plunge pools, aquarium walls and experience showers in which warm tropical rain patters down, exotic aromas fill the air, birds tweet and flashing lights fill the room.

While it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see these luxurious spaces taking pride of place in upscale residential properties around the world — the bathroom at the Four Seasons Private Residences Los Cabos at Costa Palmas features a huge walk-in Jacuzzi room centred between two large showers alongside statement windows, for example. While the new Project Lumière at London’s prestigious No. 1 Grosvenor Square is setting a new standard for bespoke luxury living with its spa-inspired bathrooms crafted from natural stonework and marble complete with in-built mirror lighting perfect for beauty regimes. These holistic havens are becoming increasingly common for the opportunistic homeowners looking to give their bathrooms incredible makeovers that tick all the right relaxation boxes.

Why have one when you can have four? An extra-large Jacuzzi sits front and centre at the Four Seasons Private Residences Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, flanked by four standing showers

“Bathroom brands and interior designers are collaborating and transforming bathroom spaces into an experience that users have mostly experienced only in hotels, but nowadays it can easily be in the convenience and comfort of your own home,” Sarah Jeanne Caraig, interior designer at Albal Design Studio in Dubai, tells MOJEH. “Social media has made it easier for people to access inspiration and ideas from all over the world, which in turn has led to a more diverse and eclectic mix of styles and trends.”

As with all home design projects, function is one of the most important considerations in achieving the ‘spathroom’, so start small with concealed storage to clear away any clutter and create a calming space without any distractions. “Most of my bathroom projects involve designing custom storage solutions to hide everything from laundry to impressive collections of beauty products, and I also like to add in an element of open display shelving too, where you can add those little styled moments that really finish the space,” says Becki Willis, founder of Dubai-based interior design studio Studio Van Oliver.

Space is another important element, as you want to walk into the room and feel a sense of openness and airiness. “Many bathrooms in the region are built with lots of internal walls and partitions, so firstly rip these out to create one open room,” adds Becki. Free-standing bathtubs are a must, while oversized showers should boast a walk-in area that provides ample space for comfortable and luxurious showering. Alternatively, why not splurge for double shower heads for maximum effect? It’s not just about having an indoor pool anymore, either — those committed to their health and wellbeing are opting for saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis and spa pools with volcano jets and sprays for back, neck and shoulder massages to blend scientific advances with ancient relaxation wisdom.

As to be expected, your choice of colour is make or break here, with most experts recommending a neutral palette like beige, stone, oat and soft pale grey, with some pure white detailing thrown in for good measure. “We’re huge fans of something that is timeless, so for the bathroom I would suggest sticking to a neutral palette, like greige, which creates a simple canvas you can add your own personality to over time,” advises Pallavi Dean, founder and creative director of popular interior design studio ROAR, which is based in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. “You don’t have to avoid bold prints, but be mindful they can be distracting or jarring when you’re trying to create a space for relaxation. If you’re opting for this style, I would suggest a tone-on-tone colouring to avoid too many contrasting elements.”

A neutral palette allows the space to grow and transform as tastes change, acting as a solid foundation for personal finishing touches. This ROAR-designed bathroom goes tone-on-tone for maximum zen

Next on your list of considerations should be your choice of material, and it’s certainly worth splashing out on one luxe option throughout, while always sticking with natural resources. With a variety of stone types out there, embracing the natural beauty of a material is a surefire way to add elegance to any modern bathroom design.That said, don’t be afraid to combine sleek materials too if you’re nota fan of the uni-material look — earthy textures and natural products can create a beautiful spa aesthetic within the space when paired correctly. “Spas are often designed to be grounding experiences, and you will notice natural, organic materials and raw finishes,” continues Becki. “Consider tiles that imitate the feeling and texture of natural stone, a wood finish for your vanity, and accents of linen and cotton. And steer away from high gloss and solid, flat finishes.” Microcement is also a big trend in bathrooms right now, she tells us, and gives a beautiful finish that epitomises that spa feel. “Simply add some gold and brass hardware for additional warmth, or opt for black if you’re after a more contemporary look.”

Often overlooked, lighting is vital in creating a soothing space, with natural light the crème de la crème. “Most bathrooms don’t have much sunshine, but if you’re looking to create a truly serene experience then try to see if there are any walls you can structurally break and add some frosted glass to fill the room with the most beautiful natural light,”advises Pallavi. “If possible, why not even add different scene settings too, allowing a brighter space for when you’re getting changed and putting your makeup on, switching to darker, more intimate lighting for relaxing and bathing?” Accent and ambient lighting can also really be the difference between a beautiful bathroom and a luxe one, so consider adding integrated lighting in niches, ledges and shelving.

Albal Design Studio utilised marble, soft lighting and dreamy artworks to replicate the essence of a spa in their client’s home

Last but not least, sound seals the deal. “As escapism continues to trend, people are finding any means necessary to hit pause on this reality and let their minds wander somewhere else,” Dana Krieger, VP of design and hardware at Sonos, tells MOJEH. “Sound has the ability to elevate everyday moments and transport us somewhere new, making us feel more relaxed, rejuvenated and connected without ever leaving our homes.” Nowhere is this truer than in the bathroom, where you can create a tranquil oasis with everything from smart speakers to professionally installed architectural sound systems. “Be it setting tranquil background music for a bath or wanting nature soundscapes to soundtrack a moment of meditation, sound can transform your bathroom into a spa-like experience, with many products boasting a humidity resistant design.” Sonos Architectural speakers are a great shout, and can be installed in-wall and in-ceiling to disappear into any space and withstand environmental conditions like humidity, water, heat and more.

“In today’s hectic world, it’s no surprise that people are looking for more from their homes,” enthuses Becki. “Our environment has a significant impact on our mood and, particularly after the last few years, people want their homes to be warm and welcoming spaces that make them feel good. Like coming home to a big hug at the end of the day.” And who wouldn’t want that?

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The only accessories you need to create a luxe, spa-like bathroom in the comfort of your own home

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  • Words by Naomi Chadderton