Tips to transform your bathroom into an oasis

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There are countless ways to romanticize your life and turn mundane tasks into magical moments, says Frank Coluccino, the interior designer behind Frankly Designed.

You can start in the shower. Adding a simple bundle of eucalyptus to a plain shower has the power to transform it into a stress-reducing — not to mention sinus clearing — experience, and it’s one of many ways to transform your bathroom into a spa-like oasis.

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“Aromatherapy is essential for a relaxing spa bathroom,” he says.

“So many times, our sense of smell is forgotten or underutilized as a strategy to bring on relaxation. Think essential oils, potpourri, scented soaps, lotions and candles. Consider scents like lavender, jasmine and vanilla, as they will evoke a calming effect and soothing vibe.”

Scent is probably the easiest, most inexpensive way to transform a bathroom into a spa, which is an important point to remember because it reinforces how a bathroom doesn’t need to be large, or luxurious, to make you feel good.

“You can do something very spa-like even in a standard five-by-eight bathroom, it doesn’t have to be a monster in size. It can be your typical condo bathroom,” says Mark Wolinksy, the president of Wetstyle, a Montreal-based company that creates original soaking bathtubs, sinks, shower bases and furnishings for the contemporary bathroom environment, who is currently working on his own bathroom remodel.

Blue tile bathroom
At dusk, when the lights have been dimmed and candles are burning, the blue tiles feel like a starry night sky. – PHOTO PROVIDED BY FRANKLY DESIGNED.

“In the master, we’re taking out the tub and putting in a shower for two with a rain shower on either end and LED lighting along the shower niche on the back wall.”

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Having a bathtub isn’t essential to having an at-home oasis, but, if you have the space for one, Wolinsky recommends one of the company’s newest models, which is called the Mood.

“It’s really popular with the design clientele,” he says.

“Designed by Pierre Bélanger in Montreal, it looks like two ellipses turned in on each other, so on one side you get a nice shelf and on the other side you have a thin edge. It also fits two people, with different inclines on each end.”

To achieve a calming atmosphere, Coluccino recommends decluttering first, and removing all items that you don’t use daily from the countertops.

Organize and create extra storage wherever possible, especially in smaller bathrooms, and anything that does remain out in the open should be organized in a way that is mindful, visually pleasing and evokes relaxation. “A trick I like to use is removing all store packaging pouring soaps, shampoos and lotions into their own matching dispensers, for a unified look,” says Coluccino.

As for designing with nature in mind, it isn’t just a passing trend for 2023; it’s a great way to create a natural, spa-like environment at home.

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“It’s all about the harmonious use of surface materials, and how they go with the fixtures and finishings you’re choosing,” says Wolinsky. “Selecting tones and colours that are more neutral or natural, without too much variation, that give you a Zen-like feeling, if that’s what you want out of a spa. Also, the use of art and vegetation; plant life.”

Choosing calming colours like whites, greys, beiges and greiges, and pseudo-neutrals like blues and greens, which are found in nature, is one way to keep things Zen. Another is to upgrade your plumbing and heating fixtures and install a rain shower and/or a steam shower, as well as heated flooring.

To create a truly luxurious spa environment, Coluccino recommends using lighting in multiple layers.

“Chandeliers, wall sconces and recessed lighting will create drama and sophistication,” says the designer. “In every bathroom I design, I install dimmer switches. They give you more flexibility and achieve the same, soft glow as candlelight.

According to Wolinsky, one of the biggest changes coming in bathrooms is lighting.

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“One of the things we’re doing to make bathrooms more spa-like and luxurious is adding LED lighting underneath the bathtub, which make it look like it’s floating and adds to the ambient light in the bathroom,” he says.

Coluccino recommends giving your bathroom an instant face-lift by switching out your old, tired towels and investing in lofty, absorbent towels in natural, organic fabrics that are quick to dry. Upgrade your towel storage and elevate the entire experience with heated towel rack, baskets or a towel ladder.

Finally, ensure that everything you need is at hand when you finally sink into your bath, or are cosily ensconced in your shower, with a caddy that can hold essential items like a glass of wine or a cup of tea, a loofah, book, bath accessories and lotions.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division.

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