Creating your own paradise
Thanks to advances in technology, you can now experience the luxury of a spa in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Turning your bathroom into a spa can give you a relaxing space to help wash away the day’s stresses. As an added bonus, remodeling your bathroom can increase the value of your home, because adding features like steam showers, special bathtubs and even heated towel warmers can all give your property a boost in value.
The first thing you need to consider when designing a home spa is the space. It’s possible to make any space work for a home spa, as long as it is laid out effi ciently. Once you have determined the layout, it’s time to start shopping for products.
The walk-in shower is an essential component to any spa bathroom. One of the more popular types of shower is the steam shower, in which a steam jet fi lls your shower enclosure with steam, creating your own personal steam room. “More and more homeowners are installing steam showers,” says Astrid Bergstrom, showroom manager at Robinson Bath Centre. “People see them in movies but aren’t actually aware that they are not as expensive as they used to be and that they are available here.”
These showers build upon the benefits of traditional steam rooms, with people using them for a variety of benefits, for everything from improving the skin to enhancing the immune system to easing muscle tension and pain. “The steam is really great for your skin—it keeps it soft and smooth,” says Bergstrom. “It also stimulates circulation because it opens up your pores. The hot moisture gets inside and your body actually automatically releases impurities and toxins because your pores are open. And steam is very green—you only use a gallon of water for a 20-minute steam.”
Steam therapy is also known to encourage relaxation and is made even more therapeutic with the use of aromatherapy scents, which Bergstrom says is another trend she is seeing more of. “Many people used to use scents like eucalyptus but now they can use multiple scents, as there are bottles (built into the shower) and you can push a button (to dispense) the scents.”
Not only are there many types of steam shower units available, but, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, they are easy to install as well. Your first step should be to visit a local bath centre showroom to find the model best suited to your needs and lifestyle. And even though all steam showers are installed in a similar way, there are differences between makes and models, which is why it is always important to read the instructions.
Another trend picking up momentum in the industry are showerheads that create a rain or waterfall effect, where water dispenses in a waterfall or mimics actual rainfall. “We do a ton of rain heads,” says Bergstrom. “If we do ten homes, I bet seven of them have rain heads.” These showerheads come in a wide variety of designs, as well as with varying strengths of water spray, so they are easy for the homeowner to customize. “We’re also seeing a lot of people installing multiple showerheads and chromatherapy (colour therapy).” Proponents of colour therapy say it helps balance a person's spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.
Another essential component to any home spa is a tub, perfect for soaking away stress and anxiety. According to Bergstrom, whirlpool tubs are not as popular as they used to be, while air tubs seem to be growing in popularity. Whereas whirlpool tubs circulate a mixture of water and air, air tubs use air circulation to create a calming, soothing effect.
Air tubs consist of a system of holes that are positioned along the bottom of the tub—and sometimes the back and sides—which jet a steady stream of air into the tub, creating a stream of thousands of air bubbles for an even, all-over massage. As an added bonus, they require less fl oor space than whirlpool tubs and come with a variety of customizable features. “Air tubs can come with aromatherapy, chromatherapy, sound therapy,” she says, adding most people tend to choose a rectangular-shaped air tub for their bathrooms.
There is nothing quite like stepping out of the shower or bathtub and wrapping one’s body in a towel still warm from the dryer. Many homeowners are replicating that feeling by installing heated towel racks in their bathrooms. These racks come in finishes that include chrome, brass, stainless steel and gold, and are available in many shapes and sizes, making them easy to customize to your bathroom.
There are two main types of towel warmers on the market: electric and hydronic. An electric towel warmer can either be hard-wired—connected to the wiring in the wall—or soft-wired—plugged into an electrical outlet. A hydronic towel warmer, on the other hand, is plumbed directly into the hot water line and an electrical connection is not necessary.
Other popular trends in home spas, according to Bergstrom, are bigger and longer vanities, as well as double sinks. “Double sinks have been around for a long time but we’re definitely seeing bigger sinks now,” she says.
Bergstrom offers a final piece of advice for anyone considering turning a bathroom into a home spa: “It’s good to be product savvy. Go to a bath centre showroom, because the employees there will know the best products, why you should have those products and the warranties behind the products,” she says. And with a little planning and elbow grease, you will soon be well on your way to enjoying your own personal spa.