Self-care crucial to wellbeing. With longer workweeks, louder social media noise and more pressure to succeed, it’s easy to see why mental wellness is at the heart of personal wellness. Creating a bathroom where you can unwind and treat yourself is one of the biggest benefits of owning a home — but where should you start?
From building an aromatherapy herb library to sourcing a luxurious bath tray, here’s what you can do to create a bathroom that promotes holistic self-care and wellness.
Fundamentals of Self-Care Spaces
Whether you’re starting from scratch on a new bathroom or redesigning an existing one, there are a few interior principles to follow for a space that promotes wellbeing.
Natalie van der Meer, features editor at Consumer Reports, says that large swaths of white and neutrals can make a space feel more calming. “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.”
Keeping the space uncluttered can also ensure that it promotes calm and ease, rather than stress and anxiety. Think of your bathroom like a self-care fortress, the team at GirlTalkHQ writes. It’s a physical space where you can go to escape the mental clutter and baggage of everyday life. A fresh, clean space is the best way to clear your mind.
One simple way to prevent clutter is to be mindful about storage options. Open shelving can force you to choose only the things that you use daily, lifestyle writer Shelby Deering notes. Instead of having a clunky medicine cabinet, open shelving saves space and creates an airer feel to the bathroom. Plus, it can make your morning routine faster and more efficient because you’ll always have what you need on hand and in view.
Adopting a minimalist design mindset can also help you make meaningful choices about how you design or refurbish the space. For example, you might decide to overhaul small inefficiencies or other things that bother you about the bathroom. If the grout looks a bit dingy and depressing, re-grouting the space now can save you considerable time in the future when it’s gotten really bad, plus the clean look will make you feel better, Freshome writer Kacie Groff says.
This is also true for spaces that are difficult to clean, like shelves or corners that collect dust. Think about how you can change your current space so that its aesthetically pleasing. When a space is easy to maintain, it will bring you more joy.
Personalizing Your Bathroom
Self-care looks different for everyone, so a space inspired by self-care should be personalized.
“Anything you do to enhance your physical, mental and emotional health can be labeled as self care. Whatever that means for you, it can help you be mindful and address the stressors in your life,” Tyler Howell and Hillary Oberpeul at Biofreeze write.
When it comes to pampering and unwinding in the bathroom, it’s important to create a space that supports your favorite self-care acts.
Reading, for example, is an indulgent and favorite activity for the bathroom. Still, it requires the right tools so that your books don’t get wet and ruined. A bathtub caddy is perhaps the best way to read in the bathtub, says Melissa Ragsdale at Bustle. This little accessory can be set across the width of the bathtub and includes extra space for snacks and drinks. A waterproof book cover might also come in handy to keep your wet hands and fingers from damaging the book.
Creating space for reading and writing in the bathroom can actually have a big impact on your overall wellness. That's because writing, and gratitude journaling in particular, can lead to improved psychological health, relationships and sleep, notes health and wellness writer Carina Wolff.
The Perfect Bath
Still, a self-care routine isn’t complete without a luxurious bathtub. Baths are seen as the epitome of self-care; a chance to physically and mentally escape from the demands of everyday life. “By taking a bath, you’re expressing more than just your preference over vertical cleansing; you’re saying you’re putting yourself first,” journalist Rina Raphael writes.
To add another element to a deluxe spa bathroom, why not build a fireplace into the wall?
Putting a tub in the center of a room with a fireplace makes a room extraordinarily cozy and relaxing, says MyDomaine at Clique associate editor Hadley Mendelsohn. The example by Elizabeth Roberts Architecture and Design is completed with a bright patterned floor that ties into the fireplace, adding an unexpected Mediterranean vibe. The combination of elements is unusual and works extremely well.
For more ideas on how to amp up the luxe factor of your bath ritual, find inspiration in this roundup of indulgent bathrooms by Kristie Hayden at Domain. These bathrooms feature eclectic and soothing design elements, including etched stone walls, elegant mirrors and heated limestone floors. Depending on your surroundings, installing vast floor to ceiling windows that look out onto a forest or the ocean brings the soothing elements of the natural world into your space.
Aromatherapy and Ayurveda
Enhancing the bath experience with sensory elements can make the experience even more enjoyable. You might choose to incorporate additional facets of wellness into your bath ritual, including ayurveda or aromatherapy.
Chemical-free soaps loaded with essential oils can help calm skin and meet your body’s needs, says Larissa Hall Carlson, a faculty member at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Neem soap is great for easily inflamed skin, while lavender soap promotes calm and reduces stress. Carlson suggests investing in a neti pot, a sinus-cleansing tool and traditional ayurvedic self-care technique.
A herbal bath is another healing way to relax and pamper yourself with lovely scents. Herbal bath tea can be made by combining dried rose petals and calendula flowers in a mesh drawstring bag, says Erin McIntosh at Learning Herbs. Pouring herbal infused oils into the bath, like lavender, rose and calendula, also has therapeutic aromatherapy benefits.
Store your ayurvedic soaps, essential oils and bath herbs in glass apothecary jars, then line them along your minimalist shelf to aid in a healing bathing routine.
Music and Sounds
While you might prefer to relax and enjoy your aromatherapy bath in silence, a little background music can help you move into a meditative state. Lacey Johnson, founder of The Wonder Report, suggests classics from Bill Withers and Etta James to unwind and relax. She says binaural beats and isochronic tones are great for reducing chatter in the brain and promoting a more creative mindset.
Guided meditations, podcasts and motivational speeches can also work wonders for inducing a peaceful mental state. Having a dedicated radio or sound system for this is also important. Worrying about your phone sliding into the bath or fiddling with wires can throw off your self-care routine.
A trinket tray can be a great place to store your phone or portable speaker during a shower. These can be placed on the back on the toilet, a bathside stool or a the vanity top, says lifestyle writer Lindsey Lanquist. This way you’ll always know where your phone, watch and other accessories are while you’re in the bath.