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Have you ever been pampered at a spa? Lucky you, if you answered yes. There is nothing quite like the deep relaxation that comes with a massage, facial, deep soak, and fluffy robes. Unfortunately, few of us can afford to indulge in spa experiences often – or ever. Fortunately, you can recreate the feeling (sort of) in your bathroom. All you need are a few simple tweaks, and your family’s cooperation.

You can transform your bathroom on three levels, which depend on your commitment to the spa experience, your décor tastes, and your budget. The levels are: simple (low budget), some effort required (medium budget), and hardcore (high budget). We’ll look at tips for each.

  • Give your bathroom a spring clean – simple.

There’s little worse than lying back in a deliciously warm bath, deep relaxation about to kick in and then spotting mouldy grouting on the tiles next to your head or toes. You can try and ignore it, but a little worm has, well, wormed its way into your brain and your eyes will be drawn to the offending area(s) again and again. What’s worse, you’ll start looking for more spots.

So, thoroughly prepare your bathroom beforehand. Scrub the tiles on the walls and floor, on the side of the bath, and in the shower. Scrub the fixtures, especially the bits at the bottom of the taps where water tends to gather and gunk grows, and around the plug hole. Give the shower curtain a proper wash, or replace it with something light and fresh, like linen.

Then tackle the toiletries that are lying about. You may not have a proper vanity where you can hide all the bottles and tubes and sundry clutter, but you can store it neatly. For example, you can sacrifice a drinking glass, fill it halfway with pretty stones (or a mixture of dried beans) and use it for your toothbrushes and toothpaste. You can sacrifice a side plate or saucer, glue some pebbles or shells to the surface and use it for your razor and pumice stone. You could buy a wooden spice rack and use it for your moisturiser, lotions, and shampoo.

Add a pot plant for some green and some life – and an instant mood lift.

  • Give your bathroom a facelift – some effort required.

This is a step further than a simple spring clean. For example, don’t just clean your walls, but give them a fresh coat of paint. Aim for neutral colours – sunflower yellow is not a typically relaxing colour. You don’t have to go with beige or cream if that bores your pants off. You can go with earthy browns, stormy-sea blues and greens, and partly-cloudy greys.

Add some mirrors to increase the natural light and redo all of the lighting so that it operates on a dimmer switch. That way you can control your mood lighting when you’re in a spa frame of mind, but you can take the light back up to levels that will let you put on your makeup without looking like the Joker.

Bring in some natural material, like bamboo, wood, and stone. You can place wooden slats on one wall, but that is perhaps not that budget-friendly. Instead you can get a pebble bath mat and some bamboo or wicker bathroom accessories, like a laundry basket or drawers, or a wooden shower bench.  You can also buy a wooden bath caddy, so you can enjoy a cup of tea and a plate of eats while you relax in the tub, and so you can put your book down when your eyes get heavy and it’s time to doze.

  • Give your bathroom an overhaul – hardcore.

Forget spring cleaning and forget facelifts, strip out the whole thing and start from scratch. Knock down the wall and install floor-to-ceiling windows. If you don’t have a decent view, have an artist come in and paint a mural of a relaxing landscape. Get yourself a sunken tub and a rain shower. Put in heated pebble floors. Put wooden slats on your walls. Get towel warmers. Put a water feature in the corner. If you’re going to do it, do it right, right?

  • Set the mood.

Get some scented candles for aromatic and ambient lighting effect. You can also burn some essential aromatherapy oils or add them to your bath. Your other scent options include adding fragrant herbs or flowers to your bath, keeping a dried bouquet hanging from your towel rack, and making your own potpourri.

Place your candles strategically around the room to create the best mood and to ensure that they won’t be splashed and they won’t fall down. If you’re putting in some effort or are being hardcore about it, you can adjust your lighting via your dimmer switch, or by clapping your hands.

Set up some mood music. iPods and docking stations are ideal, but you can always bring in a battery-powered CD player (with a USB port for your MP3 player, maybe). If you go the hardcore route you can have hidden speakers installed. Keep the music soft and gentle. You can even get a CD with various sounds from nature, like bubbling streams, the ocean, and bird song, and there are CDs with music specifically composed for meditation or deep relaxation.

Get some cucumber slices or some cotton pads soaked in ice water for your eyes. Bigger budgets may spring for homemade facial recipes or for salon-prepared mixtures that just need to be applied. Fold a towel and place it at the end of the tub so it can support your head while you lie back. Alternatively, get out your special bath pillow or massage mat. Hang your comfy robe behind the door, or on the heated towel rack – if you have one. Make sure all your body scrubs are where you can reach them. Make yourself some tea or pour some wine.

Finally, run the bath, unplug the phone, get rid of your partner and kids, and sit back and relax.

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License: Creative Commons

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Jemima Winslow has a thing for beautiful bathrooms. She’s been known to watch entire episodes of homemaker over shows, just to catch a glimpse of the luxury bathrooms at the end. She’d take the hardcore approach if her budget allowed, but has to settle for cucumber slices and lavender bouquets.