Interior Style

Global spa styles to channel into your bathroom design

How to unlock global spa style in your bathroom designPhotography: Nic Gossage

We all love a good retreat. From saunas to bathhouses, there’s nothing better than treating yourself to a place to lie back, relax and feel the stress slowly ebb out of your body (made even more perfect if it’s timed as a glass of chilled white wine enters it).

So why not channel spa style at home? Maybe your idea of relaxing is sweating out the day sauna-style, or indulging in a pampering skincare routine. Perhaps it’s a bathroom design big enough for pre-work yoga, or cosy enough to lie in the tub. Whatever it is, we’ve got the spa styles, bathroom designs, ideas and looks for you to create a meditation haven at home.

Global spa styles to inspire your bathroom design

English country spa

Classic, timeless, refined and always elegant.

Clockwise from top left: French Larder glass pendant, $172, from; Carter robe, $129.90, from Wallace Cotton; Burlington Edwardian rectangle basin, $341, from Mico; Wide stripe cotton bath towel, $49.90, from Citta;  Adesso Mecca slipper freestanding bath, $1996, from Mico; The Water Monopoly Rockwell basin on stand, $3100, from In Residence.

When city life gets too much and you daydream about being whisked away on a Bridget Jones-style mini-break, it’s time to explore the splendid wonders of the English country spa look.

First things first, a bathtub is an absolute must. Something gigantic, luxurious and clawfooted, with traditional taps for good measure and a window overlooking a view. You’ll want generous fluffy towels and bathrobes, too – splurge on soft Egyptian cotton for that true country spa feeling.

The fixtures and tapware should be silver and in rounded shapes and styles. Pair with a basin stand or standing vanity, something where the legs will add a focal point. Finally, the floors: the monochrome look is timeless and elegant, but a nice marble tile won’t go astray here either.

Bali wellness retreat

Tranquil, tropical, with lots of lush greenery.

Clockwise from top left: Costa Onda tansy green matte tiles, from $135 (sqm), from Tile Space; Daisy rattan toilet paper holder, $76, from Urban Outfitters; Bamboo towel ladder, $37, from Kmart;  Design Republique Bean organic mirror, $399.90, from Bed Bath & Beyond; Lloyd carved double vanity, $3499, from Early Settler; Finley shower rail set brushed copper, $780.90, from Abi Interiors.

Om Swastiastu (Balinese for “may peace be with you”). Relax with lots of natural fibres and textures such as wooden vanities, rattan mirrors and handmade ceramic sinks.

Everything should lead back to the earth, with lots of greenery and house plants to reinforce the external landscape. Open shelving is also a must, even better a rustic ladder, to display soft cotton towels, hair masks and herbal bathing necessities.

If you have the space, consider ditching the tub in favour of a massage table. No Balinese spa is complete without one — and what better way to spend some quality time with your partner?

You can get a variety of foldaway options at affordable prices, or make it a permanent fixture and use it for towel storage when you’re not lathered in coconut oil. Treat yourself to some jamu juice and sink into bliss.

Swedish sauna

Stylish, modern, steamy, and warm.

Clockwise from top left: Mr Ted glass pendant, $269, from; Rustico reclaimed teak bench, $219, from Notting Hill Interiors; Elementi bare concrete vessel basin, $1185, from Mico; Morgan & Finch Wyatt soap dispenser, $24.95, from Bed Bath N’ Table; Tampere 3-person traditional Finnish sauna, $5999, from Revel Sauna; Birch tree pattern wallpaper mural, from $86.25 (sqm), from Hovia; Perouse 750 natural veneer vanity, $2049, from Lucino Vanities; Nordic Islanda matte tiles, from $102 (sqm), from Tile Space. 

We’ve long been guilty of incorporating Scandi style into our homes but now it’s time to go the full hog.

Even if you can’t muster a whole sauna fit-out, a little goes a long way. We love a built-in wooden bench in the bathroom as a place to rest and recharge at the beginning or end of the day. It’s a reminder to slow down and be mindful of your surroundings.

For showers, go with lots of glass and even a double showerhead if you want to make your surroundings extra sexy. Grey tones are big hitters here, from sleek stone to cool concrete and even wallpaper. Then, of course, it’s all about wood – cedar or Swedish spruce is the obvious choice for sauna-style living. Be plentiful and playful with it.

Japanese bathhouse

Zen, serene, minimalist and calm.

Clockwise from top left: Felton Luna freestanding bath filler, $861, from Plumbing World; Ukiyo acrylic freestanding bath, $3739.90, from Abi Interiors; Wall-mounted spout, $71.40, from Abi Interiors; Linen lantern, $358.99, from; Magellan 900 pale grey blue stone vanity, $1849, from Lucino Vanities; Kayo square olive gloss mosaic, from $32 (per sheet), from Tile Space; Axor Massaud wash bowl, $2521, from Mico; Kreuz matte finger mosaic tiles, from $32 (per sheet), from Tile Space.

To emulate the zen of a sentō (Japanese bathhouse) look to the concept of shibui, which is all about creating a subtle, refined form of beauty. Allow the simplicity of things to bring slow delight, rather than loud, flashy designs.

For tiles, the smaller the better. Think finger tiles or small square shapes. Once again baths rule supreme over showers in this space.

If you really want to embrace authenticity, consider an ofuro, a compact, deep-soaking tub that’s ideal for smaller bathrooms.

For colour, it’s all about serene minimalism. Wood tones paired with white are a great pairing (although we’re partial to a good grey and green combo, too). Look to create gentle, swooping curves throughout, from sinks to towel rails and even walls. The whole room should feel like one big inhale followed by an exhale.

Moroccan hammam

Moody, romantic, dreamy, opulence.

Clockwise from top left: Moroccan-style tile, $25.90 (each), from Zazzle; Gia cotton bathrobe, $154, from Sage x Clare; Shades of Summer Turkish hand towel, from $53, from Kip & Co; Morgan & Finch Zoya toilet brush, $49.95, from Bed Bath N’ Table; Moroccan-inspired bathroom basin, $795, from Isabel Harris; Cross Assembly taps and spout set in brushed brass, $406.80, from Abi Interiors; Solace Josie leaner mirror, $749.90, from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Hammam’s are so exquisite and architectural that to pay homage to them can seem intimidating, but never fear.

A recessed wall niche is a great weekend DIY project that adds a sculptural effect to your bathroom while also offering a storage solution. But if you’re afraid of tinkering with drywall, then it’s time to go all-in on tiles, tiles, tiles.

Handcrafted zellige tiles are worth investing in if you want to create a unique, artisanal look. A more cost-friendly alternative is a colourful vinyl that lends a mosaic look, perfect for everything from walls to floors.

A Moroccan-style mirror is the perfect finishing touch – look for something with plenty of curves and metallics. Finally, who could forget a Turkish towel? Simply irresistible.

Read this next: 11 bathroom trends to turn your bathroom into a luxurious sanctuary

Text Caroline Moratti

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