From stress relieving smart showers to artsy soaking tubs – Here is how modern bathrooms have evolved to provide a sense of well-being

INAX’s Japanese-style bathroom contains a bathtub which remains popular with many people who enjoy soaking in the hot water for a long time. Photos: Handouts


It’s the one place in the home where a person can truly be alone, to indulge in rituals that soothe, rest and restore. Hence, in designing luxury projects for her clients, Hong Kong designer Rowena Gonzales, of Liquid Interiors, looks for every opportunity to incorporate wellness elements that nurture and inspire.

Bathrooms that are out of the ordinary by bringing a spa feel into the home make well-being an everyday experience, rather than a luxury, she says.

Grohe’s Euphoria SmartControl shower system

Antoine Besseyre Des Horts, vice-president of design at Lixil Water Technology Asia, agrees that the elevated role of the once-humble bathroom has fuelled demand for wellness products that support our needs for living healthily, responsibly and beautifully.

To meet that criteria, he says, the modern bathroom “must be easy to use and clean, ergonomic, safe, provide a sense of well-being, and express one’s personal style”.

Spatially, the designer points out, the bathroom is one more area of the home where traditional boundaries are dissolving. Just as the kitchen has merged with the living room to create a new social space, the bathroom blends more and more with the bedroom to form a private retreat. This requires more attention to be paid to the design, so that the lighting, colors, and materials chosen reflect the room’s changing status.

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If they have room, many people still want a bathtub so they can luxuriate uninterrupted in a long, hot soak. Baths with ergonomic designs provide the ultimate comfort, and there’s no doubting the visual appeal of a glamorous free-standing tub, like the sinuous Veil bath from Kohler, or the lure of a Japanese hot spring-inspired soak in INAX’s new S600 and S400 lines, launched globally at Milan Design Week 2019.

That’s not the only way to enjoy a restorative hydrotherapy session at home now that spa experiences are built into showers.

Grohe’s new Euphoria SmartControl shower system, for example, lets you tailor your own experience at the touch of a button. “Depending on your mood or the time of day, you can choose a powerful, invigorating spray for an energizing start to the morning, or unwind with a relaxing, ‘soft as summer rain’ spray in the evening,” Besseyre Des Horts says. The technology ensures that the water temperature stays precisely as you like it.

Kohler’s Veil collection

To achieve the desired relaxing ambiance and cater to the need for more convenience and comfort in the bathroom, everything within the space should be intuitive and easy to use. “You don’t want to have to fiddle with different controls,” he points out.

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In terms of colors, white is clean, minimal, elegant and timeless. But with comfort, an overarching goal of bathroom design, soft textures such as wood grain finishes, earthy tones and ceramics are emerging as homeowners seek to make a strong statement in their private retreat.

A Kohler bath in white – a colour that is minimal, elegant and timeless.

Meanwhile, Kohler is calling “the revival of colors” the major bathroom trend of the moment. The brand reports continued demand for its range of black toilets, tubs, and vanities, but those who aren’t game to take such a big step can always dip their toe into color by simply changing the tapware.

Clutter is a passion-killer, and nowhere more so than in a bathroom. Convenient, in-drawer storage designed for make-up and hair or shaving accessories keeps daily necessities out of sight, while within easy reach. To streamline the look, conceal power points inside the cabinetry.

To finish, add the little things which will make a difference. High quality, fluffy towels, gorgeous hand soap, and bathing products, pampering body creams and the use of scented candles and diffusers will all turn the home bathroom into a luxurious spa experience.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.