From fancy sitting rooms to game rooms and home bars, people have found ways to glam up almost every corner of their homes. Whether it is incorporating luxury décor or adding in new-age technology, people have turned some of the most basic-looking apartments into a luxury hotel-like abode. One space that has become a part of the luxury revamp trend is the bathroom space.
Bathrooms usually have clean, functional designs that are easy and no-fuss at the same time. But why can’t functional be fancy? Taking your plain-jane bathroom and turning it into a luxury bath is one of the hottest trends in the interior designing industry today. Keeping the basics in mind, designers have begun incorporating elements that elevate the space further, whether it is exceptional lighting fixtures, statement furniture, or even building your own home spa within your bathroom.
Sharing insights, interior design experts Meenu Agarwal – Founder & Interior Designer of MADS Creations, and Hardesh and Monica Chawla – Founders & Interior Designers of Essentia Environments spill secrets on building and designing luxury bathrooms.
A luxury space
Many of the latest trends in the interior design segment today arose from the after-effects of the long lockdowns. People wanting to glamorise their homes had much to do with the fact that they were literally locked inside their homes and needed an inspiring space. And while luxury living rooms, sitting rooms, bedrooms and dining areas came into focus, one forgets to look into the space that mattered just as much as any other – the bathroom.
Believing their bathroom to be an extension of their living areas gave people an opportunity to see it as more than just a functional space; a space to unwind and relax. And so, the industry saw a surge in demand for fancier bathrooms. “We began to see a demand for more open plan bathrooms, creating that seamless look that clients love, where we bring in the outdoors into the indoors,” says Meenu Agarwal.
But more than a space to unwind, bathrooms should offer a serene yet immersive environment, according to Monica Chawla. “If you step into a luxury bathroom surrounded by exquisite elements, it can make you go “Wow!” And these are the kind of bathrooms designed today. Exotic materials is what helps it exude a serene and immersive environment.”
Functional meets fancy
The first and most crucial step in re-designing your bathroom is taking a quick glance at the layout of the space. Oftentimes, the primary vision of redesign remains external factors like décor and design, which can shift the focus from more important aspects like the main layout. “When planning or designing a bathroom, we tend to concentrate on external factors and fail to pay attention to more important details like plumbing,” said Hardesh Chawla. “This could cost you dearly because plumbing is ultimately what makes the bathroom what it is. A cleverly planned and concealed plumbing layout can and will ensure a perfect final look for your bathroom.” Meenu Agarwal suggests knocking off walls and floors to conceal plumbing pipes to create a seamless, clutter-free look. “In places where the pipe work cannot be concealed, you can box it in or use furniture to hide it.”
Apart from plumbing, paying attention to fool-proof electrical systems are also important, considering the number of electrical appliances involved ¬– geysers, heaters, radiators, exhaust fans, to name a few. Like the plumbing, concealing the appliances and wiring is just as essential for a fuss-free appearance.
Moving on from the layout, the aesthetic is the second most important bit. With health and wellness becoming a top priority for many, bathrooms are now considered a place to relax and recharge. Comfort is of utmost priority when designing the space. “A clean-lined space with a neutral palette guarantees a soothing environment but adding textures emphasize visual interest,” says Hardesh Chawla.
Speaking about added textures and patterns, our experts believe that maximalism is all the talk right now, even when it comes to designing bathrooms. Monica Chawla encourages people to play with shapes, proportions, and patterns, regardless of the aesthetic you are going for. “Whether you’re looking for a minimalist or a maximalist aesthetic, playing with textures and patterns can often help evoke an elevated sense of style in the bathrooms.” Bright colours, our experts agree, always seem welcoming as they can stimulate the mind. Coordinating colours with respect to the fittings to create monochromatic tones or highlighting a single tone helps accentuate the look and feel of the space.
While we love the maximalist vibe of a space, adding a piece of nature with natural elements help escape the overly practical and sterile layout of a bathroom. Raw materials like stones and wood are ideal for the natural aesthetic while natural elements like scented candles, potpourri, pebbles, and plants are a wonderful addition according to Monica Chawla.
Accessorizing different spaces in your homes is not a new trend. But accessorizing your bathrooms is a new trend that we absolutely adore. When you think about glam décor for bathrooms, lighting becomes one of the first and probably best ways to go about it. Lighting is functional, but statement lighting fixtures can double up as décor pieces for your bathrooms as well.
Hardesh Chawla says, “The way we use lights in the bathroom can dramatically transform it. And so, it is important to meticulously plan and design lighting.” Regardless of the size of the space, Chawla claims that using well-designed lighting can create different moods. “Whether you’re looking at a luxury bathroom, a spa retreat or a practical bathroom with minimal design elements, the lights will dictate the ambience and feel of the space,” he adds.
“Aside from creating a vibe, carefully planned and layered lighting can also help one visually demarcate areas within the space, while distributing illumination evenly, thus creating an illusion of space,” says Meenu Agarwal. She suggests pieces like pendant lights, chandeliers, wall sconces and hidden lights which help create a bright and airy feeling, enhancing the space further. “The lights used in mirror frames, around the edges of counters or other accessories go a long way to glamorise the space. If you use multiple light sources, you can install a combination of low-level ambient lights, task lights, accent spotlights and recessed lighting to create a scheme to suit all needs.”
While lighting fixtures are an important aspect of design, maintaining natural light is important in preserving the relaxed vibe of a bathroom. “Natural light goes a long way in ensuring that the bathroom feels like an organic space rather than a stale and sterile one; it helps to highlight the relaxed aesthetic of the bathroom,” says Monica Chawla.
According to Meenu Agarwal, selecting opulent fixtures in place of ordinary ones help add a certain sophistication and elegance to the space. “Wall-mounted taps, a beautifully shaped faucet or shower head, are examples of more detailed fixtures that help elevate your bathroom.”
Moving in pace with the digital age, smart technology fittings are in vogue at the moment. These include digital and sensory faucets that come with timers to help save water, bathroom face recognition systems, smart-phone-controlled bathroom lights, high-tech toilet accessories and shower systems, etc. which all make for a comfortable experience.
A home spa
In addition to building home gyms and home offices, individuals have now begun to incorporate spa like facilities within their own bathrooms. And these do not include building actual steam rooms, hot tubs, etc., rather just adding in or replacing elements that help recreate the ambience of a spa. Meenu Agarwal says that rich tones like gold, rose gold or charcoal, can go out of their way to make a compact bathroom appear more spacious and glamorous, and can help avoid the need for additional décor elements that might make the space seem cramped up.
Avoiding the cramped and cluttered look is the way to achieve the at-home spa experience. This includes well-planned storage, wall-mounted shelves, caddies, and cabinets which also helps maximize space in a small bathroom. For additional elements, Monica Chawla prefers state-of-the-art amenities balanced with wood and glass to create a truly authentic spa-like space.
Additionally, elements like plants and succulents help enliven the space. Plants like aloe vera, ferns, and pathos are great for bathrooms as these not only thrive due to the high humidity in there but can act as air purifiers as well. For a more authentic experience, scented candles, magazines and low lighting are a must as they can really set the mood for a relaxing spa experience.