When you can’t go to the spa, bring the spa to you.
Thrillist | Maitane Romagosa
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Talking about bathrooms isn’t exactly the most riveting dinner party conversation. For most people, it’s where they do their business, shower, get ready, and then leave. But in times like these, with so many being responsible and staying home, it’s important to create spaces of comfort and tranquility.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by bringing some spa-like serenity to your bathroom. Sure, you may not be able to get a stone massage in there, but you can still create your own zone of zen with a few simple upgrades — each of which will set you back no more than $100.
Showering serves the obligatory purpose of washing your body and providing a place to cry where you can’t separate the tears from the falling water, but did you know showers are also very therapeutic and good for overall health? It’s true, science told me. As such, you should treat your shower as a place of relaxation and self-reflection. The best way to achieve this? Get rich and buy a home with a huge, marble-tiled rainshower.
The second best way? Invest in a new shower head. They’re extremely simple to install and will absolutely change the way you feel about showering. Keep it simple with a handheld unit, or upgrade to the dual shower head and handheld combo.
Once you’ve upgraded to the shower head you’ve always deserved, you’ll look around and notice you need somewhere to throw your shampoo, conditioner, soap, razor, face scrub, loofah, shaving cream, and shower gel. Especially if you have roommates who keep knocking over your body wash and leaving it on the floor. Check out this bamboo shower caddy from Honey Can Do. It won’t rust and it’ll look a lot nicer than that rusting shower rack that’s been there since you moved in. If you need a bit more space to store things, take a gander at this rustproof, tension caddy from Rebrilliant or these ultramodern ones from simplehuman.
I don’t take baths. I don’t have a good reason for it, I just can’t sit still in a tub for more than five minutes. But if I did take baths, I would 100% own this bathtub caddy from Bay Isle. Just check it out: It has room to hold your iPad or laptop, a drink, some food, even a book. You could even load it up with candles. Oh hell, maybe I should rethink baths.
Bath bombs without CBD: boring, uninspired, used by people in the suburbs who only listen to yacht rock. Bath bombs with CBD: super chill, good conversation piece, shows you’re not a narc. In all seriousness, these CBD bath bombs are dope. Check out these from Kush Queen (and note the reviews). Want to smell “tantalizing?” Well, the CBD bath bomb from JustCBD is calling your name.
We’ve slowly left the bathtub and wandered into the scent section of this article. Candles are an obvious improvement to a bathroom and requisite if you’re aiming for the whole “home spa” motif. “But what candles?!” you yell out into the ether only to be met by distant echoes.
I’m a huge fan of the NYC collection from Homesick, and this one is just $30. If you want something more high-end, Verishop sells a set of three from Nordon. And if you’re kind of on the fence about whether or not you want to be a “candle person,” you can always grab fresh scents from Glade® for around $3 a pop.
Another way to get that olfactory system up and running is a reed diffuser. Neiman Marcus has a few that are on sale right now, but if you’re more into a bohemian style, check out this apothecary-inspired amber glass bottle number from P.F. Candle Co.
If you’re still using a cloth bath mat, cool. I’m not here to judge. I will, however, tell you that a bamboo bath mat has certain advantages. Said advantages are that it will never smell bad, dries off quickly, is easy as heck to clean, and simply looks so damn good on your floor. Check out Rebrilliant for their take on one or opt for a slightly cheaper one, y’know, just to see if you like it.
Not all towels are created equal. You surely know this if you’ve used a cheap towel that starts to smell like mildew after four showers and then turns into sandpaper when dry. For a great deal, check out the Resort Collection from Frontgate (just $25 apiece) or invest in truly luxurious comfort with this set from Onsen.
You drain the tub after your relaxing bath with your CBD bath bomb and wash off using your new shower head. As you step onto the bamboo mat neighboring the tub, you reach out and towel off quickly before throwing on the most comfortable thing you’ve ever felt: this robe from Upstate or perhaps this super-plush version from Brooklinen.
If you need convincing on why a bidet should be an essential part of your bathroom, I wrote all about it. In the meantime, if you’ve decided to take the plunge — and spray — this bidet from Omigo is amazing. And you’ve likely heard of Tushy. They’re a bit pricier than some models you’ll find from other brands (better parts, quality, and design), but when it comes to your literal butt, you don’t want to cheap out.
The greater internet will tell you to get a waterproof shower speaker. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you to get a Google Home Mini, link it to your Spotify account, hang it on the wall, and never worry about hitting an on/off button ever again. It’s been a total game changer in my apartment. If you’re fine with a Bluetooth speaker or possibly worried that Google is listening to you use the bathroom (joke’s on them, amirite??), OontZ offers a splash-proof one with great range (i.e. you can leave the cell phone behind).
I know! It’s so easy. Bathrooms are great environments for certain plants, but your lighting situation should inform your purchase here. If you’ve got a small window and your bathroom gets a little natural light, consider the verdant pothos. It’s easy to care for, responds well to low lighting, and will look great hanging from the ceiling. If, like me, you have zero windows, think about a ZZ Plant. It doesn’t need any light whatsoever and will still continue to grow. I’ve had one for a year. It’s will to live is admirable and, frankly, perplexing.
If you’d had the luxury of indulging in an actual spa treatment, you know it’s all about the lights, the smells, and the comforts of a robe. To truly, effectively elevate your bathroom into a spa-like sanctum, a dimmer switch is a must. This one’s just $20 and installs in minutes (pending you know what you’re doing). Just be sure to turn that circuit off first.
This is definitely the easiest way to “transform” a room. Slap a fresh coat on the walls and boom. It’s a whole new bathroom. The pro-tip here is to go for lighter, brighter colors in smaller bathrooms. It’ll make it seem a little bigger. Also, pick a quality satin paint or semigloss with a washable finish — it’ll help protect it from moisture.
Those jars that you keep your toothbrush in? They’re veritable petri dishes of bacteria. Think about it. After you brush your teeth, you put the brush in the jar. The water makes its way down your toothbrush and rests in a pool at the bottom. Over time, it dries, becomes moist again, dries. It’s gross. Get something like this minimalist Yamazaki holder or this sleek wall mount.
For smaller bathrooms, shelves are an excellent alternative to tables or cabinets. You have the flexibility to hang them wherever you’d like and can showcase your extremely cool self-care items that you’re likely using more than ever. Hanging shelves are an easy to install option that’ll look sleek and clean while freeing up counter space. You may also want to think about an over the toilet organizer — bonus points if you throw a ZZ Plant on top of it. If you have extra room in your bathroom, congratulations! In my eyes, you’ve made it. Consider adding a handsome bamboo storage bench from Honey Can Do to complement your new bath mat.
Though this item won’t really be appreciated by anyone but you, you’ll love it. An organizer like this can fit a surprising number of things you’d rather not keep on display. And if you need something a bit smaller, this option from The Container Store should have you covered.
The recs here are really just a jumping off point. I’ve made several of these upgrades myself and have noticed quite a difference over time. A few simple touches go a long way, and since we’re being socially-responsible and staying inside, why not treat ourselves a little?