tiny luxurious spa bathroom: no-bathtub renter's edition
March 29, 2016 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Could you give me your recommendations for the most luxurious, spa-like, and renter-friendly accoutrements for a bathroom with no bathtub? I'm moving into a new place and would like to kit it out with the finest towels, mats, robes, and accessories.

Snowflakes: There is no bathtub, just an ancient shower surround with a pair of those horrible soap holder divots. The shower stall/sink alcove and toilet alcove are separated by a half-length, full-height wall. There's a small south-facing window above the toilet. There are no cabinets, shelves, or any other kind of storage. Colors will be teal, seafoam blue-green, grey, and white (here's my shower curtain). I am willing to throw a whole bunch of money at this to make my weird little rental bathroom a place of refuge and comfort.

Stuff I've been thinking about getting: a couple of bamboo plants, teak bath mat to stand on inside the shower, chenille or memory foam fabric mat for the floor outside the shower, peshtemal towels, cotton bath robe, maybe a fancy heated toilet seat?

What are the objects and accessories that make your shower-only home bathroom feel most like a spa? Links to specific products and brands would be much appreciated. Thank you, MeFites!
posted by amnesia and magnets to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
>What are the objects and accessories that make your shower-only home bathroom feel most like a spa?

I charge outrageous fees for use of the facilities.

In all seriousness: these towels. They're unbelievably soft and incredibly high quality. They're sold by a Canadian expat that has a shop in Istanbul; the towels are sourced from local, small-scale producers. They're a bit pricey, but a few years after purchase, I think they were the best things I spent money on when visiting Istanbul (aside from the museums, historical sites, and food).
posted by BrandonW at 7:27 AM on March 29, 2016 [5 favorites]

Especially in cooler weather, a heated towel rack is wonderful.
posted by exogenous at 7:32 AM on March 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

When we moved into a rental with no bathtub, I went to LUSH and literally said, "I'm sad about not having a bath and I want some products that will make me feel just as pampered in the shower". And they gave me like 10 little samples of amazing gels and soaps and potions to try for free.

Also I recommend keeping a very tight palette of materials and colours. I've usually stuck to white mats, towels, and curtains, and wood for as much else as possible. A plant is nice, preferably in a wooden planter.

Decant all of your products into plain glass bottles if you are really feeling fancy.
posted by lollusc at 7:33 AM on March 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Are you by chance located in the Netherlands or another EU country? Because I can highly recommend the Dutch site Yumeko, especially their bathrobes.
posted by neushoorn at 7:41 AM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Get yourself a niceass fucking showerhead. Save the old one so you can swap it back again when you move.
posted by phunniemee at 7:46 AM on March 29, 2016 [18 favorites]

You say there are no shelves or storage of any kind - are you allowed to add shelves? Since you described the room as tiny I'm guessing you don't have space for a free standing shelving unit...some sort of vintage bamboo or rattan one would be so cool, maybe even right outside the door? Some nice shelves would go a long way towards contributing to a spa feeling. Put rolled up white towels on them, and pampery soaps, sea sponges, candles. Pottery Barn Teen has these nice white shelves and cubes to match them. These Ikea shelves are cool because you get display space plus storage. We have these Ikea shelves all over our house and they are GREAT looking. Minimal yet beefy at the same time, with an industrial vintage vibe.

So you have the right idea. A great bamboo plant, good towels, a teak mat. Add candles, pampery soaps and sea sponges, nice scrubby brushes for your back, etc. Put a couple of baskets on the floor for towels and sponges. A rain showerhead, maybe. A nice polished rock for zen. Candles for zen. Lots of white for zen. Also important - low lighting when you want it (explore light bulb options at your local hardware store to find what makes you happy and get a dimmer switch for the lights if you can) and mood music - I keep an old ipod and speaker in the bathroom to listen to while I'm in there, it has Enya type music on it, not gonna lie.
posted by the webmistress at 7:54 AM on March 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

A storage unit over the commode, something like this.

I had one and it was a GODSEND in my dinky bathroom.

Stock it with fluffy white towels (Ikea's are pretty great actually). White baskets can corral all those bottles and brushes and unsightly things.

A shower caddy will keep your soaps and shampoos easy to reach and nice and neat. This one is pretty. Decant body wash, shampoo and conditioner into simple, plastic bottles, to keep brand name stuff out of site and to make it more elegant.

I might buy a second shower curtain and make a curtain for your window.

On one hand I like the idea of decorative items in the john, on the other, they tend to get knocked over pretty easily.

I always roll up towels and put them in a basket, actually cheap washcloths. It gives softness. Get a few in colors that match your shower curtain, and put them in a white basket.

This is a candle, chandelier, it's really cute and will spiff your john up nicely. Or, to add more light, a plug in mini chandelier that you can swag would be nice too.

Enjoy your Bijoux bath!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:06 AM on March 29, 2016

A river rock shower mat.
posted by 26.2 at 8:39 AM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

My parents used to have a heat lamp in their bathroom and it was the most amazing thing ever. You can get out of the shower and be cozy and warm as you dry off, instead of chilly and rushed. I think you can get a special bulb for this purpose.
posted by Cygnet at 8:46 AM on March 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Slow close toilet seat, something like this. No more banging noise!
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 8:56 AM on March 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Memory foam bath mat. My most favoritest thing in my shower-only bathroom!
posted by PJMoore at 9:05 AM on March 29, 2016

Heated bidet toilet seat. We have a Brondell I think. Beware, certain people in my household have become so spoiled they refuse to poop anywhere else.

I also have a little $15 space heater, during the winter this gets turned on when I enter the shower. Makes exiting the shower SO much nicer!

No uncovered floor. In my little bathroom this just takes two standard size bathroom rugs, good quality ones from BB&B.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:06 AM on March 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Heated towel rack!
posted by jeather at 9:15 AM on March 29, 2016

Yes yes yes on the peshtemals -- get out from under the terrycloth tyranny and get yourself some gorgeous ones. They are such a delight. They're light but absorbent, they dry quickly, they look pretty, and it's nice to not futz with heavy towels in summer -- but if you have a bunch in winter you can wrap one on your head, one as a sarong, one as a cape, etc, and feel all cozy. They look great on simple iron hooks.

I've ordered repeatedly from this eBay seller to much satisfaction. The prices of the various peshtemals correspond to the thickness/size/overall quality (the cheap ones are great for lightening a beach/pool bag).

+1 on memory foam bathmats. The aesthetics don't thrill me but they could have photos of Donald Trump on them and I'd still use them because they're so nice to step on.

These IKEA DRAGAN "2-piece bathroom dish set, bamboo" are sweet -- very practical as the bottom is a box and the lid is a tray. If the flooring is ugly, would wooden decking work well?

I have wide white-painted wood (actually, they may be "wood") blinds behind thick white curtains on my bathroom window and it looks really nice and luxurious-bathroom-y to me; the white says "clean" and the fabric says "cozy." (I've been really surprised by how long they take to get dirty, too.)
posted by kmennie at 9:51 AM on March 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Buy two bathmats, so it's easy to wash one and have another on hand. Nothing makes a bathroom feel nicer to me than having the bathmat be fluffy and fresh.

For a modern-spa look, consider a frosted contact paper as window treatment. I've got one layer of frost, plus I cut a silhouette of bamboo leaves (to match the pattern of my shower curtain) and put that up as a deeper frost, so just a subtle pattern (and an underlayer is more resistant to wear/peeling than putting it on top). Lets in a lot of light, has a really modern clean look, and gets the bathroom all matchy-matchy. Also peels away cleanly when you're ready to leave.
posted by aimedwander at 10:00 AM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

A luxury shower chair to relax on.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:35 AM on March 29, 2016

Toto Washlet
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:11 AM on March 31, 2016

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