Spa-cation Bathroom Design Tips: Creating a Retreat in Your Home

Contemporary style luxury bathroom retrreat

Here are my Spa-cation Bathroom Design Tips for Your Home.

I love spa retreats. Whenever I am lucky enough to get away for a few days, I really do try to find an hour to indulge in a spa treatment. With the events of the last year, those escapes did not happen. I am longing for an indulgent spa-cation for myself.  Would you love to create a retreat in your own home where you go to decompress, relax and renew your mind, body and spirit? Here are my spa-cation design tips to create a bathroom retreat in your own home.

Spa-cation Bathroom Design Tips: #1 Finding the Right Design Solution

What would give you the best spa-cation experience?

Whether remodeling your home is a necessity or an obsession, finding the perfect design solution for your lifestyle and your home is key. Do you love to soak in a tub or is an indulgent multi-function shower what you dream of? While space restrictions may dictate what can work in your bath, there are many options to create the perfect spa-cation bathroom.

Ridgewood Principal Bathroom

Dreaming of a romantic weekend in Paris? This lovely bath has recreated that feeling in my client’s home. We used a combination of porcelain and marble tiles to create a coffer effect for the floor without the problems of using real wood in a bathroom.

Master bath vanity with walnut vanity and coffer effect floor.

A custom walnut vanity with castor feet and a storage armoire with antique mirrored doors add to the old-world ambience. The walls were finished in venetian plaster and the windows adorned with a silk window treatment. Just outside the windows a balcony is filled with containers of blooming flowers and plants.

Next, we designed a multifunctional shower complete with body sprays, oversized rain shower head, and built-in bench for relaxing when using the steam shower. Marble mosaics create an eternity ring pattern all in soft beige and white.Spacation Luxury Shower with multiple shower heads and marble mosaic tile

Spa-cation Bathroom Design Tips: #2 Finding the Right Design Style

Is your style Upper East Side chic or are you more modern farmhouse?  

Shades of Grey Principal Bathroom

No matter what your style, you can find inspiration everywhere. Our Shades of Grey principal bath exudes serenity. An incredibly soft and calming colorway of pale grey and white creates a sophisticated and luxurious space to relax and renew. Why not indulge in an oversized tub with air jet massage. Imagine relaxing during a long hot shower complete with body sprays and multiple shower heads. Once you step out of your shower, why not wrap yourself in a towel or robe heated on your towel warmer?

Image of Grey Bath custom vanity with chrome mirrors and sconce light

For this bathroom I designed, a large format porcelain tile was selected for the floor. This material looks like marble but without the maintenance. Behind the vanity, simple pale grey tile lines the wall from the quartzite countertop to the ceiling. A border of grey and white mosaic marble frames the space. We stopped short of the walls to highlight the mirrors and sconces.

In the shower, we used a long “stick” shaped glass tile installed vertically. The pattern which is reflected in the shower doors was used to evoke a feeling of a waterfall experience while showering. Polished chrome was selected for the faucets, mirrors, accessories, lighting, and the small bench. The metal really sparkles – bringing a touch of glamorous elegance to this retreat.

Oversized luxury shower with glass tile and towel warmer

Spa cation Shower 1

Spa-cation Bathroom Design Tips: #3 Selecting the Fittings and Fixtures

The Water Elements for your Spa-cation Bathroom 

Once you have established your style and design, your next step is selecting the fittings and fixtures also known as the tub, toilet, faucets, and shower sets. While this may not seem exciting, these items are components which will create your bath retreat. While I realize not everyone can have an oversized two-person tub or a queen bed sized shower, you can still create an amazing bathroom by selecting the proper fittings and fixtures.

Fixtures: Tubs, Toilets

Tubs: Whether you have the space for a freestanding tub or only can accommodate a traditional alcove tub with a shower there are still many options available. The old whirlpool tubs which were hard to clean are a thing of the past. Air tubs, which use a motor to push warm air into the tub through small holes in the bottom create a massage effect without recirculating the water.

You can incorporate aromatherapy, chroma-therapy, thermotherapy and even a dash of bubble bath. These tubs range in size from a traditional 30” wide by 60” long to freestanding tubs which can be 84” long. Some tubs come complete with a portable massage table accessory. Of course, you can opt for a basic style tub as well but if a spa-cation is on your wish list, I would take the plunge.

Saddle River Principal Bathroom

In this Saddle River bathroom I designed, I specified  a contemporary free-standing tub with a freestanding tub filler. Using a smooth cut pebble tile, I designed an organic shape under the tub to represent the bottom of a river. The bath has views to a very private landscape, so I wanted to bring the outdoors in. I repeated the stones in the shower floor.

A large, oversized shower rain head and large glass panels expands the feeling of an outdoor shower. A luxury touch was added with the addition of a steam shower, bench seat and a hand held shower head with personalized massage settings. 

Black glass accent tiles detail the vanity wall and the shower walls. Black crystal vanity hardware and black shades with crystal accented sconces create a sophisticated vibe that adds to the luxury spa-cation feeling of the bathroom.

Master Bathroom with custom tile details, Sharon L Sherman, Thyme & Place Design, Kitchen Designer NJ, Bathroom Designer NJ

Toilets: Although I never thought about a toilet paper shortage, this last year did bring that subject to our world. With that in mind, I want to talk about “Washlet” toilets. I was introduced to them several years ago at the kitchen and bath show and I have specified them ever since. 

Bidets were a standard in Europe for years. Here in the United States, they had limited appeal until recently. Now, they have become a standard in luxury bathroom design.  A “Washlet” seat, also known as a shower toilet seat, bidet toilet seat or a bidet seat is really a standard seat with an integrated bidet function and additional features. You no longer need separate fixtures. You may be wondering how this is a spa-cation item? Here is a short list of the features:

  • Auto opening and closing seat and lid.
  • A pre-mist of the bowl to promote easier cleaning and flush-ability.
  • Heated seat.
  • Self-cleaning wand for hygiene.
  • Personalized cleanse options with temperature and spray control.
  • LED night light.

Spa-cation Bathroom Design Tips: #4 Choosing Materials

What is the best tile material to use?

No matter what your design style might be, the materials you select set the mood for any bathroom especially when designing your at home retreat. I feel that glass is a beautiful accent material for any bathroom as it adds light and sparkle.  I have used it as accents on both walls and floors and I also love the easy cleanability of glass.

Marble has always been a popular material for spa-cation retreats. It does require some extra care and marble material will have to be resealed to retain it’s luxe quality and appearance.

Wayne, NJ Principal Bathroom

In our Wayne, NJ principal bathroom, I carefully selected porcelain tiles which would replicate real marble without the maintenance. For this design, I opted to tile the wall behind the vanity and repeat that tile in the shower. Included,  is a lowered center section with a seat and an adjustable mirror to sit and dry your hair or apply makeup.  The vanity also has a motion sensor light, so you do not have to turn on all the lights at night, a great safety feature. 

Free Standing Bain Ultra Bath Tub

Grey and white master bathroom vanity,Thyme & Place Design, Sharon L Sherman, Top New Jersey Kitchen Designer, Top New Jersey Bathroom Designer,

I selected sconces with crystal accents for a touch of romance and luxury and a fur pouf for seating. Once again, we matched the floor under the tub with the shower floor. An oversized rain showerhead enhances the showering experience. We placed the two-person soaking tub against a shelf – perfect for holding accessories or perhaps a bottle of champagne. Did you notice the artwork? There is no better way to add a touch of elegance than by adding art to your space. It brings another level of beauty to the room.

Things to remember.
  • When choosing a large air tub, make sure they come with a warming system, so you do not have to keep adding warm water.
  • If you are adding multiple shower heads or body sprays, make sure you have a large enough water heater to run them.
  • Check with your plumber if you want to run these features all at the same time, you may need to increase the size of the water pipes in the walls. Standard pipes are ½” in diameter and this shower system often require ¾”diameter pipes. 
  • Consider the light reflections on the floor as well as the non-slip qualities of the floor tile you select. If I use a large format (size) tile, I do add an accent of a smaller tile to create some texture to help avoid slipping.
Sharon L Sherman ASID CID CKD NCIDQ  is the founder of Thyme & Place Design. Ms Sherman is a business owner, designer and Reiki Master located in New Jersey.

Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Forbes, The NY Times, Kitchen & Bath Design News, Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, New Jersey Home Magazine, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Vue, The Record, The Star Ledger, Bergen Magazine and Aspire as well as several books.

Her blog “Tips from the Trade” appears in digital form on and, She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.  

In 2022, she will be a featured speaker at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s international convention being held in Orlando, Florida. 



  1. Leslie Carothers

    I really appreciated the specificity of the tips in this post, Sharon. And the *spacation* bathroom you’ve designed are so beautiful!

    • Sharon L Sherman

      Thank you Leslie. Happy to help you design your own spa-cation room.

  2. Janet Lorusso

    Great tips, Sharon. I love that pretty Ridgewood bathroom!

    • Sharon L Sherman

      Thank you Janet.

  3. Mary Ann Benoit

    Wonderful tips. I love that beautiful shower with the eternity ring pattern!

    • Sharon L Sherman

      Thank you Mary Ann. It is a beauty!

  4. Lisa Peck

    Love the idea of having a spa in your own house! These tips are so wonderful. That NJ bathroom looks incredible! Thanks for the info.

    • Sharon L Sherman

      Thank you Lisa!


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Sharon sherman

My award-winning designs haven been featured in multiple magazines, industry publications and on television. That’s nice affirmation, to be sure.

But perhaps the greatest accolade I’ve received is the repeat engagements with so many clients, project after project, year after year.

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