Cozy beddingsoft lighting, luxury accessories: With some cost-conscious amenities, homeowners can create a spa-like setting within their houses, bringing a sense of safety, relaxation and health into the heart of the home.
The at-home wellness trend that started during the pandemic continued into 2022, and interior design and real estate experts say it has no sign of slowing down. That means any small changes, like new accessories, or larger moves, like adding a sauna or jetted tub, will have a good chance of not only serving you now but adding value as you look to sell someday.
For example, a bathroom’s heated floor or in-shower speaker systems are design elements that won’t break the bank but bring peace and happiness to one of the home’s most hard-working spaces, says Wayne Turett, principal and founder of New York- based architectural and interiors firm The Turett Collaborative.
“Everything is related to the bigger picture, and details matter,” Turett says. “While the bathroom may not be the obvious choice for mental health, the shower or bath is quite often a place of meditation.”
Ready to update your home to feel like a retreat? Here are some quick and smart ways to go about updating your house to a spa-like setting.
Create a wellness room. If you have the space, devote a whole room to physical and mental well-being. “Having an area of your home removed from distractions for meditation and mindful movement can help prioritize these activities in daily life and provide a response from stressors with a quiet moment is needed,” says Sarah Barnard, a Los Angeles-based designer who specializes in restorative spaces for her clients. “A relaxation space can be as simple as a quiet corner with comfortable cushions or a room with areas for curling up and resting.”
Think about all five senses. Denver-based interior designer Nadia Watts of Nadia Watts Interior Design says homeowners should think through what they see, touch and sense around them to create a true retreat. “Include layers of textures in the bedroom to create a cocoon-like feel,” Watts says. “A soft, cozy rug that makes you smile when you walk in. A throw blanket at the end of the bed or on a chair. And a layer not often spoken about in a bedroom is scent. Think about the smells that are calming, and find candles or incense sticks to bring that layer into the bedroom as well.”
Bring the outdoors in. Budget Blinds design expert Kelly Simpson says adding plants and natural lighting creates a connection to the outdoors, which boosts health and a feeling of well-being. “Research suggests that incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into a home’s environment can lead to reduced stress, blood-pressure levels and heart rates, while increasing productivity, creativity and a sense of calm within the home,” Simpson says.
Invest in a sauna. If you can afford it, a full-fledged sauna inside a bathroom or just outside your back door can provide warmth all winter long. If you want a more cost-effective option, Raquel Kehler, an interior design expert and home flipper at Room Crush, says go with an infrared sauna. “Infrared saunas use less heat than traditional saunas, but they’re still excellent at giving you the same relaxation benefits. They also tend to be large enough for one or two people, but they’re small enough to fit into a corner, relaxation room, den or garage,” says Kehler.
Layer in little luxuries. Maybe it’s a faux fur blanket on the couch or organic cotton sheets on your bed. These ultra-soft additions can make your home an instant retreat from the larger world. Stock your bathroom with plush towels and bathrobes as well as bath bombs and other treats. Add essential oils for a touch of fragrance, and you’ve got an inexpensive way to add tranquility to any space.
Think earthy colors. Muted tans, greens and browns echo the grass and trees that bring us oxygen and a connection to Mother Nature, so adding these colors to your home always wins, Simpson says. Woven wood and bamboo roller shades also add an eco-friendly touch to a home as well as keeping glare and UV rays from fading furniture.
Upgrade to a wet room. Bathrooms can transform into a spa-like setting if you have the space for a wet room, says Gina Caulkins, founder and principal designer at California Daydreams Design in the San Francisco Bay area. “Creating a wet room with a freestanding tub and seamless tile floor immediately creates a spa vibe,” says Caulkins. “Forgoing a curb keeps your eyes moving and makes the space feel larger. We also love to extend the wall tiles to the ceiling and all the way behind the vanity to create a ‘wow’ moment that is worthy of a luxury spa.”
Boost your backyard. Kevin Lenhart, the Houston-based design director at online landscape company Yardzen, says landscape design has gone staycation-worthy with elements such as backyard bathtubs, sunken firepits and heated plunge pools. “We’re finding that people want elements that help make their yards year-round wellness zones,” Lenhart says.
Set up a home gym. Having a space to work out can not only encourage this habit, but it can give you an area to unwind. Put in equipment you’ll actually use and add weights, yoga gear and floor mats for stretching, exercising and meditation, says Chenise Bhimull, an interior designer and licensed Realtor at ZFC Real Estate in Boca Raton, Florida. “Not only will this give you the opportunity to stay active, but it’s also a great way to disconnect from the outside world,” she says.
Improve your lighting. Don’t put on harsh overhead lights. Instead, layer in soft touches like a dimmer, crystal lamps, string lighting and aquarium lights, says Ginger McLean, director of Rock Spa at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. “Lighting can truly set the tone and transform your mood,” McLean says. “Blue lighting is the best for relaxation and is known to accelerate the relaxation process, especially after a stressful day.”