35 Best Bathroom Ideas For A Relaxing Retreat

Bath décor doesn’t have to be all about function—beautiful form makes all the difference between a ho-hum room and a relaxing retreat. You can save space with sliding doors or add light with glass ones, consider adding features like a soaking tub and a spa shower, and preserve historic details or use clean, modern lines. Try keeping a large bedroom bath fresh and airy with neutrals or ramp up the style in a small one with pattern and color. With a little imagination, you can transform a sideboard into a dual-sink vanity, turn a vintage cabinet into a compact linen closet, or hide plumbing and add storage with well-placed cabinetry. So explore our favorite bathroom decorating ideas, and let us inspire you to dream up a few of your own. Creative bath décor will absolutely change the way you think of this key area of your home, whether you’re building, remodeling, or just dreaming.

Save Space With the Sink

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

To make room for two full baths upstairs, the sinks in this Austin home are placed outside of each bath. Creating a vanity from an old bamboo-detailed chest helps it blend with the bedroom. Wall sconces and a decorative mirror add elegance to what is essentially a functional space.

Use Antique Fixtures

Alison Gootee

Nearly all the bathtubs and sinks in this Alabama farmhouse came from South Front Antiques during homeowner Kelly Colbert’s trips to his hometown of Memphis. A Visual Comfort & Co. lantern above adds scale that’s worthy of the vintage finds. An abundance of glass makes the room feel spacious.

Use Stark Contrast

Laurey W. Glenn

Don’t be afraid to reinvent your pre-existing bathroom and turn into something more your style. Designer Raili Clasen upgraded this bathroom by painting the vanity and the window trim the same shade of black, hanging a white globe above the tub, and adding industrial sconces over the mirrors.

Be Brash… Sometimes


“The powder room should be a surprise, and my surprise is that it doesn’t feel like the rest of my house,” says Designer Laura Kay, who splashed Soane’s Dianthus Chintz wallpaper above the wainscot and offset it with poppy-colored lampshades from Fermoie.

Create Your Own View

Laurey W. Glenn

A bathroom without a window can often feel damp and dark; here, a 4-foot circular skylight in the ceiling floods this windowless space with sunshine. The designer also set the stand-alone tub in an arched nook against a planked wall to sharpen the tub’s sculptural effect. A grouping of simple botanical prints behind the tub mimics the look of a leafy vista.

Make Space for Many

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Allow multiple people to make use of the powder room with separate sinks and mirrors. A built-in bench renewed with a tropical geometric-print fabric provides a spot to sit. Designer Lindsey Coral Harper worked all new fabrics into this dreamy beachhouse bath. “Using coordinating—not matching—prints in adjoining rooms looks more interesting,” she notes.

Let in Light

Photo Laurey W. Glenn / Styling Matthew Gleason

A trio of windows, set a little higher than usual, lets in lots of light while still allowing for privacy. The chandelier and marble floors make the bath feel like a luxe retreat in this home on the Louisiana Gulf. The patterned wallpaper adds personality, but with those cool colors, soaking in the tub would be serene.

Splurge on the Shower

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

The shower is a small and defined space where you can afford a little splurge, whether it’s on amazing shower-heads or sensational tile. The light blue hue of this Carrara marble floor and shower will make you feel as if you are showering in the ocean. Brass fixtures emphasize the blues in this spa-like room.

Go for Pattern

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Patterned wallpaper brings style to small spaces. This bath gets its pretty palette from a medallion-print wallpaper above wainscotting. Add in a porcelain console sink for extra cottage charm.

Try a Punchy Pattern

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Punch up a neutral color palette with wallpaper in the bath. Here Sister Parish Design’s Appleton Paper Bag Brown wallpaper adds a tonally-appropriate cheery touch to the guest bath. The dark brown wood stain of the frames adds richness and contrast.

Choose a Freestanding Vanity

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

A hand-painted, marble-topped sink base looks more like antique furniture rather than a standard built-in bath cabinet. A distressed chair, vintage-style light figures, and wall cladding add even more charm. Using furniture in the bath makes it feel cozy and lived in.

Open Up the Space

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn and Robbie Caponetto

Give your main suite flow by installing French doors and glass walls. Instead of a basic doorway between this main bedroom and bath, architects visually opened up the bedroom suite by designing a glass wall as a divider, with grommeted curtain panels that can be pulled for privacy. This look is both beautiful and versatile.

Save Money with Beaded Board

Laurey W. Glenn

Beaded-board walls cost less than tile, and a semi-gloss paint makes it easy to clean, too. To ease installation, use 4- x 8-foot plywood sheets. The vertical lines of the beaded board make this bath look taller.

Add a Little Sparkle

Photo: Hector Sanchez

The homeowner relocated the tub and tucked it into a cozy surround that includes a pair of glass-shelved hanging cabinets and an inset beveled mirror. The mirror adds sparkle and enlarges the space, while the rows of open shelving give the room lots of storage and a vintage-apothecary feel. There’s a lot going on in this tiny room, but the classic black-and-white palette with brass accents keeps things from looking chaotic. The millwork’s lacquered finish adds depth and polish, and the traditional pattern of the marble hex floor tile is a nod toward the house’s 1930s roots.

Use Local Accents

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn, Robbie Caponetto

Keep your bath from feeling too generic by including local materials. A shell-encrusted mirror adds softness to the sleek marble bath and clean, white walls of this coastal bath. The wood-paneled ceiling is another special touch.

Add Historic Charm

Cassandra Michelle Photography/Handsome Properties

Even baths can embrace the historic feel of a home. Here, wide-plank wood flooring is coated in paint, stunning marble countertops and tile surround the plumping, while folding shutters let in plenty of light when privacy isn’t necessary. A beaded board ceiling and distressed console sink add historic charm.

Save Space with a Sliding Door

Photo Laurey W. Glenn and Robbie Caponetto / Styling Matthew Gleason

A standard swinging door can take a lot of floor space in your bath, but a sliding door is convenient and compact. A modern barn door slides along a track to close off this bath. The bright saffron color ties in with the saffron-and-gray bedding for a more updated look.

Make Your Escape

Photography Van Chaplin, Charles Walton IV / Styling Buffy Hargett

Bring the relaxation home with a spa-inspired main bath. The textured grass cloth wall coverings and curtains paired with dramatically dark flooring make this bath feel like a resort. Provide candles to light whenever you’d like a romantic soak.

Give Wood a Starring Role

Laurey W. Glenn

These shiplap walls are painted a subtle shade that doesn’t draw attention away from the beautiful millwork. The exposed rafters add a rustic feel to the room. Highly polished and well-sealed wood flooring can withstand the moisture in this space.

Use Classic Materials

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn / Styling: Anne Turner Carroll

There are thousands of amazing tile options available, but some staples will always be classics. Created from unused attic space, this bath glistens with classic white subway and reproduction hexagonal floor tile. Pedestal sinks and medicine cabinets emphasize the historic character of this bath.

Hide Clutter with Baskets

Photo Robbie Caponetto and Charles Walton IV / Styling Buffy Hargett

If you have open shelves, use large baskets to corral small toiletries and accessories. Here, each sink has its own dedicated bin to keep his-and-hers from getting jumbled together. A pair of mirrors hangs over the double sinks.

Install Multiply Shower Fixtures

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Dual overhead showerheads and hand-held sprayer options are the stars of this large and luxurious shower space. The patterned tiles continue in the large walk-in shower with white subway tile walls. Plenty of natural light gives the room a light and airy feel.

Go Bold With Color

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Who says a bathroom has to be white or beige? This small, traditional bath was livened up with a bold paint color. “We married a traditional marble pedestal sink and old, drippy, crystal sconces with a glossy peacock color. It’s just south of modern—tasteful, fun, and a bit unexpected,” says designer Barrie Benson. “The color got more intense with every layer.”

Build In a Landing Spot

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

A pedestal sink leaves much to be desired when it comes to storage. Extending the windowsill into a built-in ledge stylishly solves the problem. Rather than hanging flush against the window and blocking all the light, this tall, narrow mirror casually leans above the pedestal sink.

Camouflage a Laundry Room

Photo: Laurey Glenn

Having a washer and dryer in the bathroom is a handy convenience, but looking at bulky machines may not evoke a spa-like feel. Double-louvered doors keep the washer and dryer neatly tucked away in a separate tiny room when they are not in use. Keeping the bath and laundry spaces the same color creates cohesiveness and allows them to function as one room.

Hide Away the Toiletries

Hector Manuel Sanchez

You always need attractive places to hide things in a bath. “I like a vanity with some closed storage and an open bottom, not a clunky cabinet,” says interior decorator Heather Chadduck Hillegas. The custom console in this Alabama lake house has a deep drawer, which was built around the sink’s plumbing. The console rests on legs to make it feel more like a freestanding piece of furniture. Simple iron hooks mounted on the wall keep towels within reach of the shower.

Include an Alcove

Laurey W. Glenn / Styling Scott Martin

Don’t overlook small ways to incorporate convenient storage. A decorative tiled alcove next to the tub in this bath is a great place for soaps and other toiletries. The deep blue hue makes it a feature instead of just practical.

Use Clean Lines

Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Page Mullins

For a contemporary look, use furnishings and materials with crisp, straight lines and unadorned surfaces. This 1950s mid-century house’s bathroom is wrapped in rectangular tiles that echo the lines of the ceiling above. The soaking tub also has contemporary lines.

Reference Local Architecture

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Use classical shapes that reflect the history of your surroundings. An arched doorway leading to the bath references the Carpenter Gothic churches often found in the rural South. Its shape also responds to the pitch of the stairwell.

Make a Statement With the Floor

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

“Laid out in a pattern, this Ann Sacks tile gives the same graphic punch as a painted floor but is much more practical for a bath,” says designer Phoebe Howard. A light wall color allows the large, geometric pattern to take center stage.

Build Custom Storage

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Barbara Schmidt

This traditionally styled master bath has a custom-built cabinet with a solid, furniture-like feel. The cabinet includes drawers for hiding away toiletries as well as glass-front doors that make linens easy to locate. The unlacquered brass fixtures will develop a patina over time.

Find Your Serenity

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

A small hallway with two walk-in closets leads into this serene rainwater blue bath in Palmetto Bluff. The freestanding tub is clearly the focus, framed by curtains and a chandelier. The rest of the space is completely symmetrical: Twin vanities are opposite each other, and two frosted-glass compartments flank the entrance. The opaque glass adds spa-like feel and lends a sense of privacy to the generous shower and water closet.

Dress Up the Powder Room

Robbie Caponetto; Styking: Kendra Surface

Don’t overlook the details in a small guest bath or powder room. A marble sink from Signature Hardware and brass sconces from The Home Depot liven up this tiny room in Asheville. With these personal touches, your guests will feel right at home.

Link Bed and Bath With Flooring

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Keep tile contained in the shower area. Continuing wood floors into the master bath connects the rooms and warms up the space. A large woven rug carries the bedroom’s neutral palette into the bath and adds both softness and practicality.

Use Screens for Privacy

Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Elizabeth Demos

There are other alternatives to frosted glass or plantation shutters for a bathroom window. In this Georgia farmhouse, an antique screen from India provides privacy while still allowing plenty of light to filter through. A soaking tub makes this bath a pampered retreat.

Go All In On Earthy Textures


This small primary bath is infused with major style cred through a combination of natural materials including terra-cotta on the floor, zellige tile for the tub, polished brass fixtures, and printed grass cloth on the walls from Erika M. Powell Textiles. Natural wood on the vanity also adds to a beachy bathroom well-suited for an island retreat.

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