4 sensible, affordable ways to give your bathroom spa-like panache

(BPT) – Americans’ love of a spa-like bathroom experience continues to be strong, with industry watchers reporting that luxurious touches like freestanding bathtubs, separate vanities and top quality materials remain in demand. But if you’ve delayed renovating your bathroom, thinking that creating the ultimate spa at home won’t fit your space, budget or lifestyle, think again. It’s possible to create a spa experience that’s as sensible, space appropriate and affordable as it is lavish.

Bathroom renovations remain the most valuable home improvements you can undertake; a midrange bathroom remodel can return up to 70 percent of your investment at the time of resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report.

Here are four spa-like bathroom trends that are affordable and achievable in virtually any bathroom renovation:

1. Freestanding tubs

Freestanding tubs are among the top 10 trends in bathroom design for 2015, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2015 Kitchen & Bath Style Report.

“A freestanding tub, in addition to a shower, really adds to the bathroom and the value of the house,” says Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, vice president of design for American Standard. “Soaking tubs are about that wonderful experience. The bath is the place to which you escape within your home, to de-stress and relax after a long day.”

While price and size may once have kept freestanding tubs out of smaller bathroom renovations, three new options from American Standard are more size-wise and budget-friendly. The oval and traditional styled Kipling, the rectangular Sedona, and the contemporary oval Coastal soaking tubs offer elegant styling, cast acrylic durability, and sizes that fit comfortably in most bathrooms.

“Adding a freestanding tub is a cost effective way to evoke a spa-like atmosphere in any bathroom, and it’s one that really helps elevate the user’s overall experience,” L’Henaff says.

2. Calm color palette

The effect of color on mood is well documented. Around the world, the finest spas all boast color palettes designed to create a calm atmosphere. Earth tones create a soothing backdrop for accents of subtle hues.

In your bathroom renovation, consider the flooring and cabinetry as foundations for your color scheme and choose neutral, natural tones like creams, tans, light browns or pale grays. Walls, countertops and accessories can then sport a bit more intensity, as long as you choose traditionally calm hues like gentle blues, seafoam greens, barely there lavender or even faintest yellow. Whatever palette you choose, remember peaceful, elegant combinations are the hallmark of the spa atmosphere.

3. Luxuriant lighting

Few rooms in the house require the lighting versatility needed in a bathroom. Suitable illumination facilitates makeup application and shaving, while softer lighting enhances a luxurious soak in the tub. Sconces or above-the-mirror lights can provide illumination in work areas. Dimmable overhead canister lights allow you to achieve maximum brightness when you need it, and a softer glow when you want to create a mood. Spas typically have layers of light, so your spa-like bathroom renovation should include multiple light sources.

Accent lights can further elevate the atmosphere while serving practical purposes. A heat lamp above the shower, for example, provides warmth and illumination, while a light within the linen closet or medicine cabinet is eminently practical though seen less often.

4. Leading-edge amenities

Innovations in bathroom technology often emerge from the spa industry to enter American homes. From a TV above the soaking tub and multi-jet showerheads to heated flooring and towel warmers, adding one or two upscale amenities to your bathroom renovation can underscore the spa-like atmosphere. Designer accessories like sleek towel bars, soap dispensers and toothbrush holders carry the upscale resort effect throughout the room. Versatile storage options are another amenity associated with the finest spas. Open shelving and hidden outlets complement the airy and uncluttered calm of a quiet retreat.

It is possible to beautifully endow your bathroom remodel with spa-inspired features that enhance the experience of the room as a relaxing retreat, right at home, all within your budget.