You’re so excited!
Your bestie is coming for a visit and you’re eager to spend those few days rekindling your friendship.
Your agenda is jam-packed with activities like shopping, wine tasting, your traditional sleepover/movie marathon, baking, brunch with friends…
You can’t wait!
You even considered your “down time” at your home.
You just put the finishing touches on your guest bedroom decor and you’re thrilled that she’ll be your first occupant. You’re certain that she’ll love every fine detail of your indulgent guest retreat.
That is until she opens the door to your neglected guest bathroom.
You’re afraid that she might be reminded of the stark, institutional dormitory washroom from your college years. A bad vibe that you’d rather she not relive.
On the contrary, you want her to feel relaxed, pampered and special during her visit. Like how you felt when she took you to that day spa last year.
Why not draw a little inspiration from that memorable spa visit? Didn’t it feel wonderful to temporarily forget about the chaos outside its doors?
Relax. This won’t require a major renovation budget. (It could, but that’s a project for another time.)
Here’s a little spa design secret:
To invoke quiet, healing and soothing surroundings, designers aim to intentionally “cleanse” our five senses in a spa environment. This sensual cleansing allows us to subconsciously reacquaint our minds with our bodies, which results in a peaceful and relaxed mood.
Similarly, you can quickly change the institutional vibe of your current guest bath to a #nextlevel tranquil retreat without spending a fortune (or hiring a masseuse).
Get in tune with your senses and explore these five creative, sensory-inspired styling suggestions.
1. Render Your Good Scents
You love the heavenly aromas at the spa. The invigorating scents of lavender, cucumber, eucalyptus, verbena, lemongrass or citrus float into your nostrils and transform your mood, encouraging your body and mind to relax.
Naturally, you want your friend’s nose to experience the same tranquility in your guest bathroom.
Of course, start with a clean bathroom, but skip the acrid bleach treatment and use a baking soda based deodorizer instead. The neutral scent won’t compete with the spa scent that you want to introduce into the room.
Air freshener sprays or candles can be good options but they do require some manual intervention to be effective.
An easy, non-intrusive way to maintain a consistent scent in a room is to use a reed diffuser. Reeds wick up the fragrance oil from the diffuser vase and disperse the aroma into the air. It’s that simple. Put science to work for you! No candle flames to monitor and no spray cans to hide.
There are plenty of reed diffuser options out on the market, but it’s easy (and arguably less expensive) to craft your own diffuser liquid with scents that you love.
PROJECT: Quick & Easy Spa-Inspired Reed Diffuser
To create your own reed diffuser, you‘ll need the following supplies:
- 1/4 cup your choice of carrier oil — This can be mineral oil, which is petroleum based or safflower or sunflower oil if you want to go with a natural product.
- 3 Tbsp Vodka — More, if you want to make some screwdrivers for your movie marathon, but you’ll only need 3 Tbsp for the diffuser liquid.
- 18 to 20 drops of Essential Oil(s)— A single scent or combination of scents to achieve your desired spa aroma (Try 9 drops eucalyptus + 9 drops spearmint)
- Small glass or porcelain bottle or vase — wide on the bottom, narrow at the opening at the top
- Reed Sticks
And you’ll need these tools:
- Large glass bowl, preferably with a handle and pouring spout (like a 1-cup measuring cup)
- Glass or plastic measuring cups and spoons
- Glass container with a lid to store any remaining diffuser liquid.
1. Measure and add carrier oil, vodka and your essential oil combination into a glass bowl.
2. Stir the mixture with a plastic spoon to combine.
3. Pour your mixture into the small glass vase. (If you aren’t using a measuring cup with a spout, a small funnel may be helpful here.)
4. Insert several reed sticks through the opening and into the liquid in the bottle.
5. Place the diffuser on the counter or on a shelf in the bathroom. To keep the aroma at its max, flip the reeds over (bottom to top, top to bottom) every week.
6. Pour the remaining liquid into your glass storage container. Cover and store in your refrigerator until you need to refill your diffuser.
Have some fun and experiment with combinations of several essential oil scents to formulate your own unique spa-inspired signature scent. Fill a little jar with some of your diffuser liquid to make a great little take-home gift for your friend.
2. Appeal to Her Good Taste
Ahh… That cucumber-infused water they offer at the spa is so refreshingly clean. Spas offer clean water to detoxify and hydrate your body, cleanse your palate and to welcome you to your spa experience.
You acknowledge and appreciate that they went through the trouble of infusing that water, as a nice welcoming gesture to you as a guest to their establishment.
You almost don’t notice, but their water is free from any bitter aroma or taste, which would clearly be a distraction to the spa’s welcoming agenda. If they were to offer their tap water here, they risk making a subpar first impression.
Your friend may need some water in the middle of the night or want some it to take with her vitamins in the morning. The truth is, your tap water may not taste or smell bad, but it’s not neutral either. It’s just… different. And that difference is noticeable.
A few mini water bottles wrapped with a special message can make her feel welcomed and provides a way to steer her away from the unfamiliar flavor of your bathroom’s tap water.
PROJECT: Water Bottle Wraps
Using your computer and a printer, simply design and print out some water bottle labels with a personalized message. Replace the manufacturer’s labels with your own labels.
Display the bottles with some healthy snacks in a nice basket or on a small serving platter on the bathroom counter.
3. Lend Her Your Hearing Aids
The music of nature piped throughout a spa helps to promote that zen experience that you love. You are coerced to peacefully envision cawing gulls at the beach or spring’s melted snow trickling down a mountain stream.
Find or create your own spa playlists of serene music on your iPad and make them available in the guest bath. Encourage your friend to relax with your unique spa selections while she showers or is getting ready for bed.
Your friend will probably want to connect to your wifi to access her own playlists too. Anticipate her needs by having your wifi information ready for her.
PROJECT: Wifi Guest Key
You can put your hand lettering skills to work on this cute little wifi “key” project that offers the connection credentials to your guest wifi. All you need is chalk paint and a pre-purchased wooden tag.
Alternatively, you can download one of the many wifi password printables found on Pinterest or Etsy that fits your style. Customize the printable, print it on cardstock, craft paper or patterned scrapbook paper and throw it into a fun frame.
4. Provide Some Tactical Gear
The wide range of skincare and body treatment services offered at a spa are targeted to relax and rejuvenate you. From facials to massages, the skilled touch of a masseuse or esthetician pampers your body and skin.
The plush white towels and wraps there serve to extend the indulgence.
You’ll want to equip your guest bath with the best soft and luxurious bath towels, hand towels and washcloths that you can afford. White linens will enforce the bright and clean spa look that you want.
Store neatly folded or tightly rolled guest towels in the bathroom cabinets or in a basket to mirror a spa’s casual hospitality.
You can steer your friend from using your best white washcloths for her make-up removal by gifting her these sweet little DIY washcloths.
Crocheted with two strands of super soft cotton, these environmental-friendly washcloths are so soft and luxurious, she won’t be able to resist using them. And, you can whip up a set of these in her favorite colors in no time.
PROJECT: Easy Super-Soft Crocheted Make-up Remover Cloths
For each cloth, you’ll need:
- 2 balls super soft cotton yarn (1 180-yard skein divided into 2 balls)
- Crochet hook: US K10.5/6.5 mm
- Yarn or tapestry needle
Abbreviations: ch — chain; sc — single crochet; st(s) — stitch(es)
Work the following pattern with two strands of super soft cotton yarn.
With two strands of yarn and size K hook, ch 26.
Row 1: Starting in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across row for a total of
25 st(s). Turn.
Row 2: ch 1 (don’t count as st). Starting in 2nd ch from hook, sc across row for a total of 25 st(s). Turn.
Repeat Row 2 until your washcloth is square in shape (around 25 rows).
You can finish off your yarn here, or optionally finish the remaining 3 edges.
To finish edges:
Edge Row: sc in same st as last sc. sc along edge for 25 st(s)
Repeat Edge Row 2 more times around the piece (only need to sc around 3 edges).
Fasten off your yarn and weave in the ends with your tapestry needle.
5. Paint a Pretty Picture
Take a look around a spa and you’ll notice that the decor is typically minimal, sleek and functional, with a natural color palette and clean lines.
At home, duplicate the look by removing or stowing away any unnecessary items in the guest bath. This will also help to create ample temporary space on the counter top and under the sink for your friend’s belongings.
Then go back and accessorize with a “less is more” minimalist approach. You want to strike that harmony between stark and jam-packed. Consider wooden, clear or white containers that offer a clean and natural vibe.
An easy way to add some natural elements into the room is to add some greenery with a plant or two. A live orchid is an elegant addition to any bathroom and will thrive in the room’s higher humidity. Or, arrange a few monstera leaves in a clear glass vase for some tropical impact.
It’s quick and easy to create a live miniature counter top terrarium with a unique glass container that provides a visual connection with nature without taking up too much space.
PROJECT: Miniature Terrarium
- glass container
- activated charcoal
- potting soil
- river rocks
- sheet moss or sphagnum moss
- small houseplant(s)
- Place a small amount of activated charcoal at the bottom of the container.
- Layer a small amount of potting soil on top of the charcoal.
- Transplant houseplant(s) into the soil. Add more soil as needed.
- Arrange river rock around the outer edge of potting soil along sides of the container.
- Add a layer of sheet moss or sphagnum moss
- Arrange additional rocks on top of the soil and moss
- Water sparingly
Let Your Senses Be Your Guide
It only takes some minor changes to convert the energy of your guest bath from institutionalized boredom to spa-like serenity. Before your friend arrives, take a quick check of your guest bath using your five senses as your guide.
You can lean on these mini DIY projects to creatively level-up the sensory elements of the room.
Truth be told, your bathroom vibe really won’t make or break the fun you two have together. But, these changes are so simple, it’s worth the extra effort to demonstrate your appreciation for your friend and set up a nice space for her visit.
Your bestie will feel relaxed and welcomed in her own guest suite during her stay. Her bathroom will appeal to her five senses, probably without her even noticing.
When it’s time for her to head back home, these words will spill out of her along with her teary-eyed bear hug: “Thanks for making me feel so comfortable in your home.”