5 must haves for a spa like family bathroom

We moved down the bathroom chain when we moved to the country. In our last home we had an ensuite with an oversized shower and giant separate corner bathtub (I didn't say it was stylish, just large), along with a second full bathroom upstairs and a powder room on our main level.

In our current home we have one bathroom for our now larger family (in case you missed it, we bought this home thinking it would just be the four of us) on our main living level (hello bungalow). We also have a second oh-so-tiny bathroom in the basement. Luckily our basement bathroom has a small shower, otherwise I don't know how we would have managed our recent family bathroom renovation.

What I am getting at is that we are asking this bathroom to be a lot of things to a lot of family members.

As a parent, I spend a ton of time in the bathroom with our children. Whether it's supervising teeth brushing, washing hair or potty training (ugh do I have to do that again?!), I find myself in there all of the time. So yes, I want it to be pretty and let's face it - anything is going to be an improvement over what it once was - but there are some essentials that make life so much easier. So I thought I would share a few things that help make our bathroom spa like and functional (because it has to be both).

5 must haves for a spa like family bathroom:

01 | It needs to be easy to keep clean. 

I am talking hidden areas for toys, toothbrushes and lots and lots of products. When have you ever walked into a spa and seen a basketball net suctioned to the side of a shower? I'm guessing never. Our solution: open shelving, baskets and drawers will keep things off the floor and within easy reach. I also love keeping the countertop very minimal. Soap pump and we're done.

02 | It needs to have breathing room. 

I know space is not always easy to come by (especially in older homes) so it's important to be creative when you have the chance to renovate in order to maximize usable space. For us that meant replacing a linen closet with floating shelves and adding a compact double vanity with wall mounted faucets. Now, more than one person at a time can brush their teeth - without arguments.

03 | It needs to have a hand held shower head.

When our twin daughters were little we filled little flexible plastic pitchers with warm water and poured it over their tiny shampooed heads. Back then we did bath time every single night because we were on a self inflicted rigorous bedtime routine (that any other parent of multiples will tell you is essential for your sanity). This involved kneeling on the floor outside of the tub, negotiating when it would be okay to rinse the shampoo from their heads and having a washcloth within close reach for the inevitable shouts of there's shampoo in my eyes!

Finally one day it dawned on me that life could be easier when it came to our bath routine and I went out and purchased a basic hand held shower. Andrew installed it that night and it made such a difference. So when we moved into this home we did the same thing and immediately replaced the shower head with a hand held one. It worked and made life easy but boy was it a boring thing to look at.

So this time around I knew it was on our bathroom essential list. Not only does it make bath time easier, it also makes cleaning the tub and shower area so much easier.

And what I am really excited about is how pretty the fixture is that we got from Delta Faucet Canada. We went for a chrome finish on the Delta H2Okinetic In2ition 4-Setting Two-in-One Shower because we are on well water and I worried about water marks on something like matte black or brass - but chrome is also timeless.

I love how the water sprays out in a spiral so it ends up feeling like a lot more water is being used than it actually is. 

04 | Plants. Obviously. 

The more plants, the lower my stress level. Our spider plant is loving her new life in our shower and our Alocasia Polly (on top of the um toilet) is finally sprouting new leaves. Plants bring so much life and energy into a room and they are also a great way to make use of all of the humidity that a bathroom produces. 

05 | Accessories that pull double duty. 

I will admit that I initially purchased a bath caddy (a table that rests across the top of your bath) for photo purposes. I mean it adds so much visually. But once it was in there and the tub was drawn I immediately knew it was staying. I like to look at it while I am in and out of the bathroom for the millionth time that day with one child or another, and remind myself that eventually it will be my time in here, when it's quiet and peaceful.

I also love to mix in beautiful looking bathing necessities like bamboo nail brushes and pretty trays to hold products and plants. Small candles can be easily on an open shelf when a busy two year old is turning the bathroom into his play area - but still accessible for that wind down time once the little ones are in bed.

I used to cringe every time I walked into this space pre renovation. The fixtures where permanently tarnished, everything was a different shade of brown and it never felt anywhere close to the retreat it is now.

Our shower head, rough in valves and tub and shower trim were all provided by Delta Faucet Canada.

What's on your bathroom must have list?


  1. I love your bathtub! I always love plants in our bathrooms it makes it feel so much more lived in.

    Stephanie Vainer | a learning story blog


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