Design Tricks to Steal from Hotel Bathrooms

When’s the last time you put your feet up, soaking in a warm bubble bath with a glass of wine and good book? Chances are, it’s the last time you were in your hotel bathroom while on vacation. 

Today’s interior design leaders are rising up against the idea that you have to leave home to have a personal enrichment center steps away from your bed. Taking cues for the loo from resorts all over the world, it’s time to put the “spa” back into your home’s bathroom space.

Bathroomy as Can Be

Wide open, airy and expansive, the hotel bathroom is not the understudy to the bedroom, it’s the starring lead. Carve out space for the bathroom spa from existing square footage, be it knocking down walls, combining rooms, or expanding the home’s foundation to take the bathroom from cramped sardine can to spacious suite.

Liberated Tub

From B&B to your own BR, the focal point of the home spa is a free-standing tub. You can choose from a myriad of options, depending on your style:

  • Rustic chic, cast-iron claw foot with a distressed bettina
  • French country, matte white claw foot with silver or brass fittings
  • Serene minimalist Ofuro, or Japanese soaking tub
  • Sleek contemporary cement rectangular tub
  • Modern ranch wood barrel bathtub

Showpiece Shower

The days of the shower playing second fiddle to the tub are over. The hotel-to-home shower is bold, confident, and unapologetic. Popular designs include spacious glass cubicles that offer a 180-degree view of the bathroom interior, concrete frames and floors, imaginative shapes, built-in benches, duel entrances, and curbless, walk-in units flush with the floor to provide a seamless, streamlined transition. Another growing trend is the walk-through shower with ceramic tiled walls, wood-grate covered drains, and a ceiling showerhead.

Standalone Sinks

Rather than the conventional inlaid units, these sinks sit atop its cabinetry, fully exposed. They’re usually deep and wide in size and made from any number of material, including concrete, marble, porcelain, enamel, and galvanized metal.

Cantilevered Vanities

The theme of liberated, free-standing elements continues with the floating vanity. Here, all the parts and plumbing components are tucked neatly into the cabinet’s housing carriage, freeing up the space below and lending a modern, sleek feel to the room. Often used with towel, bar mounts.

Another trend found in hotel spas and cottages is the repurposed bathroom vanity, made from vintage furniture or found objects such as whiskey barrels, Singer sewing machine tables, old dressers, and library card catalogs accented by a fresh pitcher of cold cucumber water.

His & Hers Everything

The single most important word in hotel bathroom trends is “double,” as in double vanities, double sinks, double towel racks, double everything. The modern bathroom is all about separate but equal, ensuring her Chanel doesn’t smell like his Axe body spray ever again! Going hand in hand is the toilet room, a detached private area for the privy!

New Flooring

Hardwood is a classic, timeless option that matches any style decor; however, it’s vulnerability to mold, mildew and warping puts it on the high end of the maintenance spectrum. A hugely popular alternative that achieves the same look but without the same upkeep is ceramic tile that looks like the hardwood of your choice, such as bamboo, oak, reclaimed walnut, pine, and so on.

Textured tile options are now endless amidst a booming industry for high-dimension, low-maintenance earthenware flooring in every possible inlay, shape, size, and style. Think:

  • Patterned tiling comes in the motive of hexagons, herringbones, rhomboids, fish bones, arrows, arabesques, scalloped circles, and so on
  • Tiles that look like concrete, resin, fabric and even wallpaper
  • Terrazzo is a composite material consisting of marble, quartz, granite, glass, and so on, poured into a matrix of concrete or epoxy resin, to create a polished uniform surface with “chips” of color and design 

Heated Floor

While you’re upgrading the floor, go ahead and add an in-floor heating system. This luxurious feature of hotel bathrooms makes the late-night walk from bed to commode shock-free from cold tile on the feet. Radiant heat flooring can be retrofitted into an existing footprint, and be localized to specific high-traffic areas of the bathroom floor.

Wall as Art

Many hotel bathrooms use the walls as an artistic canvas, using a myriad of tile designs to create texture, dimension and drama. 

  • Basic tiles, but laid in unusual patterns: diagonal, offset, zigzag, basket weave, European fan, and mosaics
  • Patterned tiles in the arrangement of hexagons, herringbones, rhomboids, fish bones, arrows, arabesques, scalloped circles.
  • Tiles that look like wood, concrete, resin, fabric and even wallpaper
  • Mix-and-matched, shiny embossed penny rounds on the wall juxtaposed by oversized rectangular matte floor tiles
  • Terrazzo, composite material consisting of marble, quartz, granite, glass, and so on, poured into a matrix of concrete or epoxy resin, to create a polished uniform surface with “chips” of color and design.
  • Or, to achieve a soothing, seamless look, the “one-material” trend draws from one single color palette for the floor to ceiling and wall to wall.

Don’t forget to add the ultimate hotel bathroom wall amenity, the hook-mounted, his-and-hers, plush bathrobes!


The home-to-hotel bathroom is illuminated by soft, LED lights encased in stylish sconces, lanterns, pendants, chandeliers, setting a relaxed and serene mood.

Soothing Wall Colors

For paint colors, the goal is to promote calm, peace and tranquility. This lends itself to soothing, rich hues like warm grays, tobaccos, charcoal, earthy reds and yellows, slate, and rust.

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