The latest trend? Turning your humble washroom into a 'wellness bathroom'. Pass the loofah, writes Nathalie Marquez Courtney
The concept of 'wellness' has become well rooted in our everyday lives. Whether it's yoga, a cold-pressed juice, a meditation app or even a few rose quartz crystals here and there, it's a booming industry awash with trends (the Global Wellness Institute values it at US$3.7 trillion). So it was only a matter of time before it made its way into homewares.
At 2018's Global Wellness Summit, the 'wellness kitchen' - that is, kitchens "held to the same standards of wellness as the food we keep within them" - emerged as one of the big trends for the years ahead. The thinking goes that current kitchens are being designed around the eating of canned and processed foods, whereas kitchens of the future will be designed to better prioritise the storing, prepping and disposing of fresh ingredients.
For now, there is already one room in the house that lends itself readily to our love of all things self-care, and that is, of course, the bathroom.
For the last few seasons, we've seen more and more bathroom accessories designed to make your loo feel less like a bathroom and more like a day spa. Think warm tones, natural materials like stone, wood and marble, muted lighting, plenty of plants and lots of soft textures. And, of course, eminently Instagrammable bathroom products (the #bathroomgoals hashtag has plenty of inspiration).
But the concept of the 'wellness bathroom' is as much about how it makes you feel as how it looks. At its core, this trend isn't simply about indulging in prettily packaged soaps and lavender-scented candles (though they're great too); it's about taking a more holistic approach to home design, and finding ways to create pockets of comfort that offer respite from the break-neck pace of things.
Niamh Banks, owner of concept store Seven Wood (sevenwood.ie), understands this connection better than most. Her store stocks a range of home accessories and furniture as well as beauty and wellness products.
"I always think if you're looking at wellness, your home and your body are all aligned," she explains. "Your home is your little haven, your place of comfort and where you protect yourself from the world and everything else that's going on - when you come in and close the door, that's your space."
She recommends choosing accessories and products that create a calming, soothing atmosphere. In practical terms, this means having as much bathroom storage as you can, to make it easy to tidy away clutter and make the space feel zen. Keep lighting as soft and muted as possible, or opt for candles and tea lights. Natural skincare products in apothecary-inspired packaging look great in these spaces too.
Being around nature is a sure-fire mood-booster, which is why so many spas feature an abundance of plants. Ferns, airplants and orchids all work well in low light spaces.
Finally, add natural textures where you can, whether that is through cotton towels, bamboo accessories or stone counter tops.
Niamh also suggests designing small, luxurious de-stressing routines and having the right products and accessories to hand.
"When you go to the spa, they take you through all these steps and that's part of the process of unwinding," she explains. "That's how it should be at home as well. I have a tiny bathroom, but I try to make the most of it with those rituals, whether it's lighting candles and taking a bath, or burning essential oils and putting on a face mask.