Create Your Zen Bathroom Around a New Bathtub

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Reece-I-Love-My-Bathroom-winner-landscapeIf you need a respite from your busy life, consider transforming your bathroom design into a personal refuge.  There is a Zen saying that goes like this:

Silently sitting by the window. Leaves fall and flowers bloom. The seasons come and go.

Could there be a better life? Zen design highlights our relationship with nature and achieving balance between the two creates the serenity that has made Zen baths so popular.

Hastings Tubs, Toilets and Showers is renowned for providing high-quality, trend-setting bath and tile products. Hastings provides both contemporary and traditional designs imported from the finest manufacturers in Europe. With a diverse selection of ceramic, porcelain, glass, and stone tile & trim; faucets, coordinating accessories, white china basins, and bathroom furniture pieces, the Hastings Tile & Bath Collections takes home decor to the cutting edge of design in order to help you achieve your Zen dream.

Here are some simple concepts to keep in mind:

Evoke Japan

Because Zen is so quintessentially Japanese, a bathroom full of Japanese artifacts and design motifs evokes the Zen approach. Start by installing a shoji screen somewhere, either as a closet door or as the entry door. Instead of a full-length bathtub, install a traditional Japanese one, which is square and deep, allowing the bather to get completely under the water. You’ll either have to sink this tub into the floor or put it on a platform. If the latter, construct a cedar wall on the front to evoke an onsen tub, which is the type you would find at a Japanese hot spring.

Zen is many things, but you can succinctly describe it as an approach to Buddhism developed in Japan. It is known for simplicity, and its hallmarks are minimalism and abstraction. Famous Zen creations include gardens made only with rocks, paintings consisting of a single brushstroke, and poems with only three lines. To bring this state of mind into your bathroom, you must avoid regularity and create space. Space is the essence of Zen.

Avoid Regularity

One of the principles of Zen design is shibui, which, simply stated, evokes nature by being simple, irregular and beautiful. If square, regularly placed tiles have a place in a Zen bathroom, it’s only as a counterpoint to a blank wall or a large window. Alternatives to tiles on the walls include stone or decorative texturing. If you choose to texture the walls, don’t follow a formula. Call on your Zen spirit guide to help you create a unique and simple pattern that can never be reproduced. Make swirls or ridges with a brush or drywall knife or, if you have a large, visible wall, flatten it by skim-coating and create a calligraphy design in the fresh mud with a paintbrush.

Honor Nature

black_wave_028The purpose of Zen art is to quiet the mind and direct it to the nature that surrounds the viewer. A window is the most obvious way to bring nature into the bathroom, especially if it look out to a garden or natural feature, such as a forest or mountain. If your bathroom doesn’t have a view available, bring nature in. Bamboo and bonsai help to reinforce the Japanese theme, but because Zen appreciates nature as it is in the moment, it’s appropriate to display an ikebana arrangement of seasonal local flowers and shrubs.

Create Space

Clutter in your bathroom, even the clutter of Japanese artifacts, defeats the spirit of Zen, which is, after all, a school of Buddhism that emphasizes self-examination and non-attachment. Use few fixtures and either position them as far apart as possible or group them together and leave the rest of the bathroom empty. Bathroom mirrors and windows help increase the feeling of space, and in-wall storage cabinets keep towels and accessories out of view. Indirect ceiling lighting shining onto the walls makes the ceiling seem higher. Let one of the lights shine on a single calligraphy, painting or scroll on the wall to create a meditative focus.


There are a countless number of ways to create a zen-inspired bathroom. Regardless of which course you decide on, however, you should focus your efforts on balancing the atmosphere with harmony and relaxation. This is the driving force behind zen, so you want to recreate these characteristics in your bathroom. Having a “harmonious” bathroom means that all of your furnishings, accessories, decorations and colors flow together in a natural manner. If something looks or feels out of place, remove it from your bathroom.

Keep It Simple

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when designing their bathroom is trying to force in too many bathroom accessories and elements. In order to maintain a harmonious atmosphere, you must keep your bathroom decor simple. Don’t use extravagant paintings or large wall decorations that stand out. These may work just fine in other rooms, but a zen-inspired bathroom is built around the notion of “less is more.”

Going back to the rule of keeping it simple, a zen-inspired bathroom should have most, if not all, of the normal bathroom items out of plain sight. Leaving your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and other toiletries out on the counter will take away from the natural beauty and simplicity of your bathroom. If storage is a problem, then perhaps you can install a larger and more accommodating vanity. The bottom line is that you must keep your toiletries and other bathroom items out of plain sight to achieve a zen-inspired decor.

Zen Accessories

zen-by-watermarkThe right accessories will bring your zen-inspired bathroom together. You can gain some inspiration for ideas by looking at the decor found in professional spas. Most spas are designed with a focus on relaxation; therefore, they elements that work well for zen bathrooms. A large glass vase or bowl filled with polished stones, for instance, is a simple accessory that’s perfect for zen bathrooms. Placing just a single glass item on a shelf or counter in your bathroom will instantly make the area more relaxation.

Houseplants are another type of accessory that works well for zen-inspired bathrooms. There’s just something naturally calming and soothing with houseplants that’s not found in other accessories. You can use this to your advantage by decorating your bathroom with a couple of them. With that said, you must stick with small-to-medium sized plants that don’t take up a lot of room. And remember, all houseplants need water and sunlight to thrive. Allowing your houseplants to turn brown at the leaves will ultimately hurt your decorating efforts.

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