How to Design a Nature Inspired Bathroom Without a Lot of Money or Maintenance
If you’re like me, you love walks (or runs) through your favorite Metroparks. You love being outside. However, pulling weeds from your landscape beds can make you rethink your love of the outdoors just a tad.
If you’re like me, you love relaxing in a nature-inspired cedar or spruce-lined sauna at your local health club. However, cleaning grimy tile grout joints in your own shower is only slightly more fun than a trip to your local dentist (no offense Dr. Marsh!).
And while you may be moved by nature-inspired bathrooms in fancy Interior design magazines with floor to ceiling windows and trees you can almost touch outside the windows, you know this isn’t a world you’re going to live in any time soon (not until you hit the lottery and get rid of the new creepy neighbor next door).
And while you can (and do) drool over the bathrooms the top 1% of wage earners boast in these fancy magazines, they offer you ZERO practical help to turn your ‘sows-ear’ of a bathroom into a beautiful, nature-inspired swan.
However, I’m here to tell you it’s possible to get a nature-inspired, relaxing (and low maintenance) bathroom without draining your retirement savings or kid’s college funds.
You may be wondering if it will take thoughtful product selections to make this happen? You betcha.
You may be wondering if you’ll need to find ideas which make your (currently) cramped bathroom live larger than it is. Oh, yes.
You may be wondering if it will take hiring a maid to keep it looking nice? It better not (unless your rich uncle dies, leaves you a BIG inheritance and you buy the opulent (OK – that’s a fancy word I threw in to impress you – is it working?) mansion you’ve drooled over while driving through the fancy side of town.
So, let’s look at 7 practical ideas to create a nature inspired bathroom without needing a pile of dough or spending a ton of time on your hands and knees cleaning it.
Idea #1 for a nature inspired bathroom– Use ‘organic-ish’ walls which aren’t a pain to maintain
Ask yourself, what’s the first thing you see when you come into your bathroom? If you’re not in a sleep-induced haze it’ll be your bathroom and shower walls. And these walls are likely made of drywall, fiberglass and/or ceramic tiles with dirty grout joints. They don’t exactly inspire the natural, organic feel you’re looking for, do they?
Do not fear because I’m here to tell you your bathroom can feel more relaxing, be more luxurious and a breeze to clean – if you learn one simple secret. Want to know what this secret is. No it’s not an Ancient Chinese secret though.
It’s laminate shower wall panels (OK – I’ve let the ‘proverbial’ cat out of the bag).
If you want the earthy feel of a wood inspired (maintenance free) shower wall – check out this Avalon pine pattern.
If you want the luxurious polished look of Grecian inspired marble – check out these silver grey (and simple to install) click together wall panels.
If you want a clean, minimalist look of concrete (without the HUGE expense of pouring actual concrete walls) – check out the cracked cement bathroom wall panels below.
And get this, the ‘coup ‘de grass (funny word intended) is, these 2’ x 8’ x 3/8” thick panels have ZERO actual grout joints and are simple to clean with soap and water.
Idea #2 for a nature inspired bathroom– Create a window (literally) to the outside and brighten up your space
Being ‘one’ with nature in your bathroom (even if you’re in your ‘not-as-flattering-as-when-I-was-a-20-year-old’ birthday suit) is certainly kicked-up when you (literally) provide a ‘window’ to the outside. It’s bringing the ‘outside in’ while enjoying the climate-controlled temperatures of your home.
However, there’s a challenge. The challenge is your ‘birthday suit’ and need for privacy. So, how can you bring the outside in without showing a ‘side’ of yourself which isn’t made for ‘public consumption?’
The key is the thoughtful use of glass. Here’s 4 smart product options to get light into your shower or bathroom without ‘showing off’ in a way which is going to convince TV crews you’re not ready to be a stunt double for J-Lo (or at least without a few trips to see your friend Jenny Craig).
- Product option 1) A transom window – Since transoms (by their nature) are placed near the ceiling, you’ll enjoy the trees and sky without worrying about a creepy person peering in.
- Product option 2) A solar light tube – If a window is impractical (maybe your bathroom is not on an exterior wall), a solar light tube can use your roof to bring in light.
- Product option 3) Skylights – Enjoy the sun, moon and stars – and be able (with certain models) to get fresh air as well.
- Product option 4) A multi-patterned glass block shower window – These classic ‘glass building blocks’ can be designed in unexpected patterns for a high-privacy shower window with style.
Idea #3 for a nature inspired bathroom– Vanity tops created from natural materials
You want your bathroom to be a sanctuary.
You want it to be an escape from the daily grind. A world which isn’t just a text message away.
Choosing the right ‘nature-inspired’ countertop can create this escape and be a focal point of your room.
Take this ‘live-edge’ countertop made from bay laurel hardwood. You’ve got to say ‘wow’ when seeing this Zen-inspired top.
Or go industrial with a concrete countertop.
Or if you hit that lottery go with a cast glass countertop (it’s pricy, but it’s also very cool).
Idea #4 for a nature inspired bathroom– A bathroom ‘in living color’
Have you ever wished you could return to the crystal-clear blue waters you and your spouse frolicked in (I’m keeping it P.G. here) on your Caribbean honeymoon (yes – I know it was a ‘few’ years ago)? Or would you love to jump back to the sandy-beige beach in Florida, California or the Carolinas when the kids were oh-so-little? Or enjoy the lush green colors in the Redwood or Sequoia National Park?
Nature is inspired by color.
Your bathroom can (and should be) be inspired by color.
Simple paint colors can put you back in those environments.
Could you strategically use color to give your bathroom a visual shot in the arm?
Idea #5 for a nature inspired bathroom– Enjoy textured flooring under your feet
Walking into your bathroom shouldn’t make you feel like being zapped with ‘electric shock’ therapy. The floor is cold and cruel.
You should want your bathroom and shower floors to not only look and feel comfortable and natural, but to be stylish and low maintenance as well. But how?
In the bathroom a smart (and cost-effective) option are luxury vinyl planks floors. You’ll get the look of wood, without the worries of deterioration.
In the shower, two fun options are a matte finished textured shower pan or pebble tile floors. Your feet will love them – and if you get the matte finished textured pan, you’ll blow up maintenance all together.
Idea #6 for a nature inspired bathroom– Include nature
It may seem like a ‘Captain Obvious’ idea, but for a nature-inspired bathroom you need to include nature – in the form of plants and flowers. They not only add color (see point #4 above) – but improve indoor air quality as well. If you don’t have a ‘green thumb’ (yes, I’m raising my hand right now) and want nice ‘greenery’ options which aren’t a pain to maintain here’s 3 choices:
- Aloe vera – This hardy plant is simple to grow (and hard to kill) and its juice heals minor burns.
- Bamboo – It’ll give you a relaxed Zen vibe and doesn’t require a ton of sun.
- Orchids – Add a pop of blue (like the water), yellow (like the sun) or pink (like your husband’s tutu. OK, I just made that up to make sure you were paying attention) colors and a sense of fun to the room.
Idea #7 for a nature inspired bathroom– Open up your space by not enclosing your shower
Why do bathrooms in the United States feel so ‘boxed in?’ It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out it’s because they’re designed this way by builders and remodelers. And you can borrow the infamous words from the (not very great – IMHO) play Fiddler on the Roof and say, ‘it’s TRADITION!’
Well – I’m here to say that just because it’s tradition, doesn’t mean its smart space-planning or a good way to create a bathroom which is inspiring, open and inviting.
Nature demands freedom. Nature demands eliminating barriers. Shower curtains and ugly, framed shower doors with obscured glass close off spaces. They build barriers in your bathroom.
Break with tradition.
Rethink your bathroom by opening up space (no matter how small it is) with a walk in one level bathroom or a clear curved glass enclosure. You’ll get style. You’ll get rid of ugly shower doors. You’ll get a smarter (and safer) use of space and eliminate ‘barriers to entry’ (i.e. shower curbs) which causes falls and expensive hospital stays.
I hope you see bathrooms don’t need to be the grimy, plasticky anti-septic rooms of yesteryear. You don’t have to put up with the uninspired, generic builders-grade ‘traditional’ bathroom slapped in by the original home builder.
I’m here to say, just because it’s been the way bathrooms have been cranked out in the past, doesn’t mean you have to ‘live with it’ in your future.
A nature-inspired bathroom (which doesn’t take a ton of time to maintain) can be yours. You don’t have to put up with boring color, plastic surrounds or tile grout joints which (literally) bring you to your knees. You don’t have to accept shower curbs which could ‘land’ you (or a loved one) in the hospital.
Are you ready to design your nature inspired bathroom? If you need help me and my team would love to assist. Call or click the links below. Thanks for reading,
How can I (or a member of my team) help you?
If you need help with products (like grout free shower panels, barrier free showers or curved glass shower walls) call Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888.
For bathroom design or remodeling project call The Bath Doctor in Cleveland at 216-658-1270 or for product supply in Columbus call 614-252-7294.
Andrews – thanks for your nice comments – most appreciated. I loved what you did with your project (as you can tell since I used your cool countertop again!). What’s nice now is we have some other fun products (like our laminate wall panels) where people can get rid of grout (and worry less about bacteria problems in their bathrooms). If we can help you again, I would of course be honored to be of service. I hope you and your family are healthy and safe as our country works to get through the Coronavirus! Mike
Another terrific/informative article … thank you. Makes us want to create another bathroom.
– Andrew in Cazadero, Calif.