From the public baths built in mineral or thermal springs by ancient Greeks and Romans, to the modern wellness centers and retreats of today, humans have long known about the therapeutic health benefits of spas. Since then, the spa industry has come a long way while maintaining a focus on restoration, relaxation, and self-care. Common spa treatments improve blood circulation, relieve stress, slow aging, maintain healthy skin, help with sleep habits, and improve moods. New technologies and smart gadgets have been incorporated into the spa and wellness industry over the last decade, making treatments, practices, and devices more widely available. With technological advancements and home phone and internet specialists now readily available for homeowners, you can create a modern at-home smart spa.
Before you put a hammer to the wall or hire a contractor, there are two critical first steps to planning a bathroom renovation into a spa.
The first step is setting a budget for the project. We’ve included some price estimates below, but it’ll be important to ensure the quote that your contractor gives you aligns with how much money you’re willing to spend. Not sure where to start with budgeting? One good rule of thumb is to think about the ROI of the renovation. Will the cost of these renovations be offset by the increased price you can charge for the home when you sell in the future? If so, they’re probably a good idea.
The other step to take is to talk to your home insurance company. When you renovate your home, it can have an impact on your home insurance and may require an update to your policy to ensure coverage. While it may be tempting to avoid a potential increase in your premium, the safest option is to bite the bullet and ensure you stay covered.
Set up your space
Home spa basics
Before you create a smart spa, it’s important to have a basic plan for a spa room. No matter how “smart” your gadgets are, renovating a bathroom into a spa comes with challenges that you need to prepare for. Here are the most common renovations for at-home spas:
Bathtub. You may choose to update an existing standalone bathtub or add one if your space is big enough. Installing a bathtub can cost about $775 and is usually done by a professional, especially if you need plumbing work done. If you’re updating your bathtub, get a spa feel by opting for a jacuzzi tub, or at least a model that allows you to comfortably fit and cover your full body.
Shower. Another common spa conversion project is updating your shower to a newer or nicer model. A shower stall can cost between $750 and $3,000 depending on where you live and is also best done by a professional to ensure a clean finish and proper plumbing. Create a luxurious experience by choosing a rain shower or multi-head setup. You can also opt for beautiful pebble flooring for an upscale look.
Cabinet or vanity. You don’t always need to get a brand-new vanity or set of cabinets when you renovate. Instead, you can update existing woodwork with a fresh coat of paint and new drawer pulls for an updated look. Choose your colors to coordinate with your bath and shower to bring a calm and collected vibe to the spa bathroom. Don’t be afraid to go darker in your home spa, as this can make the room feel more upscale.
Mirrors. This is another optional update when converting to a home spa. If you have the budget for new mirrors, there are great options that offer superior storage and lighting. You can also choose mirrors that fight fog or provide enhanced lighting.
Lighting. Last but not least, improving your lighting can make a big difference in terms of relaxation and luxury vibes. For the best experience, look for lighting that has a wide dimmer range so you can set the mood for a relaxing soak or shower. Also, make sure that the spaces in the room that require great lighting are designed that way. Look for makeup-friendly lighting around your mirrors for an upscale experience on a daily basis.
Setting the vibe
Setting up a space to stimulate your senses is the way to achieve a restorative and restful spa space. When designing your at-home spa, think about what calms you and brings you peace. Focus on all of your senses to take your home spa to the next level:
- Visual: Creating a visually pleasing space is crucial for a truly calming environment. Consider adding depth and texture by incorporating 3D wall paintings in your space. This artwork provides stimulation without being overwhelming. Choose lighting fixtures that diffuse light softly, and equip them with smart bulbs with multiple color settings that let you match the vibe to your current mood. Add your phone and internet to your spa environment to control and enhance your relaxation experience.
- Auditory: Adding soundproofing blinds and other audio-absorbent accessories keep the outside noise out. Speakers, sound machines, and audio systems allow you to craft a stimulating sound experience. Make sure you choose tech compatible with your smart home devices. When making a playlist for your spa, focus on songs that give you an inner sense of peace — like ambient soundscapes or tracks with nature sounds.
- Olfactory: Often overlooked, the smells in a spa space are crucial to achieving complete comfort. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and open your nasal passages, while diffusers softly introduce your favorite smells into the room. Air purifiers pull toxins, dirt, and dust from the air to create the perfect blank canvas. Using these three devices in tandem while connected to a smart hub allows you to establish your favorite scents and purify the air.
- Touch: Incorporate soft, luscious, and smooth accessories into your space to engage with touch. Adding an automated smart garden brings natural elements into your spa without adding stress. Connecting your indoor oasis to an outdoor spa brings an elevated experience surrounded by organic touches. Building your outside space with privacy walls, tall greenery, and other natural surroundings allows for outdoor showers, which offer a deeper connection to nature and your body.
A note about smart tubs
If you can’t create a separate spa room, consider redesigning your bathroom to double as a home spa. Hydrotherapy provides muscle and joint relief and can be integrated into your shower, tub, or hot tub to provide relaxation without a major renovation. Smart hot tubs feature powerful motors, ergonomic designs for easy entry and exit, and chromatherapy using customizable light displays.
With the ability to include speakers, digital screens, and massaging functions, an at-home hot tub has many features present in spas. Smart hot tubs feature Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity, making it easy to design a personalized experience from your phone or tablet. Smart hot tubs feature water treatment and filtration systems that practically care for themselves. Get notifications to your phone if your water needs rebalancing or your tub needs cleaning to keep it a healthy environment to relax in.
Adding a few smart features to your bathroom can offer the exact amount of spa-style relaxation you need. Adding heated floors keeps you comfy morning, noon, and night. Smart showers can be customized to your preferences and controlled to the exact water temperature. Chromatherapy lights restore a restful state of mind and make your shower a place of restoration. Install a floatation tub that allows deep, reflective mediation and a smart faucet for conscientious water consumption. Place smart thermostats, towel warmers, and humidifiers strategically for a bathroom that’s always the perfect climate.
How tech adds to the spa experience
Both AR and VR technology have become a part of spa treatments and wellness trends. Augmented Reality (AR) adds visual elements to an existing space. Virtual Reality (VR) blocks the natural world to provide a fully-developed virtual experience. Haptic technology, also known as kinaesthetic communication, creates an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user. Combining these technologies with digital scent technology combined with AR, BR, and Haptic tech can completely immerse you in far-off worlds, environments, and destinations.
To top off the experience, set your space with vibroacoustic speakers that pass a low frequency through your body to help you relax. Watch a sweet-scented flower slowly drop its petals to help you focus on your breath while meditating. Lean back in your bath and see the constellations twinkle or puffy white clouds float by. Go for a virtual hike through mountains on the other side of the globe. Sit down to self-reflect while watching a sunset over the ocean and enjoying the smell of sea spray.
AR and VR offer ways to engage with places, spaces, and things that bring you peace, even when they can’t be physically present in your home spa. Enhance your digital spa experience with a meditation band that blocks distraction or interprets brain activity to help you achieve total calm. Round out your space using wellness apps that integrate to create a routine that keeps you accountable for your self-care.
Smart gadgets that offer a spa experience
Once you set up your space, you’ll want to fill your spa with the best tools, devices, and beauty products. Below are a few of the most notable smart products to stock your at-home spa:
- SkinScanners and smart patches: Skin analyzing devices and smart patches evaluate your skin to find your problem areas.
- Radiofrequency and LED tools: Radiofrequency and LED tools use tech to tighten and even your skin’s surface.
- Dermaplaning gadgets: Digital dermaplaning devices remove outer layers of hair and skin that affect your health.
- Tech facial rollers and sculptors: Tech facial rollers and sculptors feature red light therapy and microcurrent stimulation to invigorate cellular turnover.
- Smart masks: Smart masks merge the benefits of a standard facial mask with the dermatological technologies available today to give you a luxurious facial.
- Smart hair products: Devices that analyze your shampoos, conditioners, and treatments to offer those missing nutrients lead to endless good hair days.
- Mirrors with tech: Smart mirrors include built-in lighting, temperature readings, high-resolution cameras, LCD panels, integrated speakers, and more. Mirrors with incorporated widgets remind you of your goals, play your favorite songs, or allow you to jot down reminders to clear your mind.
- Manicures and pedicures: Smart manicures and pedicures include many of the technologies already mentioned, like LED treatments, RF tech, and more, to help you attain healthy and gorgeous nails, hands, and feet.
High-tech massages are a great way to get a custom, personalized massage experience. Technology has enhanced the ability of massage devices like handhelds and chairs to sense needs, find problem areas, and provide unparalleled relief. Massage chairs contour to your body and provide all-over or localized pressure and movement to release pent-up tension and alleviate sore, tired muscles and joints. Back and neck massagers come in many styles, from single-point, low-vibration models to full-feature devices that reach deep layers of muscle tissue. Massage guns provide a rapid mini burst of pressure in a pulsing rhythm to limber muscles and regain or enhance your movement and mobility. Massage mats combine RF technology, hot stone practices, crystals, chromatherapy, and more into a portable massage experience.
With the fast pace of today’s world, leaving space for self-care, reflection, and restoration is more important than ever. Public spas and salons provide pampering but don’t offer the privacy or intimacy you can get in a home spa. Customized at-home spas take relaxation treatments from standard to serene splendor. Creating a relaxing oasis powered by smart home tech is a modern way to get the benefits of a commercial spa without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Incorporating smart products into your beauty routine eliminates the guesswork, allowing you to nourish your body effortlessly. Don’t leave the tech behind if you’re traveling. Create a travel kit with your favorite digitally-minded products so you can take the luxury of your home spa with you wherever you’re headed.