The Inspiration Behind Perspiration

Emerging spa and sauna trends are redefining how builders incorporate the outdoor sanctuaries into their home designs

By Colton Martini
Architect - Centre Sky Architecture (All images by Gibeon Photography)

The spa and sauna trends have continued to undergo a significant shift. As individuals become more immersed in the hustle and bustle of work life, they are seeking ways to embrace nature and create a serene outdoor sanctuary in the comfort of their own homes. The concept of a spa has evolved from being a luxurious, outsourced pampering experience to a holistic therapy for the mind, body, and soul, all within the comforts of home. Consequently, the design trends for in-home spa and sauna spaces have taken a leap forward, incorporating cutting-edge technology, enhancing well-being, and seamlessly blending with residential living spaces, both indoor and out.

One of the most notable trends in spa and sauna design is the incorporation of in-ground hot tubs that seamlessly blend with the surrounding landscaping. The days of bulk and obtrusive fiberglass tubs are long gone, with the focus now lying on sleek and modern designs that emphasize natural materials, colors, and organic details. These design elements ensure that the hot tub becomes an integral part of the at-home oasis, rather than a separate entity. The use of organic shapes and finishes, such as stone and wood, further enhances the connection with nature, creating a harmonious and calming atmosphere.

Another trend that has gained popularity in recent years is the overflowing infinity-edge hot tub. These hot tubs provide a luxurious and spa-like experience, as the water overflows from the edges, creating a mesmerizing visual effect. This design not only adds a touch of elegance to the space but also enhances the feeling of relaxation and tranquility.

Architect – Pearson Design Group | Builder – Highline Partners | Interior Designer – Lisa Kanning Interior Design

In addition to hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms have also undergone a significant transformation in their design. Architects and designers are now integrating as many natural features as possible into these spaces as well, harnessing the proven benefits of regular contact with nature. Spending time in natural and outdoor integral spaces has been found to reduce stress responses and improve mood, making it an essential aspect of the modern sauna experience.

Similar to hot tubs, saunas have moved away from the traditional bulky “wooden box” design. Instead, they have become a home design feature to be proud of, embracing modern materials and design principles. 

Architect – Reid Smith Architects | Builder – Langlas & Associates | Interior Designer – Hunter & Co.

Glass, stone, and diffused, stylized lighting are some of the popular choices when it comes to sauna design. Glass not only creates a feeling of space and light but also allows for a panoramic view of the surrounding beauty. Stone, on the other hand, adds an organic depth and a touch of natural sophistication to the sauna interiors. Dark materials like brick and basalt add a contemporary and urban feel to the space, challenging the more traditional wooden sauna aesthetics.

As previously mentioned, lighting plays a crucial role in completing the sauna and steam room experience. Well-placed lighting, such as glowing under-bench lighting, recessed LED lighting throughout, or color therapy, can create a soothing and calming atmosphere. These lighting choices can significantly enhance the overall experience and can be customized according to individual preferences.

Architect – Locati Architects | Builder – Langlas & Associates | Interior Designer – Pina Manzone

To truly elevate the sauna experience, attention to functional detail and décor is essential. High end and carefully selected accessories such as sleek water and storage vessels, essential oils and specialized scents, towels and textiles, brushes, and specialized soaps are a personal touch and allow ultimate function and relaxation. These accessories complete the home spa look, ensuring a comprehensive wellness retreat within the comforts of one’s own home.

Spa and sauna design trends of today revolve around enhancing well-being, incorporating cutting-edge technology, and seamlessly blending the indoors with outdoor living spaces. From in-ground hot tubs that incorporate with landscaping design to overflowing infinity-edge hot tubs and the integration of natural elements in sauna design, these trends cater to any one individual’s needs for relaxation, rejuvenation, and much needed connection with nature. With an end focus on beautiful design elements to round out experience, the concept of a personal wellness retreat is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today’s fast-paced world.