Glass Panels and Lush Plants: How to Design a Luxurious Outdoor Bathroom

From watching the stars glisten above to hearing the waves of the ocean crash, outdoor bathrooms provide infinite perks. And for those lucky enough to have an outdoor shower or bathroom on their property, it is of utmost importance to design the space right.

Whether it’s a mosaic-tiled pool shower or a freestanding soaking tub surrounded by plants, here’s how to design and decorate an outdoor bathroom that evokes every luxury.

Creating an Outdoor Bathroom

There are a number of logistics to consider when planning an outdoor bathroom.

Outdoor surface installer Install-It-Direct suggests building an outdoor shower or bath in an area that receives direct sunlight. This ensures a more peaceful experience, because no artificial light is needed when showering during the day. Plus, it helps the space dry more quickly after use. Gardens, backyards and courtyards also make great foundations for outdoor bathing and showering spaces. Garden designer Carol Bucknell explains that when a courtyard is too small to create a living space, it can be repurposed into a bathroom. She shows that this works especially well in an outdoor space that already has plants, trees and other lush greenery.

It’s also important to think about when the outdoor bathroom will be used. For example, it might serve as a space directly off a backyard pool. A bathroom with this function is seen in The Sunny Side Up blog, which covers high-end lifestyles and family living. To accommodate young children using the space after a swim, it features a durable quartz vanity, easy-to-clean gray surfaces and anti-slip tile.

Indoor/Outdoor Bathrooms

Instead of creating a bathroom limited to outdoor use, homeowners sometimes seek to balance an indoor bathroom with outdoor elements. To incorporate more of an indoor/outdoor feel with an indoor bathroom, consider how windows, doors, and other barriers can serve as a transition between inside and outside. Lifestyle writer Jennifer Fernandez says a master bath can be outfitted with a balcony to amp up the plein-air appeal. Although the shower itself is indoors, those using the space can look out onto the balcony and see the sky and city beyond.

A similar approach can be created with floor to ceiling glass doors. Photographer Kelly Klein used teak-framed glass doors in the master bathroom to lead to an outdoor shower, which is enclosed for privacy. These glass doors help to make the indoor space feel larger and let more outside scenery into the space.

A continuous floor design, leading to the great outdoors, accomplishes the same kind of expansive feel. Designer Maria McKeel showcases an indoor/outdoor bathroom design with this space-creating strategy. The San Joaquin Valley home has an indoor shower and an outdoor shower, separated by wide glass-plated doors. A wooden walkway leads from the inside shower to the outside shower, creating the illusion of continuity between the two.

Another way to maintain the appeal of an outdoor shower – but still keep creature comforts close – is to keep a bathroom nearby. Travel and lifestyle website Beauty Harmony Life shows an outdoor shower paired next to an enclosed bathroom. The bathroom has enough space for a bathtub and change area.

Another idea comes from HomeJelly, a home design video creation company started by Skaie Knox. In this example, an outdoor bathroom can also double as a living space. Knox showcases a space that has a shower, bath and double vanity alongside comfy elements like couches. This hut-like design has a ceiling, but a walled-in border stops short of the roof to let the fresh air in.

Outdoor Showers

No outdoor bathroom is complete without an outdoor shower.

One of the most classic outdoor shower designs entails adding a showerhead to the outdoor wall of a home. This design is great for accompanying a pool or hot tub, and it’s easy to customize depending on the needs of the homeowner. Michelle Manetti, senior web editor at Good Housekeeping & House Beautiful, shows how a mosaic tile backsplash can be paired with terracotta tiles for a Mediterranean-inspired feel.

Another popular option for outdoor showers is to enclose them with wood. Contemporary lifestyle and design site Contemporist shows how wood can be used on the floor, walls, and even ceiling for a modern look that’s still inviting. This is a viable option for a house that’s already paneled with wood, as this helps the shower blend into the house’s timeless decor.

Likewise, a wooden shower can be built on an existing deck to create a seamless addition. Japanese style wooden slats can add privacy, as shown by design blogger Marni Elyse Katz. For a more modest approach to the outdoor shower, consider how to bring the outdoors in using windows and glass walls. Dirk Denison Architects created the illusion of an outdoor shower in a master bedroom ensuite by situating the glass-walled shower in an interior courtyard filled with greenery.

Natural Elements

The main appeal of an outdoor bathroom is that it enables the homeowner to experience the joy of the fresh air and sunshine. Therefore, infusing natural elements into the space is always welcome.

Fiona Kerr, features editor at Condé Nast, says stone and greenery help an outdoor space feel more zen and spa-like. Pebbles are particularly well-received in larger outdoor bathrooms that are walled in, yet roofless. This effect is also seen in an indoor/outdoor bathroom design by MAGNA Glaskeramik, a company that makes building materials from recycled waste products. This bathroom is decorated with lush, leafy green plants that feel exotic and remind of the wilderness.

Luxurious Touches

After choosing the design and style of an outdoor bathroom, consider ways to add a touch of luxury. Author and blogger Kristy Woodson Harvey shows an outdoor bathroom outfitted with elegant white shiplap across the walls and ceiling. The fresh white space is balanced with a blue lantern light, which feels both classic and elegant. Lights can also be used in a strategic way to create a luxurious ambiance.

In her review of a game reserve sanctuary in South Africa, freelance writer Joanne Brookfield shows an outdoor bathroom that has vintage-inspired lanterns placed around a clawfoot tub. The lights are arranged at varying heights and distances from the outdoor bathtub, creating the perfect glow for an evening soak.

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