Designing a Zen Bathroom

When designing your Zen bathroom, keep the design simple and open to create a nice sense of flow.

If you need a respite from your busy life, consider transforming your bathroom into a personal refuge. Follow this simple seven-step path to create an authentic, Zen-inspired design.

When creating a Zen bathroom, the floor plan should flow effortlessly, blending from one area to the next. Simple design is a difficult thing to do well, and Zen relies a lot on architecture rather than decorative elements. So if you're building or renovating, consider hiring an architect or interior designer to manage the project. They can draw up floor plans, offer suggestions for materials and work directly with contractors to ensure that you achieve the look you want. You may even want to work with a feng shui consultant. Feng shui is the Chinese art of placement that focuses on creating a positive flow of energy in the house. Whether you choose to hire a consultant or go it alone, here are some tips from designers and architects on how to think about space.

You should place the bathtub by a window so that you can experience nature while soaking. The bathroom should interact with adjacent rooms so that the view looking in and out of the bathroom is appealing and serene. The toilet area should not be seen from the doorway. Consider placing a beautiful piece of artwork within viewing distance of the toilet; let that art be the focal point from the doorway. "You want to feel the adjacent space even though you may not always see it," says architect Michael Morris of Morris Sato Studio in New York City. "There should be something present beyond the wall or screen, a borrowed landscape from another room that suggests a deeper space or surface."

While sections may be distinct, the bathroom should not feel divided. You want to be able to easily transition from one space to another, says Dallas-based designer Alan Hilsabeck Jr. of Alan Hilsabeck Jr. Interior Design. "Think of how nature interacts," he says. "Simplicity, clean lines, fluidity and functionality." Partitions, such as shoji screens, allow you to divide the room or leave it open as you choose.

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