A beginner’s guide to bathscaping

Ellen Millard

22 April 2021

Move over tablescaping. The latest interior design trend flooding our Instagram feeds is all about making your bathtime beautiful.

22 April 2021 | Ellen Millard

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Once a simple medium with which to share your favourite snaps, Instagram has evolved into a perennial game of one-upmanship, with users sharing their every waking moment to ensure that you know they’re having a great time, all the time. But what to do when the world goes into lockdown and life, for everyone, suddenly becomes limited to the same four walls? The answer, of course, is to take the most mediocre of tasks and turn it into a trend.

Welcome to the world of bathscaping, in which soaking in the tub is no longer about finding five minute's peace, but instead is a chance to show off your curatorial skills with your finest collection of candles. Borrowing its name from tablescaping, the trend of creating beautifully-decorated tabletops, bathscaping is all about creating a relaxing, and, perhaps most importantly, stunning bath setting. Extreme examples can involve rose petals and overflowing bubbles, but the trend in general is relatively simple to achieve and at the end you get to enjoy a relaxing bath. Sold? Follow these easy steps…

Wooden bath tidy, £49, thewhitecompany.com

Clear the decks

First thing’s first: tidy up. No bathscape is going to look good with an old razor and a few bottles of shampoo lounging around in the background. This trend is all about curating a relaxing and luxurious setting, so sweep your usual clutter into a corner. Out of sight, out of shot.

Invest in a bath tray

Everything in bathscaping centres around the humble bath tray, so this is a worthy investment if you want to get the trend right. Anthropologie’s version wins the style points, with a minimalist white marble design and cut-out detailing. If you’re hoping to thumb through a few chapters of your book, Graham & Green’s chrome caddy is a good option; it features a bookstand and extendable arms to fit all bath sizes. Rosie Chalk, partner and buying assistant at John Lewis's bathshop, recommends "mixing natural materials with plants, candles and music" to create a "truly relaxing atmosphere". The brand's bamboo bath rack is lightweight and water resistant. At The White Company, meanwhile, craftspeople in Thailand have fashioned a wooden bath tidy out of American white oak. It’s deep shape gives enough room to balance all your bathscaping accessories.

Candles, from a selection; Bamboo bath rack, £35, all johnlewis.com

Light some candles

It might feel like a risky move to bare all around a naked flame, but with your bath tray on hand to keep everything secure, you can balance your favourite wick without a worry. How to select the right scent will come down to what vibe you’re trying to achieve; if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, look for citrus notes of lemon, grapefruit or sweet orange. Trudon’s new travel collection includes three candles to transport you to a different destination; light up Salta for uplifting notes of verbena, grapefruit and hyacinth. If it's the sundappled beaches of Miami you're pining after, Soho Home's Pomelo candle will transport you there with fresh notes of grapefruit, mandarin, gardenia and jasmine. For those channeling a calmer atmosphere, candles infused with lavender, chamomile and bergamot are safe bets. Try Diptyque’s Feuille de Lavande for an earthy lavender aroma inspired by the hills of Provence.

Select your soak

Once you’ve found the perfect water temperature and your tub is about halfway full, grab your favourite salts, bath oil or bubbles and apply liberally. Olverum has been perfecting its signature bath oil since 1929, when winemaker Franz Otto Klein combined his love of essential oils with his knowledge of wine; choose this oil if you want to soothe aching muscles, relieve stress or are in need of a good night’s sleep. To give dry skin a moisturising kick, opt for Bamford’s Jasmine Bath Oil; this gentle blend is high in nourishing Oleic acid, which will help restore your skin’s natural glow. It goes without saying the chic apothecary-style bottle should be left artfully displayed next to your candle of choice.

Chrome bath caddy, £35, grahamandgreen.co.uk

Line up your skincare

Spent a fortune on skincare? Now’s your chance to show it all off by displaying it proudly on your bath tray. A dip in the tub is the perfect opportunity to slather on a face mask and give your skin some TLC. Those in need of a deep cleanse should try Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask; the mineral-rich white clay lifts pore clogging toxins, while oatmeal and aloe vera soothe skin. To give your complexion a boost, try Susanne Kaufmann’s Glow Mask; its ingredients of papaya powder, ginger, coffee and raspberry plant extract leave skin looking refreshed and renewed in just 15 minutes.

Add the finishing touches

As with every room in the house, it’s the finishing touches that make a bathroom and a bathscape feel complete. Plants and flowers can bring life to a room, while printed towels and bath mats add vibrance to a minimal space. Try Missoni's Rufus cotton hand towel and bath sheet for a splash of colour. If you favour a more minimal design, Brunello Cucinelli's logo-embroidered cotton hand towels ooze understated elegance. Once you’ve perfected the look, consider the experience: grab your latest read, line up your favourite Netflix series or press play on your most relaxing playlist. And don’t forget the most important accessory of all: a glass of wine.

Basset diffuser in Pomelo, £42, sohohome.com

Take a photo

If you bathscape and don’t Instagram it, did you really bathscape? No beautiful bathtub setting can properly be enjoyed until the whole world knows that’s what you’re doing. Find your favourite filter and get it up on your feed, pronto. After that? You have our permission to relax…

Read more: The beauty tech and tools bringing the spa home