How to Renovate Your HDB Bathroom into a Japanese Bathroom

Wellness on 12 Aug, 2022

How to Renovate Your HDB Bathroom into a Japanese Bathroom

What better way to relax and rejuvenate than to have your spa right in the comfort of your home? If you live in an HDB flat in Singapore, you may be wondering how you can transform your bathroom into a Japanese spa. Here are some guides on what you and your interior designer can consider on what type of atmosphere you want to create to suit your liking. Once you have a vision, you can start changing your bathroom to turn it into your Japanese spa.

No need to visit hot springs in Japan when you’ve got a luxurious bath right in your HDB flat! Here is a step-by-step guide explaining to your interior designer the essential elements and traditional culture of Japanese bathrooms that you would want to apply to your HDB bathroom. So go ahead and treat yourself to a relaxing staycation at home!

How Is The Japanese Bathroom Different To Western Bathroom

Japanese bathroom vs Western bathroom

A Japanese soaking tub, also called an “ofuro,” is a tub that is traditionally used for soaking, and not for bathing. Just like the public bath you find in Japan, you will need to shower first before entering the tub or scoop water out to bathe yourself with soap or shampoo before entering the tub to rest and relax.

For this reason, Japanese soaking tubs are usually integrated into a shower-like, waterproof area with a drain, allowing you to wash, rinse, and soak in the same place without worrying about splashing water.

The traditional Japanese tub is usually estimated to be 24 inches deep enough to cover the shoulders of a seated person. As for the width, one person requires about 32-36 inches. That water covers your entire body. As for the western style bathtub, it’s usually long and narrow for the user to lie down.

6 Things You Should Know About Japanese Bathroom Designs

1. Deep Soaking Tub 

Traditional Japanese bathing made from fragrant cypress (hinoki) trees is known for their natural anti-bacterial properties and resistance to mould and insects. Another good choice would be cedar, which has similar qualities and a pleasant smell. You can opt to build an in-built seat inside the tub where one would sit as they soaked.

Fun fact: Do you know that Ikeda Spa is the only spa in Singapore with the Hinoki Onsen Bath?

2. Point-of-Use Water Heater

When installing a soaking tub, there are some crucial factors to consider. For example, the soaking bath needs a lot of hot bath water for filling and is designed to be reused multiple times. You might also consider purchasing a wooden or plastic cover over the bath when it is not utilized to prevent the water from cooling down. You’ll need to have a method for heating the hot tub to the correct temperatures every time you use it.

For the most authentic Japanese bath experience, you will like to heat the water to about 42°C. The electricity bill can get quite hefty if you use an electric heater. To save on energy costs, consider using a gas heater. If you don’t like to reuse the same bath water, please avoid storage heaters, which will take time to heat the water, especially if you have a big family. Discuss this with your interior designer to decide on the best energy-saving heater.

3. Separate Bathing Area

If you’re a hardcore Japanese bath fan, you may want to design a separate bathing room for actually cleaning yourself with soap and shampoo. Depending on your style, this might be a sink with buckets or a small shower stall with floor drains. If you’re planning to use a bucket, you might be interested in buying a hinoki pails.

4. Lighting

A Japanese bath is not just about relaxing your body but also your mind, so your lighting should be soft and soothing as well. A skylight would provide excellent general lighting for daytime use, while task lighting around the vanity mirror would be helpful for shaving and applying makeup. Recessed lighting would also work well for general lighting.

5. Background colour

Use colours that are neutral or soft earth tones. Avoid using high gloss or anything too shiny. You might want to discuss this with your interior designer on the kind of style you would like to go for. Some suggested colours for creating a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere include pastel blue or green. Earthy brown bathroom tiles can also look great with light woods and bring a luxurious feel to the space. Even better, you can get your interior designer to find bathroom tiles with natural wood grain patterns for a more organic appearance. If you have a bigger renovation budget, you can import hinoki wood planks from Japan to install on the walls.

Japanese bathroom at Ikeda Spa
Japanese bathroom at Ikeda Spa

6. Accents

Spruce up your bathroom with some plants! Not only can they purify the air, but they’ll also give your space a natural touch. Bamboo is especially popular in Japan.

Another way to incorporate Japanese culture into your bathroom is by adding a water feature. Water is an integral part of Japanese traditions and is often used in purification rituals. If you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to your bathroom, you may be able to include a small fountain to create a more relaxing atmosphere. Fountains also help mask unwanted noise.

Bamboo fibres are natural antibacterial materials, so they’re ideal for bathroom use. They won’t absorb moisture, but if you want to keep your bathroom smelling fresh, bamboo is a good option. You could go for a neutral or earth-toned colour, maybe one that stands out from the wall.

Here are some other bath accessories to create a complete Japanese bathroom experience:

Bamboo Bath Mat for Toilet
Brand: ZPirates

Ideas for a Japanese-style bathroom

If you’re having trouble explaining the Japanese bathroom concept to your interior designer, why not show him some examples? A picture says a thousand words, so here are some inspirational photos for you to consider.

A minimal, playful design incorporates wood and white for a more modern bathroom style.

A wooden touch and stone flooring make any home a great combination. It’s warm and inviting while also being classic and timeless.

Japanese bathroom design 1
Japanese bathroom design 2

A bright style is achieved by mixing a wood bathtub with more daylight.

Japanese bathroom design 3
Japanese bathroom design 4

If you want to create your own inspired Japanese bathroom, why not start by experiencing the Onsen yourself in person? After all, you deserve a good break after all the stressful house renovation planning. Ikeda Spa offers authentic Japanese Hinoki Onsen baths made from cypress wood with various bath salts. Indulge in the experience and see what makes Onsens so unique – it might give you some ideas for your bathroom back home! Click on the banner below to find out how to get your FREE Onsen Bath.