botanical bathrooms

Botanical bathrooms

While the semi-outdoor bathroom has its roots in high-end accommodation and boutique resorts, the opulent model is branching out into the home.

Photo: A Fresh Touch Interiors and May Photography

The growing trend of semi-outdoor bathrooms is ambitiously following in the footsteps of the hugely successful and popular outdoor kitchen movement which Australian homes have embraced throughout the past few years. While the outdoor kitchen unlocked new ways to entertain guests, the semi-outdoor sanctuary is a serene and private space that can transform the way homeowners unwind at the end of a long day.

For plenty of homeowners, such as those living in cooler climates or densely populated areas, bathing in an open-air environment simply isn’t a viable option. Bringing the outdoors in as much as possible allows them to connect to nature without sacrificing privacy or comfort, and providing further options to open the space outward gives them the flexibility to choose the level of natural exposure to accommodate the mood. 

While poolside bathing facilities are becoming more and more luxurious, and some outdoor bathrooms are built entirely in the outdoors, this design concept is proving that you don’t need to be bathing under the stars to embrace the outdoor bathroom. 

The magnificence of the trend is in its flexibility. Not bound by criteria but rather characterised by glimpses of nature on any scale, the concept is all-encompassing.

From wide garden-facing windows through to deck-integrated tubs and beyond, there are three prominent styles emerging in outdoor integration that can be loosely categorised as ‘outside in’, ‘semi-outdoor’ and ‘all outdoors’. 

botanical bathrooms
From wide garden-facing windows through to deck-integrated tubs, there are three prominent styles emerging in outdoor integration.
Photo: A Fresh Touch Interiors and May Photography
botanical bathrooms
The trend of semi-outdoor bathrooms is growing in popularity and is flexible for a variety of housing types.
Photo: Caroma


The outside-in is the toe-dipper of the family, a suitable option for bathrooms with adjoining walls and other physical limitations typically prevalent in suburbia and high-rise apartments. It’s a fairly transient shift from conventional bathroom design, so it also suits homeowners who want to embrace the retreat-like bathroom trend but aren’t ready for a drastic change. 

Characterised by large windows and skylights and the use of natural materials and finishes, the outside-in is an inspired approach to design that allows homeowners to embrace all the benefits the natural world has to offer from the comfort of their own home. 

Nature-inspired design and the use of organic materials and finishes make Caroma products great for use in semi-outdoor bathrooms. Caroma’s Contura range, including a freestanding bath and basins, uses this subtle connection to nature to help homeowners transport themselves back into nature without leaving the room. 

The collection sets a new benchmark for simple luxury in the bathroom by delivering a pure, honest aesthetic to match a range of bath-room styles. With beautiful designs inspired by the natural beauty of Australia, the meticulously detailed and strikingly sculptural products are ideal for those seeking a signature look with design ingenuity and longevity.

The Contura freestanding bath creates a striking focal point in any bathroom. Crafted from solid surface, this bath exudes warmth and is soft to the touch, bringing a relaxing and organic feel to the earth-inspired bathroom space. Generous dimensions and dual reclined ends ensure it comfortably fits two, making it an ideal choice for the private retreat-like ensuite. 

Contura’s organic, minimalist form extends to its basin design, providing multiple style options to complement any bathroom space. The Contura 500 Inset Basin, crafted from solid surface material for a natural design with a stone-like finish, is designed for simplicity with a timeless life. Perfectly complementing the Contura bathtub, this collection ensures product selection is as easy and relaxing as it ought to be for both builders and homeowners.

‘Consumers don’t want to be overwhelmed by choice, they want their selection experience to be made easier by seeing carefully curated options on how a whole bathroom solution can easily come together,’ says Luke Di Michiel, Caroma industrial designer. ‘This is something that Caroma has and continues to focus on, creating great bathroom solutions.’ 

botanical bathroom

Characterised by large windows, skylights and the use of natural materials and finishes, the outside-in is an inspired design approach allowing homeowners to embrace all the benefits the natural world has to offer

 Photo: A Fresh Touch Interiors and May Photography


The semi-outdoor bathroom is a composed marriage of indoors and out, and is arguably the most popular of the three styles in the current residential market. Sitting anywhere on the scale between organic decor and poolside showering facilities, the semi-outdoor bathroom is generally characterised by its eco-friendly elements, sliding or bi-fold glass doors, and lush displays of plant arrangements. 

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the impact their lifestyle has on the environment, as well as the positive impact nature can have on their lifestyle, they’re trying to find new ways to integrate the natural world into their homes to harmonise the space. 

One product helping consumers connect with nature in this earth-inspired style of bathroom is the Cinderella Incineration Toilet, an award-winning, environmentally-friendly waste solution designed and produced in Norway. The product was created to provide a waterless waste solution, ideal for tiny homes and work sites where permanent sewage and water connections aren’t consistently available, and it has since been recognised for its outstanding design and sustainability potential.

The Cinderella Incineration Toilet bears the familiar appearance of a flushing toilet and is used in a similar fashion, but when the user closes the lid and presses the button, waste is incinerated instead of flushed away. This occurs inside the unit where the waste is dropped into an incineration chamber at the foot of the commode. 
With only a handful of ashes remaining after one week’s use in a four-person household, free from all harmful bacteria, emptying the chamber is as quick as it is sanitary: a front-facing opening eliminates the need to empty from underneath the floor level. 

Installation of the Cinderella is straightforward and the company provides an installation kit with each unit, including two pipes for in-coming and outgoing air. Just as the ashes are free of harmful bacteria, the air released outside is free of all noxious gases. 

Recently receiving two 2019 Good Design Awards for Engineering Design and Product Design, Hardware and Building, Rachel Wye, general manager of Good Design Australia commended the Cinderella Incineration Toilet as a standout, saying it was ‘chosen among a high calibre of submissions received across 10 main design disciplines and 28 sub-categories’.

Not only is the Cinderella Incineration Toilet a practical and pleasant answer to sanitary needs in water-scarce areas, it is also an environmentally-friendly solution for those who care about sustainable living. The product is an excellent example of innovation to come from around the globe and is available for specific applications in Australia. 

Caroma semi outdoor bathroom
The semi-outdoor bathroom is generally characterised by its eco-friendly elements, sliding or bi-fold glass doors.
Photo: Caroma
botanical bathrooms
The Cinderella Incineration Toilet is an award-winning, environmentally-friendly and waterless waste solution.
Photo: Cinderella Eco Group

All outdoors

At the upper end of the scale is the all outdoors bathroom. This term refers to poolside showering facilities, outdoor bathtubs, and other open-air styles of bathing suites. In these open outdoor spaces, there are a number of design elements to consider to ensure the space is as safe and durable as it is beautiful. 

Using integrated features helps to keep the space accessible and functional during use but safe and versatile when not in use. Stream-lined designer grates have become a popular feature in wet areas, particularly in bathroom spaces where linear drainage is used for open shower concepts. Stormtech, an award-winning Australian company established in 1989, has brought a fresh feel to this market with its newly-released line of metallic finishes. 

Inspired by emerging global colour trends and growing interest in metallic finishes, the warm metal colours of black, bronze, brass and copper can add a unique architectural finish to any bathroom design, complementing tapware and other accessories. As a durable and seamless drainage option with an iridescent quality, the new metallic designer grates and drains are designed to suit a variety of design aesthetics and applications, and can be applied to a range of drainage solutions. 

Adding luxurious detail to a space, Stormtech’s full range of architectural grates and drains are designed and manufactured in Australia and can be produced to custom lengths. The all outdoors bathroom requires extra attention to detail in planning and construction to ensure it is tough enough to withstand the natural elements, so Stormtech is helping give durability a designer look. 

All Stormtech products are WaterMark certified and, with a proud commitment to eco-friendly design, Stormtech says it offers the only linear drainage product in the world with Global GreenTag certification.

Stormtech designs and manufactures high-quality architectural grates and drains in standard or custom sizing options. With solutions for residential and commercial projects, as well as specialty facilities, Stormtech products are adaptable for both new construction and retrofit-ting during renovation. 

With plenty of products and systems embracing the outdoor trend, how likely are we to see these bathrooms in Australian homes in the coming years? 

HIA member builder Michael Lane, owner of Lane Group, says it depends as much on the client as it does on the location: ‘Having an out-side bath is becoming a luxurious experience and it’s all about providing an experience to the client, particularly with high-end boutique clients,’ he says. 

But it’s certainly not limited to the tropics. Michael recently built a series of outdoor baths in Tasmania and predicts they might soon also become popular in the snow fields, saying ‘it’s quite nice to sit in a hot bath where it’s freezing cold outside’.

One thing is certain: the market for outdoor bathrooms, in all shapes and sizes, is blooming. With the range of nature-oriented systems and products available to builders, it’s easier than ever to create that botanical bathroom bliss homeowners want without needing to leave the home. 

This article was compiled with contributions from Caroma, Cinderella Eco Group and Stormtech.

botanical bathrooms
At the upper end of the scale is the all outdoors bathroom, such as poolside showering facilities and outdoor bathtubs.
Photo: Lane Group
botanical bathrooms
The all outdoors bathroom requires extra attention to detail in planning and construction to ensure it is tough enough to withstand the natural elements, so Stormtech is helping give durability a designer look. 
Photo: Stormtech

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