No longer just a utilitarian space, today’s bathroom can be a place of luxury and convenience. Achieving this is a matter of keeping up with the latest and greatest design elements. Last month’s Kitchen and Bath Industry show, where over 1,000 exhibitors released new products, gave us a peak into this year’s trends. Read on to find out the top five.
1. HIGH-TECH TWISTS
Keep cold beverages on-hand with Robern’s latest medicine cabinet. A portion of it includes refrigeration—also perfect for nail polish, or organic skin products (with no preservatives), or medications that need to be kept cold.
Kohler’s DTV shower was introduced last year, but the latest version is fully loaded. It features a control system for the shower with functions like water pressure and temperature, but also chromatherapy (from above), steam, and a built in stereo system, all controlled from a LCD screen that can be mounted on the wall.
MTI brings music to bathers’ ears with its Stereo H2O—a built-in stereo system. Controlled from a remote amplifier that can be placed inside a cabinet and connected to CD or MP3 players, the sound is broadcast through the tub walls, with no visual speakers. Also available from MTI are radiant heating pads that can also be built-in; so what looks like a simple tub is actually a spa-like escape.
2. WATER-SAVING FIXTURES
With the introduction of the government’s WaterSense label (similar to Energy Star), manufacturers are getting smart about reducing toilet and faucet water use.
Caroma, an Australian company, was one of the first to offer dual flush technology, which allows for two different flushing options: .8 and 1.6 gallons per flush. And now almost all of the large toilet manufacturers offer dual-flush toilets. Caroma has 31 different models (shown is the Adelaide Cube).
Homeowners can easily and affordably save water by installing low-flow aerators on new and existing faucets. Kohler’s version features a 1.5 gpm flow rate, a 30 percent reduction over 2.2 gpm models.
The company’s Tripoint Touchless Electronic Faucet (shown) utilizes an activation sensor that saves water by keeping false activations to a minimum.
This showerhead offers traditional looks combined with forward-thinking technology. The water-efficient fixture with H2Okinetic Technology® from Delta uses only 1.6 gpm as opposed to the standard 2.5 gpm. The technology manages the water droplet size and velocity, spray coverage and thermal dynamics, delivering the feeling of a standard showerhead at a lower flow. Approx. $50; Delta
3. SEAMLESS LOOKS
Keeping fixtures and storage undercover allows for a clean, minimalist look, similar to that of a spa.
Here, the BenchToilet, by designer Troy Adams for Julien, provides a decorative solution for hiding away the toilet. It incorporates a sliding exotic wood panel concealing the fixture and doubling as a powder room bench.
Sundeck, the latest whirlpool tub from Duravit, can go anywhere in the home. A cover is designed to keep warm water in while concealing the tub and offering a surface to lay on, and when not in use, to be used as a headrest for bathers.
Part of the Piu-Due collection from VitrA, this cabinet revolves 180-degrees for easy storage access when open and a clean look when closed.
4. UNIVERSAL DESIGN
Walk-in tubs, shower seats, and towel bars are not only functional, but they can be stylish too.
Walk-in tubs like this one from Oceania, allow people with reduced mobility to enjoy bathing. The Serenite model is available with an air bath system, great for getting the circulation going for users with diabetes or other circulatory problems.
Nine-inch designer hand grips from Home Care by Moen can be easily installed near hazard zones for added convenience. Available in both chrome and brushed nickel, the contemporary look allows for easy integration into any bath design.
Bristol and Bath’s foldaway seat is ideal for showers with limited space. Available with or without a seat back or shower wall bar, it is made of stainless steel and opaque acrylic and hangs only 3½ inches out from the wall when closed.
5. NATURE-INSPIRED TILES
With bathroom suites getting simpler, tile can offer a decorative backdrop. Nature-inspired designs, like this one from collection, can serve as artwork for the bathroom.
With a name meaning “cherry blossom” in Japanese, Ann Sacks’ Sakura collection represents the beauty of the changing seasons. The tiles are sold as a set.
Walker Zanger’s Mizu Umi line’s bamboo tiles are ideal for creating a spa-like atmosphere. What’s also unique about the collection is the large scale—each tile measures 24 inches.
Another popular trend is metal tile, also available from the two previous companies. Dal-Tile’s Metal Fusion line combines ceramic tile with metallic granules for a chic, industrial-meets-natural look.