Bathroom Trends

The 2011 Kitchen and Bath Show revealed several new bathroom trends.

Bathroom Trends

Photo: Flickr

Home spas, water conservation and ornamental accessories on a budget are some of the bathroom trends being spotted by experts today.

“People want to get that spa retreat feel out of their bathrooms,” says Mark Karas, president-elect of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, which owns the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show and Conference, the largest gathering of kitchen and bath suppliers, designers and ideas. “They’re looking for that soaking tub separate from a shower. That’s the ultimate.”

At the same time, Karas says, homeowners are very interested in saving water for financial and environmental benefits. And while they still want quality hardware and sophisticated styles, homeowners are being more selective with where they spend their money.

“Everybody is budget-conscious today,” says Karas. “But the number-one thing people want is good design.”

The In-Home Spa
Having a free-standing tub and a separate shower is the ultimate in bathroom luxury for many, says Karas. Bathtubs that are long and deep provide the greatest escape, and whirlpool jets can make bathing a transformative experience. The Aveo freestanding bathtub by Villeroy & Boch, for example, uses a simple, contoured design to evoke tranquility and comfort. The tub is thirty seven inches wide and seventy five inches (more than six feet) long, which means you don’t just soak, you lounge.

Multiple showerheads make a shower luxurious today. The Techno M3 series showerhead from Cifial USA comes with six individual body sprays, including a handheld shower spray. The ioDIGITAL Vertical Spa from Moen adds technology to the equation to enhance your shower experience. In addition to multiple showerheads, it allows you to set water pressure and temperature to your exact specifications. Once you find your favorite setting, it can be saved for future use. LED indicators on the LCD screen tell you when you have reached your perfect water temperature, which means the days of stepping into a shower that’s too cold or too hot are gone. And because you can program up to four presets, you and your loved ones can have an individualized shower experience.

That warm shower feels so good it can be hard to step out of the stall. A towel warmer can make that transition less jarring. If price had held you off from this luxury, consider a Myson Pearl Tower Warmer. These units, which are plugged in the wall, start at $200. Not only will it warm your towel, it can quickly dry delicate clothing and reduce bathroom moisture, mildew and musty odors, as well as heat the room.

Water-Saving Solutions
While the multi-spray shower is the ultimate in shower luxury, it is not the best choice if water conservation is your goal. “More and more, the new shower products have low-flow heads on them, so you’re still getting what feels like a lot of water at fewer gallons per minute,” Karas says.

The Moen Nurture three-setting showerhead flows at 1.75 gallons per minute, which is less than the industry standard 2.5 gallons and with a thirty percent water savings. Its spiral-patterned spray face ensures full-body coverage.

Delta relies on H20kinetic technology to make a low-flow showerhead feel like much more. H20kinetic, found on many of its showerheads, uses larger droplets of water, which retain heat longer, and a dense spray pattern for “drenching coverage.” The technology is found on its six-spray shower system, meaning you can get the spa shower while using less water.

Toilet water conservation has come far from the days when homeowners were advised to put a brick in the reservoir to use less water with each flush. Dual flush, which has been used around the world for decades, is finally becoming mainstream in the United States. The Gerber Ultra Dual Flush gives users the options of two different kinds of flushes: the 1.1-gallon option is for light or liquid usage, and the 1.6-gallon flush is for solid waste. “When you consider that we’ve gone from three gallons, which used to be the standard, to 1.6, that’s a good savings,” Karas says.

Sustainability and green building, which was once touted as a “new” design choice, has thoroughly infiltrated bathroom trends. Dupont Zodiaq countertops, for example, are made from twenty-five percent recycled glass. The Wintergreen model features glass three-dimensionally suspended in light green quartz.

For combining eco-friendly solutions with outstanding design, consider a vanity made from Kirei Board. This conversation piece is made from a wood substitute of reclaimed sorghum straw and no-added-formaldehyde adhesive. It’s available for cabinetry and countertops. Kirei also manufactures a line of tile made from reclaimed coconut shells as well as bamboo light fixtures.

Metallic design schemes are also popular with bath designers today. Metallic tiles add high-end shine to a bathroom, but they can be pricey. To get the effect without breaking the bank, add a few signature pieces into your tile work, Karas says. Metaltec Innovations offers six-inch by six-inch 3D textured metal tiles featuring designs such as starfish and conch. If you have your own artistic vision, the company can turn your design into a custom tile. Newly popular metals have also found their way to the once-lowly bathroom sink. Linkasink’s Pantheon sink, made of bronze, is reminiscent of the geometric pattern found on the Pantheon in Rome. Other designs include botanical, wing, and brocade.

Using black and white as a color scheme is a popular trend in kitchens now being extended to the bath. The Kaldewei Luxxo Duo Oval bathtub is 75 inches long and 39 inches wide with a slick, shiny black surface. Dupont Zodiaq Terra Collection features “Licorice,” a black solid surface made from twenty-five percent recycled glass in a black quartz base, which is available in either a two- or three- centimeter thickness and it can be used for vanities, countertops or as a backsplash.