Today's homeowners are increasingly expecting their bathrooms to mirror some of the spa-like features that were previously seen only in hotels, resorts and luxury vacation rentals.
Home television shows and websites like Better Homes and Gardens (bhg.com), ElleDecor.com and Houzz.com have showcased these once aspirational luxuries, while technical advances have made them more attainable.
With the baby boomer population among the most active of renovating groups, those wanting to remain in their current homes longer have an eye toward safety and accessibility, but also luxury and style when upgrading their bathrooms.
Here are some of the latest features transforming modern bathrooms.
On a cold morning, nothing would be more pleasant than reaching for a warm towel as you step out of the tub or shower. To help make your bathroom feel more like a luxury spa, a heated towel warmer keeps towels at just the right temperature for optimal comfort. If you don’t have enough space for a towel warming drawer or cabinet in your bathroom, space-saving towel warmer racks are also available. Some are free-standing, while others are wall-mounted.
Another option for warming up on a cold morning is to install a heated bathroom floor. Radiant floor heating can supplement your home's overall heating system, making you feel warmer when standing on a tiled floor in January. Because these systems warm objects and people in a room, radiant floor heating systems are more energy efficient than conventional forced-air. In fact, more people are comfortable with radiant floor heating at a lower thermostat setting than with forced-air heating at a higher thermostat setting.
From mirrors with automatic, built-in LED lighting options or fog resistance to magic-like mirrors incorporating built-in clocks, TV panels or digital assistant-connected features, the bathroom mirror has gone way beyond a simple place to shave or check your look. Bathroom mirrors with automatic sensors light up as your face approaches the mirror. Some high-tech mirrors include touch-screen controls, some are controlled by remotes while others are responsive to voice commands. If it's connected to an advanced security system, you can use a smart bathroom mirror to check who's at the front door while brushing your teeth. With a smart mirror that connects to the internet, you can watch tutorials on your favorite makeup app while getting ready for that big date. You can also check the news and weather or tell your digital assistant to turn on your coffee maker while you're fixing your hair. The latest mirror features make all your simple grooming tasks easier.
Homeowners with the space and resources are increasingly choosing to separate the bathtub from the shower, opting for a much larger and more stylish soaking tub. While whirlpool-type spa tubs are not as popular as they have been in recent years, larger tubs for luxury bathrooms — disconnected from the shower — are considered much more desirable.
As showers are increasingly separated from tubs in modern bathrooms, curbless showers with linear drains are gaining in popularity. A curbless entrance makes showers easily accessible for all ages and abilities, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. They can also accommodate a freestanding bench, wheelchair or other mobility aid because they require no center drain where water may pool or make users feel unbalanced. Usually located against the edge or back of the shower, linear drains are more hygienic, as they are most often designed with larger format tiles, reducing grout joints and seals where mold, mildew and grime can accumulate. Because of the larger tiles and the elimination of a center drain, more diverse materials can be used, including ceramic, porcelain or stone tiles, plus a range of solid surface materials like marble, granite or engineered stone products.