Over the years, the bathroom has transformed from a utilitarian space to a haven in the home, a place to relax and recharge with water experiences that soothe and excite the senses. No wonder homeowners with remodel plans are looking to blend spa-like amenities with their unique visions of comfort and style in the bathroom.
Luxury is about more than just style; it’s also about value. After all, many of the most luxurious materials on the planet–diamonds, gold and marble–are also extremely durable and timeless. And because consumers are looking at their homes in new ways–many refocusing on a longer-term commitment–they’re planning spaces that will continue to deliver luxury and style many years down the road.
The bathroom as spa
Spa visits continue to be plenty popular across the U.S., in large part thanks to their stress-reducing, health-boosting benefits. And now homeowners are looking for ways to recreate that experience at home. Because spacious master suites with features like radiant heated floors are almost standard in today’s upscale homes, designers are seeking even more new ways to add comfort and value to the bath.
Extra deep tubs, soaking and air baths, once only found in a day spa, allow you to fully immerse yourself in tiny, effervescent bubbles. In fact, many of the bathing technologies, from whirlpool jets to chromatherapy, have made their way into the home bath. For a truly unique experience, the VibrAcoustic™ bath sends ambient, sound-wave vibrations through the water, offering what may be the ultimate in deep relaxation.
Homeowners who want something special but who prefer showers to baths are opting for custom showers that combine a series of showerheads and bodysprays mounted on the walls and ceiling. There is even the option for electronic controls, allowing the user to preset sprays, temperature, music, steam and water use. The result is a highly personalized therapeutic experience–a relaxing break from the mental and physical stresses of the day.
The look of luxury
If you’ve ever spent time in a high-end hotel, you know just how luxurious their bathrooms can be. Savvy homeowners are taking notes on products and features that strike their fancy, making every detail a potential item for the bathroom wish list.
Elegant vessels sinks and upholstered chaise lounges are making their way from high-rise hotels to homes. Stylish wood vanities and elegant lighting that would look at home anywhere in the house are replacing store-bought cabinetry and medicine cabinets. Cappuccino makers and mini-refrigerators are even being installed right into walls or cabinets.
Homeowners are also choosing materials and finishes that enhance the overall look of the space, but also provide lifetime value. Natural stone, gold finishes, honed surfaces and handcrafted tiles are being combined to create stunning visuals with durable appeal. Glass is also growing in popularity–for sinks, floors, counters and toilet enclosures–it’s a sleek and eye-catching alternative to traditional materials.
Sound and vision
The days of listening to music in the shower by way of radio are long gone. Now, waterproof controls and speakers bring music directly into the shower. Complete home theater systems with plasma TVs and surround sound are practically becoming the norm in luxury homes. And they’re being installed in some rather ingenious ways.
Even more modest home improvement budgets are taking advantage of the lower cost of smaller flat screen TVs and are tucking them away with DVD players into vanities and medicine cabinets. No matter your budget, adding little luxuries to the bathroom, whether high-tech or purely aesthetic, can make a huge difference in terms of your experience. Experts say consider what it is you want most for your bathroom and shift your priorities accordingly. For example, if the floor of your existing bath is in decent shape, maybe you’ll opt to spend more on a bidet-function toilet seat or towel warmer rather than new tile.
Achieving your personal vision for a luxurious bath can be extremely rewarding–but make sure the space you plan will satisfy you in the long term. With smart planning and time spent exploring your options, you’ll be well on the road to success.