For decades after indoor plumbing swept the nation in the early 1900s, bathrooms remained essentially the same. Despite updates in décor, the standard toilet, sink and shower tub reigned supreme. Now, we’re about to see a revolutionary new trend in bathroom evolution.
The High-Tech Bathroom
Since 2000, the smart technology trend has become increasingly popular for use in the home. From programmable thermostats to automated landscape lighting, homeowners (and homebuyers) love technologies that save money, protect the environment, improve safety and comfort, and are just plain cool.
While many people associate smart technology with other areas of the home, more and more high-tech products are becoming available for the bathroom as well. Here are some of the newest high-tech bathroom trends coming your way.
Touchless Bathroom Technology
We’ve seen automatic faucets and toilets in public places for decades, but now they’re becoming popular in homes as well. Touchless operation eliminates or greatly reduces the likelihood of germ transmission in the bathroom. Touchless faucets are easy to use, and because they shut off automatically when the hands are retracted, they may save water, too.
The humble commode has come a long way lately. After decades of basic flushers, the cutting-edge models on the market today feature all sorts of technological amenities. Some of these include:
- Motion-sensing toilets. As mentioned above, touchless toilets are far more hygienic than conventional ones. And they eliminate the embarrassment of the “forgot-to-flush” syndrome, especially for families with kids and seniors. In addition to automatic flushing, some toilet motion sensors can be programmed to automatically raise or lower the lid, eliminating many a marital dispute. Motion-sensing equipment can be added inexpensively to any toilet.
- Toilet seat warmers. No more bracing to sit on the pot on a cold winter’s day. A heated toilet seat is the perfect solution.
- Paperless toilets. Bidet-style toilets have long been popular in Asia, and more recently in Europe. Now, they’re hitting the States, and many are embracing them as a more hygienic, eco-friendly toilet option. While fancy bidet toilets with all the bells and whistles run into the thousands, you can outfit your bathroom with a basic model for well under $500.
Spa-Like Bathroom Amenities
In addition to the high-tech movement, there’s another trend that is affecting how we view and interact with our homes. It’s the desire for a more holistic, relaxed and natural way of life.
Like a miniature spa, bathroom time provides the opportunity to retreat for a while into one’s own world. It becomes a little sanctuary where the simple acts of applying makeup or taking a bath can become rejuvenating rituals that empower us to tackle the day ahead, or let us wind down into a state of peace at day’s end.
No wonder so many new bathroom technologies available today are designed not just to save water and energy, but also to comfort the body and satisfy the soul. Let’s take a look at a few of today’s trending high-tech bathroom features.
- Soaking tubs — Showers are great for a quick clean, but there’s nothing like settling into a steaming hot tub if you want to truly relax. Remember those wonderful, deep cast iron Victorian bathtubs that let you float away into tranquility? The stand-alone soaking tub is the modern version, updated with clean, Japanese-inspired design.
- Rainfall showerheads — If tubs aren’t your style, you might prefer to opt for a rainfall showerhead, for what some claim to be the most relaxing shower experience ever.
- Mood-enhancing lighting — Chromatherapy, or colored light therapy, is a popular healing modality that is supposed to help balance mind and body. Some manufacturers are now incorporating lighting technology into LCD shower panels and other bathroom amenities. You can also outfit your bathroom with daylight-matched LED bulbs, or even illuminate your toilet bowl for an unusual night-light effect.
- Aromatherapy — Essential oils are relaxing and invigorating for mind and body. Choose a countertop diffuser, or get an aromatherapy attachment for your shower.
- Refrigeration — A hot soak can be dehydrating, so why not keep your favorite beverage at your fingertips? A refrigerated bathroom cabinet makes it possible. They’re also great for extending the life of preservative-free cosmetics and body care items.
- Bathroom TVs — Yes, you now can get waterproof wide-screen TVs that will withstand bathroom conditions. For some, this may be the ultimate use of technology in the bathroom.
Whether you love technology for its money-saving or environmental potential, or because it makes life more pleasant or is just plain fun, you’re sure to find a high-tech bathroom feature to suit!