In today’s market, many consumers are looking to personalize their homes without having to invest in a major renovation. And, since the bathroom is generally the smallest room in the house – yet a space where luxury touches are most sought after – this makes it the ideal place for adding accessories to give the space a more upscale and updated look and feel.
Perhaps because of its smaller square footage, the bath is one room where the details are absolutely essential. That means whether it’s a multi-tier heated towel warmer or a single tiny robe hook, both form and function will be carefully reviewed to make sure they add the polish, style and ease of use that clients require.
Towel bars, toilet paper holders, robe hooks, shelves and towel warmers are some of the most popular bathroom accessories being given a style update. But it doesn’t stop there.
“Matching toilet levers and soap/lotion dispensers are two of the more popular, newer accessories that have entered the scene,” says Ed Detgen, v.p. of marketing for Danze in Woodridge, IL.
There has also been an increased demand for specialized shower renovation fixtures to create a “spa-like” experience inside the shower by utilizing the existing showerhead outlets. “Adding finishing details in all the right places, such as fittings and accessories, decorative angle stops, supply valves/tubes, grab bars and P-traps can make a big difference in the look and feel of the space,” says Larry Brodey, CEO of Jaclo Industries in Cranford, NJ.
While the attention to these small details adds to the atmosphere, Fred Salati, director, Amba Products in Atlanta, GA, says the emphasis for bathrooms today is on functional simplicity. “Innovative, functional, yet relaxing seem to be the key elements associated with bathroom accessories and hardware,” he says.
He also notes an interest in multi-functional accessories, such as Amba’s Quadro Collection of dual-purpose towel warmers that not only function as a towel warmer, but also act as a space heater, “bringing continuous heat to the bathroom,” according to Salati.
Erin Mitmoen, marketing communications coordinator for Warmly Yours in Lake Zurich, IL, agrees, citing interesting in the company’s new Infinity Towel Warmer. “I’m sure the increase in the sales of smaller ticket items is a side effect of the economy,” she notes.
“Products growing in popularity are those that offer functionality and can help save money, while maintaining a style that can fit a certain taste or mood,” Salati offers.
And those tastes seem to be leaning toward clean and simple lines. “Rather than standing out on their own, hardware pieces should be subtle and fit into the design to enhance the overall aesthetic,” explains Billy Peele, spokesperson for Doug Mockett & Co. in Manhattan Beach, CA. “The biggest influence on the move back to basics is getting away from the excess of the last five or six years. Hardware in recent years incorporated a lot of wild and loud designs that shouted, ‘Look at me!’ and we have since moved toward a more traditional style.”
Homeowners are looking for ways to incorporate accessories that provide that added element of luxury, notes Michael Kornowa, director of marketing, MTI Whirlpools in Sugar Hill, GA. “Adding wood accents to the bath has become an emerging design trend, as wood adds warmth and creates a spa-like feel,” he reports. MTI Whirlpools features a line of teak accessory products that introduce an organic element to the bath.
Traditional may still be strong, but indications are that transitional styling is on the move. According to recent market research conducted by Toto USA, transitional design continues to flourish and will accelerate as homeowners update their traditional residences with design elements that have clean, simple, elegant lines.