Bathing Trends

Most everyone starts and ends their day in the bathroom. Routines vary; some are morning showerers, some are night showerers, but activities like dental hygiene, applying and removing makeup and other personal grooming habits are constant. It makes sense that one of the rooms people judge a house by is the bathroom. When they spend so much time in there, why not take a critical look at it?

Manufacturers, in particular, are embracing the bells and whistles of bathroom amenities. People who like to sing along to music while in the bathroom don’t need to take up precious counter space with a radio anymore; they can get a showerhead, called the Moxie, from Kohler, Wis.-based Kohler Co. with an integrated Bluetooth-enabled speaker and sync their electronic devices to it. “It’s hard to open a publication lately without seeing a new product that will sync with your phone or MP3 player,” says Leslie Bronson, Kohler’s product manager for Moxie. “We thought bringing that into the shower would be another way to bring music into your life.”

Once reserved for computer geeks and nerds, technology has made its way into every room in the house. Science’s far-reaching arms have extended to faucets and showerheads. For example, Indianapolis-based Delta Faucet Co.’s Touch2O Technology allows users to turn faucets on or off anywhere on the spout or handle, eliminating the need to touch faucets while hands are messy. Originally launched for kitchen faucets in 2008, the company saw a demand for the same technology in its bathroom faucets. Taking it one step further, the next generation, Touch2O.xt technology, has a 4-in. sensing field around the entire faucet so when the handle is moved to an on position, the faucet responds when a user enters the sensing field. Water shuts off quickly after hands are removed from the field.

Manufacturer Moen, North Olmsted, Ohio, developed ioDigital, an interface that gives consumers the ability to set and maintain water temperature and flow with electronic precision. The interface is available in its vertical spa, shower and Roman tubs. Once consumers set their water temperature and delivery method, they can revisit the digital device, press a button and recreate it.

For the water-conscious consumers and those who live in water-restricted areas, low-flow showerheads and other water-efficient fixtures don’t translate into a diminished experience. Years of research and testing has ensured a low-flow toilet maintains a powerful flush, faucets expel enough water and showerheads have a strong stream. Danze Inc., for example, has a showerhead that injects air directly into the showerhead engine, which increases water velocity and shower spray intensity, softens the feel of the shower spray by trapping air bubbles in the water stream and maintains water temperature. The technology allows users to save up to 20 percent on their water use compared to traditional showerheads.

With the aging baby boomer population, universal design also is making a big statement. No longer do people who want to stay in their homes as long as possible need to submit themselves to a bathroom that resembles a medical facility. Grab bars, low- or no-threshold showers and other universal design items are stylish, trendy and offer many design options while ensuring the safety of the home’s residents.