Forget booking an expensive spa day. According to designers and builders, today’s bathroom trends let you get five-star treatment all at home. There are steam showers and expansive soaking tubs. The floors are heated, and aromatherapy oils are infused into the water. There are even heated towel racks.
As Kyle Arruda, lead designer at MBA Builders, put it, “People are looking for that relaxing space in their own homes to pamper themselves and practice self-care.”
That’s not all homeowners want, though. We spoke to five designers, architects, and builders about what’s trending in bathroom design. Here’s what they said.
Pros say that homeowners have become more focused on health-related features—particularly since the pandemic.
“Healthy home features have become in demand for every area of a house, especially bathrooms,” says Lee Crowder, national director of design and model experience at Taylor Morrison. “Innovative healthy home technology can span myriad items from filtration systems for water and air, exhaust fans with LED lighting that kills germs, motion-sense faucets that are no-touch, and automatic opening appliances.”
Consumers also want easy-to-clean floors, counters, and antimicrobial surfaces and fixtures that reduce germ spread.
Leveled-Up Counters and Cabinets
According to Arruda, “Buyers are looking for as much counter space and storage as possible.”
That means double vanities, large cabinets, and a system for keeping things as organized and clutter-free as possible.
“It’s popular to install built-in electrical outlets and charging stations in bathroom cabinets,” Crowder says. “This helps free up counter space without cords and allows you to plug in hair appliances from inside the cabinets.”
Crowder says some consumers even request minifridges in their cabinets for storing face creams, cooled rollers, and higher-end beauty products. Open shelving is also a popular ask and can be a good way to display these items, too, she says.
The bathroom doesn’t seem like it’d be one of the more high-tech areas of the home, but according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, 21% of bathroom renovations include some sort of tech element.
Though bathroom tech ranges widely, connected mirrors and scales, heated flooring, water conservation technology, humidity detectors, and motion-sensor lighting are a few of the requests pros are getting these days. Heated towel racks are also popular and can make the home more sustainable.
“Integrating elements like a heated towel rack is not necessarily about having a hot towel after getting out of the shower as much as it is about drying your towel quickly and extending the lifetime between washes,” says Anthony Carrino, vice president of design at Welcome Homes. “With consumers becoming more focused on green elements in the home, trying to waste less water and do less laundry, the heated towel rack comes in handy.”
High-tech showers are another top draw. They can even let owners customize shower experiences for each member of the household.
“Smart, spa-like showers with voice activation and individual presets that can be created uniquely for each user are in demand,” says Alexa Drees Walker, design center director at Drees Homes. “Buyers want all of the features: rain shower, handhelds, and extra shower heads to make their everyday showering experience anything but mundane.”
An Experience, Not Just a Room
At the end of the day, experts say, homeowners are looking for their bathrooms to offer more than just a functional space to bathe or get ready in the morning.
“Customers think of the primary bath as their sanctuary,” says Amber Shay, national vice president of design studios at Meritage Homes. “Buyers now want higher-end, hotel-like bathrooms to create a relaxing retreat in their homes.”