By Rieva Lesonsky
Remodeling is going down the toilet—and that’s a good thing. After a hard day’s work, homeowners want to relax and wash the day away in luxurious, larger and more functional bathrooms. A recent National Association of Home Builders survey found that bathroom remodeling projects are up 17 percent in the past few years and that bathroom revamps have become the most common remodeling job. A survey by Better Homes and Gardens magazine concluded the same—more remodeling projects these days are bathroom-related rather than kitchen-related. Good news for America’s contractors, remodelers and designers, who can help homeowners create the bathroom spaces of their dreams.
Hot bathroom remodeling trends include knocking down walls to make spaces larger and adding separate showers, deep double sinks, dual mirrors, and adjustable vanities. Shower options range from a rainfall showerhead and massaging shower streams to steaming and automatic temperature controls. Extras include surround-sound entertainment systems, speakers built into the showerhead, and flat-screen TVs built into the mirror or shower/tub wall. Homeowners are also including furniture like lounge chairs, fireplaces, heated tile flooring, refrigerated cabinets (for drinks or toiletries) and more.
In addition to seeking more space and greater luxury, older homeowners are also remodeling with an eye to aging, adding more space and safety features so they can get in and out of the bathroom, shower, and tub more easily—and stay in their homes longer.
“Green” bathrooms are another booming trend. A survey from the American Institute of Architects shows consumers want LED lighting and water-saving toilets. Countertops can be made from recycled glass and cement, often sold by wholesalers who advertise zero-waste manufacturing. Other earth-friendly practices include using repurposed wood cabinets, adding skylights for natural lighting, and installing touchless faucets and solar-powered hand sensors. Water heating accounts for 19 percent of home energy use, so the less energy your clients need to heat water the more money they’ll save. Insulating pipes and water heaters and adding a recirculation pump system helps minimize heat loss and thus energy use.
Design-wise, vintage accents in bathrooms are a popular trend. Consumers want antique vanities and sinks—or at least fixtures and accents that appear vintage. Synthetic materials weren’t available in the early part of the 20th century, so stone, tile, brick and wood are good choices for period-style floors, walls and cabinetry. White subway-style wall tile and hexagonal-tile flooring were also popular during that time period.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.