It’s no secret that master bathrooms are getting more luxurious. Just check out the spalike, home oases featured on Instagram or Pinterest.
But those are just the beginning. Now accent walls, anti-fog mirrors, and smart toilets are just a few of the more surprising bathroom trends of 2019 that are sweeping the nation, according a recent study by Houzz.
The home remodeling and design site surveyed 1,361 Houzz users this summer. Participants were homeowners who have either finished a master bathroom remodel or addition within the past 12 months or plan to start one this year.
“The general goal is to create a sanctuary, a private retreat for at least two people,” says Nino Sitchinava, the principal economist of Houzz. “They want their master bath to be functional. They want it to be useful because they use it multiple times a day. But they also want it to be beautiful.”
The long-favored contemporary-styled washrooms, with clean, harder lines, appears to be on the way out. But transitional, which combines elements of different styles, and more minimalist modern are in.
Homeowners spent a median $8,000 renovating their master bathrooms, according to Houzz. That’s up 14% from the previous year. And once those improvements are made, they want an organized bathroom they can relax in.
“The cost of products and materials are increasing, and [that’s] driving up the average cost of a bathroom remodel,” says Sitchinava.
What are the most popular bathroom upgrades of 2019?
So what are they spending all that money on? First off, more than half of those undergoing a remodel have increased the size of their showers, doing so within the existing overall footprint of the room. And about a quarter of homeowners got rid of their bathtub to do so.
“I’m seeing the trend of ditching the bathtub and making a larger shower instead. People find that more practical,” says interior designer Carole Marcotte of Form and Function in Raleigh, NC. She was not involved in the study. “It’s using the square footage more wisely of the shower.”
That’s likely because as homeowners get older, they start thinking more about aging in place. Older baby boomers may be worried about climbing in and out of a tub and want a shower they can simply walk into that’s large enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair down the line.
Plus many renovators are buying older homes with cramped showers, says Sitchinava. So they want to expand their showers to make them more inviting.
About a third of homeowners are also making those showers special with accent walls to help them stand out. About 15% added those walls inside of the shower, while 20% placed them outside of the shower. Patterns as well as different materials and colors were the most popular way to create the accent walls.
“An accent wall can bring a lot of personal touch into the room: a master bathroom that reflects their personal style,” says Sitchinava.
Toilets are going high-tech
In addition, homeowners want their toilets to go as high-tech as the rest of their home. About a third of remodelers added johns with smarter features such as self-cleaning options, bidets, heated seats, overflow protection, and built-in night lights (so you never miss in the middle of the night). That’s up 6% from the previous year.
The smarter toilet trend comes from Japan, where bidets are popular. Plus adding a bidet feature to a bowl is an affordable luxury, as they can be found for a few hundred dollars.
“There are a lot of aspects of higher-tech toilets that introduce convenience into homeowners’ lives,” says Sitchinava.
The less exciting, but essential, bathroom upgrades
Palatial showers, splashy accent walls, and even bidets add something special to most bathrooms. But improved medicine cabinets, mirrors, and lighting can also add a sense of serenity or luxury.
Medicine cabinets are going more upscale, with about 40% of homeowners opting for custom or semicustom units. These upgraded cabinets may have their own lighting and hidden electrical plugs (handy to heat up the curling iron while the hair dryer is plugged into the wall).
“Medicine cabinets are important storage features,” says Sitchinava. “You can hide a lot of clutter and other important things you need.”
Mirrors are also enjoying their own moment. Homeowners are increasingly installing double mirrors to go with their double sinks. They have nifty, new features like anti-fog systems, LED lighting, and hidden electrical plugs.
Finally, folks trying to re-create that spa experience are making sure their lighting is up to par. Recessed and shower lights are popular. And some remodelers looking for a little extra oomph are also installing chandeliers (fancy!) and pendant lighting. Metal and glass lighting are the most popular fixtures.
“Lighting is very important to set the style and beauty of the room as well for functionality,” says Sitchinava.
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