The New Millennium Bath The New Millennium Bath

Technological advances in the bath industry provide an ever-growing market. From acrylic tubs with contoured headrests to portable aroma spa therapy, the bathroom has become a place of luxury, relaxation, and recreation.

Growing Demand

With the rising costs of health care, more and more Baby Boomers want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Fueled by this need, Boomers are willing to spend more money on luxuries that will help them age gracefully as they renovate their current residences to fit their aging needs.

Universally designed bathrooms are a hot item this year. With 28.1 million Americans 65 or older and 34 million Americans over the age of 65, the need to provide safe and functional bathrooms is a growing necessity.

Generation X has also begun to embrace the American Dream. With 951 million dollars in discretionary funds, 83% Generation X will remodel this year.

New Technology

Cutting edge products, convenience, and comfort are the drivers of today's bathroom market. Consumers are becoming more educated about bath products; they want certain convenience items incorporated into the privacy of their homes.

Multiple shower heads with a range of sprays from massage to pulsating, oversized shower benches, grab bars, offset drains, extended lavatories, hand-held showers, heated toilet seats, grip rails, open shower seating, and safety rails are all combinations of safety and convenience that Americans are willing to pay for.

Could you imagine calling your home from the car, entering a personalized code and having your bathtub fill to a pre-programmed temperature and level? This feature is already available today. Many luxury whirlpools, tubs, and showers are already equipped with stereo systems, televisions, VCRs, and telephones for a combination of relaxation and personalization.

Pressure balancing is also a hot new trend. New products in the market allow individuals to program the exact temperature of their bathing water.

Studies have shown that the majority of people are taking longer baths; that might be why a hot trend in the bathroom industry is the air massage or air jet tubs. With between 35 and 70 air jets to choose from, a heated liner, and speed pump supports for multiple users, this tub is the ultimate getaway after a hard day.

New millennium bathrooms are being created and personalized with convenience in mind, such as built-in hairdryers offered in various wattages, colors, and finishes. Other features that will be seen in new millennium baths are electric defogging devices for mirrors.

New toilet technology with ventilation systems that eliminate 98% of toilet odor; solar reflective tubes providing even, balanced lighting without the problems of skylights. Another option is portable modular furniture, which is available in all options and finishes.

Planning Your Bathroom

Attention to specific details is important when designing your bathroom. Marble, granite, and semiprecious stone are popular materials. These mid-to-upscale stones have turned showers into retreats.

Faucets, the jewelry of the bath, can be off-set with chrome, two-toned metal finishes, 14-karat gold, or stainless steel with the option of retractable or electronic hands free faucets designed with the consumer's convenience in mind.

Shower doors define one of the greatest changes in millennium baths. New doors are manufactured in powder-coated finishes with rounded curves in various colors. By opening the space that was once limited to bathing areas, many consumers have redefined their showers as retreats.

People are also incorporating glass sinks, countertops, and block into their bathroom designs. Glass is an innovative product which is porous and provides the consumer with many different options.

Wood is also back. Wood sinks are another personal touch in which consumers can incorporate their bath design.

The hot colors for the upcoming year are natural and neutral colors from chameleon to biscuit. Experiment with different colors and choose a scheme that is right for you.

With more products in the bathroom industry than there are people to buy and sell them, the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that individuals begin the remodeling or new construction process by gathering ideas. Shelter magazines, design books, home and garden shows, and designers' showrooms are all great places to view the wide variety of products available.

Reprinted with permission by the National Kitchen and Bath Association

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