When you buy a newly built home, you can personalize the spaces to match your priorities and indulge yourself.
While you look for ideas for your new home, it’s also smart to keep in mind trends so you’re on track for a future sale.
A couple of decades ago, master bathrooms in single-family homes morphed into larger spaces with expanses of tiled floor leading to a soaking tub elevated on a platform. These days, master bathrooms are more likely to feel a little more comfortable, with the space once devoted to that tub becoming an oversized spa shower with multiple showerheads and a seat.
“Older master bathrooms had all that square footage, but they still had small vanities and showers,” says Joe Burke, vice president of Van Metre Design + Build in Stone Ridge, Va. “Now the vanities, the showers and sculptural freestanding tubs are larger but they create a more intimate feeling even in a big space.”
Whether it’s their master bathroom or a secondary bathroom, homeowners today want to warm up their space, sometimes literally. Chris Fadden, a design sales consultant with Van Metre Design + Build, says a popular request from the homeowners they work with is to install radiant flooring that they can program so they can step onto a warm surface every morning.
Towel warmers are also popular now they have improved designs and fit more easily into the bathroom, says Neal Hodgson, director of designer for Van Metre Design + Build.
“In most of our luxury condos, the master bathrooms include radiant heat flooring and an oversized walk-in shower with at least two showerheads,” says Kathryn Baker, vice president of Design Services for Polaris Pacific in San Francisco.
Many people see their bathroom as a private sanctuary from the open living areas they share with friends and family. According to a recent survey by Houzz, 64 percent of respondents said they use a mobile device in the bathroom, with 40 percent of responders admitting they check email while in the bathroom. Other popular activities include texting (32 percent), making or accepting phone calls (27 percent) and checking social media (26 percent).
“We’re likely to see more connected bathrooms as the number of people who use portable devices in the bathroom increases,” says Baker.
Televisions mounted behind the mirror seemed cool for a little while, but they didn’t really catch on, says Fadden. He says none of his clients have asked for a docking station in the bathroom — yet.
The Houzz survey found that more homeowners (29 percent) chose a high-tech toilet for their homes in the past. In addition, 12 percent of those surveyed say they want other tech features such as mood lighting or digital controls for their shower.
“We haven’t had requests for a self-cleaning toilet yet,” says Fadden, “but maybe that’s because no one is sure they’ll really work.”
At Van Metre, some buyers request programmable showers so they can control the temperature with their smart phones, says Hodgson.
“Buyers like high-tech plumbing like multiple showerheads and tankless water heaters for unlimited hot water,” says Hodgson. “They also have asked us to install speaker systems in their bathrooms for better acoustics so they can listen to music in the shower.”
Baker says tankless one-piece toilets with integrated bidets will be installed in their next luxury building in San Francisco.
Light and Color in Bathroom
If you prefer a white and gray color scheme in the bathroom that echoes the look of Carrara marble, you’re not alone. While those soothing tones are popular, Burke says that customers go in different design directions.
“Some go with a contemporary, urban look with a simple, minimalistic floating vanity,” says Burke. “Others like to add character with a vintage console.”
With so many options for tiles in different patterns, shapes and textures, more customers choose to mix tiles in their bathrooms. While Carrara marble itself is still popular, engineered quartz is becoming more popular because it’s easier to maintain, says Burke.
“Everyone still wants clean lines, but we’re adding more metallics like rubbed bronze fixtures and some wood for added texture in the bathrooms,” says Baker. “We have an organic wooden freestanding tub with a ceramic interior in our model in a New York building.”
Adding artwork, patterned wallpaper or unusual light fixtures are some of the ways customers add personality to their bathrooms, says Fadden.
Youngers buyers tend to add bleached wood or a rustic touch to their bathroom on the vanity or a wallcovering, says Burke, while Baby Boomers are conscious of wanting safety along with style and luxury.
“Using contrasting materials for the flooring and the shower can increase the visibility of transitions,” says Burke.
Hodgson says LED lighting continues to transform bathrooms, particularly since they can safely be installed in showers.
“LED lighting is great inside and around mirrors, especially for older clients who want to make sure they can see clearly,” says Hodgson. “You can install an LED fixture in a niche inside the shower and even in the showerhead.”
While a neutral gray and white palette may still top taste trends, buyers and homeowners are finding ways to pamper themselves and personalize their bathrooms.
Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades.