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November 21, 2014

The standard essentials of the home bathroom are in the midst of a modern revolution. By mixing functionality with style and technology, today’s bathroom features offer homeowners new ways to customize their home-spa experience.

With new bathroom innovations introduced each year, it seems homeowners are getting closer and closer to the bathroom of the future. But, what does tomorrow’s bathroom really look like? We sat down with James Walsh, vice president of product management for American Standard, and Ed Del Grande, triple master plumber and licensed contractor for Kohler, to learn about the top trends influencing the bathroom of the future.

1. Resource ConservationHomeowners are interested in saving water without sacrificing high-performing toilets and showers.

“To conserve water while giving the homeowner the performance they want, you have to be very precise about how you design and engineer your product,” said James.

Water sense and water savings graphic

To help revolutionize water conservation in the home, American Standard invited the EPA to their engineering test facility to help develop the WaterSense program. Products bearing the WaterSense label are 20 percent more water-efficient and perform as well or better than standard models. The company emphasizes technology in innovation, using computer-assisted design to test hydraulic platforms for efficiency and performance before prototyping and finalizing a new product.

“What’s amazing is that changing a fixture to a WaterSense product, like our American Standard Toilets, could pay for itself in water savings over roughly a year period,” said James.

2. Universal DesignDemand is rising for home environments that are usable by family members at any age.

“The concept of designing a house so every member of the family can use it, regardless of their abilities, is growing. It means that people who live in a house for a long period of their lives don’t have to do as much remodeling as they age,” said Ed.

Products that fit into the universal design concept marry technology with ease of use and comfort. Remote controlled or touchlessproducts in the bathroom can help elderly homeowners and children with handles that may not be easy to tighten or reach.

3. Ease of CleanlinessHomeowners are looking for simplified ways to keep the bathroom clean.

The average person spends 208 hours a year cleaning. Companies like American Standard and Kohler are working to make bathroom cleanliness a no-hassle operation with innovation in flushing technology and touchless functionality.

“It’s all about making the homeowner’s life easier,” said James. “If you design a product that makes keeping the toilet clean simpler, you’ve given the homeowner confidence that the bathroom is clean when friends and family come over and time back in life to do other things.”

With sensor technology, the times a user is touching a handle or faucet in the bathroom is also diminishing, which could have an impact on the spread of germs.

Cleaning averages and stats

4. Tech-Savvy EnhancementsMerging use of technology for entertainment with relaxation in the home bath.

A new generation of homeowners is driving technology integration in the home bath to enhance the relaxation experience. The tech-savvy consumer wants to stay plugged into wireless music in the shower or make the most of a bubble bath through remote controls.

“With the growing prevalence of technology in our lives overall – with tablets and cell phones – it’s easy to see that tech trends are going to drive huge innovation in the bathroom,” said Ed. “The upcoming generation has come to expect it, and the possibilities are endless.”

So what does the bathroom of the future look like? James and Ed both agree – tomorrow’ bathroom will be the relaxation center of the house – a place that will merge modern design and technology to help you escape for a little while.