Consultant Peter Schor has spent 40 years in the bath industry—the past 17 years as an educator. The owner of Dynamic Results and the Institute of Bathroom Product Knowledge in Wilsonville, Ore., attends conventions in America, Europe, and Asia. He notes several trends that are affecting the bathroom remodeling and new construction industries.

Exercise/fitness/spa. Baby boomers want to create a spa feeling in their homes. “Middle to upscale consumers travel to luxury hotels and resorts and want the same experience or better in their own baths,” Schor says. These consumers are interested in air massage bathtubs. “You can add Vitamin E, energizers, or detoxifiers to the water,” he says. Bathtub manufacturers offer tubs with chromatherapy — using colored lights to set the mood. Schor says if remodelers want to sell some of these products, they need to experience them. He suggests asking the manufacturer for names of nearby hotels, spas, or health clubs that have their products and scheduling a visit.

Showers. Homeowners are used to multitasking and now expect their showers to do the same. They also want them to provide an “experience.” Manufacturers are offering self-contained shower units that are equipped with body jets, halogen lights, speakers, television, aromatherapy, mirrors, and towel warmers. These high-end units are trickling down to lower price points in the form of shower towers.

High sytle and high tech come together in today's bathrooms.
left, courtesy LaScala; right, courtesy Kohler High sytle and high tech come together in today's bathrooms.

Mirrors. Aging baby boomers need magnification mirrors and good lighting in their bathrooms. Remodelers can offer their clients a choice of magnification. More manufacturers are offering mirrors that will not fog. A recent invention provides homeowners with a mirror that has an LCD panel so users can watch television in the bath.

Bath furniture. Homeowners want cabinets that look like furniture in their bathrooms. They want interesting and elegant cabinets that resemble freestanding pieces, and they want more options in woods and finishes to match their decorating style.

Electronics. More and more, electronics are playing their part in the bathroom, Schor says. This includes flushing mechanisms, shower controls, and hands-free faucets.