By Alan Knight
What does one of the world’s leading supermodels think is most important about being a fashionista?
“It’s all about the accessories,” Alessandra Ambrósio astutely states. This stunning Brazilian beauty should know: the svelte, sexy and wealthy Ms. Ambrosio is best known for her work with Victoria’s Secret and was chosen as the first spokesmodel for the company’s immensely popular “PINK” line. In 2012, she came in sixth on “Forbes”top-earning models list, estimated to have earned $6.6 million in one year.
Oftentimes what pertains to the fashion industry is also germane to the home furnishing industry, as both utilize and celebrate such concepts as design, style, form, function, aesthetics, etc. What better time to discuss bathroom accessories and upgrades than the holidays? Here are some of the latest bathroom trends/accessories you may want to consider for yourself or perhaps someone you love:
For example, a company that specializes in modern bathroom cabinets has developed several models that provide USB charging, several outlets, a mirror defogger and night lights. One of its cabinets includes an internal “sub-cabinet” that is refrigerated, ideal for keeping temperature-sensitive medications safe. The fridge also works well for nail polish and various organic skin products (with no preservatives). It’ll
even hold a couple of bottles of water, beer or a carafe of wine. A relaxing bath, anyone?
Some of the newer, modular wood cabinets actually rotate180-degrees for easy storage access when open and a rotate back for clean and lean look when closed.
Accommodating the Commode
With the introduction of the U.S. government’s WaterSense® initiative (similar to Energy Star®), manufacturers and consumers are getting smart about reducing toilet and water faucet use. As stated on its website: “WaterSense helps people save water with a product label and tips for saving water indoors and out.
Products bearing the WaterSense label have been independently certified to perform well; help save water, energy, and money; and encourage innovation in manufacturing.”
WaterSense partners with manufacturers, retailers and distributors, and utilities to bring WaterSense labeled products to the marketplace and make it easy to purchase high-performing, water-efficient products. WaterSense also partners with professional certifying organizations to promote water–efficient landscape irrigation practices.”
Caroma,an Australian company, was one of the first to offer dual flush technology, which allows for two different flushing options: 0.8 and 1.6 gallons per flush, depending upon one’s needs. Caroma now has several different models available.
Today, almost all of the large toilet manufacturers offer dual-flush toilets. Toilets can run (pun intended) from several hundred dollars to several thousand, depending upon its design and features. That’s because, like most things today, commodes have also gone high-tech. In fact, one leading company’s description about its newer models, includes the verbiage “the ultimate in luxury and elegance coupled with unrivaled research and development … including such features as remote control and nightlight.” Sounds like a royal flush to me.
Short of building a separate room with its own lockable door for it, another trend is accessories that are designed to hide or at least minimize the visual presence of the commode itself.
One product, the Bench Toilet, from Julien, provides an aesthetic solution for camouflaging the toilet by incorporating an exotic, sliding wood panel that conceals the fixture as it also doubles as a powder room bench.
Even though these products seek to minimize its visual “footprint” in the bathroom, they still allow for a commodious commode when it’s actually in use.
A Fairer Faucet
As mentioned above, WaterSense® technology applies to sink and shower faucets, minimizing the use of water while also reducing homeowners’ water bills. The WaterSense website points out: “Replacing old, inefficient faucets and aerators with WaterSense labeled models can save the average family 700 gallons of water per year, equal to the amount of water needed to take 40 showers.”
Homeowners can easily and affordably save water by installing low-flow aerators on new and existing
faucets. Upgrading to new faucet systems on sinks and in the shower (or handheld models on bathtubs) can save even more water and thus on consumers’ water bills.
Another trend for bathroom (and kitchen) faucets is to go touch-free. These provide convenience and health benefits. Some microorganisms last for a very long time and can survive on almost every surface around your home. If you touch a surface with germs, you may become contaminated. Yet, if you don’t have to touch a particular surface to use an object, the cross-infection problem is eliminated.
Applause for Hand Rails
Another accessory that’s becoming ever more popular with aging baby boomers and seniors are designer hand grips, which can easily installed near hazard zones for added convenience. The inclusion of handrails in and around the bath/shower and commode is now recommended by the Center for Disease Control (see our previous blog, “Shocking CDC Statistics About Bathroom Injuries – and What You Can Do to Prevent Them
.”) Manufacturers make these grab bars in a variety of metals and wood, so they can be easily integrated into most bathroom decors.
While not an accessory per se, some people are using colored grout as a design element to help accentuate patterns and emphasize symmetry of materials. For example, if your bathroom tiles are white or off-white, you could use a darker shade of grout around them that would emphasize their layout.
The Tub’s the Rub
There are other ways to accessorize and/or upgrade your bathroom as well. For example, you can replace your existing bathtub with a safety-featured, Walk-in Tub
, complete with hydrotherapeutic water and air jets with an in-line heater. Now you have your own private Jacuzzi in the bathroom that’s bubbling over with innovative features (see our previous blog, “The Danger of Bathtubs – Falling is a Family Matter
You can also replace your former bathtub/shower with a European-inspired Safety Suite Shower.
These feature low or no ingress/egress, different types of built-in seats, multiple handrails, and other custom-configuration options (see our previous blog, “What’s New in Showers? Sophistication Today, Safety Tomorrow
”). You can also add some of the matching safety rail-accessories such as shelves, paper roll handle, towel bar, etc.
There are many ways to accessorize and/or upgrade your bathroom. From dabbing on a dash of color, to adding designer towels, to installing high-tech toilets and medicine cabinets, to replacing your existing faucets, to upgrading your bath/shower and more. Why not make this most private room in your home a safety-featured environment within which to pamper yourself for hours on end? After all, “it’s all about the accessories.”
In this article, I discussed numerous ways in which people can accessorize and/or upgrade their existing bathrooms. I shared some of the new, innovative products and trends in the marketplace, as well as provided information on Walk-in Tubs, Clawfoot Tubs, Safety Suite Showers, and more.
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What to Look for in a Walk-in Tub
Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to Alan@tubking.com.