Typically, I don’t write about trends because there is so much variation in style across the country. With that in mind, there are emerging national trends in plumbing going beyond the concepts of color and aesthetic value. There are outstanding products that are becoming trendsetters. These encompass multiple categories such as wellness, outdoor living, flex spaces, and bathroom accessories.
Wellness has grown into a huge industry that is far beyond fitness. Currently, it includes diverse categories such as personal care, beauty products, anti-aging regimes, as well as mind-body health and spas. This relates to plumbing, especially in the steam generator world and the walk-in shower system business.
The Global Wellness Institute estimates the worldwide wellness market to be worth $4.5 trillion, with the strongest growth coming from the spa industry. This is proving the point that the consumer wants to come home to a sanctuary. Products such as Mr. Steam’s isteam3 (www.mrsteam.com) can satisfy this craving. It is a digitally connected product that controls a steam experience at home. In my opinion, it is an absolute must-have!
Indoor environments have massive influence over almost every aspect of our lives, from our moods, energy levels, productivity and how restful our nights of sleep are. Luxury is the trend leader in wellness, but developers are starting to leverage the benefits to create more affordable smart-healthy homes.
Another emerging trend in plumbing is the area of outdoor living. Everything from outdoor showers to kitchens is being reimagined and promoted. Outdoor living spaces are a necessity for today’s affluent homebuyers, as people not only want to be closer to nature but also to maximize their homes’ useable space. The Outdoor Shower Co. (www.outdoorshowerco.com) offers endless options of stainless shower systems that are on point.
As homebuyers look to get the most out of their space, another emerging trend capitalizing on this idea is flex spaces. This is where a dining room can double as a conference room. There are products specifically designed to be adaptable for these spaces. One such product is the Elkay EZH2O Liv residential built-in water dispenser (www.elkay.com), the perfect decorative plumbing item for many flex spaces in the home.
Two bathtubs are setting themselves apart from the rest. Native Trails’ NativeStone tubs feature concrete, designed to keep heat in and showcase unique coloring. And the Hammock Bath Co. presents bathtubs created to bring resort living into your home. Both tub styles are becoming major plumbing trends for those who are looking to add a bit of luxury to their lives.
NativeStone bathtubs (www.nativetrailshome.com) are a collection of concrete baths with a combination of contemporary artistry and innovation. The Mendocino lightweight freestanding tub is an appealing presence in any bathroom, with its slanted sides and deep interior. Its thick walls provide insulation to ensure a hot, deep and relaxing soak.
The eco-friendly tub uses a sustainable blend of natural jute fiber and cement, providing a luxurious silky-smooth texture. It also offers one-of-a-kind coloration and stain-, scratch- and crack-resistance.
Hammock Baths’ freestanding modern bathtub (www.hammockbath.com.au) is designed to provide a comfortable, deep-soaking bath with its luxurious hammock style that appears to be floating in the air. With the resort lifestyle in mind, it has an innovative design that permits enough water volume to allow users to lie back comfortably and relax, fully immersed in water.
The style provides a striking piece of bathroom furniture, both beautiful and practical. Made from sturdy and durable solid-surface acrylic material, which is easy to clean, the Hammock Bath comes in three models: Oasis, Mirage and Haven.
The Savvy Smart Mirror from Electric Mirror (www.electricmirror.com/savvy) is taking over commercial spaces in hotels. It offers guests a personalized communication, information and entertainment experience. The smart mirror is built right into the room’s regular mirror, so it eliminates the need for special apps or in-room devices.
The Savvy can be customized to offer the features and content guests want but also branded to showcase the hotel. Its cloud-based platform allows for continual software updates and optional upgrades. The mirror’s flexibility keeps hotels relevant in the digital age and ahead of guest expectations.
For faucets, the trends continue to follow behind the lighting industry by about six months. Classic mixed finishes are still trendy, with matte back mixing with gold. More recently, gold is now being mixed with gloss white.
A very modern style is living finishes, which are unprotected finishes intended to change in appearance over time, allowing each piece to develop its own character. They are quickly gaining popularity and are expected to be around for a long while. By far, my favorite living finish on the market is Graff’s gunmetal finish (www.graff-designs.com). Gunmetal is completed with a process of industrial waxing to create unique pieces.
What it all comes down to is matte black has become essential. Rose gold has seen better days. Chrome is and always will be classic. Trends in mixed finishes continually excite people, and faucets are expanding on the ever-creative use of knurled textures. I do see modern creeping in more than ever, not just in coastal markets but in the Midwest as well.
Overall, similar to New York City’s Fashion Week, there is a wide contrast of styles — almost like clashing opposing forces. It is a powder blue and punk rock-dominated show.
With the increasing importance of the bathroom in our new living spaces, decorative plumbing will continue to become more important. Installer contractors will either have to keep up with the trends or lean heavily on working with interior designers as well as talented showroom staff to help close the sale.