Americans love luxury and technology, so it’s no surprise that the two are meeting and thriving in one of our favorite places — the bathroom. Just as technology is transforming every other area of the house, inside and out, it's recreating our concept of what constitutes a luxurious bathroom.
The 2016 Houzz Bathroom Trends study found many homeowners renovating their bathrooms are incorporating technology into their plans. From smart mirrors and medicine cabinets to showerheads with Bluetooth connectivity and self-cleaning toilets, technology's time has arrived in the American bathroom.
If you'll be designing or renovating a bathroom this year, here are four must-have technology items to incorporate into your plans:
The medicine cabinet of tomorrow
Hidden speakers, high-efficiency task lighting with capacitive-touch dimming, integrated USB charging ports — clearly, this is not your parent's medicine cabinet! The modern medicine cabinet does far more than serve as a repository for aspirin and toothpaste.
Acknowledging that today's homeowners multitask constantly, even in front of the bathroom mirror, Robern's AiO collection of medicine cabinets also includes magnetic storage strips, accessory trays, adjustable shelving, a magnification mirror and integrated electrical outlets. The embedded, invisible speakers turn the entire mirror into an audio system that's compatible with most USB-enabled music-playing devices.
Fancy, user-friendly faucets
Remember the days when touchless faucets were the wave of the future? Modern bathroom faucets go far beyond the mere ability to turn them on or off without touching them. Faucets now marry high-tech functionality with leading-edge design to create a visual focal point for your bathroom vanity.
A variety of manufacturers offer a staggering array of features, including:
* Built-in face recognition that automatically adjusts water temperature and pressure to the settings of the recognized user.
* Internet connectivity and a display screen so you can see emails, your calendar and the weather report while you're brushing your teeth.
* Patterned or shaped spray produced by special mechanisms within the faucet that create swirls in the water discharge or shape it into a thin sheet of water.
* The ability to track water consumption while adjusting the temperature and flow to maximize efficiency.
Seventy percent of the homeowners surveyed by Houzz said they had upgraded their toilets as part of their bathroom renovations. Today's toilets are far more than just a place to take care of business. From super high-efficiency models that flush with amazingly small amounts of water to self-cleaning bowls and motion-activated lids and seats, the toilet has gone high-tech.
You can find features that range from practical to decadent, including:
* Heated seats and bidet functions
* Dryers and deodorizers
* Built-in music players
* Illumination for nighttime bathroom visits
* Remote controls for opening and closing the lid and seat
* Hands-free flushing
* Automatic self-cleaning
From built-in TVs to task lighting and integrated USB ports, mirrors, like other bathroom fixtures, are now incorporating a variety of high-tech features.
Robern's AiO wall mirror collection offers numerous features, including the ability to wirelessly turn the entire mirror into a speaker. The mirror can communicate with any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to stream your favorite music or news program into the bathroom.
Whether you're renovating an old bathroom you just can't stand anymore or building a new home with the bathroom of your dreams, high-tech features can add enjoyment and usability to one of the most popular rooms in the house.