Homeowners bidet goodbye to boring bathrooms

High-tech, low-touch bathroom features take off during COVID-19 pandemic
(Photo: Anna Baburkina, Dreamstime)

For several months in 2020, toilet paper was one of the hardest things to find in stores. With coronavirus spreading and the threat of a two-week quarantine hanging over people’s heads, no one wanted to have to resort to using old T-shirts or newspaper.

Bidets are having a heyday as a result. Some direct-to-consumer manufacturers, like Tushy and Brondell, claimed their sales multiplied by 10 in the days after widespread shortages started, Today reported back in March.

Houzz’s 2020 bathroom trends survey, conducted June 24 through July 9, found homeowners are pretty receptive to premium or high-tech features in their bathrooms. Almost half of homeowners who were planning or had completed a recent bathroom model chose a high-tech faucet, and over a third selected a toilet with high-end features like a bidet, self-cleaning functions or heated seats.

Related: Homeowners searching for R&R in bathroom remodels

It’s no surprise given current conditions that the popularity of bidets and self-cleaning features have increased over the 2019 survey (five points and three points, respectively). What is more surprising is that homeowners were less interested in water efficiency. Twenty-eight percent of homeowners chose an efficient faucet, down four points from last year, Houzz found.

Today’s low-flow toilets use about 1.28 gallons of water per flush, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Biolife Technologies, which manufactures a line of bidets, says a typical bidet uses about one-eighth of a gallon of water.

“The idea of the self-cleaning toilet has caught on, reducing work and even the [environmental] footprint with water savings and fewer harsh cleaning products,” according to Lynn Schrage, interior designer at Kohler Co. “Touchless technology has also become an important part of the conversation as homeowners are considering different ways to think about and incorporate cleanliness and hygiene.”

She added that “increased storage and organizational solutions have always been important to homeowners, but are now being more integrated into shower, vanity and mirror product solutions.”

Integration is an important element in bathroom design in 2020. “The most sought-after tech features allow for seamless integration, minimal designs and increased personalization,” Schrage said.

Related: Homebuyers want spa, not spartan, in bathroom design

Mirrors, vanities and shower controls with integrated LED lighting and voice control have been popular, she noted.

She added, “Faucet fittings remain the jewel of the bathroom, especially those with interesting finishes like ombre, brushed gold, matte black. I think we’ll see more pendant lighting to add interest and draw the eyes up within the bathroom space.”

After a few years of white and gray leading bathroom colors, Schrage said homeowners are starting to turn to “warmer color palettes with more texture. … Adding visual texture that is also easy to clean (textured wall coverings, for instance, in the toilet room) can take this white box from a functional space to a room that is both functional and pretty — every detail counts.”

Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus is the managing editor of Colorado Builder. She can be reached at [email protected].

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