7 luxurious shower features to transform your “me” time

Luxury bathrooms have become the new normal. Showering just to get clean? Nah. Plenty of homeowners these days are insisting on a vacation-caliber bath experience, spending serious money on their own lavish power shower features.

“Dramatic spa-inspired showers are replacing plain tubs and, at over $13 billion in 2018, showers now capture the most money spent on residential bathrooms,” says Elle H-Millard, resident designer at the National Kitchen + Bath Association.

What’s driving this uptick in luxury showers? For starters, you can thank older homeowners and the myriad home improvement shows on TV.

Aging baby boomers are also enticed by certain shower details that offer safety and convenience, such as curbless entry and easy-grab safety bars or handles. So when you’re thinking of modifying your bathroom, why not go all out?

“My clients are looking for that spa bathroom they saw on TV,” says Aaron Bowman, a real estate agent with Maxx Real Estate in Connecticut. “They are looking for open concepts with stunning accents that make them feel like they’re in a luxurious hotel.”

Ready to find out what the hottest statement bath and shower features are? Here are seven that’ll have you scrambling to find your loofah. 

1. Radiant floor heating

Stepping onto a warm floor as you exit a hot shower really ups the luxe factor — and the same holds for toasty towels waiting for you on an electric rack.

Radiant floor heating and towel warmers are both deemed “very trendy,” topping the list of must-haves for homeowners, according to the NKBA Design Trends report.

Luckily, costs for radiant floor heating have come down in recent years and now run from $5 to $12 per square foot. As for towel warmers, costs could range from $40 to a whopping $4,000, depending on what you’re looking for.

2. Innovative lighting

Mood lighting can help ease that terrible transition from your cozy bed to waking daylight.

“Dimmable and accent lighting is really popular right now,” says Ana Cummings of ANA Interiors.

The same goes for energy-efficient and water-efficient features, including LED lighting, vent fans, low-flow toilets, and smartphone-controlled lights, H-Millard adds.

Backlit shower panels and edge-lit countertops are among other increasingly sought-after bells and whistles in the lighting category.

3. Unique accent walls

Why relegate an accent wall to your dining or living room? Large-scale stone that’s cut to create art and eye-grabbing textured tiles are emerging trends in statement showers, H-Millard says.

“Onyx stone panels and even floor-to-ceiling wall mirrors inside shower stalls are big lately,” Cummings adds.

4. Zero-transition entry

“Zero transition looks really clean and modern, which is appealing in a statement shower,” Cummings says.

And it’s not just the aesthetics at play here: No step means less of a tripping hazard, too.

“Whether you’re designing for an older home buyer or a family with toddlers, a safer bathroom will always be right up there on the list, along with style,” says H-Millard.

Per the NKBA report, 83% of industry professionals say clients rank curbless entry among the top three important amenities, along with a seat in the shower and a handheld shower head.

5. Dual rainfall shower heads

If you can’t score his-and-her stalls, at least consider dual shower heads; they can be of equal size and mounted side by side or facing each other. A dual setup can also include a main shower head and a handheld attachment.

6. Steam showers

The ultimate indulgence in shower upgrades is definitely the steam option, which lets you create your own home sauna and can even be scented. (Cummings recommends eucalyptus.)

7. Smart mirrors and TVs

Tech reigns supreme in the kitchen, but it’s also gaining traction in the bathroom. Many more homeowners have TVs where they cook; but 23% already have them mounted to bathroom walls, and 14% enjoy music as they lather up in the morning, according to the NKBA report.

TVs can also be hidden in cabinetry or embedded in the mirror, but that’s just the beginning.

“Kohler has a new mirror out that’s Alexa-compatible, so you can shave and ask her for a traffic update at the same time,” Cummings notes.

With a little ingenuity and smart budgeting, a luxury bathroom can be enjoyed by any homeowner while increasing the saleability of your home whenever you decide to sell.

— Realtor.com