Designing a future-proof bathroom involves looking at what you need now and what you might need in the future.
This type of bathroom should also be multi-generational and suitable for everyone in the home to use. So, KBB journo Charlotte Luxford takes you through some of the ways you can give your family bathroom a makeover with every member in mind…
Picture this: you walk into your family bathroom, and it is pre-heated. The perfect shower temperature is lined up, the lights are dimmed and your favourite music is playing in the background. This concept is quickly becoming a reality thanks to the rise in home automation.
While smart bathrooms once seemed impossibly futuristic, advances in technology in the industry are down to consumers seeking to create a spa-style sanctuary at home. The rise in multi-generational households means a greater need for safety, security, hygiene and eco features. All these can help with spiralling living costs. If you want to include smart features, such as a concealed audio system or bathroom lights with integrated speakers, you’ll need to plan for it from the start.
Make sure to brief your electrician to ensure you have the correct wiring. And, of course, a good Wifi connection is vital. Despite the initial outlay and extra planning, smart bathroom tech is designed to simplify your life and make it more enjoyable. Plus, it’s more energy efficient and worth it in the long run.
Now let’s dive into the ways you can future-proof your family bathroom…
What is a shower toilet?
If you’re looking for a cutting-edge bathroom experience, smart toilets are the way to go. Smart WCs are equipped with heated seats, night lights, automatic lid openers, built-in bidet functions and air dryers. Some also come with sensors that detect when a person is sitting or standing, enabling automated flushing, and many models can self-clean. So, shower toilets are an ideal solution for family bathrooms.
“Despite not being a traditional market for bidets, shower toilets are growing in popularity in the UK for reasons of age, culture and general enhanced comfort,” says Martin Carroll, UK managing director at Duravit. “They take up no more space than an ordinary toilet and in addition to electronically operated shower functions. There are useful features including a heated seat, sensor-operated night light and electronic open/close.”
How can I future-proof my bath?
Some baths now include remote-control sensors, which can detect when your bath is close to overflowing and automatically stop the water flow. Others – including Mira’s Mode digital bath filler and Aqualisa’s Quartz Touch – allow you to fill up your bath remotely via an app. It is stores pre-sets to the perfect depth and temperature.
There has also been a resurgence in whirlpool baths, which recreate the spa experience at home. “When a whirlpool is used regularly, you’ll soon see the benefits, which can include less stress, a reduction in stress-induced headaches and better vascular circulation,” says Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One Bathrooms.
Kaldewei’s new Whirl bathtub has four massage settings. It also offers Sound Wave. This is an audio system that can be fitted to any of the company’s steel enamel baths and operated by any digital device.
Motion sensor and accessible taps for family bathrooms
One simple way to future-proof your family bathroom is with the helps of taps. Sensor taps are by far the most accessible and are a way to add more tech to the bathroom.
“Digital taps have gained traction, especially among families with diverse needs,” explains Graeme Borchard, managing director of UK Bathrooms. “For households with young children or the elderly, these taps offer precise control over water temperature and flow, reducing the risk of scalding accidents. Additionally, a touchless operation promotes hygiene and ease of use for all ages.”
Sensor taps have been around for a while, but the technology is always developing. One of Grohe’s most recent innovations is the Grohe Plus tap with LED temperature display. It comes with an Eco Spray function to reduce water consumption. You simply switch between the standard spray to the water-saving flow by waving your hand over the top of the faucet.
Digital and future proof showers
Digital showers are a step up from your regular mixer shower. It allows you to pre-set and save your ideal temperature through the use of button-controlled features and digital displays. However, if you still want a spa-like feel but don’t want to change your existing shower set-up, upgrading it is entirely possible.
Grohe’s latest SmartConnect showerhead is controlled via a battery-operated remote control that can simply be stuck on the wall, meaning you can retrofit your existing shower. Meanwhile, the Roca Smart Shower allows you to pause and restart the water flow without altering the flow and temperature. Its integrated cleaning programmes also allow you to remove limescale and impurities from pipes. For an electric alternative, Triton’s innovative new Envi digital shower features an eco-mode, enabling users to reduce shower time by a minute at the touch of a button.
“When installing a smart shower, you need to allocate space for the unit that remotely controls the temperature and flow,” advises Natalie Bird, brand marketing manager at Roca. “So, consider adding an access panel so that you won’t have to remove tiles to reach the control unit if something goes wrong.”