In recent years, tours through the bathroom exhibitors at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show are akin to checking into a spa. Residential steam showers now come with aromatherapy, chromotherapy, and audiotherapy enhancements (see Brizo’s Mystix Steam System), while bathtubs are full-on meditative moments, as with Kohler’s Japanese soaking-tub-inspired Stillness Experience bath—complete with atmospheric fog and lighting controls.
Naturally, as these enhanced bathroom fixtures hit the market, it’s easier than ever to achieve a spa-like experience at home. And clients show no signs of dampening their requests for mindful amenities and serene retreats. (In a recent interview with AD PRO, AD100 designer Neal Beckstedt even admitted to having a spa consultant on speed dial!) In the NKBA’s forthcoming 2024 Bath Trend Report, the wellness wave is well documented. Among its range of bathroom forecasts, the report offers a look at the influence the well-minded client requests will have on the bathroom’s form and function in the year ahead.
Based on a survey of more than 500 trade professionals (55% of whom are interior designers), the findings in NKBA’s report suggests that the bathrooms of tomorrow aren’t just utilitarian spaces. Three out of five respondents said that the bathroom should have a “relaxed/retreat-like” or “spa-like” feel. Further, 52% of respondents believe that homeowners want bathrooms to be a “place of healthy living and wellness.”
Perhaps most interesting is the wellness wave’s reorienting of the bathroom floorplan. The NKBA report suggests a shift away from alcove tubs toward distinct moments for the shower (increasingly sleek and multifunctional) and a freestanding tub. More than half of respondents said removing tubs as a means to increase shower size would be a popular bathroom renovation trend in the years ahead. Yet, for those spacious bathrooms, 70% view the bathtub as a means to “create a design focal point” in the bathroom.