Specialty Features for Bathrooms

From heated floors to a bidet, consider adding these elements to your bath remodel

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Upping the standard in a bathroom are features that make spending time in this space special. Do you need heated floors? Perhaps not, but they certainly add comfort when stepping out of a relaxing bath. And while towel warmers aren't a necessity, why not consider the cozy bonus of wrapping yourself in warmth?

"Bathrooms are becoming these retreats—these sanctuaries," says Randall Whitehead, renowned author, lighting designer and president of Randall Whitehead Lighting Solutions, San Francisco, Calif. "It's a safe place where you can get away."

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Here are some ideas to evoke luxury in the bathroom:

Heated floors: In-floor heating systems for bathrooms are luxury within reach. Electric mats placed underneath the floor are economical, feel-good and functional if the surface is tile.

Steam showers: After a long day, a steam shower with aromatherapy feature can infuse the senses with relaxing lavender. For some, the steam shower is not a splurge—it's a daily ritual, an essential. "That could be what you look forward to every day when you come home," says Eileen Kollias, designer/owner, Eileen Kollias Design, Boston, Mass.

Chromotherapy: Colored lights are said to be therapeutic, and manufacturers like Kohler have rolled out technology for showers and tubs that diffuses feel-good light into the water. "People relate chromotherapy to a spa treatment and they are delighted to bring that into their home," Schrage says. "It's like we're beginning to take time to smell the roses—to see the color and feel the health benefits."

Bidet: This fixture is commonplace in Europe, but it's considered a luxury here. A bidet requires about 9 inches of room in the bathroom, and offers a refreshing cleansing alternative by use of a water nozzle that sprays warm, aerated water. (You straddle the bidet, facing the faucet water control, and a gentle spray does the work of toilet tissue.)

Bidets aren't out of reach for a standard bathroom, especially because you can purchase toilets that offer a bidet seat so you can use one plumbing appliance for two purposes.

However, as a bidet alternative, a hand shower can offer a quick spray-off that suits many homeowners.

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