Elegant, planet-friendly bathrooms continue to be a hot trend in home building and renovation. Bath products that respect and celebrate water have become trendier and more satisfying, proving that homeowners don't need to sacrifice comfort, beauty and luxury in order to do something good for the environment.
The secret to achieving a pleasing and environmentally friendly bathroom renovation is choosing the right combination of fixtures and accessories - and realizing that the bathroom is one room that's well worth investing a bit more in to achieve great upgrades that are modern and lasting.
Worth the investment
Bathrooms sell homes. An upscale bathroom remodel that costs around $50,000 will recoup more than 58 percent of its original cost at the time of resale, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report. A mid-range renovation returns even more on your investment - 65 percent.
The bathroom is one room where dollar value also meets aesthetic appeal. Considering how much time Americans spend in the bathroom, and how many of us consider the bath a restful oasis where we can close the door on the 24/7 wired world, it's easy to justify spending a bit more to achieve the bathroom of your dreams.
Life - and your morning - begins with water. So how do you create an environmentally friendly bathroom that is good for Mother Nature and your own lifestyle?
Start with upscale eco-friendly fixtures that strike the perfect balance between high-end aesthetics, high-performance design, and environmental stewardship. TOTO is the "coolest brand name" in the bathroom, says the influential real estate blog Zillow.com
TOTO product designs are distinctive but adaptable, so they work well with a wide range of styles and architectural expressions. The manufacturer's elegant 11-inch Rain Showerhead uses a water-sipping 1.75 gallons per minute to deliver a luxurious shower experience and appreciable water savings. And its Keane Lavatory Faucet consumes just 1.5 gallons of water per minute, without sacrificing an ounce of performance.
TOTO toilets have earned a reputation as the "Sub-zero of the toilet world," according to the New York Times. They perfectly marry exceptional design with EPA WaterSense-level conservation. The UltraMax II 1G toilet uses a single gallon of water per flush to effectively clear the bowl, and offers an elegant, upscale design to enhance any bathroom renovation. Visit www.totousa.com to learn more.
Greener design elements
When it comes to other design elements in the bathroom, such as flooring and lighting, it's easy to find greener options that are also high-end and visually striking.
The cost of quarrying and transporting from point of origin to point of sale can make natural stone less than eco-friendly. Instead, consider using recycled flooring material, such as pebbled tiles made from recycled glass or plain recycled glass tiles.
Reclaimed wood can also work wonderfully in an upscale bathroom, imparting a look that is both rich and rustic. Or, if you prefer newer wood, opt for cork or bamboo; both resist mold and mildew, and repel moisture. And both are among the hottest flooring choices for savvy interior designers.
Finally, improving the electricity efficiency of your bathroom lighting is as simple as replacing incandescent bulbs with energy-sipping LEDs or CFLs. The looks and sizes available in both types of energy-efficient bulbs seems to expand every year, so it's possible to find one that will fit in any light fixture - turning even high-end luxury lights into eco-friendly, energy efficient options.