(BPT) - When you’re improving a bathroom, do you assume that luxury upgrades may look good but aren’t always good for the environment? Or that sensible, eco-friendly fixtures, finishes and materials will lack the aesthetic of more luxurious ones? Just a few decades ago, the assumptions might have been accurate, but today a plethora of luxury bathroom options perfectly marry good sense with great style.
Whether you’re planning a bathroom renovation, or just looking to make one or two stunning yet sensible upgrades, here are some improvements that can turn your bathroom into a luxurious, savvy and stylish oasis:
Elegant and eco-friendly fixtures
Water-conserving bathroom technology has come a long way since the earliest low-flow showerheads and low-flush toilets appeared. Yet the stereotype persists that in order to conserve water, a fixture must deliver a less satisfying experience and graceful appearance. That’s far from true of modern luxury toilets, showerheads and faucets from manufacturers like TOTO.
High efficiency toilets can help homeowners make significant strides in water conservation; saving nearly 13,000 gallons of water per year, according to the EPA. And while early iterations of water-conserving toilets may have lacked in power and beauty, modern iterations combine eco-sense with style sense. For example, the ultra high-efficiency NEOREST 500H from TOTO uses a conservation-minded 0.8 or 1 gallon of water per flush, yet excels at removing waste and cleaning the bowl’s surface and rim thoroughly.
With a design inspired by long-view trends in architecture and global design, this high-tech commode’s look is modern yet timeless. An integrated Washlet personal cleansing system is long on luxury with warm aerated water, a warm air dryer, heated seat, auto open/close, auto-flush and in-bowl catalytic deodorizer.
Showering accounts for about 17 percent of a home’s water use, and switching to a low-flow shower head could save the average household nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year, the EPA says. Yet the shower is also one of the most cherished features in any bathroom; it’s not just where you get clean, it’s also a place where you relax and wash away the day’s stresses, or get invigorated for the day by washing away early morning drowsiness.
Today’s water-conserving showerheads not only reduce the amount of water you use per shower, they can be elegant design statements that also deliver a satisfying experience. Features like air-injection technology in TOTO’s AeroJet Rain Shower infuse air into the water stream to create larger droplets, allowing you to enjoy a fuller shower experience while still saving water. You can find eco-friendly showerheads in virtually every style, from rainfall to hand showers and even multiple jets.
Luxury and environmental awareness can also meet in other aspects of a well-appointed bathroom, including design, decor and accessories. For example, adding a skylight can fill a bath with wholesome natural light that nourishes the body, mind and spirit while also helping reduce dependence on artificial light sources. The skylight can also provide passive ventilation — all while preserving much-desired privacy.
Flooring is another area inspiration for your senses doesn’t have to take a back seat to green considerations. From tiles made of recycled materials like reclaimed ceramic, to foot-massaging pebble tiles made of recycled glass, it’s easy to find flooring material that meets your expectations for luxury and beauty while still minimizing their impact on the environment.
While traditional luxury countertops like granite require materials to be mined from the ground, luxurious eco-friendly options can be just as beautiful. For example, countertops made of cement embedded with recycled glass come in a variety of hues and patterns to fit any decor theme. Or, go for a more ethereal look with countertops made of 100 percent recycled glass.
Luxury, style and eco-sensibilities can meet harmoniously in your bathroom when you choose the right fixtures and finishes.