(BPT) - The tub tucked away in your home's master bathroom is so much more than a place to get clean. It's a calming refuge and therapeutic retreat after a busy, high-pressure day. Tub trends indicate that bathtubs are primarily used for soaking, while shower time is mainly for cleansing. The soaking tub has become the destination for relaxation amid today's fast-paced lifestyles.
'The individual soaking tub is very popular, as personal decompression has become a priority with harried consumers,' explains Kalpesh Nanji, director of product marketing - bathing at American Standard. 'Our increasingly connected world has made solo relaxation even more appealing to many homeowners, who view a good soak as the ultimate in 'me-time.''
Preference also are trending away from large whirlpool bathtubs, as overall housing trends gravitate toward smaller, more efficient homes that consume fewer resources. Eco-conscious homeowners appreciate the conservation aspects of smaller soaking tubs, which generally use less water and energy to fill.
For homeowners considering new construction or planning a bathroom remodel, Nanji and the tub experts at American Standard point to these leading tub trends:
* Freestanding - Rather than the traditional configuration that nestles a tub into a corner of the room or skirted/alcove tubs that span one end of a bathroom from wall to wall, freestanding tubs are increasingly popular. Designed to be self-supporting, freestanding tubs like American Standard's Cadet Freestanding Tub can create an elegant, luxurious focal point in any bathroom. Freestanding tubs also lend themselves to deeper bathing wells, providing users with a more satisfying immersion while they soak.
* Soaking - While many homeowners still enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic benefits of a whirlpool experience, non-jetted, soaking tubs are appearing more often in new construction and bathroom renovations. The comparative size of whirlpool tubs, which need more room to accommodate jet machinery, may contribute to some homeowners' preference for smaller, sleeker soaking tubs. Other homeowners appreciate the greater depth of soaking tubs.
* Single-person - More homeowners are opting for single-person tubs, rather than large, two-person units. One reason might be the perception of a soak as a singularly relaxing experience. For many people, tub time is an opportunity to get away from everyone and everything without leaving home.
* Tub fillers - Freestanding tub fillers are the perfect accent to stand-alone soaking tubs. With styles ranging from traditional to ultra-modern, these tub fillers are generally available to match bathroom sink faucets and shower systems. Most include a convenient hand shower, when cleansing is desired in addition to total relaxation. Installation can be done through both wood and tile floors.
Not yet ready to take the plunge and sink your funds into incorporating a new tub into your home improvement plans? Consider this: A tub is a central fixture in any bathroom, and replacing one can play a key role in a great renovation. Plus, Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value report indicates that an upscale bathroom remodel returns nearly 64 percent of your investment at the time of resale.