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Monday, October 27, 2008

Bathroom Blogfest 2008: Trends in Bathrooms

Image courtesy of Ottawa At Home
I'm fascinated with trends. They offer an opportunity to gaze into the future, to look back on where we've been and to take into account the present. For that reason, I'm kicking off Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Cleaning Up Forgotten Spaces Around Us with trends in bathrooms.

You might be wondering "so what?" particularly if you're thinking that your store has nothing to do with bathrooms...

Do you have a bathroom on your premises? Do customers ever visit those premises?

If you answered "yes," then pay attention.

Pay even closer attention if any aspect of what you offer has to do with the home. Because bathrooms matter in homes, and they are the one common element that a customer experiences in your store that has the potential to be home-like.

My favorite bathroom trend has to do with ergonomics and comes from Villeroy & Boch courtesy of Sphere Trending. Imagine, a bathroom concept that offers a stylish solution to evolving as our physical needs change over time. It's practical and attractive. I love it. I also expect this kind of thinking to affect kitchen design.

According to Home Channel News and its 5/5/2008 article on Scouting trends in the bathroom by Kate Fazzini [link to article doesn't work; through HCN search, it's available for purchase], "new colors and technological advances" are what we can expect more of in bathrooms. The article refers to tubs than can be painted, iPod-like control devices, chromatherapy, easy-to-clean toilets and surfaces and water conservation-friendly flush technology. The article claims that black is a color to watch in bathrooms. Hmmm.

When I Googled 'bathroom trends,' I came across several interesting resources. Kohler Trends in the bathroom lists the following trends: luxury, standalone vanities, adding color, reinventing retro, the warmth of nature, chromatherapy, all the shades of white, vintage baths, bold color in the bath, vessel sinks, faucet finishes. Each trend has a link to an in-depth article with photos and more information.

Another came from MSN Real Estate. Titled "13 top bathroom remodel trends - From heated floors to soaking tubs to flat-screen TVs, the emphasis today is on luxury and comfort" by Christopher Solomon, it referred to large, airy showers; noisy jacuzzis replaced with soaking tubs; let the light in; steam bath; the big blow; walling off the loo; bathroom as entertainment zone; smarter storage; dueling vanities; grab bars; bring on the heat; good tiles; on-demand water heaters and other green products.

I discovered this last resource while looking at images related to the Google search above. What’s making a splash? Discover Ottawa’s top 10 bathroom trends refers to serene retreat, steamy choice, furnish your bathroom, getting wired, the heat is on, bringing the outdoors in, fancy faucets, the great wall, sparkle time, and going green. There's also information on color trends. Hint: the picture above captures it all.

Notice the commonalities among these trends:
+ enhancing private luxury
+ creating a place to retreat and recharge
+ appealing to the senses with color, scents, sounds, and textures
+ practicality - from better storage, to improved ergonomics, heat/warmth and cleanliness
+ ensuring a better use of resources

As it relates to water conservation [i.e., better use of resources], Todd Weber at Kohler shared with me recent news that the EPA had just recognized Kohler in EPA Taps Kohler for Inaugural Partner of the Year Award for their involvement in the WaterSense program [WaterSense toilets were featured during the 2007 Charmin PottyPalooza!] and for sponsoring the new IMAX film, Grand Canyon Adventure: River At Risk. Very exciting!

As you consider these bathroom trends, think which ones you might easily reflect within your store. Are there ideas that your store offerings can supplement or coordinate with? Are there similar colors or textures? Or perhaps a look and feel or design style?

Next, Dressing Rooms...

The latest updates
+ Hidden Behind Forgotten Customer Spaces from Iris at Circulating
+ Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Cleaning Up Forgotten Spaces Around Us from Elizabeth
+ Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Potty Parity from Elizabeth
+ Bathroom Blogfest ‘08 - Cleaning Up Forgotten Spaces Around Us from Shannon at Floor Talk!
+ Forgotten Spaces: The 2008 Bathroom Blogfest continues from Stephanie at Experienceology

Visit the members of the Bathroom Blogfest Community [BBC] for Bathroom Blogfest ’08 updates:

Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads
Katia Adams at Transcultural Marketing
Shannon Bilby at Floor Talk!
Laurence Borel at Blog Till You Drop
Jo Brown and the blogging team at Kohler Talk
Lisbeth Calandrino at Lisbeth Calandrino
Sara Cantor at The Curious Shopper
Becky Carroll at Customers Rock!
Katie Clark at Practical Katie
Iris Shreve Garrott at Circulating
Ann Handley at Annarchy
Marianna Hayes at Results Revolution
Elizabeth Hise and C.B. Whittemore at The Carpetology Blog
Maria Palma at Customers Are Always
Sandra Renshaw at Purple Wren
Kate Rutter at Adaptive Path
Claudia Schiepers at Life and its little pleasures
Carolyn Townes at Becoming a Woman of Purpose
Stephanie Weaver at Experienceology
C.B. Whittemore at Flooring The Consumer

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Anonymous said...

C.B. - Thanks for being such a remarkable cheerleader for this year's blogfest! And your posts are so interesting and useful. I, too, love trends - and applying them to the long term profitability of a business. The psychology of what a space such as a bathroom says to a customer about your business is so fascinating to me. I can't wait to hear what you have to say about dressing rooms! As a retail specialist, that's another one of my key experience makeover areas!

CB Whittemore said...

Marianna, you are most welcome! I do enjoy the blogfest. It's a fabulous opportunity to view elements of the customer experience with a new set of eyes because of all of the other blogger perspectives. I hope you like the dressing rooms post!

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