(ARA) - Few room renovations return as much on your investment, in terms of resale value and enhanced enjoyment, as refurbishing a bathroom. Maybe that's why many Americans, who have tightened their belts when it comes to other areas of home improvement, still seem to be willing to spend more for luxury bathroom upgrades.
Bathroom remodels traditionally return more on investment at resale time -- often 70 or 80 percent, or even more. The trend toward spa-like baths continues to appeal to both potential buyers and renovating homeowners. While homeowners may still be willing to spend on luxurious bathroom products, they're also looking for upgrades that give them the most return for their investment.
Here are a handful of upgrades that can help elevate a common bathroom to a luxurious home resort:
The bathtub has become a symbol of modern luxury in the bathroom. Whether you prefer a placid soaking tub experience or an energetic massage from whirlpool-style bubbles, adding an upscale bathtub can greatly enhance the luxury quotient in any bathroom.
For strength and beauty, as well as durability, cast iron has long been a material of choice when designing a luxury bathroom. Now, you can even find cast-iron tubs that provide those lovely, fizzy bubbles that shout "luxury." Kohler recently integrated its BubbleMassage technology into three of its most popular cast iron bath tub lines. The technology uses 40 air jets positioned around the bath to deliver a fully customizable air massage; users can opt for heat or no heat, and vary the intensity of the massage by adjusting the speed control.
Flat Screen TVs
LCD TVs are showing up in upscale bathroom designs. The trend that started in top-end hotels in cities like New York and Las Vegas, has found a willing, loving audience in homeowners seeking ultimate luxury in the bathroom. With manufacturers offering LCD TVs in a wide range of colors, sizes and configurations, it's possible to find one to match virtually any decor. Plus, mounting manufacturers have created wall mounts that address one of the LCD's most common issues: viewability from an angle. Adjustable wall mounts, many of them motorized, make it possible to adjust the TV for viewing from several points in a room, whether it's the soaking tub or the shower.
Showers That Show Off
People spend, on average, 10 minutes a day in the shower, according to one study conducted in the United Kingdom. In America, especially, showering isn't just about getting clean. The shower is also a favorite spot to relax, decompress and perhaps even practice your karaoke style.
Multi-jet showers and multiple showerheads are becoming sought-after improvements in upscale baths. Steam showers are another popular trend. A self-enclosed unit uses a steam generator to turn the water from the tap into steam. Occupying about the same size as a traditional shower, steam showers allow you to control the temperature of the steam and often come with a range of upscale features, including massage jets and voice activation.
Faucets are no longer just a way to get some water for washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Today, they're a style statement, as well. Whether you opt for traditional or modern, classic or contemporary, two-handled or hands-free, you can find a faucet design to fit virtually any decor. And manufacturers continue to expand the range of options available, introducing new designs and extra touches.
While it may be your dream to incorporate every upscale touch possible into your bathroom design, if your budget allows for only one or two, you can still greatly enhance the room's luxury by adding elements that offer the most enjoyment and value for your investment.