Senses working overtime

With wellbeing becoming one of the fastest growing priorities in modern life, housebuilders have an increasingly important role to play in exploring the significance of multi-sensory design in the bathroom and how to achieve it. Here, Sophie Weston, channel marketing manager at Geberit discusses the trend towards designing for the senses.

Many would argue that today’s society operates at a faster pace, with fewer opportunities to switch off from technological innovations and more distractions too. One way housebuilders can begin to combat these pressures for the modern homeowner, is through specifying designs that provide a subtle orchestration of sensory messages in the bathroom. Research by Geberit shows that we spend 4.4 hours on our phones each day, and 78% of people said they spent more hours online than they do sleeping. As these hectic schedules and technology become ever-present in our working lives, it comes as no surprise that 12.5 million working days are lost from work-related stress (Health and Safety Executive, 2016).

Health and wellbeing

Often, a healthy homeowner is a happy homeowner. But what can housebuilders do to reduce stresses and anxieties in the home?

The research revealed something particularly interesting for housebuilders – that, in the quest for some respite, the most popular place of refuge for homeowners was the bathroom. The ability to create a momentary buffer between ourselves and the world around us, is something that would clearly be beneficial to our overall health and general sense of wellbeing.

A sensory space

When it comes to wellbeing in the bathroom, there are four key senses we need to consider; auditory (hearing), visual (sight), Olfactory (smell) and kinesthetic (touch). Let’s look at the impact of each.

Auditory: In today’s high-volume and fast-paced world, we often find our relaxation times thwarted by unwanted noise. In close-quarter environments, the need to minimise bathroom noise is particularly important. To meet this need, advancements have been made, including decoupled prewall installation systems with integrated cisterns and acoustically optimised pipework. These and other sound minimising solutions, create a quieter and calmer home environment.

Importantly, acoustically-optimised buildings have the scope to enhance revenue for housebuilders. In a survey conducted by in 2014, 55% of participants agreed that they would happily pay more rent to reduce sanitary noise – providing developers with the scope to withdraw larger margins in return for investment in acoustically designed bathroom solutions.

Visual: This can relate to space-saving solutions such as wall-hung frames which conceal cisterns and pipework. Setting the standards for a modern bathroom, wall-hung technology opens up the room and creates the illusion of a larger space without knocking a wall down. By increasing space in the bathroom, the room will be much easier to clean and maintain, as well as boast enhanced visual and aesthetic features.

Kinesthetic: Family bathrooms are high traffic areas, which places a premium on hygiene. Automated, touch-free experiences, with sensing technology in taps, lids and flushes, not only minimises the spread of germs but also makes the entire space quicker and easier to clean. Housebuilders seeking the very best in hygienic, sanitary technology should look no further than a no-touch flush. Consider a premium and contemporary flush plate, featuring touchless flush actuation, durable LED lighting and a sensor-controlled switch-on function.

Olfactory: Aromas have long been used to lift spirit and restore feelings of wellbeing. Unfortunately, in bathrooms, the opposite is often the case, and traditionally, odours are masked with overpowering chemical sprays. However, odour extraction technology handles things differently. The air in the space is effectively cleaned by passing unwanted odours through a replaceable carbon filter. The technology is discreetly tucked inside the cistern and can be turned on by the touch of a button by the user.

Now the opportunity lies with housebuilders. Finding the formula for a well-considered, human-centered design in the bathroom could be the key to unlocking better health and wellbeing for your customers and creating a key point of difference for your developments.

Remember, every square inch counts when it comes to new homes, and to maximise space whilst giving the allure of a larger bathroom should be front of mind for housebuilders working with smaller spaces. Something as simple as a wall-hung toilet with a shorter projection can make for a much more comfortable and ergonomic room.