Tips For a Toasty Warm Bathroom

A bathroom's cold, hard surfaces may be functional, but nothing you'd want to snuggle up to on a chilly morning. Kiss the shivers goodbye with these nine simple-to-sumptuous ideas for keeping your bathroom cozy without turning up the thermostat.

  • 01 of 09

    Towel Warmer

    signature hardware towel warmer
    Photo © Signature Hardware

    Yes, a towel warmer does the obvious, which in itself is pretty awesome. But in addition to the bliss of wrapping up one's damp, post-shower self in a toasty towel, many units perform double duty as highly energy-efficient room heaters. You'll find freestanding models that plug directly into an electrical outlet as well as wall-mounted versions that can be hardwired into your electrical system. Some of the newest and best designed units are radiant heat systems, which use circulating hot water to provide quick, even and reliable warmth throughout the room. Depending on the size, type, and style of towel warmer you choose, expect to pay from $400 to $1500 or more.

  • 02 of 09

    Heated Robe Hook

    Robe warming hook by Mr. Steam
    Mr. Steam heated robe holder

    This heated robe hook is designed to attach to a towel warmer so that bath towel and robe are snuggly when you (or a loved one) step out of the tub. It's a nifty holiday gift if I ever saw one.

  • 03 of 09

    Heated Toilet Seat

    Heated Toilet Seat

    A standard toilet seat on an icy morning is not a wonderful thing. Look forward to a little luxury with an electrically warmed perch. Some high-end toilets, like Kohler's Numi, will even warm your feet and play your favorite tunes. A more down-to-earth option is Brondell's LumaWarm seat, which attaches to an existing toilet. The LumaWarm not only heats up but welcomes you with the soft glow of its blue LED nightlight.

  • 04 of 09

    Supplemental Heater

    Wall-mounted Econo-Heat E-Heater
    Econo-Heat E-Heater

    While the winter sun may be slow to rise, a supplemental heater mounted to the wall or ceiling will provide a warm glow on even the darkest pre-dawn morning. Today's sleek and efficient designs are a far cry from the unstable and sometimes dangerous space heaters of old. The Econo-Heat is inexpensive, easy to install and capable of delivering heat where and when you need it. Another plus: you can paint it to match your wall color.

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  • 05 of 09

    Radiant Heat Floors

    radiant heat
    Photo ©

    You no longer need to visit a fancy spa to enjoy the comfort of a heated floor. Unlike standard heating systems, where hot air rises and leaves the floor chilly, a radiant system focuses the warmth at the area around your feet. Hydronic floor systems use looped tubes to pump heated water beneath the floor, while "dry systems" utilize electric cables. And while nothing beats professional installation, a handy homeowner can achieve good results using one of the electric cable or mat kits on the market — provided that you're also prepared to tear out and replace your existing floor, of course.

  • 06 of 09

    Rain Shower

    Moen Arris chrome rainshower
    Moen's Arris Collection shower system

    You'll warm up super-fast under the blissful downpour from a rain shower. These oversized heads can be suspended from a wall-mounted arm or top-mounted to the ceiling, which offers a truly drenching experience. Choices range from rain shower heads like Moen's Arris, which offers a single spray pattern, to systems with multiple jets and spray options. One thing to keep in mind if you crave a ceiling-mounted rain shower is that it will require extensive changes to your existing plumbing.

  • 07 of 09

    Steam Shower

    Steam Shower
    Kohler Fast-Response Steam Generator

    When your muscles ache or you've just braved a day filled with snow and slush, wouldn't you love to treat yourself to an herb-scented steam bath? It's possible to bring this health club experience home by transforming an ordinary shower stall into a rejuvenating steam shower. You can buy a steam-generating system for about $2,500, plus the cost of re-tiling and installing a steam-proof shower enclosure. There's plumbing and electrical work involved, so you'll need to hire pros for this job. Once installed, you'll find your steam shower to be a relatively frugal energy consumer: A 20-minute steam bath requires about 2 gallons of water — a fraction of the 50 gallons used by a water-saving showerhead in the same time frame.

  • 08 of 09

    Tub with Heated Liner

    Kohler Expanse bathtub
    Kohler's Expanse tub with Bask heated surface

    You'll find a welcome escape from icy winds in a bathtub that packs extra heat. Kohler tubs with a Bask™ heated surface — including the compact-sized Expanse — warm the back and neck with adjustable temperature settings. Similarly, MAAX tubs with the ThermaZone™ option include a heated backrest to melt away muscle tension.

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  • 09 of 09


    Kohler spa shower with fireplace in background
    Custom spa shower by Kohler

    Towel warmer? Check. Heated toilet seat? Got it. Crackling fire? Wait, what? Yes, a fireplace next to one's spa shower or whirlpool tub is a luxury many of us can only dream about. But it's the perfect fantasy to perk up a dreary winter's day.