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Bathrooms that cost Rs 600,000!
Aabhas Sharma
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July 01, 2006

How much do you think one can spend on a bathroom? After all, realistically, it's just a place where one doesn't spend much time in a day.

Vineet Kumar, a 28-year- old sales manager of Hewlett Packard, would scoff at this attitude. He has just spent a whopping Rs 3.5 lakh (350,000) on his bathroom in his house in the NCR. His reason for attaching such a price tag to his bathroom is simple.

"Bathrooms have become a key component of our homes; if I am spending money on other rooms then, surely my bathroom is very important too," he says.

Kumar is not the only one thinking this way. In the world of bathroom accessories, companies are dripping a range of variety and helping people to soak in the pleasures of the ultimate bath experience. Not surprising then that an increasing number of people are spending money on this little space in their respective homes.

Kohler, Jaguar, Marc and a host of other foreign companies have set foot in the country to offer various options. The wide variety targets mid- to high-end consumers with a competitive price range that starts from Rs 1,600 for faucets and goes up to Rs 6 lakh (600,000) for high-end bath products.

Bath tubs, which at one point were considered a luxury product, have also become very common. As with other products, they come in different shapes and sizes.

Available in different materials like acrylic and cast iron, these bathtubs range from the standard rectangular to the more unusual triangular, D-shape, rounded and even a special "sunken" shape.

What's gaining tremendous popularity are whirlpools and jacuzzis. You can have effervescence in the tub and can have special ports to help generate bubbles for an amazing experience.

Special air switches can also be installed in the bathtub to start the system while a noise-dampening harness system can also be fixed to reduce nose-from-water turbulence and increase pump efficiency.

Says Sharad Mathur, head, (India operations) Kohler, "People have high disposable incomes with greater purchasing power in their hands. With upscale tastes, they now want style, design, innovation and performance in bathroom products."

The bathroom accessories space has seen a lot of innovation too. If you want to maintain water pressure at a certain level, you can have a pressure pump mounted on the wall. That's not all, even towels can be kept warm by installing special warming drawers or radiant towel bars.

While bathrooms are no longer a dull affair, people are going in for thematic colours and schemes to liven up the space. So it's time to have that incredible shower in in imported bath and shower cubicles that can start at a cost of Rs 2 lakh (200,000).

These come attached with whirlpools, multi-jet systems, jacuzzis, temperature control systems. . . Phew, the list is endless.

Even basins and sinks have been given a complete makeover. So the next time you stand in front of a basin, it could be a glass-bowl shaped sink or even triangular for that matter.

The designer range of taps may just hold you in rapt attention while you lather your hands from the special sensory soap dispenser installed near the basin.

"There is a huge demand for such products as they look stylish and classy and require less amount of space as well," says Mukesh Walia, a sanitary ware shop owner in Gurgaon.

According to him, the approximate cost of doing up up bathrooms could vary a lot depending on the accessories. "Approximately, it costs around Rs 40,000 for doing up a 6 ft x 8 ft bathroom. While that can be a start, it can cost several lakhs to do up the dream bathroom."

Mathur of Kohler says, "The advent of more foreign players in India will have a profound effect on the industry and sanitaryware will be sold with a focus on product innovation."

The country may be reeling under a severe water crisis, but if you have the money, then go ahead and take a plunge into the world of bathroom fittings.

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