Hot showers are a welcome luxury at the end of a long day. The brisk air and icy floor we step into afterwards are not so pleasant. With a few bathroom modifications we're winter-proofing our showering set up and making the changing of the seasons that much more bearable.
1. Heated Towel Bar
Let's be honest, doesn't it feel wonderful to be wrapped in a towel that feels like it just came out of the dryer? If nothing else a heated towel will help you wrap up in the left-over steam of the shower and make it to wherever your clothes are stashed. It also doubles as a drying rack for things that can't dry in your normal tumble dryer and helps keep away mold and the smell it brings by drying your towel faster. We like wall mounted racks for small apartment bathrooms and free-standing ones for larger homes, especially ones with multiple occupants. We also like the ease and price of plug-in models, but if you have the cash built-in versions save you the plug space. The one pictured above from Hudson Reed ($1040) doubles as a shiny piece of modern art and holds plenty of towels or even robes.
2. Heated Floor Mat
Many heated floor mats are plug-in underlayment for standard mats. You simply roll it out, place your mat on top and plug it in for heat. Like the towel bar you can have more extensive systems installed under your flooring if you have the cash and don't want to worry about plugging in and washing a mat. Be sure to look for ones that are sealed, as obviously this moisture is more of an issue here than around the rest of the home and many heated mats aren't specifically designed for the bathroom. The Indus-Tool FWXXX ($38.15, pictured above) is made of water resistant rubber and can double as a foot warmer under your computer desk or under boots covered in snow.
3. Heat Lamp
These are whole lamps or special bulbs, often in red, that screw into special lamps or standard sockets depending on which you buy. They generally give off a red color and take much more electricity than a standard bulb (often 250 Watts) so don't forget to turn them off when you're done. This Broan Model 163 ($48.75) requires more than screwing in a bulb, but it's not hard as far as home improvement projects go. It's also better suited than a standard fixture to cope with the heat and bulbs used.
4. Portable Heater
A basic portable heater is probably the most versatile of all options because it can easily be taken or moved to another room. These come in all shapes and sizes and run on oil or electric heat. We like small focused heaters over oil ones because bathrooms tend to be cramped as it is and because oil heaters generate heat generally instead of directionally, putting anything nearby at risk. Our only caution with these is the humidity rating. Other products made specifically for the bathroom are sealed and ready for that kind of weathering, where some heaters won't take this into account. The severity of the problem ranges from a little reduced life to dangerous interaction of electricity and water, so check before you buy. We like the one above from Hammacher ($99.95) for it's lack of fan and oil and for its mountain capabilities. No fan means no noise, no oil means no smell and the ability to mount it means you can save space when needed or roll it to wherever it's needed.