Today, we’re looking at toilets. That’s right, we said toilets.

We know a lot of you are thinking, “How hard can it be to choose a toilet?” On the outside, it might seem like most toilets are essentially the same.

Why should you care so much about the toilet in your house?

You probably don’t think about it, but most of us use our toilet more than any other design fixture in the house. You use it more than your shower, more than your stove, and probably more than you open the fridge during the day. If you're anything like us, you put lots of effort into finding the best stove on the market. Why not find the best toilet?

The toilet is also one of those parts of your house that pretty much every visitor will encounter. You’re getting judged on your toilet, whether you like it or not. And let’s face it–you’ve totally judged people’s toilets before.

There’s nothing worse for you or your guests when a toilet gets blocked. More often than not, clogs and jams are a result of poor design as much as too much TP/unspeakables.

Likewise, while we know that all toilets get a bit scuzzy, we want to emphasize design in terms of cleaning as well. A well-designed toilet doesn’t have an awkward nook under the rim, where it’s hard to clean. While you might not see all that hidden crud, it can create odors that are hard to get rid of. The same is true of awkward spaces under the bowl, or weird lips on the outside of the tank.

We know you spent time choosing just the right fridge, and just the right stove. So, without further ado, let’s talk toilet design. What’s happening in toilet design these days? What kinds of innovations should we be excited about?

1-piece toilets. These are easier to clean, since there’s no seam or awkward space between the bowl and the tank. These are also much more modernist in appearance. We think they fit in really well in sleek, minimalist apartment spaces, especially in urban settings.

Split flush functions. Lots of newer toilets have two flushing options, so you can choose the amount of water you need for whatever situation you’ve just created. That saves you lots of water, and means you won’t be causing as much of an environmental impact.

Self-cleaning toilets. These aren’t quite as futuristic as those Japanese toilets that give you a wipe-down along with the toilet bowl, but they’re a lot more modern than most of us are used to. Rather than that tepid flush that barely clears out the bowl, these new cleaning functions shoot out streams that circle the bowl as they flush the toilet. This clears off a lot of debris, and prevents that nasty staining that can happen after just a few days with a white toilet.

Cushioned or heated toilet seats. We’re not talking about covers, here. Some new toilets have optional soft seats. They’re not plush by any stretch, but they’re a lot softer than the hard plastic or wood you’re used to. They’re like that flooring at gyms which seems hard, but protects your joints while you’re running. You’ll notice the softness less in terms of feeling actual give, but more in the lack of soreness after you stand back up.

Wall-hung toilets. These are super modern-looking. They’re also the easiest to clean around, since there’s total ground clearance.

These are just a few features on modern toilets, and pretty much every company has a patented new innovation to sell you. It’s worth taking a look around, and looking at your toilet with a keen eye for design.

Last Week:

We look at hardwood flooring in 2016. Forget about your grandmother's oak floor, we're looking at heated bamboo, mosaic pattern woods, and lots of other great new ideas for your flooring re-design!

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The A1 Council Exchange is a place for homeowners, renters and renovators to discuss the best trends, topics, and products in contemporary interior design.

Peter Banks, columnist

The A1 Council Exchange is a place for homeowners, renters and renovators to discuss the best trends, topics, and products in contemporary interior design. 

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Theresa Klein, Contributing Writer

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