Glorious Baths

By Maura Keller

For some, it’s one of the most functional rooms in the home. For others, it’s a refuge — a place for the mind to wander — far from the office and the kids. Either way, the style and function of today’s bathrooms aren’t an afterthought anymore.

Dana Langreck, kitchen and bath designer at Bella Domicile, is seeing a lot of simplicity in bathroom designs. Homeowners are choosing materials that are a bit more monochromatic without jarring color contrasts. They also want open, more comfortable spaces that have great storage options — but with a refined look.

LAYOUT DESIGNS

According to Langreck, spaces that allow for homeowners to safely and easily use their bathroom as long as possible are key.

“People are opting for larger, more comfortably-sized showers with flip-down benches, decorative safety bars and handheld shower units. Often, [they are] removing tubs in primary bathrooms to get the space needed for these larger showers,” Langreck says. “Vanities [are] one height and not staggered, and [they like] lots of drawers and deep shelves for storage.”

Remember that vertical row of cabinets that sat on the countertop in between double sinks? Fewer people want those now. In addition, outlets and towel bars near toilets for bidet toilet seat usage are gaining momentum, as are pocket doors (or even eliminating doors) for ease of flow through the room.

COLOR TRENDS

Langreck is seeing cabinetry in warm, neutral paint tones such as mushroom, greige, putty and softer whites — but also splashes of blues and greens. As she explains, light- colored countertops tend to be most popular, as well as marble-like patterns.

“If cabinetry is painted, there are often contrasting elements like floating shelves in stained wood or patterned tile floors,” she says.

Krystin Strasser, kitchen and bath designer at CTW Abbey Carpet & Floor in McFarland, is still seeing natural colors and earth tones combined with visually stunning wall tiles in warmer tones.

“People want their bathrooms to be an extension of their homes, [and] to create a space that is layered with modern and classic designs with a touch of their personal style, with rugs and linens,” Strasser says.

MATERIALS AND FINISHES

Tile

While a combination of white quartz and muted granite finishes have been a solid standby for many baths, Langreck is seeing a lot of tile on floors and shower walls. And, many are opting for one tile throughout the shower without decorative borders.

“Large-format tiles with blending grout or smaller tiles with contrasting grout are frequently used to create very textural looks. Common patterns and tile shapes include herringbone, hexagon, arabesque, chevron and rectangular tiles in a variety of sizes.” Langreck says.

Metals and Hardware

Consumers are gravitating toward painted cabinets and framed mirrors with plumbing fixtures and cabinet hardware now represented equally between polished chrome, brushed nickel, soft golds, polished nickel and black.

“People are feeling comfortable mixing some of these metals — for example, having light fixtures, mirrors and cabinet hardware in one finish, but the plumbing fixtures in another,” Langreck says.

Countertops

Quartz is the most popular countertop material due to the versatility of patterns/colors available, durability and low maintenance.

OTHER LUXE TRENDS

Homeowners should expect to see a lot more natural wood for vanities replacing painted finishes, visually stunning wall tiles and ceramic tile, Strasser points out.

“We still see a lot of classic and timeless materials like stone and marble — patterns that won’t go out of style,” Strasser says. “Faucets and showerheads in bold colors like black and brushed gold, glass showers, hidden niches for bath products, benches, in-floor radiant heating and fun wallpaper are also being requested.”

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