Trends in bathroom design combine what’s new with what we really want. A spa-inspired bathroom does not have to be huge, because some popular options don’t require more space. And often layouts can be reconfigured, creating the ultimate spot to relax and refresh.
There is a refreshed vision of the new bathroom, says Angela Barnhart of White Birch Design, LLC.
“Homeowners want a light, bright, relaxing, and calm environment,” Barnhart said. “We see a lot of white, for example, in walls, for a clean, crisp feel. We’re also mixing and matching hues, like black chrome with gold polished chrome.”
High-quality paint is a must. Remodelers are seeing a return of wallpaper often in accents, but according to Jolynn Johnson of Crystal Kitchen & Bath, paint is still the choice for about 60% of homeowners. Other popular surfaces include subway tile shower wall treatments and luxury vinyl floors.
Incorporating niches with a hand-thrown pottery look is artful, agree Barnhart and Kayla Vig of Quartersawn Design Build.
“A touch of wood, like a walnut vanity, adds soft warmth,” Vig said. “Clients also love floating vanities for a more spacious vibe.”
In Minnesota, heated floors and heated towel bars are simply comforting and are among top priorities — along with features that create the ultimate space for relaxation.
“A freestanding tub also gives the whole space an airy feeling,” said Tracy Loomis of Plekkenpol Builders, Inc. “And there are also tubs with aerated bubbles for a nice massage, instead of the jetted water.” What is vital in a freestanding tub is a hand-held shower.
Steam showers are a luxury some homeowners want, but others choose other amenities first, according to Loomis. “Good ventilation is a must for plumbing installation,” she said. “If the layout permits, homeowners want bigger showers, with 15-20 square feet not uncommon.”
Where possible with shower and surround structure, more accessible shower space includes curbless entry and trench drainage. Benches and grab bars are included not only for aging in place but for other contingencies such as injury. Remodelers are also placing shower faucets next to the entry, and there are two-in-one hand and wall-mounted showerheads.
Newer shower features and products keep clean-up simple. Vig says clients love a low-ion glass surround that is seamless and stays quite clear.
Storage is reported as a priority. Old homes didn’t always consider storage a bathroom must-have, and you were lucky to find even ample vanity space in many.
“The layout and use of space can create good storage,” said Natalie Velez of Great Northern Builders, LLC. “Homeowners want a clean countertop space.”
Velez and other remodelers reported enthusiasm for drawers with plug-ins for small appliances. Storage can be ingenious, as Barnhart and Velez describe, with drawers on the bottom of cabinets, and tower cabinets.
The powder room can exude fun, creativity, and personality. Vig redesigned a second bath that became a powder room that really pops. “You can do fun wallpaper, lighting, and vessel sinks because you can change things more easily than in a larger space,” she explained.
Lighting, remodelers agree, should be functional while lending degrees of ambiance. “There are layers and types of lighting—all for specific uses,” said Loomis.
Remodelers emphasize planning in advance. “Think about function and layout,” advises Barnhart. “Everything is usually ordered well in advance now, from fixtures to cabinetry.”
Written by Joan Knight