Bathrooms embrace several trends

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Many area experts say that two bathroom trends are popular. Most popular is the embracing of zen-like spa spaces, but there is also a growing interest in bolder colors, whether they are found in vanities, paint, tile, or accents.

“Neutral colors are trending,” says Erica Bunten of True North Designs. “Also, on the flipside, bolder colors and patterns are hot. It all comes down to personal preference. I’ve seen more people lean toward the natural, neutral, zen kind of space.”

Joi Albright with PDI Kitchen, Bath & Lighting agrees that a common trend is the creation of a spa-like bath, including the installation of heated flooring and towel racks. “Many also incorporate lighted mirrors that provide storage. Homeowners can Incorporate smart technology in their bathroom with the new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror that uses Amazon Alexa to control your lighting, included Kohler Konnect features and more.”

Billy Toungette of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting also reports the biggest trend in bathroom design is transforming the master bathroom into a spa getaway. “The incorporation of luxurious pieces, such as freestanding tubs, digital showering systems, and bidets, help create relaxing experiences in the bathroom,” he says.

“Modern, freestanding tubs are the focal point of any spa sanctuary because they are striking in form and designed for function,” Toungette says. “They feature sleek lines, geometric shapes, and can be combined with a wide variety of coordinating freestanding faucets and hand showers. These tubs also offer a generous size that provides the ultimate in all-around comfort and relaxation.”

There is a tendency toward scaling down master baths, utilizing the space for storage or extending the kitchen, utility room, pantry or other areas in the house. Jessica Davis of JL Design points out, “Overall sizes are scaling back again, often to allow more closet space for en-suite bathrooms.”

In agreement about bathroom design scaling down is Beth Duer of Markraft Cabinets. She says, “the bathroom design trend is toward smaller bathrooms with a focus on efficiency, functionality, and luxury.” This will, she suggests, result in “more free-standing tubs, smaller artfully designed toilets and sink bowls, walk-in showers, floating shelving, and floating vanities, all designed to increase the perception of space.”

When it comes to bathroom trends, ample storage space comes to mind, according to Albright. “That alone is a common trend among many homeowners. They like products like Kohler’s Tailored Vanity Collection and accessories that provide personalized storage and the option to add in-storage drawers, custom electrical outlet hardware, or coordinating medicine cabinets,” she says. Cabinet accessories can include electrical shelves, roll-out trays, make-up storage trays, roll-out appliance storage, and more.

Disagreeing with simplifying of the master bath space, Kate Fudim from Beth Haley Design says, “Clients want it all! In new construction, bathrooms are the focal point of the master suite. It’s not uncommon to have a space that includes a large walk-in shower, soaking tub, double vanities, and toilet closet.”

According to Kimberly Schmunk of Focus Builders, “Homeowners are becoming less interested in the highly decorative bathroom and are gravitating toward clean lines, natural materials, and interesting textures. We’re seeing a lot of asymmetries when it comes to mirrors and lighting placement. The bathrooms aren’t perfectly balanced, but the design is refreshing and it works.”

Schmunk says, “I’m also seeing extra-long floating vanities with open shelving below for towels—more of a minimalist and clean approach to bathrooms. Natural stone, cement, and ceramics are some of the natural materials being used in mirrors, light fixtures, and tile. Handcrafted mid-century style brass and opal glass light fixtures are also making a comeback.”

Also, disagreeing with Davis is Heidi Anderson of Marcelle Guilbeau Interior Design. Anderson says, “Bathrooms are getting bigger with larger glass showers including wide benches and multiple shower heads to wash away the cares of the day. The goal, regardless of the size of the space, is to prioritize your wishes so you get the features you crave.”

Anderson also reports seeing a growing use of bold color and wallpaper, especially in powder rooms. At the same time, she reports seeing use of wide plank bleached flooring in bathrooms for a beachy house vibe. “Matched with dark floating cabinets the look is sleek and modern with a touch of drama,” she says.

Albright says she’s noted the growing popularity of matte black plumbing fixtures and contrasting them with white walls and countertops. “Today’s bathrooms are getting a lot of stylish upgrades like subway tile, deluxe showers with control panels, and smart technology – like Bluetooth devices and wireless speakers, to name a few,” she says. PDI’s line of Native Trails free-standing tubs in bold finishes such as polished copper and slate can easily become the focal point of any bath space.

“While we see a large influx of color tile, wallpaper, and paint,” Fudim says, “we’ve also seen a lot of color in hardware and faucets. Black and gold have the timeless appeal, while brushed nickel and polished chrome are classic as well.” She adds that Beth Haley Design has seen an uptick in clients interested in green, sustainable materials.

Albright says Kohler offers a wide array of WaterSense labeled High-Efficiency Toilets (HET), among other efficient products, that can save a family of four up to 16,500 gallons of water annually.

One thing that remains the same in bathroom design is the desire for a space to relax and recharge. Gina Hewlett of Louisville Tile says, “Bathrooms continue to be a place of escape. Large or small, homeowners want a touch of luxury. In a large space, that may be a free-standing tub with a large chandelier overhead and bold porcelain tile set in a herringbone pattern. In a smaller space, marble might be used to give the luxury feeling.”

Macy Otten of Cambria offers, “Classic whites and creams with subtle wood accents and organic nature elements maintain that spa-like atmosphere.”

Personal taste has a great deal to do with homeowner selections, but so does HGTV, says Otten, which means “penny tiles, tankless toilets, gold or silver fixtures or knobs, and shower heads and faucets that are like art forms.”


Beth Jones of The Interior Collection says a recent client of hers expanded her bath to incorporate the existing bath and closet space and a mother-in-law apartment to accommodate pool bath, a massage room, a ladies’ office space, and two large walk-in closets. Features include faucets with phlyrich Louis XI gold plating, sinks with mother of pearl design, a Newport Brass shower head in the satin brass finish, and a free-standing tub. “Gold is definitely back—mostly satin gold,” Jones says. Mirrors, sconces, and a gold valance were custom ordered.”

According to Duer, brass and gold tone fixtures are a perfect complement to the cooler gray paint colors that have become popular. “Homeowners love the change to warmer accents with the brass/gold toned bathroom fixtures versus the traditional shiny polished chrome which conveys a more modern, sleek look. Finish options such as satin, matte, and spun gold can add a classic traditional element to space.”

Christy George of By George Designs! reports that fixtures are in a transitional stage at the moment. Popular are gold and flat black. Oil rubbed bronze needs to die!”

Hewlett says homeowners most often make their selections based on personal taste and budget but adds that modern technology is helping customers. “Many of them browse an endless amount of pictures online to see what they do—and sometimes most importantly— don’t want their space to look like. It’s very helpful in combining elements so they are happy every time they enter their sanctuary.”

One of the top bathroom trends is monochromatic style. A small space, bathrooms give homeowners the opportunity to experiment with unique style and design. Monochrome makes design easy—choose one color and decorate with different shades and the result will be a clean and minimalist look with a little shine from accessories and fixtures.

The one-material style, a look particularly popular in the 80s, when done right, creates an impactful, uniform, and special space. One-material style takes the same material­—tile, plaster, limewash, or concrete—from floor to ceiling, wall to wall, embracing the room in a uniform look. The style can make a small space feel larger and a larger space feels warm.

Tubs, toilets, flooring, finishes, and tile are all small design features that can make a big impact. “Americans have long been confused by bidets,” says Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors. “Which makes little sense, as most of us are very interested in cleanliness. New toilet seats are incorporating bidet functionality, so there’s no need for two appliances. You get heated and lighted seats with automatic drying.”

Toungette says the trend to include a bidet in the home has been slowly building over the past few years. “In addition to adding to the spa feel, bidets also aid in better hygiene and reduce the amount of toilet paper waste. Options are available for a standalone bidet, a bidet toilet seat or an integrated smart toilet with bidet functionality.”

Erica Bunten of True North Designs says, “Tile in-lays, chandeliers, fun tile backsplashes, and black and grey hardware are all on trend.” Schmunk says, “Brass, matte black, and polished nickel are probably the most popular colors in plumbing and lighting right now. We’re also seeing a lot of wall-mounted faucets paired with under-mount sinks rather than vessel sinks. I think people are finding that vessel sinks splash and take away a lot of usable counter space.”

Regarding color, Melinda Jackson of Modern Surfaces suggests, “Bright colored solid surface can be great in a children’s or Jack and Jill bathroom.”

Light and neutral tones paired with bold accent pieces are popular color choices for materials for the bathroom. For example, homeowners may pair faucets and accent lighting in a polished chrome or polished nickel finish with a bold red or deep blue vanity to add interest to the room, says Toungette.

“Larger format tiles are on trend and create great lines,” says Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors.

One innovative tile trend for bathrooms, according to Irene Williams of Crossville, Inc., is the gauged porcelain tile panel. These large tile panels are approximately 3 feet wide and almost 10 feet long and are only 5.6mm thick. “You can skin them over shower walls or install them over old tile or stone for amazingly efficient remodeling.”

Courtesy PDI

Several sources mention the addition of high tech in the bathroom, particularly in the area of lighting and showering. “We’re seeing a growing trend from manufacturers to incorporate dimmable LED lighting into the edges of the mirror,” says Toungette.

In addition, digital showering systems allow homeowners to turn a routine shower into a personalized hydro-therapy experience with the help of a digital interface system. Functioning as a remote control, the digital display allows homeowners to save their favorite temperatures and showerhead combinations, as well as play music from a handheld device like a smartphone.

Courtesy PDI

Homeowners can also incorporate smart technology in their bathroom with the new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, according to Albright. “It uses Amazon Alexa to control your lighting, included Kohler Konnect features, and more,” she says.

Jennifer Jones of Jennifer Jones Design Inc. says, “Details for every bath and kitchen are deliberated upon extensively for long-term function, beauty, and hi-end value,” and David Emmons of Newport Brass says, “incorporate design features and decorative finishes that complement the space while also allowing them to showcase your personal taste and sense of style.”

In other words, know what you want, understand your space and potential materials, and how space will be used—then allow your design choices to become clear.

—Starshield Lortie

There are a number of sources for bathroom design including:

Beth Haley Design Nashville 615/ 228-3664

Bison Countertops Ashland City 615/ 792-8812

Cambria Nashville 952/944-1676

Crossville Inc Crossville 931/ 484-1118

Decorating Den Interiors Nashville 615/ 469-7334

Elite Installation Hendersonville 615/ 264-9370

Ellen|Sherwood Design Brentwood 615/ 376-6122

Ferguson Nashville 615/ 385-3054

Ferguson Murfreesboro 615/ 890-5599

Ferguson Clarksville 931/ 647-0276

Ferguson Lebanon 615/ 444-2111

Focus Builders Nashville 615/ 517-5685

French’s Cabinet Gallery Franklin 615/ 371-8385

Genesis Glass Franklin 615/ 794-5515

Hastings Tile New York, NY 212/ 674-9700

Hermitage Lighting Gallery Nashville 615/ 843-3310

Jennifer Jones Design Inc. Nashville 615/ 354-8907

JL Design Nashville 615/ 321-1888

Jonathan Miller Architects Knoxville 615/ 602-2435

Louisville Tile Nashville 615/ 248-8453

Marcelle Guilbeau Interior Design Nashville 615/ 574-8711

Markraft Cabinets Nashville 615/ 360-2118

Modern Surfaces Raleigh, NC 919/ 348-6679

Nashville Glass Nashville 615/ 254-8874

Newport Brass Santa Ana, CA 949/ 417-5207

PDI Nashville 615/ 490-8316

Prestige Marble & Granite Columbia 931/ 381-7294

ProCraft Cabinetry Nashville 615/ 528.-0399

Southeastern Salvage Nashville 615/ 244-1001

The Interior Collection Gallatin 615/ 969-7248

ThermaSol Dallas 800/ 776-0711

True North Designs Mt. Juliet 615/ 338-9950

Watermark Design New York, NY 718/ 257-2800

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