bathroom trends-compressed

Photo: James Bombales

While trend forecasts are typically reserved for the beginning of the year, we say it’s never too late, nor too early, to discuss products and materials that are on the rise. Case in point: bathrooms, which ranked as the most popular home renovation project across Canada and the US in 2016. According to a survey by TrustedPros, a home improvement contractor review platform, bathroom renovations often yield a 70 to 100 percent return on investment.

At a recent event for British luxury bath brand Victoria + Albert, we chatted with three interior designers about the bathroom trends they’re currently using in their own projects.

1. White bathrooms with a touch of color.


Photo: James Bombales

All-white bathrooms create the perception of cleanliness and hygiene. The trend dates back to the 19th century (and the discovery of bacteria), but it’s one that homeowners can’t seem to shake. “I would say we’re still leaning towards a white, crisp palette, but I like to infuse another element into the space — whether it’s color, texture, or something that has a little sparkle to it,” says Dvira Ovadia, Principal Designer at Dvira Interiors. This contrast adds drama and interest to an otherwise all-white space.

2. Colored, freestanding bathtubs.

color tub

Photo: Victoria + Albert

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who aren’t afraid to go bold with color. “We’re gravitating towards colored bathtubs, that’s a trend that’s really coming back,” says Michelle Mawby, Principal Designer at Lucid Interior Design. Victoria + Albert recently launched a new line of color finishes for their freestanding tubs, which include shades of white, grey and black.

How do you go about choosing a freestanding tub? “I tell all of my clients to literally get in the tub to make sure it fits them and feels comfortable,” says Kate Davidson, Principal Designer at Kate Davidson Design Inc. “Don’t be afraid or embarrassed, you’ve got to try it before you buy it!”

3. Statement-making vanities.


Photo: Victoria + Albert

Bathroom vanities are breaking the big-box store mould. No longer does every model scream, ‘Home Depot, aisle five!’ Mawby elaborates: “Previously, it was trendy to buy pieces of furniture and turn them into vanities, but now we’re making our vanities to look like pieces of furniture with high-end, exotic wood veneers or beautiful lacquers, plus stunning hardware.”

4. Intricate tile work.


Photo: James Bombales

Instagram accounts such as I Have This Thing With Floors and From Where I Stand have rendered us tile-obsessed. “Pattern has become really big,” admits Davidson. “Moroccan and Spanish-style tiles are very popular, and putting them on the floor or on the walls adds color and intrigue.” Mawby agrees, “Something that I’ve been doing a lot of recently is complicated tile and pattern-matching. For example, tiling entire walls with really exquisite materials like alabaster, onyx or bookmatched marble.”

5. Soft accessories.


Photo: Victoria + Albert

Modern bathrooms aren’t simply about function, they’re intended to be relaxing escapes where we can enjoy a quiet moment away from the demands of everyday life. “Your bathroom is mostly made of hard surfaces, so bringing accessories in will really soften up the space,” says Davidson. “I like to integrate a pretty, architectural side table beside the bathtub or a tray that lays over the tub to hold a book and a glass of wine. Wallcoverings, such as wallpaper, and window treatments can also soften up the bathroom — those are good spots to add color and texture.”

6. Warm metals.


Photo: Victoria + Albert

Goodbye, gold and silver. Warm metals, such as copper, rose gold and brass are making a comeback, especially in the bathroom. Replacing fixtures (faucets, shower heads, towel racks, etc.) is an easy upgrade that pays off. “I think it’s important to update your home and make sure you’re keeping up with the value of it. That’s how you get a good return on your investment,” notes Ovadia.

7. Heated floors.


Interior design by Dvira Interiors, photo by James Bombales

Got cold feet? “Heated floors are a huge trend, I hardly ever do a master bathroom reno without a heated floor these days,” says Ovadia. What was once considered a luxury reserved for high-end hotels and Scandinavian spas is now an affordable upgrade that’s relatively easy to install. Most radiant-floor heating systems are electric and controlled by a thermostat. Prices range from about $300 to $800, and a system of this size will consume roughly the same amount of energy as three 100 watt light bulbs, according to the experts at This Old House.

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