Photo: James Bombales

Second only to kitchens, bathrooms are among the most popular spaces for homeowners to renovate. And while other home improvement projects are intended to increase ROI or impress your guests, a bathroom renovation feels more personal — it’s a space where you can decompress after a long day at work or hide from your family for a couple of minutes. 

The 2019 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study sheds some light on the design choices homeowners made throughout the year — the vanity countertop materials they preferred, the plumbing fixtures they upgraded, the color palettes they settled on, and ultimately, how much it all cost. Here are eight key takeaways from the annual Houzz survey.

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1. Showers got bigger and better

Photo: michelledirkse/Instagram

There’s nothing worse than a cramped shower — make any sudden movements and you’ll surely knock over the shampoo. Perhaps that explains why four in five homeowners chose to upgrade their shower during a master bathroom renovation and 54 percent of that cohort increased the overall size of their shower. With an expansive walk-in shower you can now add choreography to your early morning karaoke performance.

2. Transitional and modern styles reigned supreme

Photo: sitamontgomeryinteriors/Instagram

Chances are, you’re switching up your bathroom’s style because it’s dull and dated (in fact, 89 percent of renovating homeowners do). Transitional, a blend of traditional and contemporary, and modern design styles each received a five percent boost in this year’s survey, to 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Say goodbye to those cheap laminate countertops and hello to sleek and durable quartz!

3. Accent walls officially became “a thing”

Photo: cementtileshop/Instagram

A bathroom renovation is the perfect opportunity to take a design risk. Since it’s a transitional space, you’re less likely to grow tired of a boldly patterned tile accent wall in the shower or a stretch of reclaimed wood paneling behind the toilet. According to the Houzz survey, 35 percent of renovating homeowners decided, ‘Oh, what the hell!’ and just went for it.

4. Two vanity mirrors were deemed better than one

Photo: tamararenedesigns_inc/Instagram

Double bathroom vanities are quickly becoming the norm, not the exception Replace a frameless, oversized mirror with two statement-making mirrors that have curvy silhouettes or intricate details. Three in four homeowners are seeing clearly now, having installed new mirrors during their recent renovations. 

5. Neutral colors were favored for their spa-like feel

Photo: puresaltinteriors/Instagram

We all want to feel relaxed when we sink into the tub or step into the shower, and surrounding ourselves with calming neutrals helps put us at ease. It’s no wonder 34 percent of homeowners selected white vanities and 29 percent went with warm wood. White countertops were the clear winner with 46 percent of the vote, and gray and white proved popular for both flooring and paint.

6. Freestanding tubs were highly coveted

Photo: zioandsons/Instagram

I went without a bathtub for two years and, honestly, it was a sad time for me, devoid of bath bombs, salts and rubber duckies. Fellow bath lovers will be glad to know that the popularity of freestanding tubs grew from 41 percent in 2017 to 50 percent in 2019 among homeowners who replaced or added a new bathtub.

7. Toilets went high-tech

Photo: dede.studio/Instagram

Buying a high-tech toilet might seem like an unnecessary splurge, but it’s something you’ll use every single day (likely multiple times per day if you’re drinking enough water). Bathroom renovations that included toilets with high-tech features grew from 28 percent in 2018 to 34 percent in 2019. Features like heated seats, integrated bidets, dual flush capabilities and self-cleaning technology make a trip to the loo more sanitary and eco-friendly.

8. Flooring preferences shifted

Photo: fridleyhomes/Instagram

Ten years ago, any designer worth their salt would have told you you were crazy to put down hardwood flooring in a bathroom. This decade we’ve been blessed with the proliferation of luxury vinyl tile, which offers the look of wood, but is completely waterproof. The use of vinyl and engineered wood flooring increased from 6 percent in 2017 to 10 percent in 2019. LVT is the real MVP of bathroom renos.

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