Bathroom design in the 1950s and 1960s consisted of one bathroom containing a small vanity/sink, toilet, and combination bathtub/shower. In this same time period, homes began including a dedicated master bathroom as the new luxury. The master bathroom was functional (for one person, barely) with a small sink/vanity, toilet, and tiny shower. This change created a new market standard in single family residential, the 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home.
The family bathroom didn’t change much over the ensuing years; after all, kids over all generations have never really wanted to take a bath. The family bathroom was considered a must have necessity. The luxurious powder room entered as the new bathroom design must have and showcase for finer living.
Today’s clients are asking for spa-inspired master bathrooms. Tranquil spaces with fine finishes, efficient cabinetry that leaves counters clutter-free, natural light as well as ambient, dim-able lighting, and a luxury water experience to rival the finest spas in both baths and showers are high on their lists. Great bathroom design is tailored to the homeowners, requiring that I ask very personal questions—
- Does the couple use the bathroom at the same time or separately?
- Is someone still in bed and possibly disturbed by sounds/light from the bathroom?
- Do they shower or bathe together?
I often ask questions clients haven’t even thought about:
- Do they plan to retire in this home?
- Have they considered temporary or possibly long-term future disabilities?
I recently was told of a couple that spent two years building their dream home for their retirement years. Within three months of moving in, one had a rapid onset disability and could not access their beautiful master bathroom. The bathroom design include a toilet room that was too tight to get into with a walker and the wife couldn’t transfer into the freestanding tub alone. More and more, clients are experiencing these challenges not only with their own health but often with their own aging parents. As a result, one of the biggest 2016 trends bathroom design are requests for beautiful design for aging-in-place spaces.
- Aging-in-place Design. Aging-in-place design has become highly requested in bathroom design and includes such features as shower benches, grab bars, no-threshold showers, higher vanities, larger toilet rooms, and higher toilet seats.
- Transitional Style Rising in Popularity. We are moving away from starkly contemporary spaces with the transitional style as the most popular bathroom design. Transitional style is a marriage of traditional and contemporary finishes, materials and furnishings equating to classic, timeless design. Lines are simple yet sophisticated and feature either rounded profiles or straight lines.
- Neutral Palettes. White remains the most popular color in tile and paint, with grays coming in second and beige/bone third in bathroom design. Beautifully finished painted cabinets are a popular trend giving the space a restful ambiance.
- Floating vanities and open shelving. A rising number of bathroom cabinetry requests are for floating vanities or open shelving. This trend is expected to continue to be popular and a top request by homeowners in future bathroom design.
- Built-in Storage Functionality. Technology has taken over in the bathroom. As such homeowners are requesting more built-in functionality in bathroom design such as outlets in and out of cabinet drawers and bases, roll-out shelves, and organizational fittings for interiors.
- Under-mount Sinks. Under-mount sinks are the most requested sink style. With new faucet improvements, the request for trough sinks is expected to rise of the coming months.
- Free-standing Tubs. There is a trend to remove tubs and enlarge showers to accommodate the spa trend in bathroom design. However, those that choose to retain the tub are opting for freestanding models.
- Shower Amenities. Lighting, water jets, and shower seats continue to rise in popularity. Multiple showering fixtures such as hand-held showers in addition to the mounted shower-head is becoming the norm.
- Polished Chrome Fixtures. Polished chrome ranks no. 1 and is the most requested finish for today’s bathroom design.
- Luxury Amenities. Luxury amenities such as electric radiant floor heating, coffee bar, soft-close toilets, and bidet toilet seats such as the TOTO Washlet, are often added.
American Institute of Architect’s 2015 Home Design Trends, a survey of 500 architectural firms, state that high-end luxury homeowners are requesting master bathrooms comparable in size to the master bedroom. Clients are requesting large walk-in-showers without tubs, doorless showers, shower fixtures with multiple heads, specialized lighting, and radiant heated flooring.
Our country has more self-employed and two-couple working households, that are tied to their electronics 24/7. The need for a luxurious home retreat will continue to drive requested features in bathroom design.
What is driving your bathroom design in must have features? Be the voice influencing bathroom trends by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.