When you’re ready to tear out your bathroom’s 1950s-era pink tile walls and replace your water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow, comfort-height model, you’re likely to opt for a more complete makeover.
So while it’s tempting to jump on board with the latest style trends, it’s important to choose a design, colors and fixtures that give your bathroom an updated look that’s classic enough to remain “in style” for many years to come.
That’s why I’m excited about this year’s National Kitchen & Bath Style Report, which shows that the latest bathroom trends have some enduring qualities, including understated colors, durable materials and designs that blend traditional and contemporary tastes so you don’t have to commit to one style or the other.
Here are the NKBA’s top six trends for bathrooms:
1. Going gray. While whites and off whites are the most popular bathroom colors, more than half of homeowners who have remodeled a bath in the past three years have incorporated gray materials—either on countertops, floors, cabinets or walls. That’s up from just 12 percent who favored the muted shade in 2010.
2. Touch of satin. Stainless steel faucets and nickel-colored hardware have become timeless favorites in the bathroom. If you’re going gray, stick with silver tones for metal items and shy away from brass, which doesn’t coordinate as well. The NKBA report points to a rise in popularity of the “satin” nickel finish, which has less of a mirrored shine than polished chrome
3. Quartz connection. There was a time when the best way to add gray tones to the bathroom was to add a marble countertop. Marble is still popular in the bath; 39 percent of homeowners prefer it. But that’s down from 46 percent in 2010. Today, granite reigns as the bathroom’s favorite countertop material, but quartz is nipping at its heels for the top spot. Quartz slabs come in virtually any color you could want for your bathroom.
4. In-between style. The ultra-sleek, no-frills contemporary style is appealing to more and more homeowners, but unless you are ready to convert your whole house to a super-modern look and commit to that design for many years, something a bit softer might suit you better. The trend: A “transitional” look in the bathroom blends the sharp, clean lines of contemporary faucets and fixtures with a few curves like the ones you’ll see on more traditional models.
5. Seamless sinks. A huge majority of homeowners—More than 94 percent from 2010 to 2012—are asking for undermounted bathroom sinks—the kind without a “lip” around the bowl that spills onto the countertop. Especially when paired with granite or quartz, the undermount sink towers over the top-mount version in popularity. But demand for the undermount is waning: NKBA says just 87 percent of new bathrooms have them this year. Knocking it from its throne: NKBA reports “modest” growth in demand for sinks that are seamlessly “integrated” into the countertop so the sink bowl and countertop are the same color and material.
6. Gorgeous floor. Replacing a low-quality bathroom floor with ceramic or porcelain tile automatically makes the room look updated and upscale—even though you can find the popular material at a wide range of prices. The perennial top choice among homeowners who remodel their bathrooms, tile flooring is easy to clean and comes in dozens of colors and styles. Slightly fewer bathrooms have tile floors this year than two years ago, though, as low-maintenance wood- and tile-look laminates sneak into the home’s most-used room.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.Jeb.net.