5 Bathroom Design Trends to Add Splash to a Dated Loo

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From vertical tiles to quirky mirrors, the decor ideas that design professionals are using to modernize bathroom decor, plus the trends they pass

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New York architect and interior designer Adam Rolston of INC Architecture & Design has also seen a boom in bathrooms. “Recently, we have definitely seen an increase in the size of bathrooms by about 10-15%,” he said. Palace or not, bathroom furnishings resonate elegant living spaces with statement chandeliers and whimsical plumbing fixtures, elements that add personality. The designers “mix nostalgia with forward thinking,” said Mr. Rolston, who paired the neoclassical fluted millwork against slick stacked vertical tiles in the Brooklyn bathroom shown above. This historic mashup creates tension that’ll make you pay attention, unlike the play-out subway tile and bland shaker cabinetry.

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To help you keep your own temple up-to-date, here are five trends that designers are drawing, as well as the ones they’re curating.

IN: Asymmetric mirror

A frame that mixes rounded and pointed corners offers “a kinder, gentler modernism” than your standard, rigid geometry, Mr. Rolston said. Dallas interior designer Ginger Curtis explains that glass with an asymmetric look works best if it’s hung on plain walls that won’t compete for attention. “It’s like a piece of artwork and a functional tool,” she said.

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Outside: Standard rectangular mirror on the wall above the vanity.

In: Vertical Tile

A grid of thin rectangles at the end is like meditation: the net, and a call to a higher power – or at least a ceiling. Vertical lines “stretch” the walls, creating the illusion of height, said Laurence Beysecker, a Lisbon, Portugal, interior designer who recently installed vertical jade tiles atop terrazzo floors.

Outside: Subway Tiles. “When you look at something too many times, you stop looking at it,” said Mr. Rolston.

IN: Fluted Vanities

Fluting—a groovy, ancient architectural detail attached to Greek columns—”creates depth, shadow, and shadow like in classical woodwork,” said Mr. Rolston, who gave the pattern on this bleak, white-oak cabinet a distinctive star. Gave. In a modern way… unwrapped on a flat panel. You get the “visual effect without the historical stuff,” he said. London interior designer Olivia Emery transformed a client’s cramped washroom into “something quite feminine but with a sophisticated edge” in dusty pink, inch-wide fluting on the vanity front and a panel on the side of the tub all the way down. “It made the whole thing a little more contemporary,” she said.

Outside: Hard-Edge Modern is obsolete, “as with anything historic, like Shaker-style cabinets,” Mr. Rolston said.

In: Colorful Faucet

Skittles have arrived for your bathroom. Fantini’s Balocchi model (left) inflates the old cross-handle faucet and updates it in colors like bright red. Waterworks teamed up with New York firm ASH NYC to create a line that oozes glee in traditional design with porcelain faucet handles in blue, green, red, or yellow. San Francisco interior designer Noza Nozawa said bursting white bathrooms create a sense of visual delight. In a powder room, Los Angeles designer Caitlin Murray used a bright red, lever-controlled Voila sink faucet to echo a similar hue in a floral wallpaper. “With full hand washing today, you will be lucky to have a faucet that makes you smile,” said Ms Nozawa.

Outside: Oiled-up bronze fixtures that once lost out on old-world charm now seem out of date.

In: Art and Fancy Lights

“If a chandelier can go over a dining table, it can go in your bathroom,” argues Ghislaine Venus. New York interior designer added personality to a utilitarian space by installing a brass Brutalist chandelier in architect Chet Callahan’s Los Angeles bathroom. In the same room, she unleashed the “energy of art” by hanging a witty Hernan Bass painting against pure white walls, avoiding the “tiled tomb” atmosphere she believes has so many bathrooms.

Outside: Harsh downlight that casts gruesome shadows especially on the face.


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