A newly renovated white bathroom with glass shower doors, gray cabinets and and marbled counter top.

A large shower in a recent bathroom remodel.

Bathrooms continue to be one of the top requested rooms to remodel, as style and needs change over time.  From timeless materials to new cabinet colors and room layouts, homeowners are looking to update their bathroom spaces to make them both more beautiful and more functional.

One of the top trends that have continued in popularity is aging-in-place design. Most people want to be able to stay in their homes as they age, but safety and comfort need to stay top of mind.  Details make all the difference here.  Widening door openings for a walker or wheelchair accessibility, and larger, curbless or minimal curb showers are especially important features.  In terms of safety, consider items like grab bars, a bench in the shower, and textured tile for added slip resistance.

Another trend that we’re continuing to see from fixture manufacturers is matte finishes. Whether it be matte black or matte gold (yes, gold is back!), these colors help bring a modern elegance to a space. With a light backdrop, stylish black fixtures are sleek and modern; and matte gold, also known as champagne bronze, is a far cry from the shiny brass most people are trying desperately to get away from. If you’re brave enough, you can even mix finishes; black and chrome work great together, while dark bronze and champagne together provide an updated traditional look.

Another trend we’re seeing is warmer wood accents.  Especially in cabinetry, a stained finish on a modern door style gives a sleek, updated look. We also see wood accents in the form of teak in showers, including shower seats, stools, or bathmats. You can bring in the wood look in the form of floor tile, as well. With rustic modern style still popular, the preference is moving toward more natural finishes and materials with clean lines.

One thing I encourage clients to be open to, are unique vanity mirrors and lighting. These items can really show your personality and help define the style of the space.  There are practically an infinite number of options out there so look to a design professional to guide you to the correct size and look to balance your space. Gone are the plate-glass, builder-grade mirrors, and in are mirrors that make a statement.

Tile, marble and concrete looks continue to be popular.  Actual marble is not recommended for bathrooms because of its porosity and high maintenance. But manufacturers have created porcelain tile that looks like marble, so you can get the same elegant effect. Porcelain tile manufacturers have also mastered re-creating the stone or concrete look in tile, for a more modern or industrial look.  Again, these go back to the popularity of nature and incorporating natural, or natural-looking, materials.

Cool grays have slowly been declining in popularity making way for warmer grays and taupe. These warm grays can be incorporated through tile choice, as well as cabinetry or wall color. White remains a classic, popular choice for bathrooms, as well. An all-white bathroom is a clean, timeless look, especially paired with a wood tone vanity to add some warmth and not feel too sterile. Color is coming back as well, mostly in the form of natural, earth tones. Think greens, terracotta, yellows and even blues.  There are beautiful tile options in these colors available today. Or, if you are afraid of the commitment of a colored tile, choose color for your wall paint. It’s more easily changed if you ever get tired of the color.

In addition to material trends, we also are seeing trends in terms of bathing needs. More and more people are removing their bulky garden or jetted tubs from their master bath and replacing them with large, tiled showers.  I hear all the time from people who use their large tubs for storage or washing the family dog instead of actual baths. For those that do still enjoy taking a bath, they are replacing the old standard tubs with freestanding soaking tubs or air massage tubs. Air massage technology uses forced air to create a milder jacuzzi effect without the tubes and drainage of the old-style jets for a much more sanitary and easy-to-maintain system.

When it comes to a bathroom remodel, everyone’s style and needs are different. Some are looking for simply an updated look while others need a space that’s more functional. It’s ideal to work with a designer or design-build remodeler when re-doing a bathroom to maximize the space you have and come up with ideas that you hadn’t considered.

Photo: courtesy Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling