The smallest room in the home is fast becoming the focal point, somewhere to be uncharacteristically bold with interior design or create a mellow spa environment insulated from the rest of the house. If you want to make a splash in the bathroom, here are the key trends to follow this summer.
Make a statement
Despite the desire to conserve water, baths remain the centrepiece of the room. Last year the round wooden baths — think enormous salad bowls — at Berkeley Group’s One Tower Bridge development in London were the talking point. This year it is the Hammock bath by Splinter Works, in either black carbon fibre (£19,800) or bespoke gold leaf (from £33,200), that is catching everyone’s attention.
You may not be ready for a copper or gold bath, but surely you are ready for a change from polished chrome taps. This year every hue is available: rose gold, brass, gold, chrome — and preferably brushed to give a satin rather than polished finish. If this metallic craze is too much for you then opt for monochrome; white or black taps are very much “on trend”, according to bathroom designers.
Joel Fry, a bathroom designer with Ripples, the bathroom specialist, says: “Everything is brushed — brushed nickel, brass, brushed everything at the moment. It is the talking point of the room.”
On show at the recent annual design exhibition held by Porcelanosa Group were programmable showers, where you can set the water’s temperature and flow, and orchestrate coloured lights and music depending on your mood. The company’s Lounge showers have different colour cycles and settings for rain, fog and waterfall sensations, as well as constant jet flows.
Porcelanosa also showcased the Soleil whirlpool bath, which offers hydrotherapy, temperature maintenance, music and aromatherapy via remote control. Elsewhere, there were taps that can be switched on and off and the water flow controlled digitally, and baths with an automated disinfection programme to clean up after you.
Waterproof television screens have featured in bathrooms for a while, but many of us would rather simply listen to music — now there are a range of mirrors that double up as speakers. Roper Rhodes has a DAB radio and multimedia mirror (£496) and Better Bathrooms has a stereophonic illuminated mirror (£499.95), both of which connect to your smartphone. Alternatively your bathtub can be your sound system. The Kaldewei Sound Wave turns your bath into a giant speaker; simply connect it to your smartphone or tablet via bluetooth (£477.62 at UK Bathrooms).
The ultimate bathroom gadget, though, has to be a Toto loo. The Toto Washlet is a toilet with a built-in bidet spray, drier and deodoriser. It also has an automatically opening and closing lid, sensor-activated flush, night lights and, best of all, a heated seat that can be set to the desired temperature (from about £1,000).
It is also worth adding that some luxury developments have soundproof bathrooms and toilets, so no more being disturbed in the middle of the night.
The industrial look is still with us, heightened by the Instagram #styleitdark trend; think concrete or black basins, and black or brushed metal taps against walls that are painted navy blue or black, with an industrial or sculptural radiator — such as the Bisque Olga radiator (from £403.20). You can lighten the look with mirrors and lights, although Jo Crane, a designer with Ripples, suggests perhaps restricting this look initially to a cloakroom where you don’t need bright lights to apply make-up.
Colour and shape
The avocado bath is back — but not as you know it. Ravak’s bath (from £334) is avocado-shaped and ideal for small bathrooms.
Avocado green is also back, in direct contrast to the industrial-look pastels that are also on trend this year, with blush pink, baby blue and pale green units. The pink looks surprisingly good when teamed with something bold, such as rose gold fittings. Although be aware that it is not the bath, toilet or basin that is avocado green. It is the units and perhaps a feature wall.
In the same way that our kitchens have transformed into living spaces, our bathrooms are set to do the same. Expect to see more armchairs and living room-style furniture appearing in larger bathrooms. According to Crane, bigger bathrooms are becoming more common, with more and more people converting a spare bedroom into a walk-in wardrobe and large bathroom when the children move out of the family home.
The first step towards embracing this trend is adding more plant life to the bathroom — think a greenhouse with a bath, rather than a bathroom with a pot plant. “Green and greenery is huge at the moment,” says Crane.
She suggests teaming green Perspex splashbacks with wooden units for a Scandinavian look — and, of course, dotting plenty of plants around.
Take a look at my Pinterest for my bathroom inspiration