Make a splash in the New Year by giving your bathroom a makeover with our pick of the best bathroom trends
If you’re planning to refresh or redesign your bathroom – whether you want a hit of hotel chic for a glamorous space or a whole new look featuring heaps of hardworking storage for family life – we’ve got it covered. From elegant period designs with roll-topped baths to trendy wet rooms, we’ve uncovered the top five bathroom trends in 2017.
With the help of period fittings and a touch of vintage-inspired glamour, you can give your bathroom a sense of timeless elegance with this bathroom trend.
Enjoying a big revival thanks to TV dramas such as Downton Abbey, period bathrooms are filled with character. Typified by freestanding roll-top baths, sculpted sanitaryware and classic brass fittings, it’s a look that’s adaptable for new-build homes and Victorian properties alike.
Select a period
As the popularity of vintage-style bathrooms shows no sign of abating, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to Victorian- and Edwardian-style reproduction fixtures and fittings. The recent trend for geometrics has also seen a rise in Art Deco-style designs.
Add modern touches
While you might love the look of authentic pieces, no-one wants to have to suffer the indignities of Victorian plumbing, so it’s worth investing in a few modern luxuries. Power showers, loos with eco-flushes and taps with ceramic washers are just as easy to incorporate if you select good-quality replicas. Look out for manufacturers such as Drummonds, whose designs are based on historic drawings and traditional construction methods.
Pick original pieces
If you don’t mind taking on a little restoration work, then you could consider trawling salvage yards, auctions and restoration specialists for bathtubs, basins and brassware. You’re likely to pay a premium for fully restored pieces – and remember to check with your plumber that your chosen items are suitable for modern plumbing systems before you buy, too.
Complete the look
Once you’ve chosen your fixtures and fittings, it’s time to focus on the walls and flooring. For authenticity, heritage paint colours and replica tiles are a good start. Soft greens and blues are popular right now, or stick to a modern neutral such as grey. Metro tiles – either with or without bevelled edges – are perfect for Victorian and Edwardian bathrooms, while square black-and-white tiles laid in a geometric pattern on the floor will give a room an Art-Deco feel.
Teaming pale-blue, Shaker-style furniture with traditional brassware creates a period-style bathroom that’s both relaxed and welcoming.
Buy the key pieces
Roseberry washbason unit in Blue Lagoon with Monet round semi-recessed basin, £785; Monet Classical back-to-wall look, £545; Regent basin mixer, £395; all Utopia Bathrooms
Do hotel chic
Make your bathing experience as relaxing as possible by placing a table beside your tub,so you’ve got everything you need close to hand. Grandera Warm Sunset brassware, from £400, Grohe
Set your tube centre stage
Make your roll-top bath the star of the show by combining it with elegant floorstanding taps. Add extra period charm with a high-level loo and traditional washstand. Marlborough stone resin bath and bath-shower mixer tap set, from £5,400, The Bathroom Shop
2. SHIMMER AND SHINE
Pale, glossy finished that reflect light will not only provide ‘wow’ factor, but give your bathroom a bright and open feel, too.
Possessing almost magical, space-enhancing powers, glossy surfaces, mirrored finishes and glass can make a huge difference in a bathroom. As well as adding a certain shine, they can help boost light levels and make a compact space feel larger than it actually is. Perfect for moisture-prone areas, these hard-wearing materials are resistant to water and easy to keep clean, too.
Choose your material
The most commonly used light-enhancing materials in bathrooms are coloured or mirrored glass, reflective wall panels and tiles, and high-gloss furniture and bath panels. A traditional choice for bathrooms, tiles come in a whole host of glossy finishes. Go for large-format designs if you want to increase the feeling of space, as there’ll be fewer grout lines.
Flat-fronted, handleless high-gloss fitted furniture is a good choice if you want to achieve a modern feel. Wall-hung cabinets with runs of pull-out storage will make the look even more contemporary, while a large panel of mirrored glass above your basin and bath will add a touch of luxury.
Instead of having reflective surfaces everywhere, which can look a little sterile, try turning one wall into a feature wall. Bring focus to a key area with either a statement storage cabinet, shower cabinet or vanity unit.
Stay on budget
Some reflective wall claddings, such as glass or beautiful book matched marble, can look ultra glam, but tend to be expensive. Less costly options include specialist laminates and Perspex, which, when diamond polished, have a long-lasting shine. If you’re looking for vanity units, then think about buying laminated gloss rather than the more expensive lacquer.
Ensure you get the best from glossy finishes by choosing the lighting scheme carefully. Use downlighter to cast elegant pools of light over surfaces and recess LEDs behind glass for a diffused, soothing light that’s perfect for when you want to relax in the bath.
Want to add a touch of boutique-hotel chic? Go all out on the luxe front by investing in a double-ended freestanding bath with a fabulous metallic exterior.
Buy the key piece
Knightsbridge freestanding bath in matte aluminium finish, £2,495, Frontline Bathrooms
In a modern bathroom, keep the look sleek and grout lines to minimum by using extra-large tiles or quartz panels on walls. Add interest by keeping one wall white. Meisterstück Centro Duo bath, from £4,874; Centro basin, from £565; Superplan shower surface, from £575; all Kaldewei
Add gloss with tiles
Frame your bath and add shine with high-gloss, large-format ceramic tiles in smart grey. Introduce a textured tile in the same shade for easy chic. Impressions Rock (plain) tiles; Impressions Bloom Rock tiles, from £74.95 per sq m; Reed Harris
3. THE NATURAL LOOK
The tactile texture of warm wood is the ideal partner for smart stone if you want to give your bathroom some earthy elegance.
Natural materials will not only add character and warmth to your room, but they’ll also help to soften the sleek lines of modern sanitaryware. Whether you’re after a traditional, modern, rustic, period or minimalist look, there are plenty of materials you can use to transform your space.
Say it with stone
Basins and baths carved from stone can add an unusual, rugged element to any scheme. Be careful if you’re opting for a stone or composite bath, though, as they can be heavy, so you’ll need to make sure that your floor joists can take the weight. Stone tiles are a timeless option for both walls and floors, but check that they’re slip resistant and sealed properly to prevent potential leaks.
Try touchable Surfaces
How things feel is an important part of a relaxing bathroom experience, and natural materials are wondefully tactile. Think textured wallcoverings, antique taps and wooden elements, such as shelving and duckboards.
Go with the grain
Wooden panelling is not only ideal for adding character, but it’s a great insulator, too, so it’ll keep the room warm in winter. Tongue and groove is a good option for period schemes, while large panels of wood-effect composite are a perfect addition to a modern shower cubicle. Because of high moisture levels in bathrooms, wooden floors are best avoided – if you do use them, ensure your timber’s properly treated and the room is well ventilated. You should seal original floorboards before and after installation, too.
Fall for faux
If natural stone is too expensive, then try one of the many realistic fakes. Stone-effect porcelain or ceramic tiles are good alternatives to granite or limestone. For furniture, consider laminate or foil-wrap finishes with realistic woodgrain or imitation stone.
Go for traditional country style
Give your space a farmhouse feel with classic Shaker-style cabinets and matching bath panels in a light-oak finish.
Buy the key pieces
Loo base with Bordo pan, £1,141; Mirror dresser with shelf, £560; single framed mirror wall unit, £379; bath front panel, £465; all Sargasso in light oak, Mereway Bathrooms range, The Bathroom Shop
Raise the bath
If you’re a fan of natural materials but want to veer away from a traditional look, try a freestanding bath with a statement wooden plinth rather than classic claw feet. Art Plus steel bath and American oak platform, £2,580, Roca
Work the walls
A mix of raw and painted tongue-and-groove panelling is perfect for achieving a cool, undone look
Corner unit, £65; double towel cupboard, £229; mirror, £50; all Garden Trading range, John Lewis
4. DRAMA AND IMPACT
Teaming splashes of intense colour with on-trend statement patterns is all it takes to inject life into your bathroom scheme. Jazzing up plain white ceramics has never been easier, so if you have an adventurous nature, embrace it and pair simple sanitaryware with splashes of colour, angular geometrics and chintzy florals. Do take time to think about your scheme – a moodboard will help to focus your ideas – and be bold with your colour choices. This year’s shades are elegant and rich – think rich aubergines, deep-sea blues and gorgeous greys.
Give it shine
Go for a modern look with high-gloss lacquered storage cabinets and coloured-glass shower panels. Or use iridescent wall tiles to add glamour to period pieces.
If you are going to incorporate a bold hue or two, then it’s best to use them in single blocks, particularly if your bathroom is on the small side. You could paint a single wall in a contrasting colour, or choose a vanity unit in a favourite shade. This will create an eye-catching feature without the colour overwhelming the room.
Work the walls and floor
Tiles are now available in myriad shapes, finishes and shades. Iridescent mosaic tiles make for a fabulous focal point when used to line a shower cubicle, and metro tiles above the bath and basin can be laid in a variety of patterns – try an on-trend geometric design. Even plain field tiles can provide an injection of style if you mix and match them in several different, but complementary, colours.
Do you feel a bit uneasy about committing to a permanent tile pattern or colour statement? Then incorporate accessories that can be changed easily. Introduce busy florals with towels, shower curtains and a bathmat, and decant your lotions and potions into colourful bottles for a co-ordinated look.
Get some metal
The metallics trend has finally made its way back into the bathroom, with brass, copper and rose gold making a welcome return. Look out for taps, mirror frames and towel rails in these soft metal tones that will add warmth to a dramatic scheme.
Paper the walls
Feature wallpaper isn’t just for living and dining rooms – this bold floral pattern creates the perfect country mansion feel when paired with period furniture and an opulent freestanding bath.
Buy the key pieces
Hylton metallic-effect bath, £2,550; Hartlebury bath-shower mixer, £385; Victoria double console basin, £1,095; Hartlebury swivel-spout basin mixers, £385 each; all Heritage Bathrooms
Tongue-and-groove panelling is a simple but effective way to incorporate colour and texture, and give your room a country feel. Painting it in a soft duck-egg blue makes for a restful, relaxing space. Winchester traditional freestanding bath, £500, Victorian Plumbing
Beauty on the outside
Make your tub even more of a standout feature by tailoring the feet and exterior to complement your bathroom scheme. If you’re going to paint the outside of a cast-iron roll-top bath, you need to sand and prime the surface first. Cambridge slipper bath, £1,622, CP Hart
5. SHOW STOPPING SHOWERS
Opting for a flush-to-floor walk-in shower or a complete wetroom will give your bathroom a glamorous, spa-like feel. Are you after a bathroom or en suite that looks grown-up and feels wonderfully indulgent? Then a luxurious shower or a wetroom is the perfect option for you. Although it might involve some initial building work, a tanked wetroom negates the need for a raised shower tray, creating an open showering experience and giving a bathroom a feeling of space. The gently sloping floor also makes it ideal for both the young and old, and those with limited mobility, as there are no trip hazards.
Seal it up
To fit a true wetroom, you first need to create a watertight environment by tanking – or waterproofing – both the floor and walls with lining to protect from leaks. Once the watertight membrane is laid, the room should be tiled throughout. Remember, you’ll need to incorporate a gentle slope in the floor towards the shower area, so that the water doesn’t stray into the rest of the room and can drain away easily.
Add light finishes
Using furniture with a gloss finish and materials such as glass and chrome will add to the sense of light. Accentuate the feeling of space by opting for matching tiles or composite panels on both floors and walls, then add interest with areas of colour and pattern using tiles in a range of formats, to help give your shower zone definition.
Go for faux
If your budget doesn’t allow you to create a true wetroom, then a good alternative is to use one of the latest ultra-low-profile shower trays. For a seamless feel and contained showering without a bulky cubicle, a frameless shower enclosure is the next best thing. Combined with one of the new ultra-low-profile shower trays, it will allow even the smallest of spaces to feel less claustrophobic and therefore give a more open and relaxed showering experience.
Set the tone
Go for a co-ordinated look by matching floor and wall tiles, and choosing furniture that’s framed in a similar shade.
Buy the key pieces
Vogue Vintage basin unit, £686; Marin back-to-wall loo with cistern and soft-close seat, £860; handleless mirror wall units, £200 each; all Mereway range, The Bathroom Shop
Unlike metal-edged alternatives, barely there shower screens add instant wetroom style – and stop water from spraying everywhere, too. Time shower rose, arm and thermostatic mixer in chrome, 1,167; Jubilee shower set, from £13; Elite four tile in Black Marquinha/Crema Marfil, from £285 per sq m; Lambris bevelled slab tiles in cream, from £156 per sq m; all Devon & Devon
Re-create the look of a Swedish sauna with timber-effect tiles. Arbo Cavalo Décor tiles, £83 per sq m, Tileworks range, Original Style
Do you like our pick of the best bathroom trends for 2017? Which bathroom trend is your favourite?