Bathrooms often have been an afterthought when it comes to decorating. But in the age of self-care, more and more people are focused on the room that helps you prepare for your day and unwind.

From tub caddies and automatic soap dispensers to hidden storage and shower rooms, trends in bathrooms are great. Nothing could be as bad as when people thought it was a good idea to put carpet in there. Today’s bathrooms, however, may just be a trend that stays.

Yes, shower rooms are a thing and so are black walls and tiles.

Color

Color choice in a bathroom is key.

White and teal are the most common paint colors, according to Mark Boehman, a local painter.

“Light and bright colors are a go-to simply because they reflect light the best,” he said. “Most bathrooms tend to be the smaller rooms in the house, so homeowners look for any way they can to make the room look bigger. White reflects the most light. It also tends to look cleaner.”

Boehman said teals, blues and greens also are good options because they feel like elements of water and the Earth.

“I think subconsciously, those earth tones make people feel calmer and more relaxed, which is what they want in a bathroom.”

He’s also seen bolder options, depending on who is using the space. Pinks and lavender for bathrooms used by women are common and darker, rich tones may be seen in predominately male rooms.

“People get ready in their bathrooms so it kind of makes sense that their bathroom reflects their personality,” Boehman said. “It’s kind of like putting your favorite celebrity’s poster up in your bedroom. Bathrooms are the place women fix their hair, put on their makeup and get in a positive mood. It should be fun.”

However, dark colors are growing in popularity. While black can be the safe wardrobe choice, it’s not often the first pick in wall or floor color. But Boehman said he’s painted several black bathrooms in the last couple of years.

“The first one I did really took me by surprise,” he said. “I thought they were crazy, but it turned out pretty awesome. It was a larger bathroom, and with all the high-end finishes the black walls against the white and gold accents felt like a spa retreat.”

Tile

Another component when choosing a color palette is flooring, and wall covering, like tile.

“Most of my clients tend to go for a similar color palette but the tiles are always opposite of the paint color,” said Tisha Collins.

Collins, a contractor in Maryville, Missouri, said tile shape, texture, size and color should be complementary with each other. For example, a teal wall color would look nice with a white or taupe tile but also with a patterned tile to pick up on the teals.

Tiles for flooring should be larger and have a dark grout line, she said. The size offers good stability over time to avoid cracking, and the grout colors make for easy cleaning and won’t look dirty over time.

“Even the way tile is laid can transform the look,” Collins said. “While subway tile is a common option, stacking those same rectangular shapes in a line, rather than offset, is growing in popularity. It can create a look of simplicity and draw the eye up to give the illusion of a higher ceiling and bigger room.”

Another thing Collins said to consider is where to place the tile. For practical use, tile should go around the tub and shower area and potentially around the sink.

“Yet more and more people are using more tile in their bathrooms for aesthetic reasons,” Collins said. “I’ve placed it around an entire room, floor to about three feet from the ceiling. It’s like what you may find in a restaurant bathroom. It’s pretty and functional. Tile can be easier to clean and more forgiving with stains.”

Accents

Accents like brass and gold are making a big comeback throughout the house, especially in the bathroom where fixtures are more prominent.

“One of my favorite things is bold fixtures,” Collins said.

More than a decade ago, she remembers replacing everything from doorknobs and drawer pulls to faucets and handles to chrome, silver or satin nickel. Now, she said, it’s back to brass and gold.

“Like they say, everything that’s old is new again,” Collins said.

Gold and brass fixtures can elevate a space like a bathroom to spa-like elegance. And because it is the popular choice in home décor, coupled with rose gold, it’s easy to find accent pieces when decorating.

“I have clients that love the gold and embrace it with their toothbrush holders, trash cans and even the wire baskets to hold their towels,” Collins said.

Another fun project she did recently was taking old thrift store finds like figurines and painting them gold. It added a little bit of whimsy to the space, she said.

Technology

While color and décor can add a luxurious element, technology kicks it up a notch.

Think shower room and spa treatment, not bidets, said Jeri Holcomb.

“Technology isn’t for the super-rich and famous,” she said. “You can find inexpensive items to upgrade bathrooms and add some sophistication.”

Holcomb remodeled both of her bathrooms last year while working from home due to COVID-19. She left the hallway bathroom decisions up to her teenage son and husband, but the master bath was all hers.

“It was a complete gut job so it gave me the opportunity to incorporate some amenities that I couldn’t do if I didn’t have the room down to the studs,” she said.

Heated floors, music, a water-efficient toilet and a shower room were her biggest focus.

There are two types of radiant floor heating systems: water and electrical. Holcomb said both are underneath the floor and are energy efficient. She chose electrical.

“It is unbelievable the difference having heated tile floors are in the middle of winter when you get out of the shower,” Holcomb said. “I don’t know how people do without. Because I was already having a contractor install the tile, it really wasn’t that much more of an added expense. There are also do-it-yourself kits that are fairly cheap.”

As for music, Holcomb said people don’t need to be big spenders to get the finer things. She simply added an Alexa in the bathroom, hiding the cords behind the vanity, and purchased simply waterproof speakers. She said the entire system cost her less than $100.

Energy efficiency is high on many homeowners’ lists so big purchases like tubs, showers and toilets don’t impact the wallet like they used to. Holcomb found an efficient toilet for about $170 at a local store. The toilets use less water which decreases water bills and increases water conservation.

The same technology exists for faucets and showers. Appliances exist to pause water usage or limit the time allotted for showers. Gone are the days of teenagers taking 45-minute showers. That’s something reserved for Holcomb’s shower room.

Yes. An entire room for a shower. Also called a wet room, these areas can be a great way to save space by removing the bath and building a larger shower enclosure. Not only can Holcomb move around more in the shower, but it feels easier and more comforting.

“I don’t have to worry about bumping into a wall when I turn or feeling contorted while I’m shaving,” she laughed.

Other perks are the zero-entry accessibility into the shower area, easier cleaning and an open concept feel. Holcomb said she saved money doing a shower room because her additional tile costs were less than the cost of a new shower and tub enclosure, wrap-around and sliding glass door. The drain was kept in the same position, which she did to avoid additional plumbing costs.

She also saved money by upgrading her traditional shower head to a waterfall shower head but kept it in the same location so, once again, no plumbing fees.

“There are definitely ways to keep costs down,” she said. “It’s all about compromise and practicality. I didn’t need my shower head to be three feet to left to give me the result I wanted. So why mess with the costs and time associated with relocating stuff like that? We worked the design around existing lines.”

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