Relax, unwind, rejuvenate....
today’s bathrooms are centers of calm.
The master bathroom ranks second only to the kitchen as the room where homeowners spend the most money, whether building a new home or remodeling their current home. The bathroom has evolved from a purely functional space not much larger than a closet (and usually shared by the whole family) into a spacious, spa-like retreat where homeowners can relax and rejuvenate. With the increasing stress caused by today’s fast-paced lifestyles, it’s not surprising that homeowners place a pampering bathroom space high on their priority list when searching for the perfect home. Product manufacturers continue to offer more choices in fixtures and fittings for the bath, making it easy for homeowners to create a truly personalized space. In fact, the one unifying trend in bathroom design today is the degree of personalization that homeowners bring to the design.
Bathrooms continue to grow in overall square footage. A typical bathroom in the 1970s was a 5 x 7 foot space with a single sink, tub/shower combo, and a toilet. These days, a typical master bathroom is at least a 10 x 10 foot space – often much larger – containing a double vanity, separate soaking tub, stall shower, and with the toilet set off into its own space within the bathroom. Many homeowners are electing to make the bathrooms even larger, incorporating sitting areas, fireplaces, and other amenities that add to the spa-like feel and sense of relaxation they desire. Home designers are aware of this trend and are offering homes with eye-catching architectural elements in the bathrooms. Examples include vaulted or tray ceilings, columns around the tubs, oversized walk-in showers, and private gardens that are accessible only from the bathroom, which provide both privacy and a sense of relaxation.
Another overall trend is the desire to feel pampered. Homeowners want to replicate the feeling of relaxation and rejuvenation that comes from a day spent at the spa in their own homes on a daily basis. Large soaking tubs with whirlpool or bubble jets and oversized showers with massaging body sprays are very popular and available in a multitude of styles and price ranges, making them accessible to nearly everyone. The steam shower is another spa mainstay that is increasingly finding its way into residential design. Relaxing treatments such as aromatherapy and chromatherapy are often incorporated into the design of the tubs and steam showers, adding an extra level of luxury to the experience. Many homeowners are opting to include towel warmers and heated floors in the bath as well, which enhances the overall comfort of the space.
Once you get past these generalized trends, bathroom design becomes very personal, with as many choices as there are homeowners. Whatever your decorating style, there are literally hundreds of options available to create a relaxing haven as individual as you are. Though the options are limitless, here are a few decorating trends that have emerged:
The Asian influence in bathroom design continues to be popular in large part because Asian design strives for balance and often incorporates natural elements that most people find soothing. Recently, Japanese style soaking tubs have gained popularity, as have traditional bamboo faucets and Asian-inspired cabinetry. Asian design is usually very minimalist and without extraneous ornamentation, which creates a Zen-like, restful ambiance.
Natural design is inspired in part by a growing ecological consciousness among many homeowners. Texture is the main distinguishing element of these designs, which often incorporate fixtures crafted from natural materials. Wood sinks and tubs are very popular, as are tubs carved from a single slab of stone. Unusual flooring materials such as natural cork are often used in the design as well. The green theme can carry through to the accessories with organic cotton towels and bath mats.
Smooth and shiny are the characteristics that best describe this decorating trend. Glass mosaic tiles in all colors continue to be popular on both walls and floors, and often these rooms will have a large, glass-enclosed shower stall as their focal point. Minimalist cabinetry with a sleek lacquered finish is a natural choice for this style, as are unique, geometric faucets in a bright chrome finish. Art-glass basins and “sculptural” fixtures are another popular component often found within this style.
This style is all about luxury. Marble or granite is the countertop and flooring material of choice, and often these rooms will be dressed to the nines with silk draperies, oriental rugs, and fancy chandeliers. The tub is usually the focal point of the room and may feature a fireplace or columned surround to make it extra special. Gold faucets are making a comeback, but in a softer, brushed finish – not the shiny brass of old. Sparkle is always welcome in this style as well, with an increasing number of faucets, tiles, and wall coverings available that incorporate cut crystals or glass.