They say a new year brings a new start, and heaven knows we could all do with one of those the way 2020 has turned out!
We might not be able to get exactly ‘back to normal’ straight away come January. But what we can do is give our home the kind of makeover that puts us in mind of new beginnings.
And what better place to start than the bathroom? Here, designer bathrooms specialist Aston Matthews share eight trends to watch out for in 2021 to get your creative juices flowing.
Plain bathrooms with a lot of solid colours, especially white, have been popular for a long time. But although the monochrome look is undoubtedly stylish, we get the feeling from customers that they have had enough of taking the safe option. Patterns, whether it’s tiles, wallpaper or flooring, add vibrancy and uniqueness to a bathroom. A great tip is to use pattern sparingly as a feature, perhaps a single wall or area of a wall, which can really help to bring an overall design to life.
Maybe it’s because we’re all craving a little extra brightness in our life, but again, more and more people are asking about coloured baths, basins and toilets rather than sticking to the default white. It is up to you how bold you want to go, but pastel shades work particularly well in a bathroom and again lend themselves well to fitting flexibly with broader designs. Or again, make more of a statement with a block of bolder colour in one particular area to create a feature.
Did we mention that customers seem to be making bolder and braver choices with their bathroom sink faucets? Taps are getting the jazzed-up treatment, too. There are really two trends in one here. One is that people are opting for colours other than the standard shiny chrome, with bronze and black the two frontrunners in terms of popularity. The other is that stylised tap designs are proving very popular, particularly retro-type designs. If you think the whole waterfall tap thing has run its course, it’s time to look at ornate antique mixers again, or for that ‘shabby chic’ aesthetic, a faux industrial type in scuffed or urbanite bronze.
Did wood ever go out of style? Not really, but at the same time, it is not all that common in modern bathrooms. But that could all be changing as we see a definite swing in tastes towards warmer, organic styles. Whether it’s a medicine cabinet, a washbasin stand, a bath panel or even just a toilet seat, a high quality, handcrafted piece of timber furniture in a natural polished finish will serve as both a focal point for your room and provide a timeless, homely feel. If wood and organic aesthetics are your bag, a great tip is to pair timber furniture with an abundance of potted plants, which also thrive in the humid atmosphere of a bathroom.
At the opposite end of the scale, if timber, plants and warm pastel colours are not your thing but you also want to steer away from the monotony of monochrome, there’s another hard-edged modernist aesthetic that seems to be coming around on the carousel of taste again. We touched on it under faucets – the faux ‘industrial’ look. With a nod to both the past and the more dystopian conceptions of the future, this is an aesthetic that is all about dull metallic features, exposed pipework and sharp, clean architectural lines. Another red hot trend that fits right into this category is the use of polished concrete as an alternative to tiling around shower and baths.
What do you really need in a bathroom? A toilet, a washbasin, a bath/shower? Is all else just clutter? A growing number of conversations we are having with customers suggest these are exactly the kinds of questions they are asking. The trend seems to be for a minimalist approach as far as fixtures are concerned, to open up as much space as possible. In larger bathrooms, this opens the door to other possibilities, such as standalone baths being given their due status as the focal feature of the room. In smaller bathrooms, it’s a question of practicalities and doing as much as you can with what you have available.
Not everyone wants a great big spacious bathroom with a sumptuous standalone bath right in the centre. You might not even like baths. In which case, you might ask an even more radical question – could I be doing something else with a room that size? If the answer is yes, then one option is to break with the tradition of the all-in-one bathroom suite and break out the component features into their own dedicated spaces.
Many houses already have ‘second’ conveniences with just a toilet and washstand, and these can be squeezed into surprisingly small (and underused corners). The same principle applies to having a shower room. One other hot trend that is winning more and more people over to this way of thinking is the popularity of walk-in ‘wet rooms’, which get around the problem of having to confine a shower space to a restrictive little cubicle.
Following on from questions of space in your bathroom, another interesting question to ask is this – can I rethink the role of a bathroom entirely, and what it, therefore, needs to contain? There’s an old precedent for this, one that survives even to this day in hotel rooms – the placement of a washbasin in the bedroom rather than in the ensuite. That again opens up more possibilities for using the space available. And why stop at just a washbasin – hot tub in the bedroom, anyone?
Alternatively, for such ‘private’ bathrooms that are already hidden behind a bedroom door, do you need to box an ensuite off completely, or could you achieve a more airy, spacious effect with careful us of partitions?