Uncluttered but visually appealing bathrooms top this year’s most popular home design trends because they combine the practicality of storage with the decorative possibilities of fine linens and accessories.
Bringing the linen closet into the bathroom is great for those looking to build from scratch or remodel, says designer Rachel Jindra of Wilmington’s Markraft Cabinets.
Keeping towels right at hand is more than just practical; it can also be attractive. Many of Rachel’s clients are choosing an open look, in which towels can be rolled up and displayed in cubbies or on shelves for maximum eye appeal.
Another way to display items is to opt for new furniture-look vanities, which have open shelves below the sink instead of a base cabinet. Rachel said baskets or other decorative options give the space a more personal feel.
“Light fixtures and mirrors can be a fun way to add some pop,” she added.
Popular options include industrial-style fixtures and retro “Edison” bulbs. The once-popular look of covering a wall with mirrors has fallen out of fashion in favor of framed individual mirrors. And for a truly deluxe touch, a heated mirror de-fogs itself at the touch of a button.
Emphasizing visual options isn’t to overlook practical details like built-in space for a laundry hamper, which means not having to get fresh linens before bathing or stash them away after they’re used.
Going one extra step, some homeowners are putting washers and driers next to second-floor bathrooms. That’s especially attractive to families with children or people planning for “aging in place,” Rachel said. In both cases, they want the convenience and safety of not having to lug laundry baskets up and down stairs.
This is most practical with new construction, of course. But you can repurpose an upstairs closet into a mini-laundry space, if it’s practical to run the necessary plumbing.
A plumbing option that appeals to some is a shower with two shower heads, or such luxury fixtures as rain heads and whole-body showers. If that idea has appeal, Rachel says, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure plumbing is adequate to support it. Considerations include how long the hot water runs, the size of the water heater tank and drain capacity.
Even more conventional shower arrangements are leaning heavily toward hand-held heads. “These put that water where you need it,” Rachel said, to accommodate people of all sizes. It’s convenient for bathing children or for people who prefer to sit while showering. It even makes washing pets simpler!
When it comes to design details, clean lines and simple color schemes are the way to go.
“We’re doing more of the Shaker door styles because they are easy to clean,” Rachel said.
As with kitchens, the popular colors are whites, grays and cool blues and greens. Contrasting hues perhaps with some colorful accents in the countertops to play against more neutral cabinet colors – are also popular.
For vanity tops, Rachel said newer quartz surfaces in a range of natural stone looks are the way to go. These are zero-maintenance, requiring no sealing or special care. For more fun color schemes, some manufacturers offer styles with “veining or speckles in different colors,” she noted.
Flooring choices are leaning toward durable, low-maintenance tile – often with warm wood-grain patterns – instead of vinyl. Some practical considerations for bathroom designs include choosing moisture-resistant finishes like Melamine and all-plywood construction for sink-base cabinets.
For the latest bathroom design ideas, visit Markraft’s Design Center. The professional kitchen and bath designers consult by appointment, but drop-in visitors are welcome to browse the showroom. The Design Center is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, off Castle Hayne Road.