Create your perfect bathroom while avoiding the "design fad" trap
You might renovate your bathrooms once in the time you live in your house…maybe twice if you stay there for more than 30 years, but in any case, whatever you do will need to have staying power. Having worked on dozens of bathrooms with clients over the last 25 years, we have the benefit of much experience. We have seen many trends come and go and have learned to discern which are fads and which are new classics.
Here are some things to consider when creating your perfect bathroom:
Marble vs Quartz
Stone is beautiful. There is nothing like the artwork that is quarried from nature, but in a bathroom it requires maintenance. Stone can stain or etch, and it is porous so it requires periodic sealing. If you prefer low maintenance, consider some of the new more durable synthetic options like quartz. These stone-lookalikes have come a long way from the anemic speckled synthetics of the past. There are many new manufacturers, and now these wonders of engineering quite accurately mimic many of the more fragile natural stones like marble and onyx. These are destined to be classics for their beauty and easy care qualities.
Of the many finishes available to choose for fixtures and fittings, white fixtures and chrome fittings are the most classic and enduring. Depending on your other design elements, off white or black may be called for, but stick to neutrals that will work long term. Harvest gold toilets from the early 70’s, or the shiny goldtone faucets from the 80’s should be a cautionary tale!
Tile is forever, choose wisely. Trendy new fads will look dated LONG before the tile wears out, and tile is cumbersome to change. Subway tile in running bond or herringbone patterns has staying power, as do the classic mosaic patterns like basketweave and octagon. Indulge your trendy side with paint colors and accessories instead of the latest tile fad.
Access and Safety
As more and more people opt to stay in their homes longer as they age, building in safety and accessibility features makes sense whether you are staying in your home forever or just want to broaden your buying market for when you sell. Curbless showers are one example of a trend that makes sense and is destined to become a classic of good universal design. Floor tile can extend right into the shower for an unbroken visual line and easy access for all ages and abilities. Hand holds no longer need to look like hospital equipment, but instead can have the design detail and finish that coordinates with the remaining fittings and add increased safety in an inherently slippery environment.
Planning for Luxuries, large and small
Outlets inside cabinets mean you can plug in your electric toothbrush out of sight, and hooks or heated towel bars near the shower door let you grab a robe or towel before you even step out of the shower. Depending on your climate, consider the luxury of adding radiant heat to the floor. Built in hampers and specialized storage for toiletries or makeup can be planned for cabinetry. Vanity mirrors are available with a hidden built-in TV that is only visible when on. Mentally walk through your routine to decide what luxuries are important to you.
Plan your lighting with tasks in mind. For example, if space allows, vanity lighting on either side of the mirror, rather than overhead, casts more even light on your face for better visibility for shaving or applying makeup. Add dimmers to lighting near a soaking tub so you can change the ambience to a more relaxing atmosphere.
As with all design elements, the harder and more often something will be used, the more compelling, and cost effective it is to buy high quality. Buy finishes and fixtures that will last, and invest in excellent design and space planning so that your bathroom not only reflects your aesthetic, but also works perfectly for your routine and lifestyle.