Ten Bathroom Trends for the New Decade

March 25, 2020

What will be the defining bathroom feature of the 2020s? Recent surveys, as well as many displays at this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and the International Builders Show, reveal a few important trends that today’s bathroom designers are addressing.

“Living-in-place” is the new mantra that embraces aging-in-place plus wellness. Bathrooms have become a central location to introduce technology that reduces the spread of germs, makes the room easier to clean and allows for customization of preferences like shower temperatures and water pressure. At the same time, bathrooms are a prime place to introduce cutting-edge style and new design elements.

Here are 10 of the key trends anticipated in bathroom designs this year.

Personalization. White and grey remain popular choices for bathrooms, and homeowners add distinction to the popular color palette with varying choices of tiles, faucets and fixtures. Kohler’s Components Collection, for example, features decorative faucet handles of differing shapes and colors.

Connectivity. Connected systems, sometimes integrated with Amazon Alexa, enable you to use voice-controlled apps to adjust your bathroom lighting, play music and set your shower temperature, among other things. You can even program mood lighting and playlists for various family members, or times of day, so your morning pre-work shower provides an energizing wake-up while your post-workout shower is more relaxing.

Aromatherapy. Essential oils have become popular for physical and emotional wellness and can be disseminated through an oil burner or a misting machine or put directly on your skin. Now Moen has added another method: The Aromatherapy hand-held shower. Using pods—similar to a Keurig coffee pod—the shower releases essential oils and steam in the shower.

Decorating with a splash. Colorful tiles add a bright spot in monochromatic bathrooms, and many tile companies now offer vivid and durable options for walls, floors and shower surrounds. For example, Daltile’s encaustic-look tiles bring international design flair—blending with designs from Spain, Portugal, Italy or Morocco—and easy maintenance thanks to their porcelain construct. These tiles would work brilliantly for accent walls—another popular trend that more than one third (35%) of homeowners renovating their bathroom said they’ve added, according to the Houzz 2019 Bathroom Trends study.

Mini fridges for the bathroom. In the past year, miniature refrigerators for makeup and skin care products have turned up all over Instagram and Pinterest. Small freestanding units can be plugged in anywhere, and mini fridges are available as a built-in option for a remodeled or new bathroom. While they’re primarily meant for beauty products that should be chilled, these refrigerators are also valuable for medicines that need refrigeration. Chilling these items in your bathroom adds to your privacy, too, since guests aren’t likely to explore your master bathroom.

Clean and cool toilets. High-tech toilets have been around for a few years, but the technology and designs continue to improve. Kohler, for example, has developed a touchless toilet that is both hygienic and easy to use for people with mobility issues because the lid raises and lowers on its own and the toilet can be flushed by waving your hand in front of a sensor. Similarly, the TOTO NEOREST Intelligent toilet is a self-cleaning toilet with ultraviolet light that breaks down microscopic particles.

Sophisticated tubs. While freestanding tubs remain popular, the latest designs are even more sculptural and sometimes high-tech. TOTO’s Flotation Tub simulates zero gravity with its design that places bathers in a floating position along with special therapeutic massage jets.

Sleek and distinctive vanities. Floating vanities offer both a modern look and easier cleaning underneath the cabinets. New designs include side-by-side vanities with modern lines and even long farmhouse sinks with two faucets to provide the function of double vanities.

Dark color palettes. Dark blue, green, charcoal and black surfaces and cabinets have become more common in new kitchens, and these tones are turning up in bathrooms, too. The sophisticated look includes freestanding tubs with a white interior and black exterior, as well as dark walls and vanities.

Textured tile. In addition to adding colorful or dark tiles for a more dramatic look, homeowners are introducing more texture to their bathroom walls, shower surrounds and shower floors with pebbled surfaces, stones and rippled or rough finishes. While many of the high-tech features such as app-controlled showers, zero-gravity tubs and intelligent toilets are expensive, homeowners can introduce some of the other trends on a more average budget. And, as with any new technology, over time prices are likely to come down and everyone will have the luxury of a self-cleaning toilet.