Ben Bryden, Sales and Marketing Director at RAK Ceramics UK, takes a look at the key trends that are helping turn the bathroom into a place of sanctuary, relaxation, and comfort for customers.
Even before the global health pandemic, the bathroom had become a place of sanctuary and retreat, more an extension of our living spaces than a purely practical room. Now that we are all spending more time at home and our properties are deemed to be very much places of safety, the pandemic has made our homes even more important to us. This means that areas such as the bathroom now really do need to be perfect; on a practical, hygienic, and easy to clean level, as well as in terms of style and looks.
One of the biggest practical elements to a bathroom’s design has always been hygiene and ease of cleaning and, since the pandemic, this has taken on even greater importance. From wall-hung sanitaryware and furniture that makes cleaning around and beneath fixtures and fittings a lot easier, to rimless WCs and large format tiling with minimal grout lines to leave nowhere for dirt and germs to breed, a lot of these solutions will already be very familiar among installers but are now very much at the top of a consumer’s bathroom wish list.
In a post-pandemic bathroom, safety will play an even more essential role in a consumer’s choice of fittings, driven by something of a revolution in the way that we organise our living spaces around our new stay at home more lifestyles. Sanitaryware and surfaces such as floor and wall tiles that are only easy to clean without a huge amount of elbow grease or chemicals that are harsh to the environment have now become that much more important. Special coatings that offer anti-bacterial protection across the bathroom are now coming to the fore to create safer living environments.
There is also now a much greater reliance on technology, such as sensor controls and infra-red on brassware and flushing systems that reduces the amount of touch points in the bathroom and promotes good hand hygiene. This is also likely to increase as a result of the pandemic and is something that installers should be mindful of, as a way of increasing comfort levels in the ‘new normal’ bathroom of the future.
From a style point of view, there are lots of trends coming through in bathroom design that are intended to make the bathroom feel more spa-like and hotel inspired, creating a luxury finish that more than meets customers’ high expectations. The bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms of the home, but it is also one of the most important when it comes to injecting personality into a property.
For a long time, the focus for sanitaryware in the bathroom has been starkly white, but things are changing, with soft pastels and muted shades increasingly being seen on sanitaryware. Less clinical than an all-white bathroom, these pops of colour can be scaled up or down to meet individual tastes.
Colour doesn’t need to mean bold and bright and, in this instance, the trend takes a far subtler approach, with nature-inspired tones that serve to add character while creating a relaxed and tranquil vibe. As trends turn towards warmer, earth tones, bathroom tiling trends are shunning stark white too, in favour of stone-effects with warmer hues, like travertine and limestone.
This subtle use of colour also works in harmony with brassware finishes other than chrome, giving greater creative freedom in what is a very personal space. This is an emerging trend in bathroom design that taps into the shift towards industrial-inspired styling, first seen in the kitchen but lending itself quite nicely to the bathroom, from metallic finishes and raw materials through to basic white, brick metro tiles.
Creating a spa-like feel is made all the more possible too with the inclusion of a contemporary, walk-in, wetroom-style shower area. Shower trays with a very low profile create a feeling of space in the bathroom as the floor area is opened out and access is made much easier. For baths, think painted exteriors, freestanding tubs offset from other fixtures to make a statement and baths with slim rims.
All of these trends together, or even simply one or two in isolation, will create a post-pandemic haven in bathroom design that will leave the homeowner feeling safe and secure in their home environment.
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