2016’s Most Beautiful Bathroom Trends

Are you planning a bathroom renovation this year but don’t know where to start? We asked local design experts to predict the bathroom trends that will be hot in 2016 to help turn your bathroom into a retreat that is as functional as it is gorgeous.

1. Freestanding Tubs

The too-large tub deck trend that dominated bathroom design for the past decade is definitely over. Now, sculptural freestanding tubs are all the rage. “Whether angular, monolithic … modern or traditional, the geometry of the tub can often set the tone of the room,” says Doug Reynolds, president of Northfield-based Reynolds Architecture, Design and Construction.

Freestanding Tub
A structural freestanding tub is a must-have for a chic modern bathroom. (Photo courtesy of Reynolds Architecture, Design and Construction.)

2. Wet Rooms

Can’t choose between freestanding tubs or roomy spa-like shower / one of the bathroom shower suites? Have them both when you build a swoon-worthy “wet room.” “Instead of compartmentalizing, creating a transparent and open, airy design allows rich stone finishes and cabinetry to be experienced throughout the space,” Reynolds says.

Wet Room
House your tub in an oversized “wet room” that also features a roomy shower. (Photo courtesy of Reynolds Architecture, Design and Construction.)

3. Warm and Cool Color Palettes

Gray remains uber popular in interior design, but Leah Bolger, director of business development for Reynolds Architecture, says to warm up cool palettes with warm, rich pieces like a handsome wooden vanity. The result is a space that is inviting and on-trend.

4. Statement Tile

We admit that the clean simplicity of white-on-white bathrooms is hard to resist. But Amy Mangold, lead architect for Scott Simpson Builders (a two-time MIB Best Of winner!), says the trend has become so ubiquitous that the same old products appear in every Instagram feed (we’re looking at you, subway tiles). Give your bathroom a pop of color — and a ton of personality — with statement tiles.

5. Fog-Free Shower Mirrors

The most fabulous bathrooms seamlessly integrate practical features within the design. That’s why Mangold loves this fog-free mirror. “This product is lighted, small (12 x 12) and discreet (installs flush with the tile), and best of all, actually works,” she says.

6. Water-Saving Appliances

Mangold says clients are increasingly eco-conscious in their design preferences. She is quick to recommend dual-flush toilets and hands-free faucets. Fortunately, these high-performance products now come priced on par with standard offerings.

7. Robern Medicine Chests

Winnetka interior designer Jeannie Balsam (another repeat MIB Best Of winner!) says she’s always liked decorating with Robern medicine chests. But now, as an added bonus, they even come with shelves deep enough to plug in toothbrushes, shavers and phones, and with magnetic strips to hold things like tweezers. “Everything is literally charged, ready to go and at your fingertips!” Balsam says.

8. Vinyl Wallpaper

Sure, bathrooms are one of the dampest parts of the home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate with wallpaper. Balsam says there are now vinyl wallpaper options, from designers like Phillip Jeffries, that are stylish and durable.

9. Custom Cabinets

To truly make your bathroom your own, you need custom cabinets that function exactly as you need them to. Deep drawers for fluffy towels, electrical strips to plug in your beauty tools — whatever your primping needs, custom cabinets can accommodate, and Balsam says they also cut down on wasted space.

Custom Cabinets
Jeannie Balsam used vinyl wallpaper and custom cabinets in this bathroom. (Photo courtesy of Jeannie Balsam.)

10. Radiant Floors

Balsam says radiant floors have become standard in luxurious upscale bathrooms — “No longer a trend, but a staple!”

11. Designs That Mix Modern and Traditional

Combining traditional and modern design elements lends beautiful dimension to the bathroom. In the renovation of a 100-year-old farmhouse, Reynolds Architecture balanced the traditional tub and faucets with modern custom shelving with clean lines.

Looking for some beautiful decorative accents for your bathroom? Check out these hand-sculpted porcelain and ceramic bowls made to mimic coral and geodes from Exhibit. Available online at Shop For Good.