2019 is shaping up to be a breakout year for bathroom design, with tons of new trends overtaking long-standing contenders. Both white bathrooms and hardware-heavy tubs and showers are on the decline. In their place, 2019 bathroom trends are putting a strong focus on bold, tactile designs, comfort, and usability. Bathrooms this year are shaping up to become more relaxed and haven-like, but also a space to get creative (and a little daring) with your sense of style.
Bringing Back Bare Wood (Vanities, Floors, Walls, et al.)
One of the biggest 2019 bathroom trends is one that probably won’t surprise you: just about everyone is sick of minimalist white-on-white design, and this year it’s really starting to show. Bathrooms are skewing away from glossy white porcelain and back towards using warm, natural wood tones. Think natural, unpainted, or reclaimed wood or driftwood. Really, any wood (natural or veneer) that places a strong emphasis on the grain and texture of the wood should be at the top of your wishlist. Light, unfinished wood is winning out so far. But expect to see aged wood (gray tones) and some finishes that give that light wood a warm, honeyed glow. Some designers say this shift marks a return to a more natural bathroom feel, but the strong emphasis on wood grain makes me think it’s a little more tactile – people looking for something other than smooth, cold porcelain.
Accentuate Your Space With Bold, Graphic Tile
Speaking of tile, generic subway tile in a traditional staggered brick installation is also on its way out. In its place, tile printed with bold, graphic patterns is making a major splash this year in both the kitchen and the bathroom. Expect to see them in full-height backsplashes, tiled shower accent walls or floors, and even modern takes on floor medallions designed to look like tiled area rugs. If you’ve been looking for a fun way to add patterning and detail to your bathroom, this is the answer you’re looking for. Worried that too much tile will look busy? Start small, with graphic tile backing to recessed shelves, or a narrow ceiling-height strip to help showcase a freestanding tub.
Dramatic Black Bathrooms (To Put The White Bathroom Trend To Bed)
Sick of the sterile, monochromatic white bathrooms that have been flooding the interior design world for years now? Well, the good news is, you’re not the only one. In fact, 2019 is seeing a big pushback against the classic light-and-airy white bathroom, specifically in the form of dark, dramatic black bathrooms. And I’m not just talking cottage style vanities painted black (though including black accents is also on the rise). I’m talking full-on glam: glossy black tile, polished black granite, and even black paint. If the look feels a little too bold for a big master bath, consider tying it out on a smaller scale – like a guest bath or powder room. It’s a great opportunity to make a big statement in a small space.
Freestanding Bathtubs: For A Bathing Experience You Can Afford And Enjoy
This year, many homeowners are looking to add square footage to their master bathrooms to make room for a freestanding bathtub. Specifically, sacrificing a closet in an adjacent room or hall is fast becoming a go-to way to create a tub niche. Homeowners want a “destination bathtub” – -aka, a getaway within their master suite. After years of volatility in what designers consider a “must have” feature for a master bathroom, I understand a reluctance to embrace yet another big trend. But I think the freestanding bathtub is here to stay. The shower vs bathtub debate largely revolves around creating a luxurious bathing experience that can be enjoyed by someone with a busy schedule. Freestanding bathtubs not only look great, but they fill up quickly and don’t require extensive plumbing upgrades. That means they’re more affordable and easier to use regularly than a whirlpool tub or custom shower.
Rule Number One: Convenience Above All
Many of the biggest 2019 bathroom trends revolve around comfort and ease of use, whether it’s creating cozy spaces that invite you to relax or simply making the spaces you use most often more intuitive. In that vein, one of the very most common new trends I’m seeing this year is actually one of the smallest changes: moving the controls for your shower out from under the shower head and to where you can reach them easily from outside the shower without getting wet. While this upgrade might seem insignificant (or not worth the expense), if you’re planning on overhauling your shower anyway, it’s definitely worth considering. It’s one of those little things that can make a big difference in your morning routine – especially if you’re sick of getting blasted with cold water first thing in the morning!
Fire Features Add An Instant Touch Of Elegance To Your Bathroom
Keeping with the idea of comfort, adding a fire feature to your bathroom is another big 2019 bathroom trend. Two top spots are: near some sort of seating (like a makeup table) or next to a bathtub. Adding a traditional fireplace is a project way beyond the scope of most home renovations. But its incredibly easy to add a ventless fireplace to just about any room in your home. Ventless fireplaces can be built-in or freestanding and are fueled by ultra clean-burning liquid ethanol. That makes this project one that has a very big impact, but requires minimal setup.
Totally Barrier Free Showers (And A Simple Alternative)
One last big 2019 bathroom trend that I want to talk about is one I actually don’t think will stick around: glass-free showers. Personally, I think this trend is taking the idea of “barrier free” to an extreme that looks great, but that I suspect people will tire of quickly. Showers that don’t have walls, doors, or any enclosure at all are stunning and make your space feel more open. But they tend to leave you feeling exposed while you shower. Plus, without an enclosure, your shower won’t hold heat or steam; that can make for a chilly experience. Instead, borrow a trend from a different part of the home: glass and black metal barrier walls. These have a sleek, industrial look that will still give you an open-feeling bathroom, but are more comfortable to use. They’re also great for use as steam showers, if you want that high-tech touch!.
Taken all together, the biggest 2019 bathroom trends are an invitation to play with your design, and more importantly to transform your bathroom into a space that’s warm, inviting, and easy to use. While not all trends are for everyone, hopefully this has given you an idea of what to expect in the year to come…and an idea for a project for your own bathroom!