If you’re designing or installing a washroom and want to get ahead of the competition, both in terms of design and technological innovation, then look no further. In this article, we’ll walk you through the hottest washroom trends both commercial and domestic, from heritage chic to smart toilets and everything in-between.
Blast from the past
Maybe people are yearning for a simpler time, or maybe it’s the Downton Abbey effect; either way, some of the most popular washroom styles hark back to Victorian and Edwardian eras for inspiration. Similarly, the Art Deco look is also becoming popular because it exudes a Roaring Twenties, Jazz Age cool.
The heritage look demands traditional vitreous china and porcelain fittings, such as urinal bowls and Armitage Shanks WC suites. Better yet, original pieces from scrap merchants and reclaimer’s yards can give an air of authenticity, although they will command a higher price tag.
Of course, lead pipes and gas lamps are best left in the 1800s; that’s why the heritage look combines period styling with modern technology, such as power showers and ecologically friendly dual flush toilets.
As far as decoration is concerned, simple metro tiles work well on walls, while black and white or geometric floor tiling can give an Art Deco feel. Wall paper with ornate floral patterns can work well, provided you have adequate ventilation; if you decide on paint for the walls, you should go for soft, pastel hues in green, blue or grey. The heritage look is best for traditional corporate settings, restaurants and public venues such as museums and galleries.
When it comes to industrial chic, less is most definitely more – think exposed brickwork, exposed piping, and plenty of stainless steel. As well as being hard-wearing and corrosion resistant, stainless steel also has the added benefits of being inexpensive and easy to clean compared to china.
Stainless steel toilets, urinals and wash troughs make ideal additions to an industrial chic bathroom, while LED filament-style light bulbs (without shades, of course) are the perfect lighting solution. In terms of accessories, salvaged items are best – look out for anything that looks well-worn and aged.
The industrial look works brilliantly for forward-thinking businesses (such as creative agencies and the like), schools and colleges, as well as trendier cafes, restaurants and bars.
Dawn of the smart bathroom
Millennials are the new generation of homebuyer – and what do Millennials want? They want gadgets – even in the bathroom. Integrated home automation systems use the Internet of Things (or IoT) to allow the user to control things like light and heating from a smartphone app. These clever gizmos allow you to dim the lights from the bathtub, or make sure that the bathroom is nice and toasty before showering on a cold winter morning.
Convenience and hygiene also feature prominently in Millennials’ bathroom requirements; that’s why you can expect to install more and more hands-free bathroom gizmos such as infrared sensor-operated taps and self-cleaning toilets. Electronic toilets that don’t require toilet paper have been used in Japan for decades, but they’re starting to become increasingly popular in the West.
Millennials are also more eco-conscious than their predecessors, meaning that water saving features like dual flushing toilets, timed showers and digital taps are a must. But what matters above all to Millennials is convenience and comfort – and waterproof TVs, which let you catch your favourite shows while lounging in the bath, could be the most sought-after bathroom trend of the year.
As the MD of Washware Essentials, Paul Thorn has helped design and install washrooms of all shapes, sizes and styles. He uses his 25 years of expertise to stay ahead of the latest trends while keeping a handle on the traditional values of quality and workmanship.