1. Plain subway tile
Plain, white subway tile is popular because it’s inexpensive and looks clean. But Amber Shay, national vice president of Design Studios at Meritage Homes, suggests avoiding subway tile as it can make a space look dated.
“I would instead suggest mixing up the size, shape, and texture of the tile you use to add more interest to the space. You can also consider using mosaic tile in larger areas, like behind vanity mirrors, in larger shampoo niches, and on walls around the shower or bathtub,” says Shay.
She says tile can also be added to walls outside of the shower, like the ceiling.
2. Subtle, soft-tone colors
It’s OK to use soft-tone colors in the bathroom to establish a tranquil aesthetic, but the bathroom is the perfect space to really dive into wild patterns and bold colors, according to Jillian Hayward Schaible, principal at Susan Hayward Interiors.
“This room is likely one you will be spending short amounts of time in, so we always feel like it’s the perfect space to get really inspired with patterns and colors that you love. The final product can be so invigorating,” says Schaible.
Dan Mazzarini, principal and creative director of BHDM Design, says they’re seeing the return of colorful tiles over timeless neutrals.
“We’re currently designing colorful bathrooms for a hotel in Hawaii and wholly vouch for the power of color in the bathroom,” Mazzarini says. “Go for it—have fun!”
Don’t be shy about using bold colors, but don’t go overboard either. While incorporating bold colors is good on walls, “stay away from bold colors in permanent fixtures,” says Janen Ardia, broker/owner of Re/Max Heritage Properties in Flanders, NJ.
3. Floating sinks
Also known as wall-mounted sinks, floating sinks might look sleek and save a bit of square footage, but they offer no storage.
Ardia says floating sinks are seeing their way out because they take up too much counter space with their overhangs and can be awkward for many people.
Instead, have your sink installed in a vanity with doors and/or drawers, which will make maintaining an organized bathroom a breeze.
“Vanities are not only your best storage option for items used on a daily basis, they can actually be very beautiful,” says Ardia. “Elegant vanities are very popular now, as opposed to the stark white that was popular for many years.”
4. Oversize soaking tubs and whirlpools
Large soaking tubs and whirlpools might be the pinnacle of luxury in a primary bathroom, but they tend to take up a lot of room and collect dust from not being used.
“Smaller, stand-alone tubs can be sleek and beautiful,” says Ardia. “Bathtub steps are also a thing of the past and can be very dangerous.”
And while some homeowners are removing their bathtub altogether, experts advise against this trend. In the event that you do sell, potential homebuyers might want a tub in the bathroom, and you don’t want a tub-less loo to be a deal breaker.
“Although you may never use it, tuck a tub into a convenient spot for show and use, should your feelings about baths change,” says Ardia.
5. Marble countertops and white grout
Common bathroom materials—like marble countertops or white grout—might look elegant, but they aren’t really a match for this type of moisture-filled environment.
“Marble countertops are beautiful but very, very porous. One spill of hair dye or makeup can create a lasting problem,” says Ardia. “The same applies to white grout. Opt for a darker-colored grout that doesn’t show stains or age. Remember, the bathroom is a heavily used room and everything will age much quicker with use and moisture.”