How Practical Are Today’s Bathroom Trends?

We see them in all the magazines, stand-alone tubs, zero threshold showers, vessel sinks, but how practical are they in everyday life? We dig a little deeper into today’s trends.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2019 has seen a lot of new trends and a continuation of some previous ones. Us being Practical Home Design, decided to take a look at these trends and see which are the most practical for the average homeowner. Let’s get started!


Freestanding Tubs

These beautiful tubs, as seen above, have been popping up for several years now. They float in room instead of being confined to a corner.

Pros

  • They are a great focal point and really give a WOW factor to the bathroom.
  • The biggest thing they have going for them is their depth. Most of them allow you to actually soak with most of your body under water, which is not an option in many traditional tubs.
  • They come in many different styles. From the classic claw foot to the sleek and modern, they are available to match any design.
  • Flexible placement. Where the plumbing can go, it can go.

Cons

  • You will need a separate shower. Some bathrooms just don’t have the room for separate spaces.
  • Cleaning behind them can be very difficult, especially if it is installed near a wall or corner. Whatever you do, don’t trap them between two walls. You will never be able to get behind it.
  • They usually lack any storage. You will need a shelf or small table nearby to store any soaps, shampoos, etc. that you will need.
  • They tend to be large and heavy. You may need additional support for the weight of the tub as well as the water, once filled.
  • More expensive compared to traditional tubs.
  • May be more difficult to get in and out of, possibly limiting its use in the future.

The Verdict: If you have the space and budget, go for it. Otherwise, it is not all that practical.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✓ ✓ ✓


Floating Vanities

Photo by Jean van der Meulen on Pexels.com

Here your vanity is mounted to the wall, instead of sitting on the floor. This trend has been going strong for almost a decade.

Pros

  • Provide a sense of openness to a space while still providing some storage. This can give you some much needed visual space in a small bathroom.
  • Sometimes are a more shallow depth than most standard vanity cabinets. Again, great for small spaces.
  • Provides easy access to clean the floors, although the back may be harder to reach.
  • Some use otherwise wasted space well. While many vanity cabinets do not utilize the space near the sink drain, most floating cabinets utilize this space by fitting a notched drawer around the area.
  • Protects your cabinet from water on the floor. This also means that they can be a great solution to a wet bath as long as it is far enough away from your shower or protected behind glass.

Cons

  • If your plumbing comes from the floor, it will need to be re-routed.
  • Reduces storage space.
  • The trend may not age as well as a more traditional cabinet.
  • Probably will require extra blocking to be installed behind your drywall. This, as well as a more difficult install, will result in a higher labor charge.

The Verdict: This is a trend that we can get behind, as long as storage isn’t at a premium and you are going for a more modern look.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔



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Wet Rooms and Zero Threshold Showers

With the open-concept trend, comes another way to make a bath feel larger. In a wet bath, the entire room is open. While one component, a zero threshold shower, can also be used on its own.

Photo by Vecislavas Popa on Pexels.com

Pros

  • Great for those that need to use assistance devices or have limited hand control. An open shower with a threshold free floor makes it easier to get into the shower, while the fact that the entire room is rated for water reduces the worry if any over-spray happens due to limited grip.
  • Easy to clean. Add a hand shower for an easy way to spray away soap and dirt.
  • Can be made a half wet space with just the shower and sometimes a tub. This will allow you to protect part of the space from the majority of the water, while still having some of the other benefits of a wet bath.
  • Looks more open. Can definitely make a small space look much larger.

Cons

  • Can get slippery. Because the floors are made to get wet, you would need to watch for water in more areas to avoid falls.
  • May get cold. Since the room is made to get wet, bath rugs are not often used. Heated floors are recommended in colder climates, but will increase the project costs as well as energy usage. Because the slope of the room needs to very gradually grade towards the drain, this install is best left up to the professionals.
  • Everything gets wet. Unless you use a partition to protect your vanity and toilet area, they will also get wet. This could provide issues if someone is needing to use the bathroom after you shower. Special shower area shoes may be needed.
  • More expensive. The labor and material costs to grade, waterproof, and ventilate the space will be much higher than in a typical bathroom.
  • Limited product selections and storage. This will be minimized if you just do a zero threshold shower or a partial wet area, but otherwise you will be limited to fixtures that can get wet.

The Verdict: A full wet bath is not really practical unless really necessary, but a partial wet bath or just a zero threshold shower will pay off in style and function.

Full Wet Bath

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Partial Wet Bath or Zero Threshold Shower Only

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✔


Large Scale Art

Whether you hang art on the wall, use a large scale wallpaper, go with bold patterned tile, or use a marble slab with fantastic veining, this trend shows no signs of stopping.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pros

  • A great way to make a statement in a small space.
  • Provides a fun way to play with scale.
  • Allows you to go more budget friendly on other elements since the eye will gravitate to the art.
  • Large scale art works best with a neutral background. This works in your favor when it is time for an update.

Cons

  • Depending on the type of art, may be damaged by moisture.
  • If permanent, can date very quickly.

The Verdict: We love it for it’s versatility. Just keep your art to something that is easily changed out and won’t be a great loss if damaged, such as removable wallpaper or a framed print.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔


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Black

This new trend comes in two forms, black accents as seen below, or a full on dark and moody bath.

Pros

  • Provides an updated contrast.
  • Can make more industrial elements seem more modern.
  • Dark and moody can work well in a powder room.

Cons

  • This trend may not have staying power. The black accents will probably stand the test of time longer than the entire bath being black.
  • Too much dark could make task lighting difficult. Trying to put make-up on in a dark bathroom is no fun.

The Verdict: Even in a small powder room, keep your toilet and sink in white to prevent having to change them out in the future when this trend dies. Using accents of black on towel bars, faucets, and removable wallpaper may be the best way to enjoy this trend now, without needing to blow the budget on a full remodel later.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✓ ✓ ✓


Statement Mirrors

Photo by Joey on Pexels.com

Vanity mirrors are becoming art in their own right.

Pros

  • Make a huge statement easily.
  • Allows you to be more budget friendly on other areas of the bath, while drawing your eyes to the mirror.
  • Can be made to easily switch out when tastes change.
  • Large scale mirrors can make the room feel larger.

Cons

  • You lose storage behind the mirror that you would otherwise have in a typical medicine cabinet.
  • If built in, as in the photo, would be difficult to change out if tastes change.

The Verdict: As long as you have the storage and keep it removable, this is a fabulous way to bring some personality to the bathroom.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔


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Double Door and Open-Concept Master Bath

This is a trend that was popular in the 80’s and is making a comeback. You will either see the bathroom open to the master bedroom, sometimes with a divider wall, or double doors leading to the space, allowing you to have it open if wanted. While the shower and/or bath area may be in full view, at least the toilet area is usually enclosed or hidden.

Pros

  • Can make both the bath and bedroom feel very large and spacious.
  • Provides a hotel-like feel to the master suite.

Cons

  • Privacy is minimal. Double doors help, but even they may not shut completely, depending on the style.
  • If a couple is sharing the space, light and noise could be an huge issue, especially if either keeps a different schedule.
  • The bath must be very well ventilated to avoid moisture damage.
  • If it has a double door, sometimes you must open both doors to comfortably move through. This can be difficult when carrying anything, like a laundry basket.

The Verdict: It just isn’t worth it. There are many more ways to make a space feel bigger and more luxurious. If you must, at least opt for the double doors. Make sure that they fully shut to keep light and sound out as well as are large enough that you can walk through one without having to open the other.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓


Wall Mounted Toilets

Once used only for commercial use, we are now seeing more and more of these in homes.

Photo by Jean van der Meulen on Pexels.com

Pros

  • Easy to clean under.
  • Sleek and modern since the plumbing is hidden.
  • More compact. Great if you have very limited space.
  • Height can be adjusted as desired.
  • Can be a great option if accessibility is an issue.

Cons

  • Very expensive. Not only does the wall require re-enforcement for mounting, but the tank and drains must be hidden behind the wall. This is not a DIY project and is best left for a full, down-to-the-studs remodel.
  • Very hard to repair as there is little access. Not easy to adjust the flapper when it sticks.

The Verdict: Unless you really need the space that this option brings, it isn’t worth the added expense and labor. There are many sleek looking standard toilets on the market to give you the modern look without all the added costs.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓


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Wall Mounted Faucets

This is another blast from the past making a comeback.

Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Pros

  • Elegant look that can either go traditional or sleek and modern.
  • Saves counter space. This can be helpful if depth is an issue.
  • Easier to clean. No more trying to squeeze and old toothbrush behind the faucet to clean.

Cons

  • Requires plumbing to be re-worked and raised.
  • These faucets are more expensive and are limited in options.
  • Depending on the height of the faucet and the depth of the bowl, splashing could be an issue.
  • Could interfere with leaning over the sink to wash your face or brush your teeth.
  • More difficult to switch out or repair.

The Verdict: If used in a small powder room with limited space, this could be a useful solution, but we don’t recommend them for a full bathroom.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✓ ✓ ✓


Vessel Sinks

This is another trend that has stuck around for awhile. In this option, the sink is sitting on top of your counter, giving you a bowl-like appearance.

Pros

  • Gives a more unique look than a traditional sink.
  • Gives a chance to incorporate art into the bath. Blown glass and other artistic pieces are often seen.
  • Can gain storage space in vanity below that would have otherwise been taken up by the bowl.

Cons

  • Requires a special faucet that will elevate above the bowl height.
  • Can be difficult to clean around, depending on the bowl style.
  • It is not easy to go back to a standard bowl. Will require redoing the vanity, bowl, and faucet in order to make a change.
  • The vanity height needs to be carefully matched to make sure the sink does not sit too high.

The Verdict: Although this trend has been around for awhile, we see it dying down. Because of this, it is just not worth it, as it is difficult to switch back to a standard sink.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓


Console Vanities

This classic style of vanity looks more like a table and is also making the rounds again. It now comes in classic styles, as shown, as well as options with a modern spin.

Pros

  • Clean, airy feeling without the need for major wall reinforcement.
  • Can make a small bathroom feel larger.
  • Most models are easy to get under for cleaning.
  • You often have the ability to hang your hand towel on the bars, eliminating the need for a separate holder.

Cons

  • No or very little storage, so make sure you have another place to stash the extra toilet paper.
  • Will need to make sure your plumbing connections, such as shut-off valves and drain, are show worthy.
  • Most do not offer built-in backsplashes, so wall protection is a must.
  • Some models offer very little in the way of countertop space.

The Verdict: These cute little vanities would add some visual space to a small powder room, but they just aren’t very practical for a main or master bath.

Practicality Rating: ✔ ✔ ✔ ✓ ✓


Related Reading:

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Make Your Home More Accessible

Bringing Technology to Your Bathroom

Trends: Statement Tile


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