Less than a century ago – outside of Hollywood – it was virtually an acknowledged fact that the bathroom was the dullest and least fashionable interior within the home; this being attributed to its functionality and prosaic means. However, it remains a residential interior where the average human spends a good deal of time, which is surely why in 2017 imagination and design expertise will transform this space into an emanation of style and beauty. Here are a few pointers towards achieving such a result.

What are the trends for this year in bathroom design insofar as colours, tones, textures and materials? What finishes will be stylish, timeless and easy to maintain? What are the latest creations and innovations of the most renowned designers and bathroom brands?

Combinations of natural materials can create something new and exciting. Trend predictors reckon that 2017 is likely going to be marked by a return to the organic, to the natural, synched to the inevitable search for ‘new and functional’. So in bathroom design the direction may well be for very clean tones, seamless lines and the practical and simple arrangement of spaces – combined with a touch of organic coziness and elegance. It’s time to let imagination and creativity flow in order to turn the function of the bathroom into a play of art – a contemporary creation of style.

Josslyn Godale of Victorian Bathrooms: ‘In today’s fast-paced society the calmness offered by the bathroom is more important than ever before. The Pantone colour for 2017 is Greenery and introducing nature through vertical gardenscapes and lush ferns can play an important role. Getting back to our roots has never been stronger, including a longing for a style and ambiance we experienced in our childhood. So, the trend for classically styled bathroomware is very evident, tweaked for the 21st century by creating previously traditional items in modern materials, for example Perspex bath racks and Butler’s Trays.’

Continuity and simplicity are key, but be innovative with materials that are easy to install and maintain. Ensure a stylish and classy ambiance within the shell by using the same material for cladding walls and floors – be it ceramic or porcelain tiles, engineered or natural stone. Such ‘shell continuity’ promises to be a major trend in 2017.

Mar Esteve of The Size Surfaces S.L. for Neolith comments: ‘White and grey marbles are still popular with warmth provided by aged and distressed metallic finishes, often set against a dark backdrop to accentuate the richness of the metals. Consumers are catered for pocket-wise by manufacturers that offer surfaces with an authentic metal-like appearance.

‘Large format wall tiles are becoming increasingly popular, and taking aesthetics into account larger slabs make it easier to create a statement and are effective in forming open spaces; plus are easier to maintain than smaller tiles and provide an opportunity for a bathroom to a have walk-in enclosure. Larger tiles are also practical for fitting a bathroom into a small space – or in a home conversion – without having to compromise on quality or style.’

When contemporary sanware and tapware is combined with organic accents it can create a gently dynamic atmosphere that evokes cleanliness and a sensation of cultivated style. The juxtaposition of wood and stone with synthetics is both innovative, combinative and applicable to various interior signatures. Think: an island bathtub, the gloss of porcelain tiles and natural wood used for cabinets and accessories – a combination perhaps supplemented by easy to maintain synthetic man-made stone used for vanity surfaces; a modernist yet appealing composition.

So what are the textures evident for 2017?

Following suit from shifts in kitchen design, texture is also very important in the bathroom, so says Lisa Aspeling on behalf of Caesarstone: ‘Alongside the hardware of the vanities, shower, toilet and bath such as quartz surfaces, porcelain sinks and rough-textured taps, we’re seeing softer materials and textiles being juxtaposed alongside them. An element of glam is also being incorporated into these spaces with gilt-edged mirrors and feature lamps and lighting. And we’re seeing bathrooms incorporating plush velvet chairs, feature carpets and marble side tables – a nod to designers creating spaces that have become easier to relax in, and where the aesthetic is more overt.

‘Both Living Kitchen in Cologne and Maison & Objet in Paris this January featured saffron yellow, emerald green and dusty pink – incorporated often quite dramatically with neutral interiors. Texture underpinned these feature colours, along with the use of geometric shapes and patterns coming through in tiles and fabrics.’

Christelle Steyn of Trend Lifestyle Ceramics overviews innovations for 2017: ‘We can take something raw, crude and natural and mix it with something refined, suave and cultured. It’s a play on light, reflection and absorption in both finishes and tone that creates harmonious, tranquil spaces. There is gloss versus matt in the same shades, varying from colourful décor tiles mixed with neutral matt base tiles – and adding rose gold bath tubs or tapware for a luxurious touch. Bleached woods are also being used.

‘Further, in tap design there are new and different finishes from matt black to gold and rose gold. They are water-wise with aerators and of sleek design, some having controls that allow setting the temperature for each tap. Aerators give the impression of high pressure, but actually save water.’

Make the precise seem easy to achieve by aiming for an elegant final result that evokes the feeling that the bathroom is carefully planned without being obsessed over. Such a well balanced impression can be achieved when the combination is right: slick and modern yet minimalist and comfortable need not be contradictive. Such harmony is poised on a delicate edge where design aesthetics are vital.

The three mega bathroom trends internationally according to Siobhan Thomas from Flush Bathroom Interiors are: Connectivity – ‘Bathrooms are becoming more electronic, which promises ease of use. Fill the bath remotely and set the running time, as well as the temperature. Familiarity and comfort with the use of cellphone technology makes such time saving conveniences available. And the toilet seat can raise as the toilet is approached.

Individualisation – ‘Consumers want unique bathroom spaces and to individualise their sanware basins and baths. Bi-colour products are available and getting a lot of attention, i.e. a colour on the exterior of the bath / basin, while the inside remains white. And metallics like bronze, brass, silver, gold and platinum black are being introduced for taps.

For the full article see Habitat #258 March / April 2017