Are you a homeowner considering a bathroom remodel? You’ve probably given plenty of thought to what you don’t like about your current bathroom, but have you considered the newest trends in both aesthetics and design?
It’s important to think long and hard before you take a hammer to your walls or open your wallet because a full remodel can be costly for such a small room. But fret not! We’ve built this guide to jog your creativity and outline some bathroom design ideas.
First things first: let’s talk a bit about the upsides and downsides of a bathroom remodel.
Pros and Cons of Bathroom Remodeling
You spend a lot of time in your bathroom. It’s where you have some of your most personal and private moments. So it makes sense that you want it to be a space of relaxation and luxury.
But remember: What you like is what you like, and not everyone else will feel the same way.
Simple changes like fresh paint or wallpaper are relatively easy to DIY (do it yourself), but expensive bathroom tile work or structural remodels are harder to undo. If trends change or your own taste isn’t quite inside the mainstream, it’s possible that your hard work could actually lower the resale value of your home for potential future buyers.
We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen! Here’s a quick pros and cons list of bathroom remodeling to keep in mind as you go about choosing a new bathroom design:
The pros of a bathroom remodel:
- You get to enjoy the space you want, exactly the way you want it
- Budget and space permitting, you can fix annoying design flaws and dated trends
- You can potentially increase the resale value of your home
The cons of a bathroom remodel:
- A full remodel can be expensive even if your DIY skills are on par
- You’ll want to ensure there’s a backup bathroom close prior to the job
- You can potentially decrease the resale value of your home if done incorrectly
Getting Around the Cons
As with any remodel, you’ll want to have a solid plan before you begin. When making your budget, be sure to account for “surprise expenses” that could hamstring your ability to complete the project. Additionally, be sure to approximate the time you’re going to spend working on the remodel, as that’s how long you’ll be without that specific bathroom.
As for the design decisions, this is a bit trickier. If you’re concerned about resale value, consider the following:
- Superficial cosmetic changes won’t move the needle much. Want to go with Millennial Pink paint although that color is a dead fad according to trend spotters? That shouldn’t be an issue. Not afraid of big, bold print wallpaper? The walls are yours. Essentially, if you’re changing the cosmetics and the work is easily reversible, you don’t have much to worry about.
- Trends come and go. If you jump on an expensive trend now, what happens down the road when you want to sell your home and that trend is no longer in style? Consider, for example, all the people who have been ripping out their bathtubs and replacing them with large showers. If potential homebuyers are families with small children, they’re going to mark the bathroom as a red flag.
We highlight the above because, as you go about your bathroom design, it’s important to keep in mind the greater impacts it’ll have on the sellability of your home! At the end of the day, however, it’s your home, your taste, and your vision.
While the bathroom design ideas below are great to use as a framework, maybe you’ll be better off starting your own trend!
Bathroom Design Ideas for 2021
There are plenty of beautiful bathroom ideas out there, and some trends are worth considering for their practicality and potential long-term value. While most of us won’t be able to pull off the “fireside bathtub” and “water views” promoted by Architectural Digest, we can still aspire to a nice floating vanity or smart toilet.
To that end, here are some of the best ideas we’re seeing right now that are practical, inspiring, and beautiful.
#1 Large Format Wall Tiles
Tiles sized 12×12, 12×24, or even 24×48 can give a shower or bathroom a sleek, modern ambiance. These large tiles can be installed with fewer grout lines, and if you choose a grout that matches the bathroom tile, you can create seamless definition and uninterrupted grain or mottling.
Ease of cleaning and contemporary patterns could make this a trend that’s here to stay!
#2 Floating Vanities
Wall-mounted bathroom vanities offer a sleek, contemporary look while still providing plenty of under-sink storage space. The design creates a crisp, airy aesthetic and allows for easy, practical floor cleaning. Additionally, the fixture itself can be embroidered to accent the wallpaper or tiles.
#3 Backlit Mirrors and Medicine Cabinets
Need some mirror decor ideas? Backlit mirrors have been increasing in popularity and for good reason. They give a bathroom a modern look while casting light that’s free of unflattering shadows. And the lights are often dimmable or customizable, meaning you can set the ambiance exactly how you like it. Want to dim the lights for a soft glow? Want to brighten them for visibility at night?
Backlit mirrors and medicine cabinets combine functionality with a versatile atmosphere.
#4 Space-Saving Tubs Separate from the Shower
We’ve already mentioned the trend walk-in shower trend (as opposed to bathtubs). While there are potential drawbacks when it comes to resale value, we fully support the walk-in shower designs if there’s also space for a separate bathtub.
Today, smaller, space-saving freestanding tubs are now filling that niche. There are, of course, larger freestanding tubs as well, but these are less desirable in areas where water—or floor space in the bathroom—is scarce.
#5 Large Glass-Enclosed Walk-In Shower
If you’ve got the room to separate your bath from your shower, by all means, do so. There’s nothing like stretching out in the shower without having to worry about sticking to that cold, clingy shower curtain.
#6 Smart Toilets
If the toilet paper shortage helped make 2020 the year of the bolt-on bidet attachment, 2021 just might be the year that people start upgrading to the real thing—complete with warm water, heated seats, air dryer, self-cleaning mode, and hands-free functionality. In fact, there are plenty of “smart” options coming soon to a bathroom near you (if this year’s CES is any guide).
#7 Heated Flooring
Radiant heat flooring is an increasingly popular bathroom addition. It’s fantastic for keeping your toes warm on those midnight trips to your newly remodeled bathroom. Should you have the budget, you can add this to your remodel’s functionality.
#8 Warm or Nude Colors, Emerald Green, or Black.
Predicting color trends can be a guessing game, but the best color is always the one that works for you in your space. Warm or nude colors are increasingly popular for bathroom remodels, but so is emerald green.
Some designers are even pushing for black. But if you can’t decide, you won’t go wrong with a coat of classic white paint. It might not be the most exciting color, but if it accents the rest of the home’s color palette, then sometimes simplicity is elegance.
It’s easy to overlook the windows when considering a remodel, but if your existing window frames are old or the glass is pitted or fogged, then new windows (or even a deep clean of your existing ones) can help tie the space together, fill the bathroom with natural light, and sharpen the overall aesthetic.
Don’t forget that when it comes to a remodel, sometimes just replacing your existing fixtures creates the flare you’re looking for.
Bathroom Design Ideas You Might Want to Avoid
Again, how you decide to design your bathroom is completely up to you! There are really no right or wrong choices—it all boils down to your preference. With that being said, there are a few trends that are on their way out. This doesn’t mean you should avoid them completely. Rather, be wary of their implication and do your research.
#1 Floating Sinks and Vessel Sinks
When executed correctly, a floating or vessel sink can be absolutely breathtaking. With that being said, they often take away the opportunity for storage below, and they have little if any space for housing items. Additionally, vessel sinks can be hard to clean, fragile, and splashy.
#2 Wall-Mounted Faucets
Wall-mounted faucets can seem like attractive, streamlined options, but maintenance can be difficult with the hidden plumbing. Imagine a leak that you can’t see dripping inside the wall! If you’re looking at this design, be sure to take the appropriate precautions.
#3 Chevron Patterns and Patterned Floor Tiles
Chevron patterns are starting to age out of their trend cycle. And a patterned tile floor can be expensive to replace once the pattern starts to tire.
#4 Removing the Bathtub
We’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating. You might never use the bathtub, but there’s a good chance the next person who wants to buy your house will.
#5 Showers without Doors
If your shower is big enough, you might think you don’t need a shower door. If the water isn’t splashing out, what’s the point? Well, all the steam is escaping and the cold air is rushing in. A shower door will help keep you warm on colder days. Keep this in mind prior to deciding on this design!
The Decisions Are All Yours
Any home remodel project can be an exciting and frightening proposition, and updating a bathroom is no exception. To that end, you don’t have to worry too much about the trends—just worry about what you like, what you don’t like, and what works for your space.
If you don’t have the budget for tearing down walls, sometimes just replacing the current fixtures and applying a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference. At the end of the day, if it makes you happy, it was a successful remodel.
Frieze. The Tyranny of Rose Gold and Millennial Pink (and Other Colours that Shaped the Decade). https://www.frieze.com/article/tyranny-rose-gold-and-millennial-pink-and-other-colours-shaped-decade
Architectural Digest. 46 Bathroom Ideas to Inspire Your Next Renovation. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/inspiring-bathrooms-archives-slideshow
Homecrux. Best Smart Bathroom Products and Emerging Trends from CES 2020. https://www.homecrux.com/best-smart-bathroom-products-ces-2020/138235/