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Turn on the Tap! Ten Hot Bath Trends

Turn on the Tap! Ten Hot Bath Trends
Trough sinks with twin faucets are a new trend that's reinventin
Next to kitchens, baths are the hardest-working room in the house, and a place where smart design pays dividends in functionality and aesthetics. The latest technologies, too, make it easier than ever to have almost any convenience imaginable.

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, owner of Jamie Gold Kitchen and Bath Design, San Diego, and author of the forthcoming The New Bathroom Idea Book from Taunton Press, shares 10 hot trends for baths.

Amenity-rich master baths
The trend toward treating the master bath as a place to relax continues with steam and body sprays, hand-held massage showerheads, and linear floor shower drains that eliminate a raised threshold in the shower. Larger spaces might incorporate a chair on which to relax with a glass of wine while waiting for the tub to fill.  Coffee makers and wine fridges are migrating to the bath, as are entertainment and smart home systems where homeowners can watch TV or listen to music, and lower the window shades without, say, having to climb into the tub.  “It’s simpler than it was in the past to make the bath part of a smart-home system,” Gold says (photo courtesy Taunton).

Smart medicine cabinets
No longer simply a utilitarian box, some of the latest medicine cabinets have a small TV built into the mirror, a lock box for medicines, LED lighting, Bluetooth speakers, and USB chargers. Many also have a nifty magnetic back panel to hold small items like tweezers (photo courtesy Robern).

“People want the same level of organization in baths as in the kitchen,” Gold says. “I’m starting to see more vanities with accessories built in, like we see in kitchens: pullouts, integrated plugs for hair dryers and curling irons, and niches for pretty perfume bottles or artwork.”

Another trend making its way from kitchens to baths is the sink that’s integrated with the counter, whether it’s porcelain, quartz, or stainless steel. Also popular are apron sinks (photo courtesy ROHL/, trough sinks with double faucets (as shown in Plan 888-18 the top of this post), and “wading pool” sinks that sit on top of the counter, below (photo Copyright Duravit AG).


Gold advises sticking to a neutral palette such as gray, white, and natural wood. “I try to stay away from color because a bath is going to last 10 to 20 years,” she says, and colorful tile can be pricey to switch out when you get tired of it. Can’t live without color? Then tie it in to the surrounding space: the master bath with the master suite, the powder room with public spaces, and the kids’ bath with their bedrooms.

Less is more. Wall-mounted toilets are becoming popular because they’re streamlined, can be installed at any height, and are easy to clean around, though they’re more complex to install than a traditional toilet. Other attractive options are self-cleaning and hands-free-flush toilets.

Eco-friendly, high-performance shower fixtures
“Ten years ago, the car-wash-style shower was easier to achieve than it is today,” Gold says. “In some parts of the country you can use body sprays, but not simultaneous with a rain showerhead or handheld showerhead.” However, it’s also true that because of strict water use mandates, manufacturers have had to figure out new ways to create the same effects, and it has never been easier to find stylish, water-conscious products.

Porcelain wall slabs
Sleek and low-maintenance, porcelain slabs are appearing on countertops and walls. The slabs are thin and lightweight, making them easy to install. They also fit tightly together, and the grain can be book matched for a seamless pattern. Scratch and stain resistant, porcelain is in the same price range as natural materials such as granite, onyx, and marble (photo courtesy Porcelanosa Tile of Spain Company/

LEDs come in a myriad shapes that expand their design options exponentially, such as light strips built into mirrors and recessed lights that virtually disappear into the ceiling. The latest LEDS come in warm colors that flatter the skin; some can be dimmed for layered lighting or a night light effect.

Custom details tied to a memory, family history, or hobby are a fun way to add a personalizing element to a generic space. Whether it’s a decorative tile that evokes memories of a favorite vacation destination (photo courtesy Walker Zanger), a floral drawer pull for an avid gardener, or even a unique shower drain, the bath is the perfect place for subtle self expression. 

To browse a collection of plans with distinctive master baths like the one in Plan 497-46

click here. Cheryl Weber, LEED AP, is a senior contributing editor to Custom Home and a frequent contributor to Builder. 

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