The bathroom is your small haven of quiet and calm. And, as the owner of this most personal of spaces, you should be the one to decide how it looks, right?
But what if the decor elements you really dig aren’t exactly on-trend? Should you listen to the pros for the hottest loo looks right now or follow your own bathroom bliss whether it’s hot or not?
There are two sides to the bathroom design debate. So to help you figure out where you fall, here’s a look at what homeowners still cling to as well as what’s popular right now, according to industry insiders and home show reports.
1. The good ol’ bathtub
“Zero-entry showers are increasingly popular, and busy professionals prefer the efficiency of a shower setup,” says Jose Cardenas, a real estate agent at Sotheby’s International in Tampa, FL. And having an oversized tub in the master bath is definitely a desired luxury item, “if only to daydream about getting into it.”
But for maximum resale value, you need a regular ol’ bathtub somewhere in the home.
“It could be in the guest bath or kids’ loo, but it’s a must,” says Glen Christopher of the eponymous real estate firm in Southern Connecticut. “Anyone with kids under 10 knows the importance of this piece.”
2. Storage that hides the mess
Pretty open shelving abounds in glossy magazines and ads everywhere. The snaps show beautifully organized products and jars that hold just the right amount of cotton balls. But most people’s bathrooms are anything but picture-perfect 24/7—and who wants to look at a messy shelf?
It’s no wonder closed storage by way of drawers to hide products is the way to go still, as most homeowners would agree.
“Open-concept shelves display objects that have been staged for a photograph, not for real living,” says Cardenas.
3. Tile on the walls
Photo by CairnsCraft Design & Remodel
The debate here is between tile and a recent fad using reclaimed wood in the bathroom.
Homeowners skew toward traditional tile “because it’s more versatile and easier to maintain,” says Cardenas.
Reclaimed wood, on the other hand, is a distinct look that can add character, but not every room or type of home can handle the particular look.
The bottom line: If you love tile, stick to your guns. There are endless design options available at multiple price points, so there’s sure to be a color and shape for you.
4. Lights you can actually see by
That low-light statement bathroom fixture with the stained glass seems moody and chic on your Instagram scroll. But it won’t help when you need to see yourself in the mirror. Yup, you need bright lights!
Or better yet, layer your lighting and always use dimmers in the bathroom, advises Cardenas.
Not familiar with layers of light in a room? It means installing task lights for small jobs, decorative or accent lighting (like a sconce) to highlight a specific area, and general or ambient lights installed overhead in a bathroom.
5. Nonfancy shower heads
Cardenas points out that these are convenient for efficiency (and we all want to save water), but “they’re not so helpful if you just had your hair done.” Ditto for contact wearers since a face full of water could mean the loss of a lens.
“You can add a handheld nozzle to your shower, but the regular, angled wall shower head will always be a favorite of many homeowners,” he adds.
6. A medicine cabinet
A funky statement mirror is fine and dandy. But where will you put all those OTC meds and little face creams you need easy access to?
As pedestrian as it may seem, a medicine cabinet is still desirable for many homeowners and potential homebuyers. Can’t let go of the massive artsy mirror in the bath? Simply express your creative side in another room!
7. A regular bath mat
Truth: When we step out of the shower, we want something soft and absorbent underneath our feet. But colorful vintage rugs are all the rage in the bathroom, whether you have a regular tub or an antique claw-foot on display.
“This one could go either way,” says Cardenas, as plush mats might have limited colors and designs. But “vintage styles convert a functional space into a better-designed living area.”
One fix is to split the difference. Unfurl your boho carpet in the bathroom and keep an ultraplush bathmat on a rack nearby. Before you shower or take a bath, top the fancy rug with the plain one—and voilà! Your drips have a place to land, but the loo also looks chic much of the time, too.