Free-standing tubs are just one of the latest trends in bathroom decor
Take the bathroom beyond boring with our 19 top picks in six stylish themes
The bathroom, washroom, water closet, powder room, lavatory or loo … is a room that, whatever the name, may be the most used and often most neglected design-wise. It’s 2011 and time to change that. Bring beauty to the bathroom. These top trends and picks show you how.
Black is the New White when it Comes to Bathrooms
Black is the perennial fashion staple. And now it’s essential in bathrooms.
Style guru Jenna Lyons (creative director of J. Crew) has a much-admired très-chic black bathroom, with exposed brass plumbing, of course (two of the trends we showcase). But you don’t have to go with her black tub and walls. A touch of black will do – and give any bathroom that bit of edge.
Vero Black Toilet and Bidet (Duravit)
The serene spa look may have become all too predictable. Steer clear of the sometimes-sterile all-white bathroom with this striking rectilinear black toilet (twice the impact with the matching bidet). Starting at $2,205, toilet; $1,723, bidet; Cronkhite Kitchen & Bath
Flauto Faucet (Webert)
For a hit of black magic, there’s the Flauto faucet in classic chrome with a black handle – just enough of the always-fashionable colour to inject some contrast. $550, Cantu
Add Some Transparency to Your Bathroom
The bathroom is typically already chock full of glass elements. Makes sense: It’s easy to clean and offers a sense of space. But it goes far beyond utility. Now glass brings art into the mix.
Siderna Faucet (Brizo)
This slender, sweeping faucet is already graceful, but the glass accents emphasize its airy esthetic. No visual clutter here. Available spring 2011
Kallos Lavatory (Kohler)
This spun-glass bathroom sink evokes faceted fine crystal. It’s function taken to an artistic high-water mark. $549, Robinson Lighting & Bath
Glass Installation (Uta Nagel Design)
More functional art. Vancouver-based visual artist, Uta Nagel, creates stunning glass installations imprinted with her own photos. Pricing on request
Uta Nagel, an Emily Carr graduate, is gaining international acclaim for her innovative photographic pieces. Her stunning installations can be found in Tokyo, Miami, New York … and, of course, here in B.C.
Nagel’s stark photography – a seemingly floating dancer, the sharp angles of urban architecture, ethereal evocations of the ocean, a stand of staid trees – is lovely in itself. But her solemn trees seem to reach another dimension through her use of acrylic or glass. By transferring their silhouette of bare branches to glass, they become another piece of art entirely – fantastic flora.
Now imagine this almost-abstract art is functional too, as curtains, floor tiles, coffee table, a lamp or a feature wall in a bathroom. It’s a built-in view from the tub that will never get old. Uta Nagel Design Inc.
Put Your Sink on Display
Stop overlooking the sink (literally!) It’s a spot where you can add some serious pretty to the powder room.
Vessel sinks lift the old sunken incarnations to new heights. And the latest designs are striking and unexpected – from celadon to handmade Murano glass. Think of it as a lovely bowl for display, except you get to use it every day. Which is as it should be with these show-offs.
Ilbagnoalessi One Tam Tam (Laufen)
Like a big drum, this sculpture-like sink is its own pedestal (also part of the free-standing trend) and self-contained. $3,975, Cantu
Cenedese (Hastings Tile & Bath)
Bling for your bathroom. Hand-crafted by Italy’s master glassblowers in Murano, each sink is an original – and comes in just about any colour combo. From $4,000, Cantu
Evoking the pale jade of ancient Chinese pottery, this vessel sink is like an objet d’art. Celadon, the name of the classic green-hued ceramic, is thought to bring health and good luck. $488, The Ensuite
The Ultra-modern Shower Head
Shower time just got better. And smarter. These multifunctional shower systems now incorporate LED lighting and music for a whole new level of sensory experience. So let some light in and let it rain.
Aquavolo Lumiere (JACLO)
Showers or downpour? Both. The flat, horizontal spout offers two in one: a waterfall and rain shower. Plus there’s a sound system and iPod port for musical accompaniment to your singing in the shower; and with RGB lighting built-in, you can practice Chromatherapy too. Feeling blue? Shower to some red instead. $8,500, Cantu
Performing Rain Shower (Dornbracht)
Balance Modules? In this rain shower, these are part of a water-flow menu at your fingertips: "just rain," "water points" or full on "water sheet" (think waterfall).
Assess your mood – is this a wake-up call (jet it!) or some Zen downtime (soft rain, please) – and get wet. $1,270, Robinson Lighting & Bath
Rainlight Quadro Head (Nikles)
Simple does it. This ceiling-mounted showerhead with monochromatic LED lighting is minimalist but has some major drenching power. And it’s energy saving with “intelligent water distribution.”
Here, low flow isn’t a compromise. $1,399, Victoria Specialty Hardware
Add a Touch of Chic with Gold Appliances
Think Golden Age (or Bronze Age) and add some metals that are not silver tone. These reinvented metals have a modern refinement, so change up the cool look of chrome that’s ubiquitous in the bathroom scene and warm it up, instead.
Virage Lavatory (Brizo)
Inspired by European ironwork, this faucet’s twists and curves defy categorizations of traditional or modern. But in the Venetian or brushed bronze finish, it’s definitely on trend. From $780, Splashes
Wolo Single Lever Lavatory in Satin Gold (Webert)
Inspired by aerodynamics, the slim and tapered lines of this faucet are balanced by the gold finish. An unexpected mix of warm metal and minimalism. $1,135, Cantu
Katagami Bronze Wading Pool (Kohler)
Shaped like a beautiful birdbath, this shallow, cast-bronze vessel sink has a dark patina and organic quality that’s distinct from the usual white-porcelain-and-silver-fixture mix. $2,804, Robinson Lighting & Bath
Go Free-standing with Your Tub and Sink
The biggest – and often bulkiest – elements in the bathroom are the permanent pieces: tub, vanity, toilet. No more. The more streamlined and elegant look is to go free-standing. Less clutter, more design. That tub is now easy-access from all sides (to admire or dip into).
IMAGE-in bathtub (WETSTYLE)
Pick a shape – angled and linear or curvy and round – and a pattern – cracked clay, ocean waves, arabesques or floral (shown). With the tone-on-tone motifs, this tub becomes a free-standing work of art. From $6,500, Cantu
Ketho Vanity (Duravit)
This wall-mounted fixture breathes new room and functionality into the bathroom. And there are plenty of configurations (44!) and colours to choose from. Our pick: Garnet Red (shown). From $495-$1,670, Cronkhite Kitchen & Bath
Invisi Series II Cube (Caroma)
The toilet is usually the least design-worthy part of the bathroom. Until now. This wall-hung cube-like toilet (dual-flush, of course) seems to hover, freeing up precious floor space for that less-is-more look. Release the throne! From $831, Wolseley
Immersion Tub Filler (Graff)
A sleek spout that sticks out – literally – of the floor. By being floor mounted, the graceful lines of this curved yet minimal tub filler really do stand apart. From $2,695, Cantu
Toulouse Tub (Victoria & Albert)
This free-standing tub is old-school grandeur re-imagined. Described as a "twist on French boudoir bathing," Toulouse is a modern-day interpretation of the double-ended bateau baths first seen in the 1860s. And this seamless piece, cast out of ground volcanic limestone and resin, actually keeps the water warmer longer. Now bathe like royalty. $5,000, Robinson Bath & Lighting