It’s that time of year again when design websites make grand proclamations about what they suspect will be “in” (and occasionally they also write about what’s “out”). It’s all very Project Runway, but the truth is, as much as I cringe at the idea of trends for the fleeting connotations they have particularly in this new TikTok era, the truth is I love picking up on similar threads in beautiful rooms. An exciting and unexpected detail that gets me excited and then OH! there it is again! Seeing a decorating concept, particularly one with as much permanence as a tile, vanity, or shower installation, gives us that little boost of confidence that it is in fact a good idea. Validation + $$$ spent = comfort.
Last week, my friend and colleague Jess tackled 2024 kitchen trends, and today, I’m delving into bathrooms. Some of the trends I spotted are less hardwired to the room (I’m looking at you, sink skirts) while others are transformative (mosaic floors, for one). All in all, it’s safe to say that traditional aesthetics including cottage chic and anything English- or old-world-inspired are still going quite strong and will continue to lean into bold colors, layered patterns, and daring moves that lean less all-white spa ambiance and more cozy, comfortable, and distinctive. And I have to say…I’m into it.
Pedestal Sink Skirts
This was the first trend I knew I’d include in my roundup because it’s everywhere right now. We’ve all watched Emily try to figure out where to put fabric skirts in the last year and she’s not the only one. I love this trend because it’s so easy to change up and walk away from if you change your mind. It’s just fabric attached to a sink basin. It’s not often a bathroom trend is so affordable or reversible.
Some people use it just for aesthetics, but it’s also a great solution to add a little hidden storage around a pedestal sink that typically has zero (I know this from experience). This buffalo check version is by Ciara Kenaston. You can’t see it in this photo but this room actually has two pedestal sinks with the same skirt, and looks very cute, in case you had a similar situation in your home.
If you haven’t been following design editor-turned-designer Jourdan Fairchild’s renovation of her North Carolina home, you still have time to quickly rectify that. Her most recent reveal was her daughters’ bathroom which had a cute vintage vibe to begin with. She went all in and I think it’s just darling. I’d be afraid of doing something like this so close to a toilet in a little boy’s bathroom (ahem, we can all imagine why) but also it’s fabric, is removable and easy to wash.
Deep Burgundy Color Palettes
I’ve been tracking deep berry shades of red for the last year (remember my obsession with mulberry?) and it’s undeniable that its favorite room is the bathroom. I find it works best in a smaller space since it packs a punch and it plays nice with so many other finishes including deep wood tones, dramatic marbling and vibrant brass.
I love the zellige tile in varying shades of burgundy in this bathroom by Anna Knight Interiors so much. It draws the eye, is unexpected but is the kind of color that makes you wonder why you never thought of it for your own space. Cool colors like blues and greens have held their tight grip on design in the last decade-plus, but warm tones are certifiably back and I believe will be around for quite a while.
Tile isn’t the only way rich oxbloods and burgundies are making their way into our bathing spaces. Vanities in the warm color, like the one here designed by Anne McDonald Design, are a wildly beautiful way to add gravitas and even a sense of history to an older home. I haven’t seen the hue used much in modern applications but I’m sure it would work as long as it’s paired with the right materials and colors. I’d err on the side of depth there like deep wood tones, darker stones, etc.
While not necessarily super modern, Elisha Kelly of Our Aesthetic Abode pulls off the color in her DIY bathroom that definitely reads more contemporary than Anne McDonald’s room. But the same elements are there: brass fixtures and hardware, dark oak mirrors, black hex floors, and then a bit of white (or light cream) to lessen the visual load.
In all the three photos above, the burgundy reads more like a neutral IMHO. If you wanted to amp things up, I’d layer in an additional color, maybe like a fleshy clay, pink, or even turquoise/peacock green.
Rich Wood Vanities
Painted, white and blonde wood vanities have had a long runway of being the most popular kids in bathroom design school, but more and more designers are opting for rich, dark wood tones instead. I think it’s an extension of all the highly traditional living spaces and architecture that we’ve seen over the last few years, not to mention everyone’s affinity for moody spaces. This wood finish sings in a bathroom that gets soft beautiful light because the sunlight catches all the subtle variations and the golden hues in the wood grain.
There are few things Jessica Helgerson Interior Design can do wrong in my opinion. If you told me to imagine a bathroom with wall-to-wall dark wood paneling, dark wood trim on the ceiling, and a dark wood vanity, I’d first ask you when the demo team was arriving, but LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY. The Portland-based firm pulled this off effortlessly.
Retrofitting an antique or vintage credenza, sideboard or dresser into a bathroom vanity is nothing new, but it works especially well for this design movement as many of these pieces are finished in a dark stain. I especially love the shape of the marble backsplash here that Hearth Homes Interiors chose with the wall-mount faucet. Something like this would be perfect in a powder bath where you want to make a statement but maybe don’t want to go all-in on a dramatic all-room tile or even wallpaper. It’s sweet and memorable.
Dark wood vanities work particularly well with jewel tones, like the emerald green wall tile and sapphire blue floors in a space by Corey Lohmann Design. The dark ebony-like grain is so unique and adds a lot of movement to the fairly linear room (besides the rounded shower cut out, of course). That level of richness is hard to find in anything but a vanity material like this.
Floors are the new status symbol in design. That’s right…I said it! And mosaic floors are back in a big way. A lot of what I’m seeing is very vintage-inspired (lots of small black and white penny tiles or hexes) but I’ve also encountered some more daring designs like the room below by Studio Laloc. Let’s take a look.
I’m smitten with the playful floral surprise at floor level here. Everything else has a lot of restraint and elegance and then bam! A mosaic stone floor with wonky white flowers. While I wouldn’t hate to see what it would look and feel like in a bolder color, I think it works especially well because it keeps with the neutral palette. That’s always a safer way to stretch your legs a little, step outside the box and try something new without things getting too wild.
Here are two bathrooms in the same house by Meet West. The floors are cousins, not twins and simply made from different colored small hex tiles. I wanted to show this to anyone considering a mosaic floor but they have multiple bathrooms to renovate and aren’t sure if you go with the same floor in both spaces, do something totally different or—like here—match the vibes but give each a unique design and colorway.
Plaster Walls (A.K.A. Tadelakt)
A lot of times, people think trends have to be something new, but really, it’s just something that’s repeated time and again in homes. One of the biggest trends across all rooms in home design is a plaster-like finish to walls (through Roman clay or even lime wash paint to give it the look of plaster). In the bathroom specifically, a type of plaster called tadelakt is used which is waterproof and I wrote about its emergence back in 2019 (check that out here). People like this treatment, I think, because it adds character without being overly ornate or heavy-handed like molding/trim work or wallpaper can be.
The queen of chic boutique design with Brooklyn vibes, Athena Calderone’s bathroom in her previous brownstone has beautiful plaster walls that ground the glossy porcelain tub and the traditional paneling. It also veers into cream territory which is a perfect partner to crisp whites often found in bathrooms.
You’d have to see the before of this room to believe that Drew Michael Scott (a.k.a. Lone Fox) didn’t demo out the subway tile that used to be on the walls in here. Instead, he plastered OVER the tile and the result is really lovely. I’m not sure of any implications of taking that approach, but it certainly seems like a cheat code to bathroom renovation I’ve never thought of.
GRT Architects are out here creating some of my most favorite contemporary rooms lately because they have so much soul, and color but are effortless. Not a thing too much or too little in the design, me thinks. This wet room has such a beautiful subtle shape to it that’s almost geometric but it feels welcoming and timeless because of the waterproof plaster finish.
Cabana Stripes In Tile
Some things simply are always on trend/in style, and stripes are one of those things. But for the sake of this article, I want to call out cabana stripes. It makes sense given the prevalence of checkerboard because if you think about it, a checkerboard pattern is just a cabana stripe that was broken up and shifted every few inches (did that make any sense to you because it did to me??). The look is bold and not for everyone but it definitely gives vacation beach getaway vibes and I’m all for that in the wasteland of monotony that happens this time of year.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know there is no inspiration photo roundup post without a Heidi Caillier room. Here, she created vertical cabana stripes in the tub area using large square zellige tiles (which you know we all love for their variety and imperfect quality), and then horizontal stripes but in a much smaller zellige to shake things up. (Also, uh…the cabinetry skirt people!).
Something I love about this tile application is that it can be created using two colors of a fairly simple tile. And don’t be afraid to mix it with a solid install of a similar shape tile with a different finish or color, too, like in this bathroom by Popix Designs.
Here’s a similar design by Anne Mcdonald Design using a slim subway tile in both black and white. Without the bold stripe here, sure the bathroom would have been fun (especially with that utility sink) but with the addition of the graphic punch, it’s unforgettable.
Bold Brass Shower Surrounds & Door Frames
Up until recently, making a shower frame or door disappear was the name of the game. But more and more, I’m seeing designers and home renovators flip the switch and make those features rather than ghosts. And no, I’m not talking about the shiny super yellow/brassy shower frames of the ’80s because…yuck. Today, they’re patinated and beautifully aged to feel luxe like something you’d see in a Manhattan penthouse.
A lot of the bathrooms I found with stately brass shower doors and surrounds were in very grand spaces, but I’m so glad I saw this room by Coco & Jack to share here because it proves the look can work even in a smaller bathroom suited for most of us who want a beautiful home but maybe don’t have Vanderbilt blood running through our veins.
And that’s it! There are so many things I could have included but these seven are some of the biggest things I’ve been seeing and getting excited about. The bathroom has defaulted to a monotonous space for too long in the name of “spa” and “Zen” and I don’t disagree there’s a place for that, but give me a mosaic floor and a pedestal skirt sink any day. Who’s with me?
Your friend in (bold) design,