Not all design trends are created equal. While many classic designs (wainscoting, for instance) will never go out of style, others have a limited half life. Which of the latest and greatest bathroom design trends should you commit to, and which should you politely pass on? Click through this list of current trends you may want to think twice about installing in your bathroom.
Patterned Floor Tiles
Graphic patterned floor tiles are currently hot, hot, hot. But trends change. And when they do, a tiled floor is not something you can just swap out. Not only is it expensive work, but it may require a professional’s help. If you must jump on the patterned floor bandwagon, opt for a striped or chevron rug, which can easily be traded out later—and at a fraction of the cost of a new tile job.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Santa Fe, NM
Wall Mounted Faucets
Wall-mounted faucets pair especially well with counter-mounted sink bowls. Just remember that all those plumbing pipes are now behind a wall that’s probably been tiled over. Translation: Hidden plumbing means hidden leaks, and messy, expensive repairs when plumbing issues arise. When faucets are installed on a countertop, your pipes and fittings will be much more easily accessible from underneath your vanity cabinet.
The no-threshold shower is popular for a reason. Having a shower that opens seamlessly into the rest of the bathroom makes for a clean, modern aesthetic, while improving accessibility. But you need to make sure its engineered correctly. If you don’t have the proper drainage set up, water will end up all over the bathroom floor every time you shower.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Portland, OR
Skipping the Tub
Many people are forgoing the tub in the master bath altogether, and putting in large, luxurious showers. If you ever plan to sell your home, think twice about this. There are plenty of people who prefer a soak in the tub to a brisk shower, and families with children will always want a bath for their kiddie’s routine.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Fuquay-Varina, NC
Barn doors are pretty much everywhere these days. In ten years, this fly-by-night trend will make your home look hopelessly dated. So, if you decide to put a barn door on your bathroom, whether to save space or stay current, just realize you may want to replace it sooner than you think.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Santa Fe, NM
Showers Without Doors
Many large showers are being built sans doors. It eliminates the floor space you need for door clearance—and a non-existent door is certainly easier to clean! But remember that a shower door is about more than keeping water off your bathroom floor. That barrier keeps warmth and humidity inside the shower enclosure, and keeps cold drafts from entering while you lather up. In a doorless shower, you may feel cold despite the heat of the water, and you’ll start yearning for a shower curtain.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Elgin, SC
Fish Scale Tiles
Fish scale tiles may be trending on bathroom walls, but the mermaid aesthetic is a little out there for more traditional tastes. This trend could prove to be a liability when it’s finally time to sell your home. If you’re stuck on scales, dive into the theme with an easily removable piece of decor like a framed art print or a stencil painted on the wall.
Wood on the Ceiling
A home design trend that starts in the kitchen, bedroom, or living room can move into the bathroom over time. Case in point: wood treatments on the ceiling. Be careful here. Moisture and wood are a bad combination. The heat and steam from a bath or shower could warp and split the wood as it rises, or worse, encourage mold growth. Once mold takes hold on wood boards, it’s hard to budge. If you want your ceilings to last for many maintenance-free years, you may want to consider a traditional ceiling painted in a coat of paint rated for high-moisture environments.
Freestanding tubs exude a sense of luxury that built-in tubs simply can’t offer. Although they’re a tight fit in cozy apartments or condos, freestanding tubs are a hot trend in larger master baths. Be sure you want to dedicate that kind of real estate to a soaking tub before you pay the top-of-market cost, though. If you don’t plan on using the soaking tub every day (or most days) it may become a tripping hazard more than a sensuous oasis. And if you do use it every day? Expect your water bills to rise; the deep walls of these tubs mean they’ll use a lot more water than their built-in counterparts.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Mercer Island, WA
Industrial design lovers will be giddy over the exposed pipe trend in bathrooms. But let’s be clear: This is a trend. And like all trends, practical or otherwise, it will fade. Once the trend dies, it will be an expense to put those pipes back into the wall. Not only that but with those pipes out in the open, each shower poses the risk of scalding yourself by bumping up against the hot water supply. If you want to incorporate the industrial pipe look into your bathroom design, think about using pipes as curtain rods on the shower or over the window instead.
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