When it comes to trends in bathroom design, popular television host and designer Matt Muenster has seen more than his share of throw-away ideas. He doesn’t even like the word, “trend,” because it indicates something is going to go away. Instead, he wants you to think more long-term so the elements that make your day easier, that make your routine run smoother, and that introduce a little daily luxury into your life are incorporated into your bathroom.
Music or sound: Muenster believes that having sound – either through music or something else – is a core amenity everyone should have in their bathroom.
“It’s really about creating an engaging environment,” he said. “Music fills a void, and you don’t have to crank it to 11 and really rock out. Just look at the Christmas lists of people, and most of them included some type of digital speaker system. Why shouldn’t you have that in your bathroom, too?”
2016 is the year of the unexpected amenity: Every bathroom has the same basic elements; tub, toilet and sink, but Muenster says you should ask yourself what is the one thing that would send your bathroom over the top. If you’re a coffee lover, include an espresso machine; install a fireplace or maybe a mirror that doubles as a television.
“Do something that works for you and replace the ‘worry bucket’ about resale and instead spend that energy thinking about your routine and how to make it the best it can be,” he continued. “I know real estate agents would disagree, but the folks who have a coffee maker in their bathrooms love it, and the mirror/TV isn’t about sitting back and watching a movie. It’s more about catching up on the news while you get ready in the morning or checking the weather before the kids leave for school; whatever fits your life best.”
2016 is also the year of de-cluttering: The bathroom is not the place where you put cool stuff on shelves, Muenster said. Instead, you should think of your bathroom as a sexy utility room that’s clean and calm, and that means everything having its place.
“The bathroom is most likely the first room you walk into as well as the last room before you head out for the day,” he added. “Why start your day in a busy, cluttered space? Instead, think of how you can organize your bathroom where everything has its space.”
For example, vanity counter tops should be clear so toothpaste, hair brushes, curling irons and shavers should all have a place to go; either in a drawer or cabinet that keeps items behind closed doors or inside a closet. Vanities are being designed with holsters for hot appliances like curling irons and flat irons so they can be put away hot without any worry about the heat reaching the wood.
“Drawers are coming equipped with cubbies and slide-outs so you can reach the items you use the most without having to dig for them,” Muenster said. “These are the things you should think about and plan for to keep your bathroom as calm and uncluttered as possible.”
Banish the pop of color: Falling back on accent walls and paint to provide pops of color is lazy, Muenster said. The same “Wow” effect can be had by using unexpected combinations of materials like a wood wall with metal made to look rusted or stained and polished concrete with etched glass.
“You should be doing more than painting one wall a different color or stacking blue towels in a basket,” he explained. “Don’t limit yourself. The bathroom should not be a decorated space so take some chances.”
Cool grey should be your go-to neutral: Color in the bathroom should be neutral, so you should be prepared for a temperature shift from what Muenster calls the warm “blah” of beige to the crisp cool of grey.
“Go now and throw away every bucket of beige paint in your basement,” he said.
Switching to a cooler color palette makes sense in the bathroom because most people think of blue when they think of water, but crisp and cool doesn’t mean cold and sterile.
“Cool grey gets a bad rap because so many people think it’s cold, but what it really does is crisp everything up,” Muenster added. “It gives you a clean background so you can play with materials and finishes. Cool grey in just about any light works, but especially when the sun comes around it really proves why it’s the perfect wall color.”