The bathroom has undergone an overhaul in recent years. No longer just a water closet with a sink and tub, it has become a spa and sanctuary at every price point. Skylights and glass block for increased natural light, the use of varied textures and materials and sturdy furnishings, organic lines, fireplaces, and clutter-free counters mark the bath trends for the next few years.

De-Clutter the Counter

Clean lines, symmetry, mirrors, a white-marble vanity top, and white subway tile create the illusion of space in this small master bath (right) designed by Amanda Johnson of Small Carpenters at Large, in Atlanta. The wall-mounted faucets “appealed to the client who wanted as little as possible cluttering the vanity, which is made of black-stained beech wood,” Johnson says. “The more we could hide and get off the counter, the better.”

Photo: Erica George Dines
Photo: Joe Bianco

Getting clutter off the counter was a priority in this master-suite bath (left) in a 1900s farmhouse in Clyde Hill, Wash. The countertop drawers and shelves are a take-off of the popular kitchen-appliance “garage.” Here, the “garage” cabinets store hair dryers and other vanity necessities.

“The client really wanted to create space and light,” says Shamneez Pirani, an interior designer with Estate Homes Design, in Mill Creek, Wash. The textured glass in the maple wood cabinet doors and the cabinet's interior lights above its glass shelves make the tall cabinet feel less imposing. A skylight, transom windows, and the use of glass block in the shower allow natural light to enter the room.

Organic Shapes

Photo: Andrea Rugg

This bathroom was originally larger and included a whirlpool tub. “The scale was wrong,” says designer and remodeler Michael Anschel, owner of Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build in Minneapolis. “The clients wanted a more personal bathroom. We made sure to make the scale more human.”

Anschel also wanted to juxtapose organic with structured elements. The free-form cut river rock pathway is a counterpoint to the square tile. And the edge of the granite vanity top, which echoes the path's curves, contrasts with the straight lines of the six-faceted vanity. “I like to take a natural object and reference its organic shape in my design,” says Anschel, who drew the vanity top's design on the granite by hand.

Both of these elements also guide the user: the walkway leading from the sink to the shower; the vanity top's curves allowing someone to get closer to the sink while separating the two sink areas.

Simple Materials

Photo: Indivar Sivanathan

Although the homespun cottage look is still popular in the bath, Connie de Laveaga Stoops of Stoops Architecture, in Oakland, Calif., says that many of her clients “want less fussy rooms with great fittings and fixtures. People really want things clean and integrated.”

De Laveaga Stoops likes to limit materials and use them in different parts of the space to “hold a room together with a simplicity of materials.”

Clients wanted to update and brighten this circa 1960 home in Bend, Ore. De Laveaga Stoops used limestone, Carrara marble, and wood to complement the existing wood ceiling, and she updated the space by using a glass shower enclosure and elevating the vanity off the floor.

Warm It Up

Photo: Sylvia Martin

This luxury bath began life with few upgraded materials, most of which were stark white, making the room plain, says designer Sandra Kelley of Counter Dimensions, in Pelham, Ala. “It had four-by-four white tiles, cultured white marble, a 22-foot angled ceiling. It was way too simple for a bathroom that size. It didn't do anything for the rest of the house. The room called out to be designed with color and texture.”

Kelley “warmed” this large room — which already had a fireplace — with dark cherry cabinets, natural stone, muted paint colors, and soft lighting. She replaced the original whirlpool tub with a large garden tub surrounded by Cambria quartz surfacing. Even in this southern climate, Kelley says people are using fireplaces in parts of the house other than the living or dining rooms. This fireplace does double duty in the master bath and the bedroom on the opposite side.