The ISH trade fair in Frankfurt is a showcase of the best the world has to offer for the responsible management of water and energy in buildings.
For our industry, it highlights trends for bathroom design and introduces innovations and new styles of baths, basins, tapware, showers and accessories. After visiting the fair in March, it is evident that bathrooms continue to evolve with new technologies and pushing the boundaries of contemporary design.
Whether you are building a new home, renovating your bathroom or looking to give your space a lift, here are a few noteworthy design trends to consider.
Colour Beyond Tapware
The big news with colour is that it has extended from tapware, showers and accessories and now includes more baths, basins and even toilets. While certainly not to the same extent as tapware, there was a lot on offer for these items across a range of materials (ceramic, steel and stone).
These are not the psychedelic hues of the 1970s, but soft pastels, metallic and jewel tones.
Perhaps a bit tainted by the past, we tend to be averse to colour for baths and sanitaryware in Australia. Not only do we worry about how they will date and what they might do to our re-sale value, but they can be more difficult to replace down the track.
Nevertheless, we have certainly seen some striking bathroom designs with a coloured basin or freestanding bath. We can see this trend continuing particularly with countertop basins in powder rooms and master ensuites (because these are easy enough to change later) and freestanding baths for absolute ‘wow’ factor.
Matt White and Monchromatic Bathroom Decors
In addition to the blast of colour at many displays, matt white still managed to feature strongly with basins and baths. Again, this is not something new, but it has traditionally been reserved for stone composite materials. Now, manufacturers of ceramic and steel baths and basins have caught on and are introducing some of their product range in the softer finish.
I suspect the offerings coming in to Australia will be limited, but hopefully there will be a few styles available later this year.
It was also evident that monochrome bathroom interiors (as with other areas of fashion) do not go out of style. Black tapware and showers are still popular and, while used with different colour palettes, matching it with white was the standout décor theme.
Pairing a black console with a wall-mounted basin was done by Duravit a couple of years ago, and we also have seen black-framed shower screens. At the ISH fair, world-renowned bath brand Bette showcased their BetteLux open steel-frame bath and matching basin, which look amazing and can be done in colours other than black. These have just been released so are not yet available in Australia and will likely be a custom-made, special order for us down under.
Bathroom Tapware Staple Colours
Colour finishes for bathroom tapware, showers and accessories have been entrenched with many suppliers such as Astra Walker and Brodware for several years. While the offering of colours seems ever-expanding, there were four staple colours other than chrome at the fair: black, brushed nickel, brass and rose gold.
Whether brushed, polished or organic, these finishes can give instant impact to a bathroom, or be a subtle feature when placed against a wall in a matching tone.
One of these colours is likely to go with your design style. Whether combining brass with timber for a rustic look, black with concrete finishes for an industrial theme, or rose gold with an all-white décor for something more classic and feminine.
Narrowing down to a few select colours also means the items are more likely to be in stock rather than having to wait several weeks for custom colour finishes.
Focus on Designer Mirrors
Some of our renovation projects show the effect a well-chosen mirror can have on a bathroom design and, at the fair, there were some glamorous offerings.
We know that a beautiful bathroom mirror can enhance the design of your bathroom, and it can be relatively quick and easy to install. Depending on your décor, changing from square to round, going for a bevelled edge or installing a mirror cabinet can make an instant impact (visual and practical).
For designer style, go for a pill shaped mirror and/or one with a contrasting frame. For more versatility, we also have mirrors with LED lighting, magnification, demisters, touch screens and clocks!
Now, with so much more to choose from, there is no need to stick with a plain rectangular mirror.