The popularity of all-white and black-and-white bathrooms will no doubt continue to endure. "These are classic color schemes that never go out of style," Maykut says. But that's not to say that plenty of color trends don't come and go. In recent years, the world of home design has witnessed the ascendance of crisp, moody gray. Until now, baths have been the one room not dominated by the new "it" color. According to Maykut, however, "2017 may change that," with the appearance of grays as light as dove and dark as charcoal. In addition, Maykut and others anticipate a trend toward green—"not the avocado green of the 1970s," he clarifies, but a range of tranquil, nature-inspired botanical shades like sage, moss, and olive.
Due to its low purchase price and high degree of versatility, "subway tile has been hugely popular the last few years," Maykut says. If the trend hangs around in 2017, Maykut continues, "We're likely to see homeowners setting subway tile in unique patterns" to give fresh energy to a look that's starting to lose its luster. But while enthusiasm for subway tile may have dulled a bit, Maykut thinks that large-format tile, already popular in Europe, stands poised to become "the next big thing" in the bathroom. For one, oversize tile means fewer grout lines and, by extension, easier cleaning. Plus, when installed as flooring, large-format tile helps modestly sized rooms appear larger than they are.
In 2016, homeowners rediscovered brass and bronze. In 2017, Maykut expects both to remain in demand, but with a slight twist. Instead of the shiny, polished finishes most common to date, oil-rubbed bronze, brushed brass, and other more sedate, less reflective looks seem likely to gain traction. Meanwhile, in the sleekest modern bathrooms, Maykut bets that matte or satin black steel may become the material of choice for faucets, shower heads, and cabinet hardware. But no matter what happens in the near term, Maykut observes a broad generational shift away from aesthetic uniformity, as homeowners "freely mix and match metals" in ever more casual, ultra-personalized baths.
The conventional wisdom has always been that wood doesn't belong in the bathroom. In the last few years, though, homeowners have begun to explore ways of enjoying the warmth and texture of the material while sidestepping mold, rot, and other icky issues. Wood-paneled ceilings, wood vanities, wood accent walls—all lend a "homey" quality to a room rarely described in such terms. That said, hardwood comes with a higher price tag than many more conventional bathroom materials. On a budget? Maykut suggests cost-effective wood-look tile, which combines the visual characteristics of wood with the durability of porcelain or ceramic, providing the "best of both worlds."
The latest bathroom cabinetry includes pull-outs, tilt-ups, roll-outs, and other features specially designed to pack maximum utility into minimum space. The result? With more drawers and compartments to hold the multitude of small items commonly kept in the bathroom, clutter stays off the vanity counter—and if it still winds up there, you no longer have an excuse. Meanwhile, along with the trend toward smarter, more homeowner-friendly storage options, Maykut also sees many gravitating toward "floating" vanities, which, because they mount to the wall rather than sit on the floor, help to create a sense of openness and airiness that, according to Maykut, "you simply cannot match with a traditional vanity cabinet."
Make no mistake: With dramatic lighting, frameless doors, no-threshold entries, niche storage, and built-in seating, showers now deliver a more spa-like experience than ever before. That said, however, 2017 may be the year when old-fashioned tubs regain pride of place in the bathroom. "You're not going to see people completely eliminating their showers," Maykut elaborates. But where square footage allows, more and more homeowners are beginning to install large, freestanding tubs. Whether homeowners opt for a tub that's traditional and claw-footed or contemporary and sculptural, Maykut says "the tub renaissance" reflects the fact that for many, the bathroom has become, so to speak, "a home away from home."
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