Cover Gessi Venti20 collection, available at Carera Bathroom

Turn your bathroom into a chic sanctuary—we reveal the hottest design trends to know

Luxury, nostalgia, warmth and customisability—these are just a few of the key themes in the realm of bathroom design right now. No longer a purely functional area, the bathroom has evolved to become an escape zone that tantalises the senses and elevates your daily cleansing ritual to a truly indulgent experience. Opulent details, retro elements, personalised features and inventive layouts come together beautifully to craft some of the most creative spaces we have seen.

From the key materials and styles of note to the most exquisite fittings, we present some of the ways you can take your bathroom to the next level.

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1. Add glamour with a touch of retro

In the last decade or so, most bathrooms sported neutral colour palettes. According to Eve Mercier, founder of Hong Kong-based Insight School of Interior Design, people were much more adventurous in the 1950s and ‘60s when it came to colours in their bathrooms and would use shades such as almond green, raspberry pink, and yellow.

“An easy way to add a retro feel to your bathroom is with a clawfoot cast-iron bathtub. Cast iron is also known to keep water warm much longer than our contemporary acrylic bathtubs,” says Mercier. “Another easy way to bring a chic, retro touch to your bathroom is to place an antique mirror over your sink or to use toilets with chains and high cisterns in fun colours and finishes.”

A retro-themed bathroom should evoke a sense of nostalgia, and this can be done subtly with the organic-shaped sinks from Toto’s Le Muse collection or bathtubs such as the Toulouse 1800 by Victoria + Albert and Laufen’s The New Classic collection.

Deepu Mahboobani, vice-president of international hospitality design firm Wimberly Interiors, advises using a colourful array of furnishings and bathroom fittings for a retro look. “Play with an eclectic mix of geometric patterns and forms on the floor or walls, create a colourful vanity counter, or enhance the space with a vibrant feature wall behind the bathtub or a patterned rug on the floor,” she adds.

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2. Make a statement with colour

According to Nikki Hunt, founder of Singapore-based Design Intervention, more homeowners are looking to mix and match elements and colours in their bathrooms to create a space that reflects their individuality. She adds: “Who says bathrooms have to be all white, or even a neutral colour? Sometimes, what we need is a space that can give us a boost of energy. Colour has the power to lift and inspire, and can give us that much-needed zing in the bathroom.”

Italian wall coverings brand Ornamenta, available at Hafary, offers customisable ceramic slabs that can feature digitally printed artworks. “Customised tiles can be used to create highly personalised styles. The homeowner or designer can thus dress the bathroom easily according to their preferred accessories or furniture,” says Hafary director Frank Goh.

Another colourful option is Villeroy & Boch’s Artis collection of surface-mounted washbasins, which is available with outer surfaces in various eye-catching colours created by German-Danish interior designer Gesa Hansen.

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3. Incorporate wooden warmth

Wood brings warmth to a space, and its earthy tones also blend seamlessly with most tile and marble surfaces. So it’s no surprise that more homeowners are introducing wooden finishes to their bathrooms. According to Mahboobani, people tend to lean towards faux wood finishes as these are more durable and easier to maintain. “Wood veneer can be used on the dry counter of a make-up vanity. But avoid using untreated wood on countertops or in areas that are predominantly ‘wet zones’,” she says.

Mercier is not a fan of faux wood and prefers to use real wood for bathrooms, but she knows that careful planning is needed to pull this off. “Wood is tricky in a bathroom because of water splashes and humidity, but there are clever ways to incorporate real wood away from water zones, such as with a wooden screen or window louvres,” she says.

Robert Cheng, founder of Brewin Design Office, agrees. “We love using timber floors for bathrooms; they are more functional than most people realise, being softer on the feet,” he says. “Timber ceilings in bathrooms also help to make the space feel cosier, and channel the feeling of being on a yacht.”

4. Elevate with a sculptural touch

Even the humble sink can make a statement. New York-based artist Daniel Arsham has teamed up with American bathroom brand Kohler and The Art Lab Studio to create Rock.01, a 3D-printed sink available in a limited-edition run of 99 pieces. The collection, which made its debut at Design Miami in December, taps into Kohler’s latest 3D clay-printing technology. The walls of the sink are meticulously printed layer by layer, with the overall process taking more than seven hours.

“Rock.01 melds the future of 3D-printing technology with the most basic methods of hand-cast brass. It is literally the new resting on top of the old, and I find that incredibly poetic,” says Arsham. The asymmetric vitreous china basin is paired with a hand-poured brass “rock” sporting a patinated finish. Drawing on the manufacturing company’s storied history of making cast-iron bathtubs in the late 19th century, the artist chose a cast brass base with a similar patina to his other bronze works.

Read more: Why Daniel Arsham's Limited-Edition Sink is on Our Design Wish List

5. Consider Art Deco influences

A glamorous bathroom can help recreate the opulence of the five-star hotels we love. To bring the spirit of the roaring twenties in your bathroom, consider art deco-influenced fittings from Gessi’s Venti20 line, or the collections from Lefroy Brooks that are informed by the aesthetics of the 1920s.

“Focus on making a statement using bold geometrical patterns, luxurious materials and high-gloss metallic details; use a maximum of three art deco elements but keep everything else simple,” advises Mahboobani. “For example, the overall floor finish, wall tiles or wallpaper can have art deco patterns complemented by more modern decorative light fixtures and hardware.”

Seashells are another key motif of the era; you can bring this detail into your bathroom with the shell-shaped Concha wall hook by Danish brand AYTM, which is available in several metallic finishes at P5 Studio. 

“Metallic finishes add a feeling of glamour that harks back to the roaring twenties, which was an era of jubilation and excess,” says Hunt. “That’s why this style is so perfect for a bathroom. It allows you to feel special and pampered when you are bathing or grooming.”

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