Focus on bathroom design trends for 2020


Here’s what several top DC area designers and two national experts had to say about the latest bathroom design trends.


The Siglo Japanese tub by Signature Hardware is smaller and deeper than a standard tub and features a bench seat. (Courtesy of Signature Hardware)

Bathtubs, once banned from the main bathroom, are back. But not all bathrooms have room for a large pedestal sink. Enter Japanese tubs, also known as ofuro tubs. They are smaller and deeper than a standard bathtub and have a bench seat.

“The days of large, bulky tubs that collect dust are over,” said Alexandria Hubbard of Case Design / Remodeling. “When people take a bath, they want the ultimate spa experience. People love the unique little look of the Japanese bathtub. They take up less space in the bathroom, come in several different finish options, and will even help you save on your water bills because they use less water.


The shower in this bathroom designed by Shannon Kadwell of Anthony Wilder Design Build has a linear drain. “Linear drains in showers are a way to hide the necessary drain in the floor,” Kadwell said. (John Cole)

Walk-in showers without threshold have been popular for some time. Today, the use of large format slabs and linear drains is growing. Large format tiles start at 16 inches but can grow up to 10 feet. They are square or rectangular and made of ceramic, porcelain and stone. By minimizing grout lines, these generously sized tiles create a seamless look and give the illusion of a larger space.

“Large format tiles are popular because they give a cohesive look to the wall and are easy to clean with fewer grout lines,” said Shannon Kadwell of Anthony Wilder Design Build. “With the look of tile more like real stone and maintenance free, it’s a great option for this fast-paced lifestyle. “

Shower drains have gone from utility to urban. Rather than a center drain, showers now have floors slanted in a long, narrow line along the floor or tucked into the wall.

“Linear drains in showers are a way to hide the necessary drain in the floor,” Kadwell said. “A linear drain is an easy way to make a shower more stylish. For a very high end look, you can also incorporate a wall drain when the ground is sloped at one end and the water disappears past a small line at the base of the wall where a drain is installed.


Sarah Kahn Turner of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath installed floating vanities in this bathroom. (Keith Miller / Keiana Photography)

Floating vanities, which don’t touch the floor but hang from a wall, are a contemporary option for a clean and elegant look, Hubbard said. But they don’t have that much storage space.

“Two reasons why this style of vanity has become popular is that in a small bathroom, just having that extra floor space makes it feel like a more open room layout, without bulky cabinets don’t come down to the floor, ”said Mitchell Parker, editor at Houzz. “It’s also easier to clean underneath. You don’t have the legs of vanity to get around.


Toilets with built-in bidets such as the Bemis Renew Plus Bidet Cleaner Spa are gaining popularity. (Courtesy of Bemis Manufacturing)

Bidets are common in Europe, where installation is mandatory in some countries, but have struggled to spread in the United States. Toilets with built-in bidets are growing in popularity, especially among older Americans who want to age in place.

“Bidets have always been popular in other places around the world, but the bidet is just starting to become a trend in North America,” Hubbard said. “Bidets are very popular for their health benefits and help with hemorrhoids, constipation, pregnancy and postpartum hygiene, and general cleanliness in general. By having a built-in bidet, you can have this functionality without the need for two separate devices.


Decorative cement tiles add texture and interest as in this bathroom designed by Alexandria Hubbard and Mary Englert of Case Design / Remodeling. (Stacy Zarin Goldberg)

Another European export is decorative cement tiles. These hand-painted designs are “a wonderful way to add personality to a space,” Kadwell said. “Handcrafted tiles are used to add texture and interest to a space. [They are] a little nostalgia without too much fuss. With so many designs and colors, you are really only limited by your imagination.

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In a damp room, surfaces are meant to be wet – walls and floors are waterproof. (Infinite drainage)

The bathroom, which comes from Japan, does away with a closed shower. Everything is open and can be exposed to moisture. The walls and floors are waterproof. The vanity and toilet are usually hung on the walls. The soils are tilted towards a drain and generally heated to promote rapid evaporation. The advantages are the absence of glass shower screens to clean and an opening that makes the bathroom appear larger, which is ideal for small bathrooms and works well for contemporary designs.

“It’s just a bathroom where every surface is really meant to get wet,” said Dan DiClerico, home expert at HomeAdvisor. “The vanity counter is right there. The toilets are right there. It is usually a very compact, very well organized and space saving design.

The downsides are that this type of bathroom can get damp, adequate ventilation is needed to prevent mold, and towels and toilet paper can get wet.


Smart mirrors and high-tech showers let you check your emails or the weather while getting ready. (iStockphoto)

Voice control “really migrates throughout the house,” DiClerico said. “He entered the house through Alexa and Google Home, but now digital assistants, we’ll call them, are embedded in things, things all over the house.”

Now, when brushing your teeth or putting on makeup, you can check your sports scores, read your horoscope, or keep up to date with the latest headlines.

“Smart mirrors will be repelled by some people who view the bathroom as a sanctuary, but these things are amazing,” DiClerico said. “You can call your voicemail, you can make phone calls, you can check the weather forecast while you get ready in the morning.”


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