One thing this year has taught us is the importance of creating a home environment that is a warm and welcome refuge from an unpredictable world.
And while we can’t experience the luxury of travel quite so easily, designers tell us that 2021 bathrooms will be all about creating a sanctuary at home.
“Instead of opting for your standard grey tile, all of the beautiful stoney colours are more popular now – just slightly warmer than a grey,” says Aimee Tarulli, interior stylist at Melbourne’s Archer Interiors.
James says woodwork won’t be disappearing from bathrooms anytime soon.
“The wood tones will always hang around in a bathroom. I think they just do a good job of warming up a space and taking it from stark white to something with a bit of life in it.”
With 2020 showing us that we can’t rely on holidays for a luxury escape, people are asking more of their bathrooms.
“People will want to explore larger spaces with more of a wellness sort of approach – more of a relaxation, spa-feel,” says Melbourne interior designer Matt James from M.J. Harris Group. “A … toned-down space where [you] can unwind at the end of a busy day.”
The experts agree that shower spaces are getting bigger, which help bathrooms feel bigger and more luxurious. We’re also starting to see more “wet rooms”, where the bath and shower share one large, tiled area.
Polished plasters, which lend an organic, luxurious and elegant look to a bathroom, are set to become bigger next year.
“I personally think that we’re going to see a lot of Venetian plaster in bathrooms in 2021,” says Jade Bury from Sydney’s Harper Lane Design. “It’s a beautiful high-end finish and it adds such a texture to a bathroom.”
Gone are the days of mixing countless textures in a bathroom.
Rather than covering every surface in a different tile, Bury says 2021 bathroom design will “lean more into having one beautiful large-scale tile on the walls and floor as opposed to having a mix of different colours and textures throughout”.
While mixing a wide variety of textures might be out, this doesn’t mean we can’t be bold when it comes to tiling. Tarulli suggests opting for one tile, but using it liberally – for example, by doing all of the walls in a mosaic, rather than just a splashback or feature wall.
“It’s still quite minimalist but very interesting in terms of the texture,” she says.
James agrees that personality can be injected through tile choices.
“If you’re going to be really bold and you want to put a colour in, tiles are a great way of doing it,” he says. “We’ve seen an increase in greens, pinks and pastel oranges, which can still help with that vibe of being relaxed and light and airy.”
Heated towel rails are still seen as essential in a modern bathroom, and they’re being made into a feature – for example the vertical towel rail design, which is a vertical bar over which the towel can be casually draped.
Instead of sticking to one colour or material for tapware, designers say it’s time to get a little more playful.
“You might have an aged brass tapware set-up, but your lighting over the mirror might be black, for example,” says Bury. “People are abandoning the rules a little bit. It used to be that if you had chrome taps or black taps, you’d continue that metal throughout the whole house.”
We’ll be seeing tones like gunmetal and brushed nickel next year, as well as ones that age or patina over time. Daniela Santilli from Reece Bathrooms & Kitchens suggests living rustic bronze and tumbled brass will be the hot colours of next year.
Again, the fact that we’ve spent more time in our houses than usual this year has people upping their bathroom game and this includes the toilet. Smart toilets such as the Roca In-Wash Inspira and bidets like the American Standard SpaLet are fast gaining in popularity, according to Santilli.
While having one tap for both hot and cold water has been seen as sleek and modern for a while now, the fashion overseas is returning to separate taps.
“It adds extra to bathroom,” says Tarulli. “It fills the space a bit more, and I think it has quite a high-end, luxe look when you see two taps there next to the sink.”