Somewhere after the Tiger King phase of the pandemic, it hit us: We're going to be home for the long haul, so we might as well create a space we look forward to staying in. Our dining rooms became workstations, our basements at-home gyms, and when it came to finding a respite from it all, we committed to turning our bathrooms into spas. Two out of every five people who renovated a master bathroom this past year said they did so to make it a space for rest and relaxation, according to Houzz's 2020 Bathroom Trends Study. But what, exactly, does that look like? We culled the data and spoke to designers to spotlight six fresh ideas to make over your space.
1. Supersized Tile
Penny tiles have retro appeal, but for a sleek, less cluttered look, choose oversize rectangular tiles. Fewer grout lines means less scrubbing for you, and it can also make a small bathroom appear bigger. Just make sure you stick with a matte finish if you install them on your floors, so you're less likely to slip, Houzz pros say.
2. Extra-Thick Counters
Thicker countertops instantly give a vanity a more impressive, high-end look. And we mean thick: Think three- to six-inch slabs over the traditional one-and-a-half inches, says Gillian Segal of Vancouver-based Gillian Segal Design. Marble, particularly with intricate veining, really makes these counters pop, but if that's out of your budget, consider colored quartzite.
3. Warm Ivory
Part of seeking comfort in our homes is a return to warmer colors. We've seen renewed interest in beige and brown furniture, and that feeling extends to the bathroom. If crisp white feels a little too cold and hospital-like for you, try ivory, Segal suggests. (To further liven things up, the designer loves working in earthy neutrals, like moss green and terra cotta.)
4. Plumbing on Display
Exposed plumbing is one of designer Kate Lester's favorite ways to add character to a bathroom. The key is choosing fixtures that fit the style of the space. "If your look is more contemporary, then lean toward something with cleaner lines and lever handles, and if you’re going more traditional, I love a more vintage feel with cross handles and a porcelain detail," she says.
An equally important consideration is installing them at the right height, so you're not hunching over to take a shower. "We always do a drawing to make sure the showerhead and valves will hit at just the right height for our clients, but if you don’t have fancy software to do a drawing, that’s OK—you can print out the spec sheet online and tape the outline with blue tape," Lester explains. "This way you know everything will be in just the right spot when you install."
5. High-Tech Showerheads
A rainfall showerhead is great, but the latest models can do so much more. The Moen Aromatherapy Handshower ($130) lets you insert INLY essential oil pods into the showerhead, infusing your bathroom with one of four scents as you scrub.
If music is your preferred way to unwind, Kohler's Moxie Showerhead ($120) features a waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled speaker so you can belt out “Watermelon Sugar” to your heart's content.
6. Self-Care Stations
The absolute simplest way to make your bathroom a little more sanctuary-like is through your accessories. If you love a good soak, a bathtub tray ($26) and shower wine glass holster ($30) could be all you need to stop doomscrolling and recharge.