From playful wallpaper to peachy tones, bathroom trends promise to transform our interiors into sanctuaries where we can press pause on our busy schedules. But, not every decor idea will enhance your home or lifestyle. Knowing which outdated bathroom trends to avoid will make it easy to create a scheme that looks good now and in the future.
Once a purely practical area for daily routines, bathrooms have become a go-to place for relaxation. However, with living costs still at high tide, it’s important to get your layout right to avoid a hefty bill or, worse - a design disaster that’s unusable and uninspiring.
To help you soak in the best ways to scrub up your space, we asked design experts which bathroom trends they’d pull the plug on to create a classic interior that’s a pleasure to spend time in.
10 Outdated bathroom trends to avoid
Relax, rest, repeat. The best bathroom designs will let you do just that. Steering clear of the design cliches from our list will make it simple to craft a modern bathroom idea that you’ll love forever.
1. All white everything
We’re sorry to burst your bubble, but all white bathrooms are out. Thanks to its neutral appeal and hygienic appearance, this colour has topped many a bathroom colour scheme list. But bathroom trends analyst John Klee, from the Big Bathroom Shop, thinks it’s time to wash our hands of this hue.
'While white is a classic choice, it can also look clinical,” says John. “Instead, opt for earthy shades, such as soft browns or creams, to create a cosy place to start and finish your day.'
For a simple update, swap your towels to warm-hued versions. Or, if you have more cash to splash, why not add a vanity in a trending tone? This will instantly turn a lifeless layout into a luxurious space where you can recharge.
2. Fussy furniture
When decorating your bathroom, the key is not to go overboard. Overly ornate features, like crown moulding, chandeliers, or detailed millwork, add busyness to an interior, making it difficult to de-stress.
The trick here is to stick to one or two decorative features, like an antique vanity for a stylish bathroom storage idea or sconces. This will create a curated look and will also maintain a calming atmosphere, making it easy to let the day's troubles float away.
3. Matchy-matchy decor
Designing a bathroom scheme isn't easy. So it's no surprise that many homeowners go down the route of all-matching furniture, tiles, and colours. While this approach is a safe choice, it comes across as unoriginal and can create a dull atmosphere.
'Adding a statement piece, like a brightly coloured bathtub, will immediately revive a tired scheme,' says Hannah Saunders, design expert at Victorian Plumbing. 'It will also create a personalised look you'll enjoy spending time in.'
4. Chrome fixings
Whether used on taps or showers, chrome has been a bathroom mainstay for as long as we can remember. However, the time has come for a clean start.
'Many homeowners want a characterful bathroom, so we're seeing a shift towards brushed gold and copper hardware,' reports John. 'The textured finish and glitzy hues create visual interest for an eye-catching interior.'
Fortunately, this faux pas is quick to fix. Simply swap your existing fixtures with warmer metallics to take bathtime from basic to bougie in an instant.
This may come as a surprise, but having a bath in your bathroom may be a thing of the past. While wash tubs used to be the only means of maintaining hygiene, there are now plenty of options that could be better for your layout and lifestyle, especially if you have a small bathroom.
James Sirett, head of product at Fired Earth, says, 'The traditional concept that a bathroom must contain a bath is outdated. If no one in your family actually uses the tub, why not install a wet room-style shower?'
As well as saving space, showers use less water, so they're great for keeping household bills down. Win-win.
6. Bulky shower enclosures
While we’re on the subject of showers, there are style rules to think about here, too. Bulky glass enclosures may be functional, but they’re hard to integrate into a design area and can be distracting. This makes it difficult to achieve a peaceful interior primed for pampering.
Instead, John suggests swapping to built-in shower spaces. 'For a modern bathroom idea, frameless designs are the way to go. They have a minimalist look and deliver a spa-like vibe worthy of any Instagram feed.' Plus, it will work well as a small bathroom shower idea as it opens up the space.
7. Trendy tiles
We love tiles as much as the next person, but the zany styles that are on-trend right now will date your scheme quickly.
Tone down the look you love by opting for a bathroom tile idea in a more neutral colourway. If your heart is still set on a particular design, try tiling one half of the room. As well as giving you that fashion fix, it’s easier to update when a new style catches your eye.
8. Impersonal interiors
Chores are a bore. So, to keep dusting and polishing to a minimum, many of us forgo accessories in our bathrooms, which creates an unwelcoming atmosphere that’s hard to unwind in.
Fortunately, James has an answer on how to style up a sterile scheme. 'Adding low-maintenance pieces, such as framed pictures or luxuriant plants, will instantly soften your space, creating a relaxing ambience.'
The best part is that these items are inexpensive to switch up on a bathroom shelving idea when your tastes or trends change, making it simple to keep your scheme looking chic.
9. Carpeted flooring
Stepping on a cold floor is the worst. So, we can see why carpeted bathroom floors have become popular over time. There is, however, one major drawback: hygiene.
'Dense fibres are harder to clean than other flooring options,' explains Paul Bangs, Category Director at Wickes. 'Soggy carpets can be easily replaced with luxury vinyl tiles or ceramic floor tiles, like our Wickes Boutique Atwood Patterned Matt Ceramic Wall & Floor Tile, which looks stylish and is simple to wipe down.'
No budget for new bathroom flooring? Add an oversized rug, which adds that fluffy, underfoot feel, and can be washed easily to keep bacteria at bay.
10. Single-source lighting
Like other rooms in the home, bathroom lighting ideas play a key role in setting the right atmosphere. Yet, many of us are in the dark about how to add the right illumination and opt to keep a single, overhead light instead.
Luckily, James knows how to brighten our bathrooms the right way. 'Having layers of lighting on the walls and ceiling, rather than a harsh bulb in the middle of the room, will make the bathroom much more relaxing.'
This idea also has the added bonus of creating a flattering glow - perfect for pre-event selfies.
Are coloured bathrooms coming back?
Yes. For a few years now, there's been a growing movement to express individuality and originality in a home. So, it's no surprise that coloured bathrooms are on the rise.
'Coloured bathrooms create opportunities to show off creativity and, equally, offer more vibrancy and character to your space,' explains Hannah. 'Moreover, the re-emergence of coloured bathrooms also lends itself to the trending of vintage and retro aesthetics.'
What are the latest trends in bathrooms?
Warm tones, cottagecore cabinetry, and retro lighting are the latest trends in bathrooms. We'll also see a blended aesthetic emerge in 2024, with bathrooms combining modern features alongside rustic elements for a personalised aesthetic.
'Think contemporary vanity units with reclaimed wooden features or modern mirrors that incorporate retro lighting,' says John. 'An eclectic mismatch of styles that share premium performance quality and looks will be the foundation for a dream bathroom in 2024.'
So, there you go. Now you know which bathroom trends to swerve, you'll be on track to create a stylish sanctuary in 2024. You're welcome.