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The Ultimate Bath

Written by Suzanne Pulk
Imagery by Buffalo Plumbing

Influences shaping bath design trends this year are emerging from all directions. The desire for comfort is driven by our chaotic,time-pressed lifestyles, and the search for a little bit of respite from the ongoing stress. Wellness is becoming a factor in design as we learn about how disturbances in our sense of well-being can become stressor in themselves. There are probably as many definitions of comfort and wellness as there are bathroom users, but in general, it involves outfitting the bathroom with careful planning and a product mix that makes the experience of maintaining the hygiene of the body feel easy, beautiful, calm, and secure.

The simplest way to to achieve a soothing environment is the use of soothing colors and clean, uncluttered design elements. The proper flow of colors in all facets of the room, and throughout the house for that matter, creates a sense of well-being as occupants are not constantly having to re-adjust to their environment, it is just peacefully and subtly “there.”

These spaces tend to be of simpler design; uncluttered clean lines dressed in neutraltones with soft accents that complement natural materials. The green movement continues to spur a return to nature with materials that are associated with tranquility, such as honed and acid washed stone, pebble rocks, simple mosaics, and woods such as bamboo and bird’s eye maple. A big trend that is having an impact in current bathroom design is the use of “found” objects and reclaimed wood, in the sense that they offer some eco-friendliness, are fun and expressive, and cultivate a feeling of personal space.

Where color can be introduced we are seeing it done often with glass tile. The color has a delicate, airy quality because it is transparent. Light blues, soft turquoise, or sage green are timeless choices because they evoke both the stillness and the energy of water. Other tiles being chosen are natural stone, and porcelain or ceramic that resembles natural stone.They are a good flooring material to combine with glass wall tiles, which can’t be used for floors.

Since frameless glass shower enclosures started gaining in popularity several years ago, they have become standard equipment, unparalleled for adding an open feeling and enhancing the contemporary look of the space. Curbless showers are also a growing trend, not only for their accessibility, but for their clean aesthetic. Alcoves and shower benches are also key to modern shower design.

The features that facilitate trans-generational use of the bathroom are comfortable to use, are of enduring quality, and also happen to be the epitome of green design, for when a bathroom functions well its life is longer, reducing the need to replace it.

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