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Must-Have Bathroom Trends for 2021

By Tobias Roberts Rise Writer
Dec 31, 2020

With the new year just around the corner, now is be a great time to start planning your home renovations for 2021. Bathrooms were once considered to be a strictly functional space - do your business and get out). But, the bathroom trends of 2021 invite homeowners to reimagine this important, though often overlooked, room in the home. Below, Rise looks at the leading must-have bathroom trends of 2021. We have separated these design trends into leading design trends and sustainability trends for more environmentally friendly bathroom spaces.

What Are The Leading Bathroom Design Trends for 2021?

In a ritzy hotel, the bathroom's luxury and extravagance is often the first thing that reminds you that you're not at home. If you don't believe us, check out these opulent bathrooms at some of the leading five-star hotels and resorts around the world. You probably can't replicate the world-class view of a bathroom overlooking a city skyline or a tropical beach. Luckily, you can implement many of the design features used by sought after hotels in your own home. Here are a few of the principal bathroom design trends for 2021:

Nonpareil Solutions Matte Black Bathroom
Matte Black Bathroom. Photo Credit: Nonpareil Solutions

Matte Black Color Schemes

One of the most popular finish options for bathrooms (and other rooms in the home) is deep, matte black. Its popularity stems from being a genuinely neutral color. This neutrality allows matte black to act as a versatile finish for virtually any type of bathroom design. Consider adding a touch of darkness in tile work, mirrors, the frames of your bathroom windows or door, or even your toilet seat.

Open Shower Audrey Crisp Interiors
Open Shower. Photo Credit: Audrey Crisp Interiors

Open showers

Some people might like the extra sense of privacy that comes with a completely enclosed shower space. However, if you trust your bathroom door locks, adding an open shower (or door-less shower) can add a whole new sense of spaciousness to your bathroom. Open showers are a relatively easy bathroom renovation that can make a small space feel larger. They also add a "spa-like" feel to your home.

water and wood Vintage Taps
Vintage Taps. Photo Credit: water and wood

Vintage Bathroom Fixtures

Not everyone likes the look of those super shiny chrome faucets and showerheads. If you have a taste for antiques, adding some vintage (or water-saving vintage-inspired) bathroom fixtures can add a unique touch to your bathroom. Look for subdued brass colors, as they combine well with beautiful bathroom tile work.

Exposed Copper Taps PALM Sri Lanka
Exposed Copper Taps. Photo Credit: PALM Sri Lanka

Exposed Metal

Another way to make your bathroom stand apart from the rest is to add some exposed metal in strategic places. Exposing copper pipes can add a unique flair. Consider making some DIY towel racks from repurposed copper piping as well.

NINA MAIR Wooden Tub
Photo Credit: NINA MAIR

Wooden Touches for an Earthy Feel

If you don't like the look of metal or tile, adding some wood can add an earthy feel to your bathroom. A wooden accent wall near an open bathtub is a great design option. Believe it or not, there are even wooden bathtubs that will make you feel like you're bathing in a forest.

Triangolo Tile Centura
Triangolo Tile. Photo Credit: Centura

Unique Tile Shapes

Tiles have long been a favorite for bathrooms as they stand up well when exposed to constant moisture. Instead of going for square or rectangular tiles for your bathroom floors or walls, consider opting for unique shaped tiles. At your local hardware store, you should be able to find tiles in a hexagon, diamond, fish scale, and unique herringbone shapes. Check out this Rise article for how to source the best tiles for your home.

Concrete Sink Appreciation of a Renovation via Instagram
Concrete Double Sink. Photo Credit: Appreciation of a Renovation via Instagram

Concrete Everywhere

There are certainly some sustainability issues with concrete. The cement industry is responsible for about 8 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. However, concrete features like walls, floors, bathtubs, showers, and countertops add a unique combination of aesthetics and durability for any bathroom. To cut back on your bathroom renovations' carbon footprint, consider finding contractors who are committed to sourcing and using more environmentally friendly cement.

Jackie Johnson Design Marble Walls
Marble Walls. Photo Credit: Jackie Johnson Design

Marble walls

If you want to feel like a Roman emperor while bathing, consider adding a marble wall to your shower or bathroom space. White marble offers a smooth, clean feel. It can be beautifully combined with classic gray or black matte accents for a modernist feel. 

Nebia 2.0 Showerhead. Photo Credit: Nebia

Sustainability Trends for More Environmentally Friendly Bathrooms

Having a comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing bathroom might be on the top of your wish list for your 2021 home renovation projects. However, making our homes more sustainable is a responsibility that we all share as we transition to a low-carbon world. Fortunately, this "wish" and this "responsibility" are not mutually exclusive. Below, we look at how a few simple sustainability upgrades for your bathroom can drastically reduce water and energy use while improving your bathroom's functionality, comfort, and attractiveness.

Can Low-Flow Showerheads Be Luxurious?

If your home doesn't have a low-flow showerhead, you are most likely using between 3 and 4 times more water every time someone in your household takes a shower. Older showerheads use up to 8 gallons per minute, while the best low-flow showerheads on the market can use less than 2 gallons per minute. Almost all low-flow showerheads have a payback period well under a year, making these a common sense home renovation to improve water efficiency. Low-flow showerheads don't mean that you have to "sacrifice" your bathing experience. Nebia Spa offers a unique, low-flow showerhead. It uses an atomization technology that converts the shower water into millions of tiny microdroplets. This showerhead uses between 45 and 65 percent less water than traditional showerheads and will make you feel like you've converted your shower into a luxurious steam room.

Sink Twice
Toilet Tanks Sink. Photo Credit: Sink Twice

Why Consider a Sink-to-Toilet Flush System?

toilet-tank sink might sound funny, but this practical bit of ingenuity is a fantastic way to save water. This device uses gravity to conserve water by placing a small sink where the toilet tank's top would usually be. When the sink is used for washing hands or brushing teeth, the used water flows into the toilet supply before being used for the next flush. Besides conserving water, this design can also free up space, making it an excellent option for tiny homes looking to maximize their usable square footage.

How Much Can Water Leak Detectors Save?

Did you know that a leaky pipe that is dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year? This amount of water waste is about equal to taking 180 showers. It might be easy to identify a leaky faucet in your bathroom. However, it is more difficult to spot those leaks in your home's hard to access plumbing connections. Installing smart water leak detectors is a simple way to catch those leaks to save water and avoid costly damage to your home.

Why Install Motion Sensors Faucets?

Motion sensor faucets used to be something you would only find in bathrooms at airports, malls, or other public places. Today, however, motion sensor faucets have become increasingly affordable, allowing many homeowners to install these water-saving fixtures in their home bathrooms. According to some estimates, motion sensor faucets could save between 30 and 50 percent on overall water use - perhaps more if you have a young child who enjoys playing with the faucet knobs.  

Vormax UHET American Standard
Vormax UHET. Photo Credit: American Standard

Why Invest In Ultra High-Efficiency Toilets?

First, there was the regular toilet, then the low-flow options, then the dual flush toilet. Now we have the ultra-high-efficiency toilet (UHET). As technology improves and efficiency increases, they keep having to come up with new terms. The Ultra High-Efficiency Toilet is the only type of toilet that meets the MaP Premium standard for 1.10 gallons per flush and a minimum of 600 grams of waste per flush. If you have an older toilet that uses 4 to 7 gallons per flush, you might be able to save upwards of $150 per year by upgrading to a UHET.

DWHR ThermoDrain
DWHR. Photo Credit: ThermoDrain

What Is a Drain Water Heat Recovery System?

Drain water heat recovery systems take energy efficiency to a whole new level. These unique systems rely on a heat exchanger that captures the waste heat from your used shower water, dishwasher, or washing machine. A series of copper pipes wound around a vertical section of drainpipe essentially allows your household to preheat the cold water entering a water heater for added energy savings. In some cases, you might be able to save upwards of $120 per year in hot water heating costs, especially if you have an old, tank-style heater.

Point of Use Hot Water Heaters 

Upgrading to the point of use water heater, also known as a tankless water heater, is another simple way to cut back on your home's energy use. Tankless, point of use water heaters are installed wherever you need hot water in your home. Because they don't have a tank, you will not be needlessly expending energy to keep 80 to 120 gallons of water heated around the clock. Point of use water heaters also allow homeowners to conscientiously decide where they need hot water connections in their home, allowing for even further potential energy savings.

Dunsworld via Instagram
Photo Credit: Dunsworld via Instagram

As we've seen, making the upgrades and retrofits to a more sustainable and efficient bathroom doesn't have to sacrifice aesthetics or comfort. With the newest technologies and inventions on the market, you can enjoy every possible creature comfort in your bathroom while still reducing your overall energy and water usage.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2024-05-07T14:07:22+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.