Smart and Stylish Bathroom Trends

By Jamie Gold

Bathrooms deserve to be kept chic and updated along with the rest of your home.

Photo: GettyImages/Hikesterson

You’ve probably read a dozen posts about the top color and style trends for the year by now. This trend report is about far more.

Long after Ultra Violet—Pantone’s official hue for 2018—is history, you’ll still be using and enjoying your bathroom. It should look like it belongs in your home, not one in a trend blog. It should work well for your needs and those of its other users. And, last but most definitely not least, it should minimize its use of natural resources. (This is especially true of water, one of our most precious!)

Here are the smartest trends that can enhance your bathroom, your home, your life and our planet. Oh, and they happen to look great, too!

Digital Integration

This has been a huge trend for both kitchens and bathrooms. In the bath, it’s showing up in drawer systems and medicine cabinets that hold and charge your devices. It’s also apparent in vent fans and showerheads that are Bluetooth enabled.

Our smartphones and tablets have inspired the interfaces of digital showering systems, like Kohler’s DTV Prompt Digital Showering System, that let you set the water temperature and pressure before you step in. Want convenience? Click on your setting, unique from your partner’s, to get your shower going the way you like it in the morning. Your significant other can do the same.

High-Tech Hygiene

Manufacturers know that Americans are ultra-conscious about hygiene. So they’re creating tiles and toilets that incorporate self-cleaning and antimicrobial technology and toilets you can flush without touching a handle. Hands-free flushing is one of the hottest trends since plumbing came indoors and it’s now being offered by multiple brands.


Sustainability is another continuing trend, especially as building codes become ever-more restrictive about water and energy consumption. The “carwash” showers of the past have evolved into more resource-saving systems that combine air, motion or both to create the feeling of more water flow using less water. You can still get the luxury, only now you won’t be draining the local reservoir to do so.

Toilets are also using less water while generating sufficient flushing power. Since they account for nearly 30 percent of a typical home’s indoor water consumption, according to WaterSense, this is an important trend. While 1.6 gallons is still the federal standard and 1.28 gallon per flush models are widely available, there are residential toilets on the market swallowing just 1 gallon.

Light-emitting diode (LED) technology has improved greatly in the past five years, as well as its availability and pricing. In the bathroom, it’s showing up in medicine cabinet lighting, recessed ceiling cans and decorative fixtures. Since their light quality is so much better than it used to be, LEDs are now a viable solution for the room where you apply your makeup and dress for work. It also powers those fancy chromatherapy tubs that some luxury homeowners desire.


Manufacturers know that the population is aging and they also know that most buyers don’t like to think about it. In response, they’ve created accessibility features like grab bars, hand-held showerheads, fold-down shower seats, comfort height toilets, lever-handled faucets and hardware that evoke resort spas, not rehab hospital rooms. These benefit not just older users, but also children and anyone trying to recover from an injury or avoid one at home.

The most attractive offerings blend with the other finishes and styles in your bathroom to create a cohesive and safer space.

Hot Looks

Many of the hottest bathroom styles today look to international style trends like hygge and wabi-sabi with a strong focus on creating a spa-like and relaxing bathroom experience. Simplify your bathroom and get the look with natural accents with a handcrafted feel and minimal hardware and fixtures. 

In 2018 you can make a bold statement in your bathroom by embracing monochromatic color schemes. All black and all white bathrooms have made a splash on sites like Pinterest, but you can go monochromatic with lower maintenance, easier to clean, and frankly, more colorful colors.

Decadent soaking tubs and statement vanities elevate trendy bathrooms to the next level. This great trend brings luxury to bathroom staples, transforming a functional, typically overlooked room that gets daily use into your dream spa. 

Statement faucets—think sleek and modern, not your mom’s dolphin faucet—round out the latest bathroom trends and bring exciting visual impact and a sense of elevated design to your bathroom.

Last Words

As always, it’s important to find the trends that fit your needs, lifestyle, budget and property. A professional designer can help you achieve the bathroom you deserve. You can find one near you at

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Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCTWC is a wellness design consultant, Certified Kitchen Designer and the author of the New Bathroom Idea Book and New Kitchen Ideas That Work, (Taunton Press). Jamie can be found online at

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