Somewhere between 2020’s Tiger King phase and this year’s skunk hair trend, it hit us: The pandemic has completely metamorphosed our perception of ‘normalcy’...and we’re going to need quiet, calming space (and a glass of wine) at our disposal as we gear up for another unprecedented year in history. The solution? Creating a spa-like bathroom that can offer peace, relaxation and respite from the chaotic world outside. Plus, 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 2021 Bathroom Trends Study. But what, exactly, does that look like? We culled the data and spoke to designers to spotlight fresh ideas to make over your space.
1. NATURAL AND SPA-LIKE SURFACES, COMBINED
Perhaps the biggest bathroom trend you can expect to see in 2022 is an emphasis on serene, smooth surfaces and understated, organic materials. Think: large slabs of monochromatic stone, matte black fixtures and light oak-wood surfaces that are naturally elegant. Designer Joshua Smith explains: “We’ll see more applications where the finishes and textures are varied to create dimension, depth and intrigue. Bathroom designs where natural stone, matte subways and glossy tile accents [will be] employed together to create a little drama without compromising the harmony.”
2. BIOPHILIA AND GREENERY
Pinterest has just released its Pinterest Predicts list and the verdict is in: “biophilic design” will dominate in 2022. For those who don’t know, it’s a design concept that’s centered around our human connection to nature and effectively ‘bringing the outdoors in’ with lots of greenery. And, when we say people are *living for this* trend, we’re not exaggerating. Houzz’s report found that nearly one-third of homeowners add greenery to their bathroom while renovating, because they find that plants are aesthetically pleasing, create a calming environment, can purify the air and have odor-fighting and antibacterial properties. (On that note, these 20 plants are all great options to fill this space.)
Try the trend: Snake plant, $70
3. FREESTANDING TUBS AND WET ROOMS
First thing’s first: What even is a “wet room?” Basically, they’re open-concept bathrooms that include an un-enclosed, tiled bathing area with a large drain that’s—usually—in the center of the space. The look can vary from ultra-minimalistic to modern and excludes the use of bath mats, glass doors or shower screens (adios, unseemly shower curtains).
4. WARM, NEUTRAL AND EARTHY TONES
“Cooler gray color palettes have reached their peak—yep, the pendulum is swinging, my friends,” Smith says. “I predict that we’ll see the resurgence of warmer color palettes and a subtle shift back to creams, beiges and nudes.” This probably comes as no surprise; earthy-inspired hues have been trending for quite a while (and they’re here to stay in the new year). “I’m currently working on some awesome projects that feature cream, taupe and sienna colors, fabrics, textured wallcoverings and even glossy bathroom tile. The change is coming!” he adds.
Try the trend: Backdrop Paint 'Morning Ritual,' $45
5. CURVED LINES
We know, we know, warm neutrals and natural finishes are all the rage for 2022. Still, we have to admit, that sounds like a recipe for the most *boring* bathroom ever. Luckily, there’s a trick to giving your space some je ne sais quoi—and it’s all in the details. “The curve line is making its way strong into our homes...People are loving [a] soft line that feels like it wraps you in a hug after being through the hard times that Covid brought on,” explains designer Kim Armstrong. “The curve can be seen in architecture such as doorways, windows, cabinet designs, arched ceilings…[and it will] also show up in large ways in patterns, whether in fabrics or tile designs.”
6. 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."
7. High-Tech Showerheads
Speaking of plumbing—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 ($308) features a waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled speaker so you can belt out “Drivers License” to your heart's content.
Try the trend: Moen Aromatherapy Handshower, $130
8. 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.
9. 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 ($27) and shower wine glass holster ($15) could be all you need to stop doomscrolling and recharge.
Try the trend: Bathtub tray, $27
10. Vacation-Inspired Scents
It makes sense that the biophilic design trend would extend beyond visuals. In creating a more nature-inspired space, people are leaning toward fresh scents that give your bathroom a clean scent that isn't industrial-cleaner harsh. This year, Method partnered with Fifty-Nine Parks to create a line that pays homage to America's National Parks. Each of the five scents is meant to mirror the experience of the area that inspired it, though none is in-your-face intense. They're light and nuanced, making washing your hands feel like less of a chore and more of a retreat. (Psst: Paradise Cove, a tropical scent reminiscent of the waves, salt and citrus associated with Dry Tortugas, is our fave.)
Try the trend: Method x Fifty-Nine Parks Paradise Cove soap, $3.50
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