Splashy tips for bathroom decor

Warm colours and wood finishes are heating up the look

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Bathroom trends are fickle: avant-garde colours, exotic woods and vinyl wallpapers have all come and go, leaving many people with newly decorated loos that felt dated fast. A bathroom renovation isn’t cheap (gone are the days of $5,000 jobs), so it’s important to spend wisely. That doesn’t mean sacrificing style. From metallic finishes, tile types and vanity affairs, I’ve narrowed down three of the best (and safest in my opinion) bath trends that, if implemented, will last for years to come.

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Vintage gold metallic finishes lead the way for bathroom fixtures. Studio S Widespread 2-Handle Bathroom Faucet with Lever Handles, $778, americanstandard.ca
Vintage gold metallic finishes lead the way for bathroom fixtures. Studio S Widespread 2-Handle Bathroom Faucet with Lever Handles, $778, americanstandard.ca

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Go for gold

Faucets, shower heads and taps are akin to jewellery for the bathroom. Their style and finish can update a simple loo or beef up an already well-decorated one. Matte black finishes have been popular over the past couple of years, a trend that shows no sign of waning. Black instantly takes five years off an outdated bathroom — a great trick when selling your home with older washrooms.

But what really excites me is that gold tones on bathroom fixtures have maintained their reign. At one time, they were strictly in the traditional realm. Today, the warm and inviting hue is amping up modern interiors — they say what goes around, comes around. One of my favourites is the Brushed Cooled Sunrise finish from American Standard. Not too orange or pale, it’s the perfect sheened gold that will blend into many bathroom styles. Its soft, non-reflective finish with a dark, vintage undertone makes it look like a polished artist’s sculpture more than the traditional mirrored gold finishes of the past. Now for the debatable decorating rule: should all your bath fixtures be the same finish? In this designer’s opinion, yes! Sometimes the old “keep it simple stupid” rule is best. And who doesn’t like to wake up to a little cool sunshine every morning?

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Walls of style

How a tile is laid out on the wall is one of the biggest trends. Forget conventional, horizontal subway tiles, the new move is to install the tiles vertically. They can still be staggered or lined up on a grid; it all depends on how much pattern and movement you want in the bathroom. A vertical treatment creates a modern feel and makes the ceilings appear taller — a great visual trick for lower-level bathrooms.

In terms of colours, deep mossy green, dark pink and burgundy and browns and beige are all popular picks.

Want to make that vertical pattern more subtle? Tint the grout lines a shade darker than the colour of the tiles. Another trend? Walls of stone. This is when very large slab-format surfacing (giant tiles, really) cover all of the walls and floors with barely any visible seams. This take is amazing in principal ensuites to create a gorgeous spa or steam room ambience. Instead of large-veined marble, which is so overused, try a smaller, detailed stone pattern such as terrazzo or mottled Vicenza Stone for a more soothing effect on the eye. (Try: Dekton Pietra Kode Sabbia ultra-compact surfacing.)

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Virta
A wooden vanity provides storage and warmth to a bathroom. Ashley Wall Hung 30” Vanity, from $1,935, virta.ca

Vanity Project

There’s been a shift toward warmer tones when decorating with tiles and flooring materials. That also includes the vanity area. While crisp white will always have a place in the bathroom, look for more calming colours such as beige, gold and wood tones. Using a wood finish on a bathroom vanity makes the room feel like there’s a cosy piece of furniture in it. For instance, in a powder room convert a small, shapely antique cabinet and install a sink in it. In a modern space, a sleek walnut-wood floating vanity adds warmth and keeps the floor space open, while feeling minimalist and edgy. I’m in love with Virta’s Ashley Wall Hung Vanity. It comes in three on-trend finishes, has a perfect modern aesthetic and three sizes means it can fit into the smallest or largest bathrooms.

Do you have a decor dilemma or want to give feedback? Follow and contact Karl on Instagram, @Karl_Lohnes

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