What are the trends in bathroom design for 2019?

Is this the bathroom of the future
CC BY 2.0 Is this the bathroom of the future?/ Lloyd Alter

A visit to the Interior Design Show does not shed a lot of light on the subject.

All the design sites cover trends for 2019 at this time of year. There are few rooms in our homes in more need of some changes and new ideas trending; however, when I recently opened 7 Big Bathroom Trends to Watch Out for in 2019 in Apartment Therapy,

Kohler bathroom© Kohler
I was disappointed to find that there was little more than discussions about colors and wallpaper. There was very little of substance, hardly anything that you couldn't find in a Kohler bathroom of 1945. It seems that nothing ever really changes in bathrooms; it just changes colors every few years. So I headed off to the Interior Design show in Toronto, inspired to find out what the real trends in bathroom design are.

freestanding tubLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

The single biggest trend is the free-standing bathtub. You could not walk through the place without tripping over them.

lixil tub freestandingfreestanding tub /CC BY 2.0

They were mostly presented in settings like a bedroom or, I suppose, a home spa. So much clutter around, changes in floor surfaces... how are you ever supposed to keep this clean?

heavy stone tubLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

None looked the least bit ergonomic, designed more for how they look in the room than actual comfort. My late mom, a designer, used to take off her shoes and climb into every tub to test it out; she was very short and always made sure that the tub length was appropriate for the client. I learned from this but only one vendor would let me climb into the tub. It was symmetrical, the same shape at both ends, so you couldn't put your feet anywhere. It was so wide that it would empty your water tank, instead of being roughly proportional to a human. It was so awful that I won't mention their name because they were nice people.

bathtub against wallLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

But as I learned from Donna Church of Kohler after she visited my class last year, these tubs are dangerous. The walls are so thin that you cannot sit on the ledge and swing your legs over, you have to step into it. They are often set in places where it is impossible to install grab bars when people get older. (And people of every age fall. Grab bars are not just for old people.)

This is a trend that should die because, seriously, it is a trend that can kill.

Animal skin on bathtubWhat is with the animal skins?/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

And what is it with these animal skins in bathrooms? We saw this in a recent post on falls on MNN. Have these people never smelled a wet dog?

porcelain tile6mm porcelain tile panels on walls/Promo image

Where Apartment Therapy thinks wallpaper is a trend in bathrooms, I am hoping that these giant 6mm thick porcelain panels become a trend. They are now making tiles so big that you can cover the entire wall, eliminating the grout that can often get mouldy or dirty. I would not put it on a floor because that should be non-slip, but I do hope it catches on.

urinal in bathroomUrinal in bathroom/CC BY 2.0

Another trend I hope catches on is the residential urinal. This one distributed by PierDeco has a sensor that runs for a year on four AA batteries, and sprays a tiny bit of water over the entire interior of the urinal so it will never smell like the waterless ones sometimes do. It's paired with a wall-hung toilet which makes it far easier to clean and is what everyone does in Europe now.

The bathroom trends this year as seen at the Interior Design show are not all that impressive; it's all about looks rather than function. I would have thought that, with an aging clientele, there would be more good looking stuff that was easier to use. Perhaps it's the nature of an Interior Design show.

But as our population ages, we should be thinking more of how these bathrooms are designed so that they can be adapted. And that means we should lose these stupid free-standing tubs.

What are the trends in bathroom design for 2019?
A visit to the Interior Design Show does not shed a lot of light on the subject.

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