fb-pixel Skip to main content

Contemporary still tops in bath design trends

Frameless heavy-glass enclosures are a huge design trend because they give a bathroom that spacious, luxury spa-like feeling homeowners want.Basco

When it comes to bathroom remodeling, contemporary designs are soaking the competition.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry contends that bathroom remodels offer one of the better returns on investment for homeowners.Basco

Top designers also find that when it comes to color, homeowners still favor white, but gray is making strides, and beige is losing ground, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association's 2015 trends report.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry contends that bathroom remodels offer one of the better returns on investment for homeowners. While remodeling costs vary, homeowners get a roughly 64 percent return on investment, according to the association.

What is on everyone's wish list?

Walk-in showers and enclosures

The largest and more dramatic component of a bathroom is the shower, and I'm not talking about that tub/shower combo so many of us grew up with. That's old news. Now, walk-in showers are the rave, but not at the expense of a tub. Freestanding tubs, especially jetted ones, are still finding a home in the bathroom.

Frameless heavy-glass enclosures are a huge design trend because they give a bathroom that spacious, luxury spa-like feeling homeowners want. Because frameless enclosures are custom designed to fit the space, they tend to be more expensive. One of the more affordable alternatives is a semi-custom enclosure that still offers the designer look, but allows for minor adjustments for out-of-plumb conditions.


Basco's RODA collection brings together the best of both worlds with its Vinesse and Cantour shower enclosures, starting at $1,072 and $1,169 respectively. They offer the perfect balance of beauty, function, and affordable luxury that fits most standard opening sizes while delivering high-design features such as rolling doors, clean lines, and high-end-finish options.

Floors: Ceramic, porcelain, and heated

A heated floor.WarmlyYours

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are far and away the most popular choice for bathroom floors — they are durable and easy to clean — but they are cold, at least here in the Northeast! One company offers a number of solutions to help keep the space as comfortable as possible.


Heated floors are one of the most sought-after bathroom trends, according to the NKBA report. WarmlyYours's TempZone heated floors are its most popular product line for bathrooms. They are available in five formats to suit various layouts and price points. Prices vary.

They are a great choice for bathroom remodels because they offer the highest watt density allowed by the National Electric Code (15 watts), which means they heat up faster and hotter than lower-watt alternatives. Plus, they are designed for use under tile, stone, and hardwood floors.


Today, people have certain expectations and a desire to control all aspects of their environment. This certainly has found its way into the bathroom, and companies are responding with a number of products to make life easier and more enjoyable.

Too cold, too hot, or just right? Delta's Temp2O, available as a showerhead (starting at $107) or a tub-valve option (from $240), has an LED display that shows the exact water temperature and changes colors from blue to magenta to red representing the range of cold, warm, and hot. Kind of makes me feel like I'm warming a cup of coffee in a microwave or showering on the space shuttle!


From Beethoven's Fifth or the latest hip-hop single, music helps set the mood. Personally, I prefer country. There are a number of affordable options.


Mr. Steam has introduced a water-resistant AudioWizard 2.0 Music System. This streaming Bluetooth system can be used in any shower, with or without a Mr. Steam shower system. (Suggested retail price for the amplifier alone is $1,300.)

This sleek, newly designed unit can be mounted on the wall or set on a shelf. The stainless-steel enclosure is smaller than a shoebox and plays digital music files or Internet radio wirelessly, from smartphones or other audio devices. Just remember NOT to bring your phone in the shower!

Bold tile flooring and surrounds

Oxford porcelain and marble tile from Walker Zanger.Walker Zanger

It was E.L. James who asserted that there are 50 shades of gray, but it was Walker Zanger who arguably had the biggest impact at Kitchen and Bath Industry Show with its new, bold tile designs. Think warmer gray tones of wood-textured porcelain paired with marble in a variety of patterns. The Oxford design, for example, gives the impression of 3D tiles, while the Chesterfield and Wingtip offer a more traditional look and feel. All three are available at Tile Showcase in the Boston Design Center, starting at roughly $180 a square foot.


You don't have to be flush with cash to enjoy American Standard's Optum VorMax toilet. They started from scratch and developed a new technology that eliminates the traditional rim holes around the bowl that deliver water during a flush. Instead, the VorMax flush delivers one powerful jet of water that scrubs the entire bowl clean. The Optum VorMax was found online priced at $288.

The toilet’s flushing action allows water to powerfully scour every square inch of the bowl, even the hard-to-reach spots under the rim. It’s paired with a special finish, resulting in a toilet that inhibits the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew on the surface. Mr. Clean would be proud!

Rob Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, editor of AConcordCarpenter.com, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business. Send your questions to homerepair@globe.com or tweet them to@globehomes or @robertrobillard.