Stylish Bathrooms Start with These On-Trend Ideas for New-Build Homes
Whether you're currently building a new home or hoping to remodel the one you currently own, there’s a lot to be said about creating the perfect bathroom space.
We spend so much of our time each day in our bathrooms that a functional and fresh bathroom can truly be the anchor of a home.
To achieve this feeling, most modern builders choose materials for not only fashion and function but also eco-friendliness and durability – making each space last longer and for less money over the long haul. But they also must cater to the wants and needs of homeowners and potential homeowners. To find out what homeowners want, Houzz recently surveyed in its 2019 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study those installing new bathrooms.
We’ve rounded up several elements present in new builds – and desired by homeowners based on the Houzz survey – so you can get an idea of what's currently out there and in vogue.
10 Popular Elements Present in New Builds
Here are the current favorite design elements in new construction bathrooms:
Bigger – Sometimes Only – Showers
One of the current biggest trends for new construction bathrooms is bigger showers. Homeowners simply want more space, and this is very apparent through the size and shape of showers installed inside these new builds.
In fact, the size of the shower is so important that some new builds are choosing to forgo the bathtub in the master bathroom altogether in favor of a more spacious shower.
This is also a current trend in lots of bathroom remodels as well. Homeowners are not increasing the overall size of their bathrooms but rather removing other secondary elements to expand the shower instead.
With lots of elbow room in a spacious layout, a no-barrier entry, grab bars for safety, and overhead rainfall, stationary wall-mounted, and handheld showering options, this shower is larger than most. It is from a 3-bedroom, 2-bath rustic log-style cabin just right for those want a vacation getaway or just enjoy country living in a rural environment (Plan #205-1009).
If you love a good bath, don’t fret. Just because the current trends show favoritism to showers, it doesn’t mean that bathtubs are being completely forgotten.
For those who love a good soak, instead of built-in bathtubs in the master bathroom (or the more famous bath / shower combination that’s pretty prevalent in plenty of American bathrooms) homebuilders are currently installing freestanding bathtubs instead.
Whether it’s a classic clawfoot tub or a more modern take, these freestanding tubs also function as statement pieces and focal points – an expression of self in one of the most private areas of one’s home.
They are also significantly easier to replace in a remodel than a built-in bathtub should the homeowner change their mind at any point.
This beautiful contemporary master bath (top) in a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath transitional Craftsman style home features a standalone soaking tub (bottom) opposite the shower and vanity area of the bathroom. In bathrooms in which owners choose to have a tub, freestanding tubs are usually preferred (Plan #161-1119).
Natural Stone Materials
Gone are the days of formica countertops and laminate flooring. New construction bathrooms continue to trend toward the use of more natural stone materials instead of processed ones.
For example, showers are typically no longer made from just a simple tile. For the most part, home builders choose to install ceramic or porcelain tiles for shower floors and walls.
And that’s if they choose to use tile at all. The current most popular building material is natural stone.
That could be any of the following stones:
Though often a substantial initial investment, these stones are durable and long-lasting, making them perfect for such high-traffic areas of the home as bathrooms.
Sleek and modern, this master bathroom in a 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath Ranch style home uses marble with dramatic veining on the walls. Note the glass-enclosed shower adjoining the bathtub (Plan #140-1097).
Another one of our favorite trends in new-construction bathrooms is the addition of an accent wall. This is a very popular trend and is currently present in about a third of new builds or current remodels.
An accent wall is a wall that is distinct from other walls with patterns, materials, or colors. It might be a bold blue tile against the stark white of the rest of the room or even a wall of mirrors as opposed to the other three made of drywall.
While more fashionable than functional, an accent wall is an easy way to spruce up any space (especially a master bathroom).
Top: An accent wall in a bathroom may be as simple as a surface of eye-popping color (Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash). Middle: This luxurious master bathroom in a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath luxury Farmhouse style home features a stacked-stone accent wall that makes quite a statement (Plan #140-1096). Bottom: An accent wall, such as this one in a luxury 3-bedroom, 4.5-bath Modern home's master bathroom, may have several elements, as here: ceramic tile, TV, and see-through fireplace (Plan #195-1228).
Modern bathroom builders understand that the better the lighting, the better the bathroom. It’s so essential to have flattering and functional lighting elements in a home bathroom.
Most new-construction bathrooms consider multiple complementary elements such as height, highlighting, diffusion, angles, and more to create the perfectly lit space.
This split-vanity bathroom in a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath Contemporary Southwest style home boasts recessed task lighting in the soffit and side sconces adorning the mirrors. The side lighting is recommended by interior designers as the most flattering for personal grooming (Plan #194-1046).
One of the most popular trends in new construction bathroomsat the moment is actually to reduce clutter.
When we speak about clutter here, we don’t mean getting rid of old shampoo bottles or a couple sharing a loofah – we simply mean that modern bathrooms have been cut down to the basics.
Modern styles of architecture in general are less ornate than those of the past in general. When applied to bathrooms, there is absolutely no “visual clutter.”
You’ll see more and more straight, clean lines, surfaces with a designated purpose, and excellent utilization of every single square inch of space.
A split vanity design like this in the master bathroom of a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2-half-bath European style home spreads out the horizontal counter space and allows for more storage so it's easier to avoid cluttering up the grooming area of the bathroom – while providing a simpler clutter-free design in the overall bathroom (Plan #195-1238).
Now that the actual bathroom room itself feels uncrowded and uncluttered, it’s time to think about actually decluttering the space.
These days, new construction bathrooms come with plenty of built-in storage options, as well as plenty of “free space” for homeowners to add storage solutions as they see fit.
This storage could be purpose-built cabinets, shelves, towel racks, and bins that maximize the square footage of the bathroom. It could also be plenty of open space for baskets, toilet paper holders, nicely-folded towels, and more.
You’ll notice that in older bathrooms, there never seems to be enough places to put things, leading to crowded counter space. This problem is all but eliminated in new builds.
These his and her vanities in the master bathroom of a 4-bedroom, 3-bath Country Farmhouse style home provide more-than enough storage in the 6 drawers and large cabinet in each unit. But there's even more storage in the tall linen cabinet (seen at left) that flanks each vanity – the right-hand one is out of view (Plan #142-1212).
Water-saving toilets continue to improve and continue to trend in new construction bathrooms.
Eco-features include the dual flush lever that allows for a “half-flush,” which uses 50% less water than a typical flush and can severely reduce your monthly water bill.
Households interested in saving water can also invest in toilets that have a bowl design specifically crafted in a more “European” manner – that is, purpose-built with smaller basins to save even more water. These toilets have improved water-tank design and better-engineered water-discharge systems than those of the past.
More interested in an at-home spa? Bidets are making a comeback in more and more new construction bathrooms.
The toilet, like this one in the bathroom of a 3-bedroom, 2-bath Traditional style home, is an important element in making sure you don't waste water. This toilet is an efficient water-saving fixture designed with a tall, narrow tank for optimal flushing water force and well-engineered water-discharge plumbing to make every flush count using minimal water (Plan #142-1219).
Mirrors, Mirrors, Mirrors
New construction bathrooms have a tendency to include more mirror and other viewing options than their older counterparts.
Gone are the days of a single, small, circular mirror hung in an inconvenient height on the wall above the sink. Newer restrooms have larger, more accessible mirrors often with better lighting to boot.
It’s common to have a mirror so large that it takes up the majority of the wall behind the sinks or to even have a floor to ceiling mirror installed near the door to ensure the best views possible, as needed.
New construction bathrooms also tend to install light fixtures more thoughtfully to complement the views in each mirror instead of creating excessive glare.
At the same width as the large double vanity in the bathroom of a Country Ranch style home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, this oversize mirror occupies most of the available wall space, providing more-than-enough viewing area and making the room seem larger (Plan #108-1944).
Bathrooms should be a place of tranquility. They are where we begin and end our days. We prepare for nights out and evenings within their walls. Whether you’re a businessman or a mom with three young children, the bathroom is often a place you seek out for privacy and solace.
Because of this, it’s more popular for newer bathrooms to feature a soft color palette.
There are usually no more hunter green decorations or powder blue walls, but instead accents of steely grays, sandy beiges, and sparkling whites. These colors not only contribute to a more modern feel but also a less stimulating, more relaxing atmosphere in general.
Sporting a neutral color scheme in the wall paint, floor and wall tile, and vanity, this spartan bathroom in a 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath Ranch style home displays an interesting accent of blue hues in the shower alcove at right (Plan #140-1085).
Slip- and Wear-Resistant Flooring
The flooring in a bathroom is one of the most important parts! No other flooring surface in a home gets as much traffic and different kinds of wear and tear as the bathroom floor does.
It needs to be slip-resistant because there is likely always going to be some sort of water on the floor, bacteria-resistant due to the nature of a restroom, and hopefully, dirt and grime resistant to give the bathroom a continually fresh look.
Builders – and homeowners – tend to favor luxury extra-wide plank-like ceramic tiles that resemble stone or bleached wood, as well as natural stone itself, often in combination with readiant floor heating, and for their durability.
In the popular wide-plank style that resembles bleached wood, the porcelain floor tile in this bathroom of a Rustic Ranch style home with 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, and 1 half bath is slip resistant and will last for decades without showing wear – and wih minimal care (Plan #161-1097).
New construction bathrooms are not simply chasing trends. Instead, most builders are trying to improve on years of solid design work while not completely reinventing the wheel. They choose materials for not only fashion and function, but also eco-friendliness and durability. This ensures that each new bathroom stays fresh for longer and costs less overall.
Footnote: The lead image for this article is of a master bathroom in a 2343-sq.-ft., 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath Southern Ranch style home with front porch. For more information, go to Plan #140-1085.