Philippa Turrell reports on coloured bathrooms and the choice of options for bathroom retailers
Undoubtedly a trend to watch in 2020 will be the continued use of colour in bathrooms, from ‘pops’ to judicious splashes as the once clinical room continues to transform into a living space .
It was evident at ISH in 2019, with coloured baths, basins, brassware and even sanitaryware.
Head of marketing and product development at Saniflo UK Ann Boardman comments: “Coloured sanitaryware was in evidence at ISH in 2019 and is certainly making a comeback.”
But it could be argued colour has been tentatively making a return for some time. Managing director of Duravit Martin Carroll points out: “The current trend for colour in the bathroom started to make headway a few years’ ago with the Scandi-style trend. Soft pastel elements could be seen within the bathroom sector.”
However, colours are now exploding onto the bathroom scene. Marketing manager for VitrA UK Margaret Talbot explains why they are growing in importance: “Consumers, who now see themselves as their own interior designers, collect colour inspiration from social media and print media, as well as their own visits to hotels, restaurants and holidays abroad.”
Interestingly, alongside the coveted industrial aesthetic, tones have started to take a darker turn.
Consider Onyx sanitaryware from the Roca Beyond collection, or Happy D2 Plus by Duravit in Anthracite Matt.
It’s particularly true in the case of brassware where the once coveted high lustre chrome continues to be joined by the likes of matt black, nickel and copper in brushed options.
However, product and marketing director of Vado Angela Neve points out: “While black brassware has been at the forefront of bathroom design for the last year, we’re actually noticing a palette of metallic finishes is most popular with our consumers.
2Most of our social media tags feature brushed gold, bright gold and brushed nickel bathrooms which have been the focus of our social output.”
And senior category manager at Grohe UK Paul Bailey adds: “Copper and brass styles are seen as go-to finishes for bathroom brassware” but he counters “it has been interesting to see consumers begin to explore darker tones like Graphite, which suggests that bold statement bathrooms are on the rise.”
Led by brassware
In fact, industry experts continue to believe brassware will be the focus for the injection of colour in the bathroom.
It’s the case for retailer Just Add Water, as its brand manager Charlotte Schofield reports: “A lot of my customers are interior designers with projects in London and always have coloured brassware.”
Certainly Grohe expects colour to be the next big thing, as it has recently invested €5million into the production of PVD finishes to “bring coloured showers to market faster”.
Paul Bailey of Grohe continues: “We believe the growth potential for coloured bathrooms lies within brassware and the ability to co-ordinate all aspects; from taps and showers to flush plates and accessories, all perfectly co-ordinated in the same colour and finish.
“It allows consumers far more control over how they integrate colour into their bathroom space, allowing them to scale up or down as much or as little as they wish.”
And Ann Boardman of Saniflo agrees, adding: “colour pops are a more cost-effective way to introduce colour into the bathroom.” And she reports: “With regards to shower enclosures; a product that is currently attracting a lot of interest (as well as the black version) is the Kinedo Copper Kinespace.”
There are a variety of ways bathroom designers can inject and scale up in colour from the showering environment through to the bath and even the sanitaryware itself!
Although currently, it appears that coloured sanitaryware is very much focused on the premium end of the market.
Certainly that’s the impression of Angela Neve at Vado who says: “Coloured sanitaryware remains firmly at the premium end of bathroom design and that’s unlikely to change.”
So to democratise the use of colour, designers can select individual items in colour, as head of sales at Kaldewei UK Adam Teal says: Consumers don’t have to purchase their entire sanitaryware in colour, choosing a singular product, such as the Miena washbasin bowl or a coloured florr level shower surface, can add colour to the room and are furher enhanced when mixed with traditional white sanitaryware.”
And of marketing at Bette Sven Resinghoff explains how the use of colour can even differ between bathroom spaces: “In ensuites, the use of a coloured basin can provide the pop of colour to help elevate the room into something special, while in the main bathroom one of the strongest uses of colour will be in freestanding baths.
“They are already used to make a statement and provide a luxurious focal point, but the addition of colour can further enhance this effect.”
But what colours should designers contemplate for up-to-date schemes?
As we reported last year “We think some of the most popular will be those that add a relaxing warmth to the bathroom, such as darker shades, and also those that have been inspired by nature, such as greens and blues; calming colours that will help to satisy our need for tranquillity in the bathroom”, reiterates Sven Resinghoff of Bette.
His views for more nuances are echoed by design director of BC Designs Barry Cutchie who adds: “People tend to associate the word colour with bright shades or what I like to call ‘obvious colour’, when in fact colour can be achieved through subtle ways.
“Expect concrete and cement colourways to have prominence but personalisation will be achieved through consumers’ choice of materials; tiles, ceramic finishes and brassware.
“They will all feature different shades of grey and texture.”
Personalise and stand-out
Whether colour is used in a bold splashes or subtle nuances, it allows designers to add personality to a consumer’s space.
And, of course, colour can add a point of difference to bathroom showrooms, creating stand out displays.
Angela Neve says: “Displays are still vital for the sale of coloured brassware; they’re eye-catching, they create a talking point for the consumer and demonstrate that retailers are away of contemporary trends and able to offer something different, even if the customer orders a white suite with chrome brassware.”
Certainly industry experts believe going forwards, the introduction of colour will be staple in bathroom décor, as Neve adds: “Colour will always play a vital role in interior design and advancements in technology will only support that. I fully expect to see more variety in brassware finishes and more combinations of colour and texture.”
And Paul Bailey of Grohe UK concurs colour will be a game-changer for future bathroom projects, as he concludes: “We really do see colours as the next big thing for bathroom design, which will eventually become the norm. It’s an evolution of the Avocado trend, achieved in a much more stylish, refined and sophisticated way.”