Hardware and accessories are the crowning touches in the bathroom, the elements that pull the design together. This doesn’t mean, however, that these details need to be fussy or fancy. Just as overall design trends are favoring cleaner, more streamlined looks, so, too, are hardware and bath accessories, according to manufacturers recently surveyed by KBDN.
Designers are seeing demand for baths that function as relaxation centers, and that calls for designs that offer a sense of calm and serenity. Stacey Singer, general manager of Alno, Inc. in Sylmar, CA says, “When creating a spa-like bathroom, designers will choose hardware and accessories that are predominantly minimal in design with soft and soothing lines.”
Lori Zeier, manager of Bemis Bath Shoppe for Bemis Manufacturing Company based in Sheybogan Falls, WI, agrees. She says the top trends right now are simple, clean looks, with nothing too ornate.
Even in high-end showcase-style baths, simplicity is a hot trend, according to Doug Mockett, CEO of Manhattan Beach, CA based Doug Mockett & Co. “With larger, more exotic bathroom layouts creating a very showy feel, simple design features can no longer go overlooked,” he says.
But while simplicity is in, cookie cutter designs are not; rather, consumers want their spaces to be fresh and original, adding a more personal feel to the home, manufacturers note. “We are seeing more and more interest in unique and different designs that are rustic and industrial in nature in order for projects to stand apart from the crowd,” says Erik Ambjor, president of Sonoma Forge in Petaluma, CA. “Customers are tired of the ‘vanilla’ and ‘me too’ designs that flood the market.”
When it comes to overall bath design trends, manufacturers are seeing a move toward transitional looks, and this is particularly evident in hardware choices.
Ambjor says, “Our signature designs are hard to classify, but would closely position them as transitional. We focus on clean, simple lines, away from ornamentation and excessive detail. Industrial chic with a rustic country elegance is what we say!”
Lou Rohl, chief operating officer/managing partner for Rohl, LLC in Irvine, CA, agrees that transitional designs are hot due to the flexibility and versatility of these designs. “This style marries traditional and contemporary for a look that is simple yet sophisticated,” he says.
Jonathan Wood, v.p./sales & marketing for Brasstech in Santa Ana, CA adds that his firm has seen traditional designs meshed with non-traditional finishes, which help bridge the rustic and modern elements that are being used together in rooms. “We also have a call for ‘bling’ from some quarters,” he states. “We have recently been getting requests to add a bit of ‘pow’ to some of the more traditional designs for that added ‘wow’ factor.”
Benjamin Newcombe, quartz product manager for Casa Grande, AZ-based ACO Polymer Products, which manufacturers decorative shower drains under the QuARTz for ACO brand, says there are many variables that contribute to the style people choose, from geographic location and age to budget and size of project. “We actually try to fit our product into all of these design styles and more, by offering many different patterns, designs, finishes and accessories, and by incorporating lighting,” he says.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
When it comes to coordination, manufacturers note that many of the old rules no longer apply. “Traditionally, bathroom fixtures were matched in color, style and material,” says Singer. “The latest trend in bathroom design has thrown these rules out, and texture, different materials like glass, crystal, brass and metals, and bringing elements from the outdoors in have become the future.”
The style of the bath affects trends in the towel warmer and radiant panel lines, says Julia Billen, president/owner of Warmly Yours in Long Grove, IL. “Consumers are looking for towel warmers that are more square in design,” she says. In addition, she adds, the future trend for towel warmers will be very minimal, simple heated towel rails.