“Polished finishes are making a big push in the way of bath hardware,” says Mockett. These polished chrome or stainless fixtures can enhance the overall design, he notes, especially in modern settings. Additionally, a polished finish can complement a vibrant color scheme, he states.
Fred Salati, director of Amba Products in Atlanta, GA, adds, “We find the most common are brushed and polished stainless steel. Often, brushed stainless steel matches with brushed chrome and polished stainless steel with polished chrome.”
Jacobs says, “Chrome is still the number one finish, and I think that will continue for some time just because of the ease of care.” At the same time, he adds that a weathered brass look is also big. As for materials, he says people still want solid brass, regardless of the coating.
McJoynt agrees. “Solid brass is still the best material, which represents quality and durability.” He adds that while chrome and brushed nickel are still the most popular finishes, distressed darker finishes have also gained ground.
Hamilton sees polished chrome and satin nickel as the most popular finish choices, followed by polished nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. He also agrees that solid brass is a popular material for bath hardware and accessories.
Taft notes that while satin nickel remains popular, polished nickel also has a rising appeal. “The warmth of the nickel tones adds an understated elegance to the fittings, contributing but not overwhelming the fittings’ style and shape,” he says. “As for materials, solid brass remains by far the gold standard. Extremely durable, yet soft to the touch when properly produced, true brass is also the easiest to finish in just about any decorative finish. Stainless steel is also increasing in popularity, but remains more limited than brass in terms of flexibility to plate in myriad finishes.”
Accessories are all about adding utility and aesthetic appeal, and there is something to match every need, regardless of the style of the bath. With such an array of options, it’s hard to point to any particular “must have” accessory.
However, certain “tried and true” products continue to be standard in the bath. According to Hamilton, “Towel bars, robe hooks [and] toilet tissue holders are the must-have accessories in any bathroom.”
McJoynt adds that while he’s not sure there’s a ‘must have’ in accessories, there has been a focus on robe hooks of late. “Some are using several robe hooks instead of towel bars for a more casual look,” he says. And for those who prefer towel bars, he continues, double towel bars are a nice addition, particularly with limited space.
For Amba, accessories on the rise include sliding door hardware, as well as towel warmers and space heaters. “The trend has shown many [consumers plan to] remain in their current homes and intend to make improvements to their existing homes,” Salati says.
One of the biggest trends, he adds, is to replace the common towel bars with heated ones. These keep humidity, mold and mildew off of the towels and the bathroom, and can reduce laundry loads, allowing the homeowner to reuse large towels more often.
From Taft’s point of view, luxury drains are having the most impact on trends in bathroom accessories today. “People spend thousands of dollars on gorgeous bathroom shower installations, yet sadly finish them with a cheap, flimsy drain with visible screws. It’s like putting cloth seats in a Mercedes.” He notes that the company’s recently introduced StyleDrain Tile allows the incorporation of tile into the top of the drain to match the shower. “It creates the illusion of the drain disappearing,” he says.
Americans are staying in their homes longer, and they need to outfit these homes in ways that ease the transitions they experience as they age. Nowhere is this more important than in the bathroom, where safety precautions and ease of entry are prime considerations. “People want to make a one-time investment in their home and then be able to age there gracefully, retaining their independence as long as possible,” says Taft.
Jacobs says that people close to or reaching retirement age have the money to spend on a downsized home, and are modifying these for ease of entry and ADA compliance issues.