2016 Design & Remodeling Trends

When it comes to home remodeling projects, upgrades to the bathroom continue to dominate. With so many resources and options available to the average homeowner, it can be overwhelming to sort through the choices and find the ones that are right for you. The year isn’t quite over, but the 2016 design trends are already making their appearance in magazines, look books, and design websites. If you’re curious about what the New Year has in store for your bathroom décor, check out some of the hottest design trends that are right around the corner.

Modern Metallics

In 2016, metals are expected to come back with full force. Although a little bit of brass crept into the bathroom in 2015, the upcoming year is the perfect time for homeowners to fully embrace metal. Do you have your eye on a metal faucet? Buy it! Always wanted to switch out your cabinet knobs for ones with a metal finish? Go ahead! Along with brass, you’ll also find gold, silver, platinum, stainless steel, and brushed steel explode in popularity. Take a bold approach and install an oil-rubbed bronze sink, or take it easy and replace only a knob or two. The design choice is yours, but remember- metal is back, and in a really big way.

Trough Sinks

Don’t let the name fool you- trough sinks are far more elegant than they sound. Some refer to them as “double sinks”, or an extra-long sink that’s big enough to serve both you and your significant other should you both be getting ready at the same time. In addition to being large enough for two people to use simultaneously, modern-day trough sinks are handy for those who wish to hand wash larger items, including wool blankets or king sized sheets. Trendsetters and early adopters were installing trough sinks as of late 2015, but the trend is expected to be welcomed by a more mainstream audience in the upcoming year.

Shower Seats

In the past, showers were designed for use by those standing in an upright position. Lately the trend of installing seats in the shower is picking up steam. Whether it’s due to the aging baby boomer population or the fact that most people shower in the morning while they’re half asleep, shower seats are as convenient as they are functional. If you’re installing a shower seat for the seniors in your household, don’t forget to install grab bars in the shower. Although grab bars can be installed just about anywhere, the shower is definitely one of the most popular places for them - especially since the bathroom is a common place for seniors to slip and fall.

Green Plants

Eco-friendly bathrooms made an appearance in 2015, but you can take that concept a step further in 2016 by making your bathroom greener- literally. While you can feature a plant or two in a beautiful vase on the countertop of your bathroom vanity, some prefer to take a bolder approach. If you’re renovating your bathroom (or building your own home) think about adding a full green feature to the space in the form of green walls or indoor gardens. Both are natural ways to improve the air quality of your home. For some advice on which plants are perfect for the bathroom, check out The Best Plants for Your Bathroom.

Technology

You’ve heard about Google’s self-driving cars and other advancements in technology, but did you know there’s new technology for your bathroom? If you love to sing in the shower, install a water-resistant music system. These Bluetooth enabled music players can be operated wirelessly, either from smartphones or other audio devices. Plus, there’s plenty of bathroom technology that will make your life easier. For example, Optum VorMax is a new flush system technology that’s being offered by American Standard- not only does it give a powerful flush to your toilet, but it scours and cleans the toilet bowl at the same time.

How to Match Your Bathroom to Your Personality

Since the bathroom is one of the few places where you can relax without interruption, it’s important that it reflects your personality and unique style. Studies show that if you’re comfortable with your surroundings, you’ll be happier and healthier while spending time in your home. By decorating your bathroom according to your personality, you’ll feel at ease while taking a bath or energized while getting ready in the morning. With all the wall color, vanity, and tub options available on the market, why not match your bathroom to your personality? If you’re curious about how, here’s our guide for bringing your personality into your bathroom.

Start with Color

Adding color to your bathroom is perhaps the easiest way to breathe some life into your bathroom. Whether you like to relax in your sunken tub after a long day at the office or prefer an energized space when getting ready in the morning, there’s a color for that. While white is a popular choice for minimalists, bright bathrooms are all the rage. In fact, some of the most beautiful bathrooms pair striking accents with muted backdrop: purple against white, sea foam green against grey, or a vivid yellow against natural wood. If you prefer a more neutral bathroom, consider keeping things light – light brown, light greys, or light tans. Darker tones, such as deep reds and browns, are perfect for those interested in bringing feelings of warmth and comfort into their bathroom.

Choose a Vanity

Before choosing a vanity style or color, it’s important to decide on a type. If you have the extra square footage, most experts recommend purchasing a double vanity – potential homebuyers will see it as a perk, and you’ll enjoy the extra counter space in the meantime. If you consider yourself to be light-hearted and easygoing, a vanity made of teak wood may be the perfect choice for you. Since teak contains hints of yellow and tends to reflect light better than other types of vanities, a calming or soothing effect will take over your bathroom. If you’re more of an introvert, a vanity made of mahogany wood will bring class and formality into your bathroom.

Faucets and Door Handles

It may sound silly, but different faucet finishes can evoke various styles and personalities. If you consider yourself to be traditional or classy, easy-going finishes such as polished silver or white porcelain are a great way to bring a bit of sophistication into your bathroom. If your friends would describe you as being adventurous or daring, head to your local antique store – you’re sure to find a great selection of antique and vintage door handles and cabinet knobs. And, if you’re feeling especially crafty, you can make your own cabinet knobs using just about anything, including wine corks, broken jewelry, pebbles from the garden, bent spoons, and rulers.

Do-It-Yourself

One of the best ways to match your bathroom to your personality is to create a one-of-a-kind DIY piece. If you love to travel, create a collage using old map books – just be sure to frame the piece in a humidity-resistant frame. Since bathrooms are one of the most humid rooms, special care needs to be taken when choosing artwork to display. For more information, click here. Other fun projects can include using an old ladder as a display area for plants, making your own homemade soap in unique designs and colors, or painting your doors with chalkboard paint and writing inspirational quotes or music lyrics on the inside or outside of your bathroom door. When it comes to these projects, don’t be shy – your bathroom can never have too much personality.

Choosing the Best Paint for Your Bathroom

While replacing bathroom tile or tubs may require a professional touch, adding a fresh coat of paint is an easy way to transform your bathroom without a professional’s help. Picking a paint color for your home can be challenging, and one of the trickiest rooms to design and paint is the bathroom. Given the size and layout of the bathroom, you have to be careful not to choose a paint color that will make the room seem smaller than it already is. If you’re thinking about rolling up your sleeves and painting the walls of your bathroom on your own, keep this advice in mind.

Natural Light vs. Artificial Light

One of the things that makes choosing a paint color so tough is the lack of natural light in most bathrooms. Nothing can alter a paint color faster than the overhead and artificial light that’s so common in bathrooms around the world. In order to choose a color that you know will work well in the space, look at the paint cards and color swatches in the bathroom with the lights turned on and off. This way, you’ll know what the color will look like during the day with the lights off, and in the middle of the night with the lights on full blast. If the color works well in both environments, it’s passed the first test.

Look Down

If you’re completely unsure of what color you’d like in your bathroom, look at your bathroom floor for inspiration. For example, if your bathroom tile has tiny specks of color scattered throughout you may want to consider incorporating one of those colors on the walls. By choosing a wall color that compliments or blends in with your flooring, the room will look more put together. If your bathroom floor is carpeted, you may want to consider removing the carpet in the process- future homebuyers may see it as being outdated and unsanitary.

Pay Attention to Location

Another way to select your bathroom paint color is to let your location guide your selection. If you live in a typically overcast area, using a bright, uplifting color can improve your mood and give you a bit of sunshine in the morning. Similarly, if your home is located near a beach or lake, using a deep blue can accentuate the natural blue tones in the sky and seas surrounding your home. In addition to location, think about what the bathroom means to you – if you primarily use your bathroom to take a relaxing bath, consider using dark greys or light blues instead of bright, energizing colors.

Choose the Right Type

Since many of a bathroom’s fixtures produce running water, it’s not uncommon for a bathroom to get humid from time to time. Unfortunately, not all paint types can withstand the level of humidity caused by frequent baths and showers. When it comes to bathroom paint, it’s important to avoid paints that will develop mold or mildew due to exposure to excessive moisture. Many paint companies, such as Sherman Williams, offer paints that are designed to inhibit the growth of mold and milder in the bathroom. For more information, visit your local home improvement store and speak with a paint specialist.

How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity like a Professional

Over the past few decades, contractors and home builders have consistently installed oak vanities in new bathrooms. While there’s nothing wrong with wood vanities, the humidity of a bathroom can begin to make them look washed out over time. Whether you’re an expert DIYer or are new to the game, repainting your bathroom vanity is a fun and easy weekend project. As with any other paint job, it requires some preparation and lots of patience; follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a shiny "new" bathroom vanity.

Materials & Preparation

As with any other DIY project, collecting your materials beforehand is essential. Materials can vary depending on the condition of your vanity, but here’s a list of the basics: a high density foam roller, household cleaner, alcohol, primer, sandpaper, foam brush, acrylic latex-based paint, painter’s tape, and plastic sheeting. You’ll likely create a mess during the project, so it’s best to protect your walls and floor with the plastic sheeting. From there, remove the vanity drawers and doors, and remove all hardware. Wash the doors and vanity with a solution of two ounces of household cleaner per gallon of water. After the doors and vanity have dried, rub down the surfaces with alcohol. This will remove any residual gunk and prepare your vanity for a fresh coat of paint.

Prime & Paint

Acrylic latex-based paint, whether sprayed or brushed, needs an undercoat of a compatible primer to ensure proper adhesion. Use 150-grit sandpaper to sand the exposed surfaces, scraping loose any peeling paint. Once you’ve finished sanding, use a vacuum or tack cloth to wipe away the excess dust. Before you actually begin painting, apply two coats of primer to the drawers, doors, and vanity. Once dry, it’s time to paint. A high quality acrylic latex-based paint will work fine, or you can buy a paint that’s formulated specifically for cabinets. Typically, you’ll need at least two coats of paint to eliminate any burn through and/or eliminate the wood look.

Replace Hardware & Reassemble

If you want to give your vanity a totally new look, consider changing the drawer knobs and door handles. While your drawers and doors are separated from the vanity, fill the existing holes with wood filler and allow them to dry. Once dry, mount the new pulls and handles for a brand new look. Once the new hardware has been installed or the old hardware has been replaced, it’s time to reassemble the vanity. Start with the bottom drawers and work your way up, making sure to fix any broken drawers or cracks along the way. Be patient – it can take a day or two for the paint to dry completely, and the last thing you want is to have to paint a scratched or damaged vanity all over again.

Other Tips

If you don’t have a window in your bathroom, wear a dust mask while sanding and painting to avoid breathing in dust or fumes. Be sure to follow the recommended drying requirements for the primer and paint, otherwise the final result may not turn out as desired. Some stores carry a specialty paint designed for cabinets – this paint can be used on vanities and does not require a primer. Regardless of your DIY skill level, repainting a bathroom vanity is a relatively easy home renovation task – you’ll save time (and money) by not having to hire a pro!

How to Decorate a Small Bathroom Vanity

More than just a place to wash up, bathroom sinks and vanities are a part of your bathroom you can decorate in your own style. From antique cabinets to modern designs, there are countless style options when it comes to the vanity itself – but why not expand your creative touch beyond the vanity design? If you’re concerned about decorating your bathroom vanity due to its small size, you can still pack a powerful decorating punch with the right accents and fixtures. Here are some tips for organizing, decorating, and keeping your small bathroom vanity a clutter-free and fully-functional extension of yourself.

Focus on the Essentials First

When it comes to decorating your small bathroom vanity, it’s important to pay attention to the essentials. Put your daily supplies out first, such as soap holders, toothbrushes, and cups. From there, examine how much space is left over. If there’s sufficient room, you can add a picture frame or a small vase of flowers. If the vanity looks cluttered with the essentials, adding more clutter to the countertops will only decrease the functionality of your bathroom vanity. Fortunately, there are ways to decorate small bathroom vanities without adding knick-knacks and accessories to the already crowded countertops.

Consider Small Accent Pieces

If you’d like to keep your countertops as clutter-free as possible, consider using small accent pieces as decoration. Switching up the knobs on your vanity is a great place to start. If you have an antique vanity, head to your local antique store for a selection of beautiful vintage knobs. Those with modern vanities can easily find glass, quartz, glass, silver, or metal bathroom vanity knobs online. Not only is decorating with small accent pieces an easy way to add personality to your bathroom, but it’s perfect for those on a budget: you can easily find vanity knobs for as low as $3 both in stores and online.

Backsplashes, Walls, and Panels

One of the easiest ways to decorate a small bathroom vanity without sacrificing space is to focus on the backsplash, walls, and panels surrounding the fixture. From pegboards and pennies to old maps and even chalkboard paint, a creative and fun backsplash is guaranteed to be a conversation-starter among family and friends. For creative inspiration, read our article about innovative and inexpensive backsplash ideas. When it comes to walls and panels, consider painting them in a fun or funky color – just be sure it doesn’t clash with your vanity or the rest of your bathroom décor.

Fresh Flowers and Natural Light

If you’re fortunate enough to have the luxury of a bathroom window, take advantage of the light it produces. While bathroom lighting fixtures are great solution for bathrooms that are low on light, nothing quite compares to the beauty of natural light and the convenience of fresh air. During the spring and summer months, consider keeping a small vase of daisies, roses, or lilies on the countertop of your bathroom vanity. During the fall and winter months, create your own seasonal displays with leaves, twigs, branches, bark, sprigs of holly, or a bit of evergreen straight off the Christmas tree.