The little room splashes out
The bathroom continues to be the home’s ultimate cocooning spot, where we find quiet refuge from the outside world. finds out more about the latest bathroom trends to be showcased at Decorex Cape Town
VISITORS to Decorex Cape Town, which runs until May 2 at the CTICC, will find that functionality combined with luxurious comfort and eco-awareness is still key to modern bathroom design, yet one of the most refreshing trends also making waves in bathrooms is the way that this functional space is being personalised. This is according to Decorex Cape Town show manager, Cairey Slater.
“Now’s the time to seek out statement pieces for the little room, such as a stunning antique cupboard, bespoke or interesting restored items. Grandma’s old ‘wastafeltjie’ may well find its way into the modern bathroom.”
Slater points out that the contrast of old and new is particularly strong in a functional space such as the bathroom, ensuring a modern look, as long as you don’t start adding bric-a-brac.
Wood also makes its presence felt in a big way. Li Edelkoort has already predicted that wood is the number one material in the world of design — and the chalet-look will be popular. While we won’t turn our bathrooms into saunas anytime soon, expect to see more use of wood — from water-and mould resistant flooring to wooden or wood-clad bathtubs and accessories, with the proviso that the products are eco-credible.
Launching their new Forest Autumn Collection at Decorex Cape Town is Forest Flooring. Included in this collection is a solid hardwood flooring on a clip-lock system that is completely waterproofed and able to take underfloor heating up to 28°C, making it ideal to bring the beauty of wood to the bathroom, According to William Combrinck, owner of Forest Flooring, wood ticks all the right boxes for application in the bathroom. “Wood feels so much warmer and softer underfoot than tiles. Aesthetically wood is also very pleasing, making it a timeless class that — with the right maintenance — will last for years.”
The green revolution continues in the bathroom with modern, sustainable technology focusing on efficient use of energy and water. Water-saving shower heads, low-consumption plumbing fixtures and well-placed, adjustable energy-friendly LED lighting lead the way.
There is a growing interest in grey water recovery, and for cisterns to be fed by recovered rainwater. The sustainable approach also supports the use of recyclable material such as copper, steel, wood and ceramics. Countertops made from recycled glass also make their appearance.
The eco-caring bathroom welcomes innovations such as hydronic heated towel rails that do away with electrical heating elements. An example at the ON TAP stand is the Jeeves hydronic heated towel rails which use a simple circulation pump from the geyser or solar storage unit.
Another green tip comes from Darius Rhoda of Boutique Tiles who points out that acrylic baths retain water heat better than porcelain baths.
“Not only will less hot water be needed, saving water and electricity, but there will be less of a need to top up the water.”
The experts foresee that bathrooms will continue to be mostly neutral whites and stone. Muted grey tones are also popular. The recession has made us pull in the reins and people tend to be more conservative in colour choices — opting for a safer, timeless look.
Surprisingly the colour green, which has been long maligned due to the avocado green bathrooms of the 1960s and 1970s, is fast becoming a more desirable colour option for bathrooms. There’s also a move back to bringing lush potted plants into the space, revving up the green.
Colour and personality are added with smalls, accessories, window treatments, art and a punch of colour with furniture, such as a purple upholstered ottoman. Other ways to add colour and playfulness in the bathroom include bright-coloured shower heads and even coloured LED lights that add atmosphere and drama to the shower.
Tiles are still extremely popular due to their practicality and durability. While highly patterned tiles are not hot right now, Rhoda of Boutique Tiles point out that mosaic inlays can add artistic flair to the neutral palate of the modern bathroom environment.
Tiling does not have to be from floor to ceiling — leave certain areas untiled and give more space to paint. Paints such as Plascon Kitchens and Bathrooms waterbased enamel with a matt finish are specially formulated to inhibit microbial growth. Look out for the latest on painted bathrooms in the latest edition of Plascon Spaces, available at the Plascon stand.
“Whether you want more masculine hues, the more delicate Rose Shadow or soothing blues for a spa-like feel, bathroom-friendly paints can transform a tired bathroom in a flash,” says Anne Roselt, Plascon colour manager.
Another way to bring a personal touch to the bathroom is wall art with inspirational phrases, words or images emphasising the contemplative, serene mood of the bathroom, says Esther Schumacher of mywalltattoos.com, who will be launching their new Quotes range at the show.
Moisture-resistant wallpaper is also on the up and up, and so are antique-style mirrors used as an accent. Other trends pointing towards self-indulgence is the luxury of super-sized showers, dual basins and freestanding baths. Bronze, chrome and polished nickel faucets are on the increase, while the look of stainless steel is losing its shine.
Catch the latest bathroom design and technology trends at Decorex Cape Town’s bathroom and fine finishes pavilions, with exhibitors such as Boutique Tiles, Classic Trading, Boutique Baths and Ceramic Lifes Tile. Visit www.decorex.co.za for details or online bookings.
Pink bathrooms, once very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, are making a comeback. For a modern feel this bathroom, painted with Plascon Kitchens and Bathrooms mould-resistant paint in Rose Shadow, combines antiques, statement pieces and handmade objects with modern sanitaryware.
Walls painted a soothing blue in bacteria-resistant matte enamel, wooden floors and one-of-a-kind wooden accessories as well as an upcycled ottoman tub by Recreate and LIM mirror allow for a soulful home spa with personality.