TOP TRENDS FOR LUXURY BATHROOM SINKS.
Undermount sinks and wall-mounted faucets trending upward, vessel sinks losing out
While the kitchen sink is designed for cleaning pots, pans, fruits and vegetables, the bathroom sink is usually reserved for personal hygiene. So while most bathroom sinks are smaller and shallower than their kitchen counterparts, they also tend to be more stylish and bold, with artistic flourishes, more varied colors and other touches that better reflect the homeowner’s personal tastes.
Susan Cox and her husband, Ted, recently had the master bath in their home south of Boerne completely renovated. After replacing the orange, brown, black and (yes, really), red bathroom tile with more neutral colors, they revamped the dual vanities with light-colored granite, installed undermounted sinks and replaced what she called the “little bitty” spout with a curved-neck model that more easily lets her occasionally wash her hair in the sink.
“I’m very happy with the new look, the new design,” said Cox, who is retired from the medical field. “It’s so much more brighter now. I can see into the bathroom without having to turn on the lights.”
Bathroom sink trends, including the basin itself, faucets, vanity and countertops are always coming and going. Here’s a look at what’s on the upswing and which are heading downward:
Trends on the upswing
Undermount sinks: Unlike traditional drop-in sinks, which sit in a cutout in the countertop and have a visible lip around the edge, undermount sinks hang from below, so there’s no rim between countertop and sink. The result is a modern, streamlined look, an easier-to-clean surface and a little bit of extra counter space.
Undermount sinks tend to be more expensive to install than drop-ins, due to the added expense of polishing the interior edge of the countertop. They also require faucets to be installed through the counter or the back wall.
“These sinks work best with nonporous countertop materials, like granite, marble and manmade quartz,” said Mark Burns, owner of Boerne Kitchens and Baths. “Figure to spend about $150 more for an undermount sink, compared to an equivalent drop-in.”
Emerging from the wall behind the sink, wall-mounted faucets are increasingly popular for their clean, open, more luxurious appearance. And it’s not just their good looks making them popular. Because there’s no hardware in the way, these faucets make the area behind the sink easier to clean.
Installing a wall-mounted faucet may take some advance planning, however, and it will be more expensive compared to the easy installation of a drop-in sink with built-in faucet.
Plumbing behind the wall may have to be added to or moved, for example, and holes cut through stone, tile or another wall material.
“We installed wall-mounted faucets through a mirror recently,” said Jana Valdez who, with her husband Armando, owns Haven Design and Construction. “Talk about measuring twice and cutting once!”
Curved neck faucets: This trend, borrowed from the kitchen design that makes it easier to move large pots and other items under the faucet, is making its way into the bathroom — but at a lower altitude.
“While a kitchen faucet might raise up 8 to 9 inches,” Burns said, “in the bathroom you’re looking at 4 to 5 (inches).”
New colors: Meet what manufacturers are calling antique gold. Soft, subtle and, yes, rich-looking, this is not your grandmother’s ’80s brushed brass.
In addition to antique gold, other up-and-coming colors, according to Valdez, include matte black for both faucets and cabinet hardware. The color provides both transitional and contemporary baths a dramatic punch, especially when used as accent pieces against, say white or off-white walls and vanities. For a more traditional look, satin and brushed nickel faucets are also increasingly popular. Satin nickel has more luster than brushed but both hide water or dirt well and are comparable in cost. So choosing between them is a matter of taste.
Furniture vanities: For highend bathrooms, the furniture look — meaning legs vs. traditional square or rectangular boxes with toe kicks — is a must-have. Styles can vary from the ornate to contemporary and while ready-made, furniture-style vanities are available, considerations such as size and style mean these vanities must often be custom or else semi-custom made. Which costs more than what’s you’ll pay for a ready-made vanity sold at a big box retailer.
For example, a cabinet measuring 48 inches wide would cost about $2,000 to design, fabricate and install — and that doesn’t include the cost of the sink, faucet and countertop, according to Valdez.
Floating vanities: attached to the wall so they appear to be hovering above the floor, look sleek and efficient, which is why they work best in contemporary baths, as opposed to transitional or even traditional bathrooms. Floating vanities also free up floor space and make cleaning underneath them much easier. Adding lights to the underside of a floating vanity can make a smaller bath look larger.
Trends on the downswing
Vessel sinks: These sinks, which sit on top of the counter or are partially recessed, are quickly losing their popularity, according to Valdez. When they first arrived, they were seen as a dramatic addition to the bathroom, but their shortcomings soon became apparent. They’re more difficult to clean than an undermounted sink, tend to be “splashier” than more traditional sinks and their flared side take up more counter space than traditional sinks.
Adding an 8-inch-tall vessel sink to a standard 36-inch-tall vanity also raises the sink to an uncomfortable height for many people, especially children.
“We’re still seeing them in powder rooms that don’t get as much use, especially for homeowners who want something dramatic to impress visitors,” Valdez said.
Waterfall faucets: Also called open faucets, these fixtures have a bold design that mimics how water falls in nature. The concept is available in everything from contemporary designs to oldtimey, water pump-like fixtures.
So what’s the problem? The open design of the spigot makes them hard to keep clean.
“You’ve get water deposits on the surfaces where the water runs out,” Burns explained. “So you’ve got to wipe them down constantly. And nobody wants to have to do that.”
In other words, don’t go chasing waterfall faucets.
Vessel sinks are losing popularity as a master bath fixture because they’re hard to keep clean, take up counter space and can be too high to use comfortably.
Emerging from the wall behind the sink, wall-mounted faucets are increasingly popular for their clean, open, more luxurious appearance. They also make the area behind the sink easier to clean.
For a more traditional look, satin and brushed nickel faucets are also increasingly popular.Satin nickel has more luster than brushed but both hide water or dirt well and are comparable in cost. So choosing between them is a matter of taste.