2012 the most popular bathroom design and remodeling trends

What are the hot trends for bathrooms this year? And why should you care? If you’re planning a remodel, building a new home or creating a bath addition in 2012, you’ll want to take advantage of new features that enhance your enjoyment and functionality, while also potentially increasing your home’s value. I asked a number of manufacturing and retail pros what they’re making and stocking for bathrooms. These are the trends you’ll see at your local showrooms and home centers this year.

Bathroom appliances

Rob Buksa, showroom consultant at the San Diego-based Ferguson showroom, shares that TVs integrated into bathroom mirrors will be hotter than ever this year. “This technology has been improved to eliminate performance issues with humidity,” he notes. Offerings come in mirror-only or even medicine cabinet styles.

Tankless water heaters are big, observes Buksa. “In 2012, we foresee a spike in the sale of hybrid water heaters.” Those newer systems integrate technology from both tankless and traditional models for consistent water pressure and hot water availability, he adds.

Bathroom fixtures

Digital showering, with preset comfort levels for each user, is hotter than ever. Newer systems coming on the market give you this amenity at ever-more-affordable price points.

Rick Carpenter, store manager at the Sports Arena Home Depot, says conservation is another strong trend. Look for WaterSense — the EPA’s water-saving equivalent to Energy Star — on more shower heads, sink faucets and toilets. Products on the market also help convert existing toilets to water-saving, dual-flush models, Carpenter says.

On the style front, he says, look for more single levers, high-arc design and rustic finishes, including one you might not have seen before: midnight chrome. (Look for new spot-resistant technology to help them stay great-looking, too.)

Square sinks and wading pool models, as shallow vessels are called, are also on trend, as are integrated sinks that blend seamlessly into the countertop.


One of the major features of a bathroom — particularly a master — is its cabinetry. “Wood-toned finishes are growing in popularity, compared with the painted wood that was popular in the past,” shares Sarah Reep, KraftMaid’s director of designer relations. Reap attributes the trend to homeowners and designers more closely connecting the bedroom’s décor with the bath, especially in open-plan master suites.

Frameless cabinetry is also rising in popularity. The contemporary appeal of both high end and affordable European imports helps drive the trend.

Tile and tops

The biggest tile trends are European, and larger sizes. Lorin Moch of International Bath and Tile in San Diego notes: “People want larger formats (and) cleaner lines. Rectified tile (with its very thin grout lines) makes this possible.”

Glass is still hot, she shares. So are textured finishes. American manufacturers have come a long way, she adds, but “the inspiration definitely comes from Spain and Italy.”

I’m also seeing graphic-inspired Spanish and Italian tiles as a hot trend.


This year’s Color of the Year, according to color authority Pantone, is Tangerine Tango. If you’re looking for a fresh, happy color for a powder room or a kids’ bath, this could be it.

You’ll likelier seek a calmer color for your master bath. Debi Palumbo, Sherwin-Williams’ local rep, notes, “Watery blues and greens are really strong for baths this year, especially in coastal cities like San Diego.”


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