In the time before the pandemic the bathroom was already seeing a shift away from the purely practical towards something much more luxurious; almost an extension of our living spaces in terms of the comfort expected of its fixtures and fittings. Ben Bryden, Sales and Marketing Director of RAK Ceramics, looks at some of the trends in bathroom design that merchants should be aware of in this ‘new normal’ of 2021 and beyond.
Bathrooms, when planned and installed well, have always sold houses and nowadays they are far from just the smallest room in the home where we go out of necessity and personal hygiene. With the latest technology and connectivity, these rooms may well still be small but they’re seen by many as an extension of our living spaces and at the very least as somewhere to escape too away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Let’s face it, retreating to the bathroom with a newspaper for a bit of peace and quiet has always been appealing when the kids get too raucous, but after the year we’ve all just had this me-time has gone to a whole new level.
In fact, a lot of the things we’ve long taken for granted in the bathroom have been given heightened importance since Covid-19 first became a thing. Take hygiene as a very good example; nowhere in the home is the need for ease of cleaning and a germ-free environment been more important and at a time when we were all being encouraged to spend just that little bit longer washing our hands while singing happy birthday, perhaps it’s no surprise that touchless technology and anti-bacterial surfaces suddenly became very popular.
Families really like the idea of touchless flushing on WCs because it encourages younger family members to flush in a hygienic way, while the absence of awkward levers of buttons to press makes this a popular option among an older clientele too, and certainly so with those customers who are looking to future-proof their bathroom without it looking clinical in any way.
In terms of ease of cleaning, rimless WCs are a homeowner’s dream — after all, those that actually enjoy scrubbing the toilet clean and keeping a loo brush in one corner are few and far between. Anti-bacterial coatings raise the stakes further in terms of hygiene in the bathroom, acting as an invisible barrier to harmful germs and bacteria.
Special glazes applied during manufacturer see these off, with no need for lots of chemicals and copious amounts of cleaning products. A regular wipe down with a soft damp cloth will suffice, even when we’re faced with germs of global pandemic proportions.
Colour and character
From a style viewpoint too, the bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms of the home, but it is also one of the most important when it comes to injecting personality into a property. For a long time, the focus for sanitaryware in the bathroom has been starkly white, but things are changing, with soft pastels and muted shades increasingly being seen on sanitaryware.
Less clinical than an all-white bathroom, these pops of colour can be scaled up or down to meet individual tastes. Colour doesn’t need to mean bold and bright and in this instance the trend takes a far subtler approach, with nature-inspired tones that serve to add character while creating a relaxed and tranquil vibe.
Creating a spa-like feel is made all the more possible too with the inclusion of a contemporary, walk-in, wet-room style shower area. Shower trays with a very low profile create a feeling of space in the bathroom as the floor area is opened out and access much easier. For baths, think painted exteriors, freestanding tubs offset from other fixtures to make a statement and baths with slim rims.
Small doesn’t have to mean boring in any sense of the word, with sanitaryware and furniture designed specifically for what estate agents would describe as ‘cosy’ spaces being key here — reduced projection, slim profiles and plenty of storage are in order. And with the majority of homes now having not just a family bathroom but squeezing a downstairs cloakroom and en-suite in along the way, becoming familiar with such space-savers will no doubt serve you well.
All of these trends together, or even simply one or two in isolation, will create a post-pandemic haven in bathroom design that will leave the end user feeling safe and secure in their environment even once, with any luck, Covid-19 is consigned to the history books for good.
Click here for more information on RAK Ceramics’ range of products and support services for merchants.
RAK Ceramics works with merchant chains such as Buildbase and Express Plumbing Supplies, and supports stockists with an array of brochures and POS materials, ensuring that showroom displays and trade counters can make the most of the manufacturer’s wide range of sanitaryware, furniture and tile solutions.
With a product portfolio described as spanning every aspect of bathroom design, RAK Ceramics states that its range enables merchants to offer a complete solution from one manufacturer.
A version of this article appeared in PBM’s October edition. Click here to read the full digital version of the issue.