8 Top Bathroom Remodeling Trends of 2020-2021

Do you feel like you need a reboot with everything happening in the world these days? Got a little more free time to spend at home? Now is the perfect time to go through your home and tear out any aging or tired designs. Taking on a whole home remodel is no small job, though, so if you’re like us and don’t want to start redesigning from the ground up, why not start with just one room—say the bathroom? From new paint and tile to tubs, toilets, and lighting, you can do a lot of work to take your bathroom from dingy and dated to top of the line. Here are eight of the hottest new trends from 2020.

Related: Bathroom Design and Inspiration

Start with a New Color Scheme

Does your bathroom feel like a horror scene from the 1970s? It could be because of faded or outdated paint. Start designing your new bathroom by picking one or two new colors to add some life to your design. Bright whites, creams, light greys, and anything in the brownish taupe family are quite popular this year if you prefer subtlety. They go particularly well with contrasting tiles or vanities in a natural wood finish

If you like the transitional look of a bathroom stuck somewhere between retro and modern, pastels, such as blush, cornflower, and light olive, blend the past with the future and create a calming but design-forward feel. You can also pair these with vintage features like brass or gold faucets. For the bold of heart, go for bright colors like pistachio, cyan, or lemon. On the flip side, dark matte black fixtures are all the rage and stand out as striking, masculine contrast pieces.

59 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Coffee Oak with Radiant Gold Pulls

59 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Coffee Oak with Radiant Gold Pulls

Accent What is Special

If you’re not happy having just one color in your bathroom, why not mix it up a little with an accent wall? Painted accent walls are not new to design trends, but what 2020 has done to elevate the feature is to incorporate stone and tile patterns. When contrasted against neutral whites and blacks or even a cool blue, a jagged slate accent wall calls up memories of warm nights by a fire after a day skiing at the mountain lodge. Alternatively, lighter limestone or marble lends a Mediterranean feel to those who prefer the beach.

Consider tiling a wall with an intricate pattern for a more polished, refined look. Think of the ancient Roman baths covered with massive tile mosaics and go from there. While a full mosaic might not be entirely feasible, it’s nice to start at the most extravagant and work your way down to something more achievable.

Return to Nature

Maybe because we’ve all been stuck at home for so long this year, mother nature has started to find her way into our lives through design. We’ve seen a major upswing in people looking to add a dash of nature to their bathroom by ditching porcelain tiles and laminated composite cabinets for raw wood vanities, stone sink basins, and concrete tiled accent walls.

We like to think of the bathroom as your home’s oasis—a place where you can relax. When you start mixing the outdoors with your inner design, it will feel like a spa. You don’t have to go as far as to tear out every fixture. Adding a few plants can make it feel more at one with the Earth. Depending on how much light your bathroom gets, be selective about what will grow best in your space. For low light environments, consider ivies, ferns, and peace lilies.

60 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Driftwood Finish

60 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Driftwood Finish

Be Open to the Experience

You’ve heard of open plan kitchens and living rooms, but how about an open plan bathroom? When you think of a bathroom, do you see a small rectangular room with a sink by the door and a tub across from the sink at the back of the room? Probably so. That is the standard, boring design, after all. Your bathroom could be so much more, though.

Tear out that old acrylic bathtub/shower combo and replace it with a soaking tub and open shower. If you’ve never heard of a soaking tub, the odds are you’ve seen one and didn’t realize it had a name. Think of those old-fashioned tubs with the four brass feet, and that’s a soaking tub! Of course, these tubs have come a long way and now come in various designs—from modern Japanese ofuros to metal slipper tubs reminiscent of 19th century Paris.

As for the shower, with an open design, you can add an overhead rain shower or even a waterfall. This style looks best in concrete or stone, but you can also achieve a visually striking and aesthetically pleasing design with porcelain tiles. Ensure your bathroom has enough drainage and can withstand stray water spray.

67 Inch White Acrylic Tub

Go Green

Although pastel and emerald greens are having a moment in design, we aren’t talking about color schemes. We’re talking about the environment. 2020 is the year for eco-friendly designs; your bathroom is an ideal place to consider sustainability. Between showers, toilets, and sinks, you use a lot of energy and water daily when you could be doing better with just a few small changes.

Low flow showers and tankless toilets can save up to 20,000 gallons of water over a year, making them an excellent choice for retrofitting bathroom fixtures. If you’re worried about water pressure in a low flow shower, don’t. Despite using less water, they maintain average, if not above-average, water pressure.

Maybe changing out the plumbing is above your budget, though. For a more accessible switch, change out your lights for a more sustainable option. Some added light can help freshen up a bathroom while saving you money on your energy bill. You have a range of options at hand, but halogen and compact fluorescent light bulbs are popular.

Related: How to Create a Bathroom Remodel Budget

Upgrade to the Latest Tech

If you’re planning to retrofit your bathroom with the latest green technology, why not go all the way and invest in the best and more modern fixtures available? It’s 2020, so why not start living in the future? This year, we’ve seen smart showers, smart toilets, and even smart mirrors on the trend. You don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never experienced a smart bathroom before.

Depending on your budget, you could splurge on a smart shower system to preheat your water before turning on the faucet, create a steam bath, set mood lighting, and even link it to your Alexa or Google Assistant for music. Similarly, with a smart toilet, you can sit on a perfectly warmed seat, even on the most frigid of winter mornings. Again, depending on your budget, you can find options with automatic flushes, lights, and even automated lids.

Consider a smart mirror for those looking to let loose in their budget. More of a digital display than an actual mirror, smart mirrors do way more than just reflect your image. They’ll display the weather and news, your daily calendar, and your social media, and can even be voice commanded through Google Assistant or Alexa.

smart mirror with digital display

Bring the Machinery Home

If working from home has you missing the daily grind, you could remodel your bathroom in an industrial cityscape style. Industrial designs are heavy on metals, concrete, and brick with neutral blacks, greys, and whites. As the perfect blend of modern and minimalist designs, industrial bathrooms look great in urban lofts, apartments, and townhouses.

Industrial bathrooms leave you open to many choices, so it’s best to approach this style holistically. Narrow down what type of fixtures you want to begin, then find exact items that match the style. You could opt for sustainable, high-tech fixtures or a more rustic, old-school factory feel. Ultimately, industrial design is just one flavor from which you can build your entire design.

Float Away

Maybe you haven’t got the space to pull off a home factory in your bathroom. If space is an issue, you are probably looking for ways to maximize your area. Of course, you can’t get rid of the sink, toilet, or shower very well. Instead, think of ways to change the space visually. Think floating vanities.

As the name suggests, a floating vanity floats mid-air, leaving the space below free and open. Call it an optical illusion, if you will, but by leaving added space below the vanity, your bathroom will appear larger and less cramped by cabinets and fixtures. Some options include cabinets, while others only use a counter and sink. The more space left below the vanity, the larger the room will look.

60 Inch Double Sink Wall Mounted Bathroom Vanity in Dark Gray

60 Inch Double Sink Wall Mounted Bathroom Vanity in Dark Gray

Seize the Moment

Let’s make the most of it if we are stuck at home for now. Now’s the time to work at tearing out old designs and updating them to the hottest and most aesthetic designs 2020 has on-trend. Just remember to plan out your design ahead of time and stick to your budget. Now let’s get to work!

My name is Julia Ritzenthaler, Founder and President of Unique Vanities, started in 2005. I started this business as an extension of our residential remodeling business, which focused on the design and build of custom cabinetry and architectural trim. I also worked as a financial advisor for 10 years at Ameriprise Financial, helping clients make sound money decisions, including budgeting for home improvement expenses. This expertise led me to start Unique Vanities, which offers a handpicked selection of high quality bathroom vanities, sinks, mirrors and more. You can find me most days sitting in Starbucks, my second office, or in my car driving my daughter across Dallas to gymnastics training.