Kristina McQuirk for Better Homes & Gardens on bathroom trends for 2022.
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Feel good investing in these practical updates to create a smarter, more stylish bathroom.
We’re still finding ourselves spending a lot of time at home, and with that comes more focus on how our spaces look and function. In 2022, homeowners will be addressing outdated bathroom design with harder-working fixtures and stylish accents that provide a comfortable, practical refresh.
1. Updated Sinks and Touchless Faucets
According to the Houzz 2021 bath trends report, faucets are the most popular bath upgrade, and their counterpart, sinks, are seeing more switch-outs since the year before. “There has been an increased focus on the importance of washing hands over the past 20 months. As we put more thought into handwashing, naturally we put more consideration into our handwashing and hygiene spaces,” says Caroline Danielson, director of showrooms for Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
According to Danielson, homeowners want to make their spaces more inviting and stylish while increasing function. “To make their space more hygienic, a homeowner might decide to install a touchless fixture,” she says. While bath fixtures have been impacted by supply-chain issues, Danielson notes that the variety of products available is making it easier to accomplish these projects.
2. Organic Style
Organic style, which emphasizes natural materials, warm, earthy colors, and plenty of plants, emerged as a major theme in home design in 2020, and it has quickly become the top bathroom style—up from third in 2021, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) 2022 Design Trends Report. Accents complementing this style will continue to pop up in bath designs, especially those that embrace a connection to nature.
A report by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) notes increased interest in skylights as a source for natural light, while Houzz data shows more homeowners adding plants to their baths. Earthy greens and watery blues will also appear in bathrooms, though the NKBA predicts monochromatic applications rather than bold, contrasting uses of color.
3. Multipurpose Storage
The desire for better-functioning spaces is leading many to rethink existing layouts in their home, with access to storage a key motivator for this change. The NAHB found linen closets within the primary bath to be a highly sought-after feature by homebuyers. Over the next three years, bathroom layouts will be opening up to include dressing areas, closets, and laundry rooms, according to the NKBA report.
4. Modern Influences
Regardless of a bathroom’s overall design, modern accents will be prevalent in 2022, according to Stacy Garcia, founder of the kitchen and bath industry Twitter chat KBtribechat. “Even though most kitchens and bathrooms today include a personalized mix of elements, adding a modern touch is increasingly popular,” she says. “A fun, modern light fixture can add a dynamic element of surprise.” Garcia expects modern style to influence vanity designs as well, which benefit from the ease of cleaning and an uncluttered look thanks to the minimal lines of more contemporary design.
5. Integrated Technology
With the rising popularity of smart toilets and touchless faucets, technology continues to be integrated into bathroom designs for more comfort and efficiency. Digital, wall-mounted interfaces, mobile apps, tech-savvy controls for showers, and heated flooring top NKBA’s 2022 bath technology trends.
Also popular for 2022 are bath ventilation upgrades. Humidity- and steam-sensing exhaust fans, which work without the user having to turn them off or on, are popular investments that practically and sustainably replace older ventilation. Smaller scale connected products like scales and mirrors will make their way into the bath, too.
6. Improved Vanity Lighting
According to Houzz, 82% of homeowners are upgrading light fixtures for a brighter bath. Aesthetically, gold and black finishes continue to provide stylish accents, according to Greg Martin, creative director of design for Kichler Lighting. “White glass is also coming on strong as we move away from the popularity of the vintage Edison filament bulb,” he says. Martin also sees self-lit vanity mirrors continuing as a popular choice for brightening baths in 2022, while the NKBA report notes a clear trend toward switching to sustainable LED lighting.
7. Universal Design Upgrades
What you might not realize is that many of these trends are connected to universal design principles, a motive behind many bathroom improvements. Houzz reported that more than half of bathroom renovations are done to address needs specific to groups like aging family members, young children, or people with disabilities. Similarly, the NKBA lists universal design as a significant factor influencing bath design in 2022. As inclusive design becomes more mainstream, homeowners have an increased awareness of adaptations needed in their own homes.
Look for accessibility to converge with the already popular spa-inspired shower trend in the coming years. According to Houzz, 74% of people are upgrading their shower experience with fixtures like rainfall showerheads, body sprayers, and mood lighting. The NKBA also notes that curbless shower entries, handheld showers, and shower seats are being incorporated. While these features are often included in luxury showers, they’re also aligned with universal design. “Barrier-free showers with no curb are becoming the norm in both new construction and even remodeling,” says Ebony Stephenson, owner of Designs by Ebony. “They are no longer thought of as ‘wheelchair-accessible’ showers, but simply showers accessible for all.”