Living Walls: A Fresh & Healthy Trend in 2014

In this article we will delve into the wonderful world of bathrooms, shining a spotlight on the hottest trends which’ll capture the industry in 2014.  Please like and share if it tickles you.

1.  Spa Like Escapes

‘Problems are a sign of life’: Life, for everybody, is difficult.  This is one of life’s great truths.  The late, respected psychiatrist Dr M. Scott Peck says, ‘Life is a series of problems.  Do we want to moan about them or solve them?’.  Whether we choose to acknowledge the fact or not, we all face problems and the end result we end up with is how we respond to those problems.  We need to accept them, embrace them and tackle them head on; we need to give time to them.

When we truly give time to thinking about how to solve painful problems, we envision sound and sometimes creative solutions which will solve problems.  Let’s admit it, with the noise and mental stimuli which our minds are addicted to (i.e. cell phones), it’s difficult to enter into a place of deep thinking and meditation.  People are now realizing the need to find an escape, away from technology, a place to relax, think, recharge and claim authority over a run away, cloudy neurosis.

Day spas and spa hotels are classic examples of escaping and recharging, a trend which has pierced the home improvement market.  Designers and architects are adding those places of escape within the home, including steam shower rooms, saunas, whirlpool baths and hot tubs into their designs in response to this need.  Take the gorgeous example below which sports a sauna and steam shower combination unit; a perfect addition to an at home spa retreat.

In fact, over 50% of new builds in the United States are now equipped with a whirlpool bath.  Spa equipment has grown by 10% year on year and is set to continue its growth in 2014.

Hot Steam Shower and Sauna Combination from Italian Designers Di Vapor

2.  Living Walls

More of a rarity at this time, but when done right they look breathtaking.  Take the example below by Siol, it’s simply stunning, adding vibrancy and tangible life to the bathroom which would be difficult to achieve in any other way.  The main concern people may have regarding living walls is the watering of them.  I’m not an expert on the finer details of them, however I do know there are watering systems for potted plants which automatically water based on time or moisture level of the soil.

A similar solution could be implemented into a living wall like this which should keep it looking lush and ravishing for time to come.  We’re seeing these living walls drawn into more and more designs, and expect this trend to continue in 2014.

At One With Natural: by Siol

 3.  Custom Built Open Walk in Showers

The ultimate lapse of luxury, an open, custom built walk in shower with a huge, plush monsoon like overhead shower.  Where personal identity and individuality is a growing trend, so are its effects, which can be seen across different vertical markets, not least the bathroom industry.  Where cash is not a problem, people are opting for custom solutions, spa inspired and often ostentatious walk in showers.  It’s a trend which has been around for a long time, and it’s one that’ll continue to grow in 2014.

It seems that the late Mark Twain’s advice is being heeded, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”, which can be written, “Whenever you have the option to express individuality and break away from the herd; take it”.

Breathtaking Open Shower by CTA Group

4.  Coastal Style

Coastal touches will also be popular in 2014.  Look for natural seaside accessories such as rocks, shells and driftwood which will give the bathroom that natural beach feel.  The design below is a great example of a driftwood mirror which can either be bought or made by yourself; that is if you have the time, inclination and access to beach doodads of course.  Simply buy a normal framed mirror, walk along the beach and pick up any pieces of worn driftwood which are oozing with character, then glue the wood onto the frame.
Also look for shabby, chic white tongue and groove paneling and wicker accessories which’ll marry the design together.

Coastal Design by ADL III

5.  Mosaic Patterns

You don’t have to be as bold in your designs to go as far as the hypnotic mosaic pattern pictured below, but patterned tiles are in for 2014, especially mosaics.  If you can add a retro flare, that’ll be an added bonus, but make sure it’s done right so it doesn’t look tacky or quickly dated as is the tendency for many of these designs to fall victim to.  These patterns can work with old school claw foot bathtubs, as well as modern stainless pedestal sinks and back-lit mirrors  (as per below).  As long as you’ve got the eye, you’ll be able to make it work with almost anything.

Go bold, bright and utilize patterned mosaics and tiles in your designs this year; a certain winner.

Mosaic Bathroom by Southern California’s Elevation Architectural Studios

6.  Natural Materials

Using natural materials is a trend which you’ll see in every other sphere of the design world in 2014.  Natural materials, unlike the riskier patterns above, are generally timeless and will stand the test of time.  If it’s a renovation, look to see if there are natural aged beams in the ceiling which have the potential to be uncovered and reconditioned with stain or a lovely beeswax.

Natural isn’t wood exclusive either.  Natural stone, slate and other earthy materials are all viable options, which means there is usually a natural option which’ll work for most designs.  Worn, rugged and spalted are the preferred choices, however as long as it’s natural, it’s likely to be in.

Natural Wood Used Effectively – Schomes Builder

7.  Copper

In you follow design trends closely you’ll have noticed that copper has been popping its head up left right and center.  In the bathroom, industrial copper based designs are in, where extravagant copper pipes are showcased as features.  Copper baths featured in a more traditional setting are making wider inroads in 2014, closely embraced by the dauntless and audacious designers amongst us.  Also look for copper light fixings, sinks and other quirky accessories that’ll make the room pop.

For the Nordics out there, those copper accessories which you keep in your summer cabins could be making their way to your city apartments!

Timeless Copper Bath by K and K Custom Cabinets

8.  Frameless Showers

Sleek and minimalist; A massive trend over the past 5 years: Frameless shower enclosure are simply no nonsense.  Cutting back on all the frills, bells and whistles, using only what is necessary to ensure structural integrity (chrome brackets), this is the design to go for if you’re looking for longevity, versatility and class.  Opt for thick, heavy 10mm glass panels, chunky impactive handles, and for goodness sake, ensure it’s a water tight design which requires zero silicone sealing.

It’s like the Mercedes of shower enclosures, popularized, desired and’ll continue to be the go to design for designers and shower manufacturers alike in 2014.

Frameless Shower Enclosure from Joshua Lawrence Studios INC. The flooring is Path by New Ravenna.

9.  Hotel Glam

This, seemingly at least, is probably one of the words which I’ve seen being flaunted in the design world in 2014.  Glam this, glam that: Well, how about this: Hotel glam!  Glamarous hotel style bathrooms are becoming more common place in new build designs, and frankly, why not?  They’re daring, fearless and roar with zest.

Go big and bright.  Create the illusion of extra space through large, back lit cabinet mirrors, and if you’re feeling especially gallant, you could even go as far as zebra print on the bathtub (below).

Glam, Glam and Glam, this bathroom is by Nieto Design

10.  Bold Floral Wall Statements

Vibrant and energetic, both words which most of us need to have an injection of in our lives.  Nothing gives this feeling quite like intrepid floral wall art.  We’ve seen this trend grow in the bedroom, and it’s also growing in the bathroom market too.  Take the design below, it’s enough to blow the mind of everybody who enters the bathroom (for better or worse, depending upon taste), but one thing is for sure; it’s going to pull the eyes of every set which enters into that bathroom.

This is the vibrant and energetic edge which you should be looking for.  Try to have an artist paint directly onto the wall for a truly fresh and unique appeal which’ll enliven the senses and hopefully inspire the imagination.

Bold Red Hibiscus Painted Directly Onto the Wall.

 11. Simple Monochrome Themes

Clean and clinical; simple monochrome is another winner for 2014.  Variations of the same color throughout the bathroom, using sleek polished or matte tiles to set off the latest in modern fixings.  This is all about keeping it simple, like the Scandinavians do well; eliminating clutter, using high quality materials, keeping it lustrous, tasteful and classy.

This has been a popular trend for a number of years, which won’t slow in 2014.

A Simple Monochrome Theme with an Edge: Jordan Furniture

 12.  Wet Room

This one has been around for a long time, but it has reached our list because even though it’s aged, it continues, year on year to be popular.  It’s an expensive option, which means it has a limited reach, but those with the capital to invest, it’s a staple champion.  The wet room designs themselves are obviously adapting to current trends, as can be seen through the somewhat monochrome example below.

Open Wet Room by Savio & Rupa

13.  Rich Toned Wood Flooring

A bit of an overlap here with the natural materials trend aforementioned, rich toned wooden flooring has to have its own mention with a pictorial example as it’s a winning trend within a trend.  This is probably going to be one of the most popular trends for the bathroom in 2014, which will also be popular in the kitchen.

This trend works with traditional long boards as in the design below, as well as square and rectangular tiles.  Use the same tones on the cupboards and units with the bathroom as they’ll complement each other felicitously.

  14.  Curves

The bathroom trend over the past few years has been dominated by straight lines, however in 2014, curves and rounded edges has put it’s proverbial foot in the door and is forcing its way in.  This curvature applies to anything and everything within the bathroom, including walls, bathtubs, sinks, mirrors, cabinets and shower enclosures.

Curvy works well with curvy, so if going down this route, create a continuity within the bathroom.  This’ll not only help create a sense of balance but it can also help with space as curved cabinets can be squeezed into tight spaces with taste without looking cramped and forced.

Curvaceous Italian Design from Increation

15.  Slabs of Marble & Onyx

Large natural slabs of marble & onyx; every slab unique, making no two bathrooms exactly the same.  Venetian marble wall prints are popular elsewhere in the house, as are these colorful slabs in the bathroom.  The bigger the better, single pieces preferred, an entire wall claimed by natural beauty, which has been concealed for millions of years.

It’s something one will have to see in person to truly experience its impact, but maybe you’ll stumble across one in 2014 as it’s a growing trend!

Gorgeous Slab of Onyx from Robyn Scott Interiors