Modern bathroom ideas should be inviting and relaxing rooms which are beautifully decorated but never at the expense of their functionality.
Whether you are planning on updating your master bathroom, upgrade a shower room or turn unused space into a luxurious, spa-like ensuite, there are now a vast array of contemporary bathroom ideas available to suit your taste, from colors and materials to finishes and shapes.
Our top picks of the best bathroom ideas will equip you will plenty of inspiration to help you create your dream washroom.
1. Make it modern with marble
As the heavy use of exotic marble continues to trend with master bathroom ideas, this cleverly orchestrated modern bathroom shows how to work the look with subtle elegance and flair. Vast slabs of high grade statuary marble provide natural magic in this luxurious en-suite. Brass taps and luxurious toiletries exude a spa-like quality in this contemporary scheme.
2. Go for a California Casual aesthetic
Do you have a penchant for white walls, modern rustic furnishings and oodles of texture? If you answer 'yes' to these then you may already be slightly California Casual-obsessed. The minimalist yet warm trend is taking the interiors world by storm, and it isn't hard to see why. Its use of light and texture means that, despite the minimalism of this style, it never feels cold or uncomfortably modern.
'The use of white acts as the most perfect blank canvas, it creates the light and airy feel that’s synonymous with this look and enables you to add in ice-cream shades with black accents without them feeling out of place,' says California-based designer, Jen Samson Design.
The way you achieve this in a modern bathroom is by using neutral wall colors and light wood to bonce sunlight around the room. Incorporating natural textures, such as patterned rugs and rustic wooden furniture, also adds warmth.
3. Use a contemporary color on your walls
Green rooms are said to evoke feelings of balance and good fortune. It comes to life with plenty of natural light but can also work well with small bathroom ideas.
Connecting to nature is more important than ever, and you can achieve this by using touches of green in your modern bathroom to ground your space. Here, the green and white scheme – with wooden elements – give this space a light touch, despite the contemporary fixtures.
4. Modernize your bathroom with on-tend tiles
More often than not, tiles are a top choice for modern bathrooms of all shapes and sizes. They're perfect for a busy family bathroom, as well as a low maintenance powder room.
'Bathrooms are where tiles really come into their own,' says says Rob Whitaker, Co-founder and Creative Director of Claybrook. 'Hotels have been a major influence on recent modern bathroom design, leading to the popularity of marble. Porcelain tiles are ideal for using with this look, as they are now available in just about every color and pattern.'
Team colorful porcelain tiles with elements of marble and metallics for a truly on-trend scheme that will completely modernize your space.
5. Make it modern and monochrome
Striking, cool and confident, black and white is always a winning combination and will make a dramatic statement in a modern bathroom.
‘White makes a fantastic canvas,' says Alice Kohler, Play Associates. 'Don’t be afraid of a blank page – embrace it. A white-based monochrome look is a fantastic way to create a fresh, airy and light-filled scheme. Wrongly thought of as boring, white can in fact be a daring choice when implemented well, with lots of tonal variation and texture, especially if you add contrasting pieces, such as timber, for depth.'
6. Opt for modern materials – and greenery
Far from being ordinary construction materials, the raw unfinished beauty of plaster and concrete are finding a very stylish home on bathroom walls. In their exposed, uncovered state, both plaster and concrete have a bold, utilitarian quality, and an almost brutal sophistication. Concrete, in particular, is a hardwearing and versatile material that can be cast into shapes and slabs, or poured, smoothed and polished, making it suitable for floors, walls and even part of the bathroom itself if it’s an industrial look you are after.
'Go green when going for an industrial aesthetic,' says Alice Kohler. 'Plants and foliage add color without varying from the clean aesthetic of a white or grey bathroom. They’re also a great way of adding depth. Silvery succulents bring grey tones to life, and rich teal walls pair well with glossy dark leaves.'
7. Try using wallpaper in the bathroom
Is wallpaper a no-no in the bathroom? Absolutely not, says Claire Vallis, design director of Harlequin and Scion. 'You can use just about any wallpaper in a bathroom,' she says. 'The key thing is to make sure you use a high quality paste with mould resistance and to use your common sense: don’t wallpaper an area that’s likely to get constantly splashed.'
If you want to paper behind a bath or basin, cover it with a glass or Perspex backsplash. When it comes to the latest designs, Vallis recommends using wallpaper to celebrate the trend for maximalist botanicals, for great impact,' she says.
'Wallpaper is great to use in a fashion sense: paper one feature wall, which usually takes about three rolls, and it’s much easier and more cost effective to change than tiles when you want a refresh,' she says.
8. Invest in bookmatched marble
For natural elegance and uniqueness, designer Hollie Bowden chose bookmatched Arabescato marble, with an inlaid nickel trim.
When it comes to small bathroom ideas, Hollie is something of a genius. She believes in keeping the number of materials to a minimum, as it is more dramatic, maximizes the look and also feels more cohesive and fluid. Nickel was chosen for the brassware for its understated glamor – perfect for a modern bathroom that will also prove to be timeless.
9. Create a whimsical, art-inspired bathroom
Make a bold statement in a small powder room with a bespoke tiled frieze above a dado using an upscaled image taken from an old woodblock design printed onto wall tiles.
Embracing strong bathroom color ideas can produce joyful results. Dusky pink is a good, restful choice for the modern bathroom. This controversial hue can actually form a reliable background color that works in both modern and classic settings. Who would have thought that pink room ideas could look so timeless and inviting?
10. Give your modern bathroom a boutique hotel aesthetic
If you have a fairly large space to devote to a bathroom, then we suggest going for a substantial – and statement – design when planning your bathroom layout.
Don’t opt for a dated, step-in enclosure. Instead look for walk-in bathroom with ultra-clean lines, and minimalist styling with a sleek glass screen and steel frames.
How do you create a modern bathroom?
When creating a new bathroom what comes first? Usually, it’s the electrical work: with lighting in position you can see how shadows will be cast and make adjustments if necessary, before plumbing begins. A well-prepared, flat and rigid sub-floor is essential for most types of flooring and, when that is in place, tiling can begin, with sanitaryware being fixed in position on top. Finally you will be able to add interest to the walls.
Given that the major purchases in a bathroom are usually the bath, the shower fittings and furniture, it can be easy to overlook the power of paint and pattern. And yet floor and wall finishes, beautifully lit, can provide some of the most exciting ways to enhance your bathroom. While a simple lick of fresh paint, a dramatic new floor or an entirely new room scheme can transform and existing room.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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