Modern bathroom ideas – make a style splash with our expert guide

For modern bathroom ideas, look no further than this ultimate selection of stylish suggestions

modern bathroom ideas
(Image credit: Ripples)

We've  found our favourite modern bathroom ideas for whether your dream bathroom looks like a haven for relaxation or a hub in which to recharge. You can create the perfect space for wellbeing with the latest trends and bathroom style ideas.

Bathroom trends have already seen us streamline our spaces (think concealed cisterns, frameless screens, low-profile shower trays and wall-hung furniture), and this is perfect for reducing visual clutter and the chore of cleaning. But to avoid the clinical feel given by a bathroom’s many hard and straight surfaces, the newest bathroom trends centre on giving bathrooms a unique boutique feel with plenty of wow and welcome.

Whether it’s the handmade charm and texture of zellige tiles, the allure of an elegant panel of exquisite stone or the golden warmth of brushed brass taps, there are plenty of modern bathroom ideas to up the individuality and feel-good factor of this practical space.

The most on-trend bathroom ideas

modern bathroom ideas

Japanese minimalism meets Scandinavian chic in this Japandi style bathroom, using Matte White Totem basins by Ripples Bathrooms

(Image credit: Ripples)

"Homeowners have become increasingly brave in their bathroom choices,” reports Hayley Robson of Day True Architectural Interiors. “Tiles in interesting tessellating shapes or with pattern and colour such as fish scale, diamond or Popham tiles, continue to be popular, especially when paired with special finishes of brassware such as PVD coatings and matt colour to ensure maximum impact. People want to be different and bespoke touches like reclaimed pieces, statement mirrors and coloured ceramics help them do that.”

Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One Bathrooms agrees, “We have spent years eradicating colour from our bathrooms but now people are embracing it. Coloured ceramics are making a big comeback, for statement basins, shower trays that can seamlessly match floor tiles and even glossy black pans for the ever-popular black tap bathrooms.”

Although colour is key to creating a personal space, fans of natural and monochrome interiors need not fear thanks to an emerging trend coined Japandi, defined by a combination of minimal Japanese style and simple Scandinavian accents. Think clean lines, a calming colour palette and cool matt surfaces for a softer vibe. “Minimal natural styles are perfect for the Japandi look, particularly wood, pebbles, stone and lots of texture,” says Helen Jones, designer at Ripples Bathrooms.

The best colours to use in a modern bathroom

modern bathroom ideas

Pastel pink adds a fun pop of colour to a monochrome scheme in this ensuite by West One Bathrooms using a Cielo Narciso basin, in Cipria, with matt black stand and modular storage in Brina

(Image credit: West One)

When planning a bathroom scheme, go bold but don’t go overboard. Create harmony by connecting the colours to the decor in the rest of the house and for best results stick to a limited palette or use colours with a neutral base, introducing them through feature walls or floors, furniture or accessories likes taps and towels.

Rachel Martin, merchandising director at bathroom retailer C.P. Hart says that we’re currently seeing a kaleidoscope of colours in bathroom trends. “This year we’re noticing powerful water-inspired blues and greens revitalising bathroom schemes, as well as earthy neutrals, muted pastels and pop colours such as pink and yellow. In fact, there’s never been a better time to escape the restraints of minimalism and have a little bit of fun with bathroom design.”

Termed the ‘new neutral’ a few years ago, blush pink is also a modern choice for bathrooms, as Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe of 2LG Studio explain, “Pink bathrooms are still a stunning and will not go out of fashion because it’s a wonderful base colour – it’s calming, warm and soothing. Pair it with bold blues or reds for an energising space that makes your morning exciting or keep it calm with soft greys and white for a relaxing bath at the end of the day.”

Despite the sway towards colour, the heyday of grey is far from over. “People want to bring more colour into bathrooms but they are still using a neutral as a base on say the floor or half of the wall to ensure the room isn’t taken over by colour,” says Amanda Telford, marketing manager at CTD Tiles. “Grey is one of the most versatile choices – you can pair with other neutral tones or you can use it as a neutral base to play with colour.”

Black and white bathrooms are also still a perennial favourite, though this year the striking schemes are softened with the addition of tonal shades and texture for depth. “The monochrome trend has evolved from the high contrast bathrooms seen in previous years and now features a combination of whites, blacks and greys for a warmer feel,” says Helen Jones of Ripples Bathrooms. “Textures like slate and wood also create this muted undertone.”

The best fittings for a modern bathroom

modern bathroom ideas

Grey, cream and gold swirl together in this stunning Avalanche marble counter and feature panel by Cullifords

(Image credit: Cullifords)

Due to the costs of installing a bathroom, it pays to future-proof your scheme with the newest bathroom innovations available. When planning a bathroom scheme, look for taps and toilets with water-saving technology, invest in mood-enhancing low-energy lighting schemes and don’t be afraid to go hi-tech with digital showers, Bluetooth mirrors and shower toilets.

Style-wise, modern bathroom fittings continue to become more streamlined, with fuss-free shapes and minimal details, helping to create a sense of space and a feeling of calm. Look for shower trays with hidden wastes that blend in with the floor, concealed cisterns or in-tank toilets and simple solid surface bathtubs.

“We’re also seeing a move towards bathrooms with softer lines, organic shapes and curves,” notes Suzie McAdam of interiors studio The Design Seeker. So rather than the straight shapes and sharp angles of yesteryear, additions such as circular mirrors, round countertop bowl basins, and cylindrical taps and wall lights are on the rise.

There is also a trend for fittings made of luxury stone. “When it comes to bathrooms, we are noticing a strong tendency to statement pieces, as people want something distinctive and one-off for feature walls and standout bathroom countertops,” explains Oliver Webb, director of sales and marketing at stone suppliers Cullifords. “Yes, white marbles like Carrara are still king, but we are seeing clients experimenting more with colour and pattern. There is a move away from plain towards busier, more terrazzo-looking surfaces – or as we say in the stone world brecciated stones.”

The best wet room ideas

modern bathroom ideas

(Image credit: Future)

Wet rooms are ideal in small or awkward spaces such as below sloping ceilings or in rooms with height restrictions. They’re a job best left to the professionals to ensure adequate drainage, tanking and slip resistance. If you love the spacious look of a wet room, creating a wet room-style showering area is much easier thanks to the variety of off-the-shelf low-profile shower trays, recessed storage niches, and frameless glass shower screens and hinged doorways now on offer.

Bespoke trays and screens offer the option of creating a generously sized showering area – perhaps for two – where you can take advantage of the latest shower systems that transform washing into a wellbeing experience, with their wall-mounted body jets and rainfall shower heads incorporating steam, aromatherapy and chromotherapy features.

When it comes to tiling a wet room, Roisin Lafferty creative director of Kingston Lafferty Design offers the following advice, “I am an absolute lover of detailed and intricate tiling, however not for a wet room – where it’s a case of the less grout the better for longevity and cleanliness! Large-format marble is timeless and very practical, just make sure you have a slip rating if required. Large-format terrazzo or tiles give a similar streamlined effect. And for the highest end finish, opt for a seamless full-height glass screen with minimal framing or fittings.”

Wet room shower areas are the perfect space to add a focal point, such as with a statement stone or decorative resin panel, as Helen Bygraves of Hill House Interiors comments, ‘We like to add personality and individual style to our wet rooms with features such as handmade waterproof art panels, which are a great way to add depth and grandeur to an otherwise neutral, restful scheme.”

The best bathroom tile ideas

modern bathroom ideas

Picket hexagon tiles in Petal Pink and White, Tile Giant

(Image credit: Tile Giant)

One of the most exciting things about a bathroom renovation is picking out tiles, but with so many to choose from, it can be daunting to decide. “When choosing tiles, think about the experience you want to create in your bathroom,” advises Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe of 2LG Studio. “For example, whether you want to have a spa-like setting or a practical space that sets you up for the day in a positive mood.” 

Colours have a big effect on your mood – and while subdued hues are a safe option as they are easier to live with, brighter colours create impact and can leave us feeling energised. Explore tiles in different shades, formats and finishes to find the perfect combination for your bathroom vision.

To see if the tiles you’re drawn towards work for your space, bring home several full-size samples and set them out in your bathroom, against your chosen paints and other testers, so you can judge how the format works in your room as well as appreciate the finish and colour under your bathroom lights. If you have enough, you can also play with the layout to find the best pattern for your space.

On a practical note, don’t forget to check that the walls will take the weight of the tiles and enquire with your retailer about whether sealing is required and the tile’s suitability with regards to slip rating and underfloor heating.

Trends wise, although we’re seeing an increase in the use of coloured tiles, light, neutral and muted shades are still the most popular choices. Amanda Telford, marketing manager at CTD Tiles advises, “As we enter 2021, we will continue to see lots of unusual textures and patterned tile designs making bold feature walls and floors. Wood and stone effect tiles are popular, with the latest designs perfecting the look of the original material while experimenting with a more decorative approach. Texture is a also big trend with textile-like woven finishes and nature-inspired grains and concrete-effect surfaces.”

The best bathroom tile ideas for small bathrooms

modern bathroom ideas

A bold splash back using Popham tiles is the highlight of the design in this compact bathroom by Day True

(Image credit: Day True)

Most of us would like more space in our bathrooms, but small bathrooms are no reason not to incorporate the latest tile trends. “Being brave in a small space can really help give the room depth,” advises Ellis Dean Odey, creative designer at bathroom retailer Catchpole & Rye, and of course using feature tiles over a small area won’t break the bank either.

Size-wise, a large tile tends to give an illusion of space as there will be fewer grouting lines to break up the continuity – though don’t go too large or you will need all cut tiles. That doesn’t mean you can’t use small tiles like mosaics in a compact space – though perhaps limit them to a shelving recess, shower area, splash back or feature panel.

Material-wise, limestone, marble, travertine and terrazzo tiles make great choices for small bathrooms as they offer varying degrees of variegation, which can provide pattern without overpowering the room. Mosaic tiles are ideal for highlighting areas and are available in shell, stone, glass, mirror, metal and ceramic. Ceramic and porcelain tiles offer the most choice in pattern and colour and and are generally the least expensive too.

Floors can be ideal surfaces for a boldly patterned tile without crowding the room, or you may want to limit a busy tile to below dado height and install a wall-to-wall mirror above. If you’re not a fan of pattern you could opt for a textured tile to add interest to a plainer scheme, or try a subtle change in finish as Yousef Mansuri, head of design at C.P. Hart advises. “Wall and floor tiles shouldn’t necessarily match – an easy way to add some variety into the scheme is to use the same tone of tile on both surfaces in different sizes or finishes. Even a strip of polished tiles or mosaics in the same range and colour as the rest of the space can look really effective and create an interesting feature.”

You needn’t stick to pale and uniform colours though to make a room look bigger because tiling effects can trick the eye too. Try tiling on the diagonal or incorporating a feature strip that leads the eye into the room. Likewise, chevron, herringbone and brickwork tiling patterns can draw the eye to the longest dimension of the bathroom, while using tiles in different sizes can also avoid a grid-like appearance of grout lines. Polished or rectified tile edges and matching the grout colour to the tile will further help to minimise the appearance of grout lines for a seamless finish.

The best grey bathroom tile ideas

modern bathroom ideas

CTD Tiles’ grey Buxy Antracita hexagon tiles make the perfect background for pastels to pop

(Image credit: CTD Tiles)

Grey, the go-to neutral of the past decade, has enjoyed its longstanding appeal in bathrooms because it works so well with all other colours and offers a relaxing vibe that’s easy to live with. Cool or cocooning, it’s a calm contrast to bold colour and patterns and sits happily in modern or traditional bathroom schemes alike.

There is a huge variety of grey tiles available, from extra large format concrete- effect porcelain tiles to tiny iridescent grey glass mosaic, and trying to make a selection can feel dizzying. While choosing a light or dark tone of grey tile is fairly easy, getting the visual temperature right is trickier. Most greys are not pure grey as they have warm or cool undertones, depending on which colours have been added to the black and white mix. 

The way a grey appears varies depending on the natural light a bathroom receives and on your light sources, so it’s important to look at samples of your proposed grey tile – on the floor and walls – to see how they change colour throughout the day, and whether their undertones change the appearance of your planned accent colours or other furnishings.

Not everyone’s a fan of grey tiles and Roisin Lafferty of Kingston Lafferty Design, has the following advice for avoiding any undesirable effects, “I tend to steer away from the typical 600 x 600mm squares as they can feel a little soulless, but a quality concrete-effect tile in a large horizontal stacked format can look really impressive and limestone works really well too. If choosing grey tiles, try to bring in texture, and make sure the tone works with everything else. I would veer towards raw or matt finishes and embrace the earthy vibe."