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Hottest design trends for multifamily bathrooms

On the list of the most underrated rooms in any apartment or house, the bathroom has to be at the top. When you give your friends the tour of your abode, the living room will get the “oohs” and “aahs,” the kitchen will garner compliments, but the bathroom gets the “it’s over there” treatment every time.

It may not get the same attention as the rest of the apartment, but the bathroom deserves some kudos. After all, a well-designed bathroom is a place of solitude; a respite from responsibility where you can pamper yourself and relax. It’s the first destination when you wake up, and it’s where you go to relax a bit after a long day.

Many multifamily developers put the lion’s share of their efforts into the rest of the apartment and forget to give people the amenities they want (or will want when they see them) in the bathroom. So what are some of the biggest trends in bathroom design for multifamily complexes? The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) just completed a major survey and reached a few surprising conclusions:

  1. Amenities for older people. We know that Millennials are flocking to multifamily living, but the retired and elderly are doing the same in record numbers. By the year 2050, this country will boast 88.5 million people aged 65 or older, so meeting their needs will be a major part of new construction. That means things like comfort height toilets, no threshold showers, higher vanities and grab bars.
  2. Be like Switzerland. The NKBA survey found that neutral bathrooms were more popular by a wide margin. Here is the breakdown by color: Gray won out at 79%, white or off-white came in at 77% and beige made a strong showing at 65%. Most NKBA members said they would increase these colors this year by 53%, 38% and 14%, respectively.
  3. Luxury showers. While the results of the survey showed that people wanted “stealth wealth” for most of the bathroom, they were okay with a little opulence when it came to the shower. Specifically, they wanted more built-in lights, extra shower heads and built-in benches for luxuriating.
  4. Freestanding tubs. Built-in tubs have been the norm for a while, but freestanding tubs are set to make a big comeback. In the survey, 67% of the respondents preferred a freestanding tub or soaking tub.
  5. Polished chrome. Bronze/oil-rubbed bronze is on the way out. Replacing it is polished chrome, which can be used with sink faucets, shower door handles, towel racks and shower heads to add a more traditional look. Brushed nickel and satin nickel were the second and third most popular finishes, with bronze/oil-rubbed bronze taking a big tumble from the last survey.
  6. Transitional style. Forget contemporary. Outside of some pockets in the Southwest, the transitional style is hotter than ever before, especially for bathrooms. That means simple yet sophisticated design, with minimalist decor and straight lines/rounded profiles.

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