How to Design a Contemporary Bathroom

What is contemporary design? Contemporary design is broadly defined as the building or design style of the present day. Contemporary bathroom design is actually quite varied and has numerous influences. This style does not have easily recognizable or standard features as some other styles do. The style is somewhat eclectic, and individual designers would probably have a different opinion of what elements make up contemporary design, or if a particular design could be labeled as contemporary.

Here are some basic elements of contemporary design:
• Simple and clean without clutter
• Strong emphasis on line and form
• Sophisticated neutral colors
• Metals, glass, and tile
• Sleek, crisp textures
• Muted patterns

Now that we know what makes up contemporary design, let’s see how to use different elements to design a contemporary bathroom. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong. Use the design elements above, but remember—rules can be broken. Give the design personality and make it your own.

Contemporary Bathtub/Shower Styles

Most bathtubs and shower bases are non-descript and will work with the majority of design styles. The wall surround should be slick and smooth and could be either a solid panel or a larger tile with small grout joints. The valve and showerhead would have a simple design with a metal finish, typically chrome or satin nickel. The shower curtain would be a solid muted color. If we chose a shower door, it would have a similar finish as the valve and showerhead along with minimal detail and clear glass.

contemporary bathroom

Contemporary Toilet Styles

Most toilets will work in a contemporary bathroom design, but many higher end toilets have a dramatic look that makes a statement. If the budget will allow, a toilet with a more contemporary flair won’t go unnoticed.

contemporary bathroom toilet

Contemporary Bathroom Vanity/Sink Styles

Clean and clutter-free is a key element of contemporary design. So, if you choose a vanity, you’ll have storage space to keep the clutter off the sink top. The vanity should have straight lines with minimal detail. A sink under-mounted in a neutral top offers a clean look. The faucet should match the valve and showerhead.

contemporary bathroom

If you choose a pedestal or console sink, look for clean forms with little detail. For example, the base for a pedestal sink or legs for a console sink would be straight without molding features.

Contemporary Bathroom Flooring

The floor should be smooth. If tile is used, keep the grout joints tight. If you want to add a pattern, light marble veining works well. The floor should work as an integrated part of the design without calling attention to it.

contemporary bathroom

Contemporary Wall Colors

Contemporary design favors muted neutral colors. Neutrals are loosely defined as a color that does not attract attention and does not show up on the color wheel. Examples of neutral colors are beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray, and white.

contemporary bathroom

One of the most popular color schemes for contemporary design is monochromatic. A monochromatic color scheme uses one color for the main color theme. In addition to the one color, various darker shades, grayer tones, and paler tints of the main color are included. The main color is often paired with white or another neutral.

Contemporary Bathroom Lighting

Light fixtures must compliment the rest of the room. Clean simple design with colors or finishes that blend with the rest of the room are a must. A light bulb that has a whiter cast as opposed to a warmer yellow cast works better for contemporary design because it shows off the neutral colors better.

contemporary bathroom

Contemporary Bathroom Accessories

In keeping with the minimalist element of contemporary design, accessories should be downplayed. Use a mirror without a frame or if you choose a frame, choose one that blends with the surrounding colors and or finishes. Artwork should blend with the colors of the room unless you want a vibrant piece to be a focal point or make a statement.

Designing a contemporary bathroom is not hard if you use the above suggestions and throw in a dash of your personality. Keep the basics in mind and remember one of my all time favorite quotes by John D. Berry:

“Only when the design fails does it draw attention to itself; when it succeeds, it’s invisible.”

Happy Designing!