When it’s time to remodel or update the bathroom, the hardware — faucets, towel racks, shower heads — isn’t usually at the top of the shopping list. In fact, for most people, this category is likely an afterthought, which is really a shame. Like any smaller details, they all add up to a major feature that is important for carrying through the style of the bathroom. Aspects like hardware styling are key in making a bathroom distinctive and the right choice will transform a so-so design into one that’s bold and attractive.
We asked Chris Chmura, business development manager for Brasstech, what he sees as the hot trends in bathroom hardware for 2019. Chmura pointed out that different regions — both within the US and Canada as well as globally — have different preferences. That said, here are the top 10 bathroom trends for 2019 when it comes to hardware:
Matte Black Finishes
“Matte/flat black finishes on faucets, bathroom accessories, and grab bars are extremely strong throughout North America and into parts of Mexico,” Chmura says. Matte finishes started showing up on kitchen appliances and accessories a year or two ago, especially at the high end. They’re popular because of their more natural look and the growing interest in touches of industrial style. Flat finishes are also an excellent contrast to elements that have a high shine and they resist fingerprints and smudges, as well as minimize the appearance of nicks and dents.
More than Just Function
“Safety with style” is trending for homes as well as medical and residential facilities. As the population ages, more homes include grab bars and handles, so naturally, customers want those to be as stylish as the rest of the bathroom hardware. Chura says that some designers (and customers) are moving away from grab bars with stainless steel finishes to go more natural with brass and copper, especially based on the health benefits of these metals.
Going for the Gold
Just as in other parts of interior decor, gold tones will be king in the coming year. “Customers are still driving the heavy gold tone trends by purchasing French/Polished Gold, Aged Brass, Uncoated Brass, Polished Brass, and Satin Brass finishes,” Chmura says. Unlike years ago, when gold was just gold, the variety of shades and tones in gold finishes today makes it a more appealing and modern option.
Making it Match
These days, residential bathrooms to have floating vanities, wall hung toilets, and “under the sink” exposed plumbing and homeowners want to have finishes on these that match the lavatory faucets. “For years, the only option for designers and homeowner was basic chrome p-traps, water supply lines, and toilet handles. Now though, customers/designers are now expecting that all of these items will match with throughout bathrooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens,” Chmura explains.
Hooks, Hooks, and More Hooks
Universal Design and the ever-growing bathroom towel is driving manufacturers to keep expanding hook options, he says. “Residential and hospitality designers are using very strategic hook locations to make a space more usable for people of different heights and ages. Large long towel bars are being replaced with two or three hooks in the same space to provide towel storage, but much cleaner design line.” Valet hooks are now not only in bathrooms, but being used in closets for staging clothing, mudrooms for coat storage, public bathrooms, and laundry rooms to dry clothing.
Touchless faucets and soap dispensers have increased in customers’ homes due to better technology, design styles/finishes options, and the continuing movement to improve hygiene in the bathroom, Chmura says. An increasing number of manufacturers are creating options for these types of fixtures in the home.
Water conservation products are still heavily driven by ever-changing government regulations, customers’ expectations, and positive public relations for companies of all sizes. Better, more water-efficient products improve the environment and help save money over the life of a building.
These types of environmentally friendly technologies are available in the latest stylish designs of many different brands. There are likely to be a variety of water-saving options in a range of styles to fit anyone’s needs.
Goodbye to Rose Gold
“Rose Gold and Oil Rubbed Bronze finishes continue to decline in popularity across North America,” Chmura explains. “Rose Gold was an extremely strong trend over the past three years in the bathroom, but dropped as customers seemed to move away from “pink” tones of jewelry and technology like the Apple iPhone.” Oil Rubbed Bronze has slowly declined since the peak in the early 2000s to the gold tones, but still is sold still in mountain regions like Colorado he adds.
A More Industrial Look
Industrial faucets and accessories for the kitchen are strong this year based on a number of manufacturers rolling out new designs this year at industry shows across the country, he explains. “Customers are seeking out designs with sharp lines, heavier looking tubes and handles, and exposed or ‘raw’ styles.” This fits with the overall trend of a more natural feel in the home and a more relaxed vibe in the bathroom.
“We are having a jump in demand for split finishes on bathroom faucets. Designers are using these split finishes to highlight gold tones on a matte black base, to take a special statement, and/or remodel a bathroom with a finish originally included, but update the faucet.” Some people find the look too”matchy-matchy” when all the fixtures have the exact same finish and the mix helps avoid that.