Emily Henderson

stylebyemilyhenderson.com · Jan 20, 2021

10 Bathroom Trends We Are Expecting To See In 2021 (Some Are Surprisingly Renter Friendly)


Here’s a hot take: trend posts are simultaneously super fun and a very unnerving. It’s tough, especially after the year we just had, to predict anything but it’s also fun to get excited about the possibilities of what’s to come in this new year.

Traditionally, bathroom trends can be tricky because a lot of them deal with tiles, bathtubs, and vanities–things that can’t easily be swapped out (and things that cost $$$). For someone like me who isn’t renovating and doesn’t own a home, these posts are typically aspirational. It’s still fun to pull together and discuss, but I wouldn’t be making any mood boards or real design plans based on them. But this year is different my friends. Yes, there are trends that are strictly for the renovators and homeowners BUT there are, dare I say, quite a few on this list that can be renter-friendly and DIY-able. I KNOW. It’s so exciting. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to our 2021 bathroom trends:

Dramatic Veined Marble

design by humbert & poyet | photo by francis amiand | via architectural digest

Marble in a bathroom? Groundbreaking, I know. But before you write this one off just take a long look at those veins. We aren’t talking about a soft, subtle marble countertops or showers. In 2021, we predict marble is going to be dramatic and show-stopping and it’s going to be everywhere. There’s no denying the affect this material has, especially when it’s wall to wall as it is in this gorgeous bathroom designed by Humbert & Poyet.

design by michael k. chen architecture | photo by max burkhalter | via elle decor

Again, you’ve seen marble before but not quite like this. The marble bathrooms of 2021 are far from subtle and are even more exciting when accentuated with exceptionally bold fixtures (like those luxe wall lights for example).

design by sally breer and jake rodehuth-harrison of etc.etera | styled by rod hipskind | photo by via architectural digest

See what I mean by dramatic? This marble wall surrounding the bathtub is whimsical and fierce but doesn’t dominate the whole space (because who could ignore the impact of that bubble table and incredible chandelier?).

Abstract Triangle Tile

design by journey jacobs | photo by lang thomas | via domino

It’s becoming clear that in 2021 we want visual interest in our homes where ever we can get it. Because bathrooms have fewer elements than other rooms, tile is one we see shift the most year by year, likely because there are so many types and combinations to be made. This year, we expect more abstract triangle tile patterns–making floors and walls into artistic moments.

design by noé prades | photo by elton rocha | via clever

We bet tiled bathroom walls will reign this year and we think more people will be going for an abstract pattern as Noé Prades executed in this midcentury Barcelona home.

Hot Tip

Try recreating this trend with paint and painters tape for a renter-friendly hack!

design by luke mcclelland design | photo by zac and zac | via dezeen

I am admittedly a fan of black and white bathrooms and am sucker for checkered tile, so I love the look of this triangle tile flooring. It does so much so the rest of the decor can remain minimal–although I wouldn’t mind a pop of color here. What do you think?

Tile Pattern Mixing (Side by Side!)

design by nate berkus | photo by christopher dibble

This is the first photo that convinced me contrasting tiles will be in my future someday (or at least I hope). The Zellige tile paired with a checkered pattern tile is SO interesting and creates a sophisticated modern European feel.

design by ginny macdonald design | photo by jessica alexander

This bathroom designed by Ginny Macdonald (you know the famous EHD alum), took the trend even further by contrasting tiles of different sizes, shapes, and colors on adjacent walls. I love the multi-colored tiles on one wall that feel extra earthy next to the high gloss green tiles. I could stare at this bathroom all day (and basically have).

design by brave new eco | photo by heartland projects| via clever

If you thought it’d be impossible to maintain a minimal aesthetic with this trend, think again! This bathroom designed by Brave New Eco proves multiple tile shapes and similar colors can work flawlessly together and add intrigue without being too loud, especially when paired with light wood tones and minimal finishes.

The Return of The ’80s Square Tile

design by and and and studio | photo by ingalls photo

It’s a little too soon to tell how we feel about the resurgence of the ’80s square tiles. One of our favorite up and coming design studios and and and studio posted this photo on their Instagram and we were admittedly not expecting the return of this tile trend reminiscent of 1980s bathrooms (Caitlin had THOUGHTS) but we are excited about seeing tiles other than Zellige come around (though we do still love Zellige of course). I think every apartment I’ve had in LA has had this square tile bathroom and kitchen so it’s definitely nostalgic and classic–and perhaps is a good thing for us renters who are trying to make existing tile work. How do you feel???

  • design by etc.etera | photo by tessa neustadt

    Check prints in home decor are definitely thriving right now, which makes me wonder if that’s part of the inspiration for this trend. The soft color of the tile pattern here mixed with the sleek black finishes is a superb example of modern meets retro so perhaps the square tile (similar to the return of the large scale checkered flooring we are seeing in kitchens) is a way to bring a retro flair into a bathroom. Hey, I love a retro nod in design so count me in.

    design and render by studio utkan gunerkan

    Does it get more ’80s than this? I know a pink bathroom isn’t for everyone but if you are going to go ’80s you might as well go all the way right? I love the baby blue and pink and those curved edges are too good. Also, the fact that this is a render blows my freaking mind.

    Traditional Vanities With A Twist

    design by amber lewis| photo by jess isaac | via all sorts of

    Last year we talked about unconventional double vanities having their moment and while we don’t think that’s over and done with, it is nice to see a return of the more traditional vanity. But traditional does not equal boring as you can see in the above bathroom designed by Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors. She used reeded cabinetry that is subtle but still interesting, creating texture and warmth but remaining classic.

    design and photo by chris loves julia

    When I saw this bathroom vanity by Chris Loves Julia yesterday, I knew I had to talk about it. The fluted texture of the cabinets along with the dark wood stained double vanity makes this bathroom feel traditional with a contemporary twist.

    Wood or Natural Fiber Tub Exteriors

    design by beata heuman | photo by simon brown | via clever

    I officially want more colorful paneled tubs in 2021. This is a great example of a simple but bold upgrade and in fact when I saw this photo, I wondered how easy it would be to DIY. After a quick google search and watching about 10 seconds of a video, I think it’s doable. Thoughts??

    design by isabel lópez-quesada | photo by miguel flores vianna | via milieumag

    Have you ever seen a wicker tub? No? Well don’t worry this is a first for me too but I must say it’s really good. It’s an unexpected texture and material to use in a bathroom but it’s really impactful and emphasizes the rustic farmhouse vibe going on here.

    photo and styling by anna & tam | via remodelista

    In this home tour, the tub was paneled with the same reclaimed wood that was used for the flooring throughout the rest of apartment, so I think it could also be a doable renter-friendly hack (depending on your landlord situation of course–although I am a believer in asking for forgiveness, not permission:)). It immediately adds a rustic element to the space but still feels modern and new.

    Large Scale Botanical Wallpaper

    design by jae joo | photo by shade degges photography

    If you aren’t spicing up your bathroom walls with tile, wallpaper is always a fun option (and renter-friendly!). Of course, wallpaper in the bathroom is no new discovery but what is new and different is this emphasis on bringing the outdoors in. Perhaps it’s a side effect of 2020 (aka the year we spent indoors) that makes a foliage forward wallpaper so enticing and comforting this year. It can be moody and dramatic while still creating a calm oasis.

    design by mkca | photo by alan tansey | via vogue living

    Talk about BOLD. I love seeing a dramatic mix of patterns and textures (it’s the budding maximalist in me, I suppose) and I am impressed with the flow of everything going on here. The veined marble (what did I tell ya–it’s happening) and large scale palm wallpaper work surprisingly well together and make this powder bathroom POP.

    design by heidi cailler design | photo by harris kenjar

    Heidi Cailler Design does it again. This wallpaper is definitely a little more subtle than the previous examples but still packs a dramatic punch and succeeds in bringing nature indoors and creating a calm beautiful space.

    Return Of Wet Rooms

    design by sarah sherman samuel | photo by nicole franzen

    Who doesn’t love a bathroom that feels like a spa? Like I mentioned before, the events of 2020 surely influenced a lot of the trends we are seeing emerge this year, and I think this is one of them. For renovators, going for a wet room is a no-brainer if you want to create a place to fully relax and escape.

    design by maison trouvaille | photo by sam frost | via architectural digest

    Wet rooms are luxurious of course but they have a practical application too. They are great for elderly folks and people with disabilities and they are more “small space friendly” way to install a shower and a tub in a single bathroom. Function and beauty is a 2021 trend we think we are going to see more and more of due to us being home more than ever.

    Patterned Roman Shades

    design by lonika chande | photo by paul massey

    I love roman shades but what I love more is yet another trend that is renter-friendly. Installing dramatic roman shades is another way to play around with style, color, and pattern without making a permanent decision. It’s unexpected and exciting plus it goes well with the eclectic granny style that we personally hope sticks around this year.

    design by heidi cailler design | photo by harris kenjar

    This bathroom designed by Heidi Cailler Design just goes to show that we should never skimp on window treatments. A colorful or patterned shade is always going to pop, and roman shades are a great option for small bathrooms because they can often be customized.

    Floor To Ceiling Colorful Penny Tile

    design by heidi cailler design | photo by harris kenjar

    This floor to ceiling penny tile when contrasted with a soft, large scale floor tile, creates an unexpected texture and warmth. I love that every inch of the wall is covered with a light pink tile and how it lightens up the earthy tones and textures–making it more playful and modern.

    design and photo by black lacquer design

    If you are into the floor to ceiling tile, I’d love to introduce you to this bathroom by Black Lacquer Design that is covered in penny tile. What’s so special about this execution is it makes a small space feel larger but not overwhelming. It’s exciting and bold but not cluttered or visually jarring.

    That’s all from me but now I want to hear from you! Have you been thinking of implementing any of these trends in your bathroom?? Which one is your favorite and are there any you disagree with? Tell me everything. xx

    Opener Image Credit: Design by Heidi Callier Design | Photo by Harris Kenjar

    The post 10 Bathroom Trends We Are Expecting To See In 2021 (Some Are Surprisingly Renter Friendly) appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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