Modern Bathroom Design, From bidets to bamboo

“Modern” can mean many things when it comes to bathrooms. It might be easier to define what is modern by looking at what isn’t. Bathrooms tucked away like an afterthought are not modern. Clutter is not modern. Built-in bathtubs are not modern, and neither are claw footed ones (unless they’re ironic or a statement piece.) And you can forget about  boring tiles and cheap looking shower faucets

The modern bathroom is a place you might want to spend more time than however long it takes to do your business.

The modern bathroom has an open floor plan and never feels cramped no matter how small it is.

The modern bathroom is bright.

The modern bathroom elevates utilitarian features, like tiles and sinks, almost to the level of art.

All of these qualities are the product of a few key design choices that can update a tired old bathroom or blend the best elements of a classic setup and a contemporary one. Here are some design tips to keep in mind when you remodel your bathroom into a modern statement room. 

Keep it Simple

Simple works in all sizes. When simple is small, it makes the most of space and feels tidy and uncluttered. When simple is big, it uses negative space to create a zen-like effect where nothing needs to be added or subtracted.

Simplicity asks, what is essential? What can we do without? For example, shower curtains are not essential. They don’t stay clean, they’re bulky, and they often make the mess they’re supposed to prevent.

The modern shower, on the other hand, has glass walls and a “wet room” design that blends with the rest of the room. This makes everything brighter and more seamlessly integrated. The room feels bigger, and so does the shower.

Simple doesn’t mean boring. If you have a few well-chosen decorative details, a simple design will emphasize them.

The Freestanding Tub

The modern bathtub stands alone, often in the middle of the floor. This won’t work in every bathroom as it sacrifices a lot of prime floor space, but you can achieve a similar effect by putting the right kind of tub up against the wall. Find one that’s tapered; these give you a freestanding look no matter where you put them.


One of the boldest trends in bathroom design is taking the bath out of the bathroom entirely. Bedroom bathtubs are much closer to a fad than a trend, but they can look breathtakingly cool particularly in a loft-type space.

Statement Sinks

The modern bathroom is all about taking elements that could be basic or boring and turning them into unique design choices. Nowhere is this truer than with the sink.

Vessel Sinks

A vessel sink sits on top of your counter rather than being molded into it. This increases counter space and gives your sink the same visually striking effect as a freestanding tub.


A vessel sink can be made of a variety of materials from traditional porcelain to glass or even stone. With a separate faucet, the vessel sink evokes negative space. Your eye is drawn to the faucet, the sink, and the water as distinct yet harmonious elements; this makes waterfall faucets a popular choice with vessel sinks.

Floating Vanities

A floating vanity comes out from the wall rather than up from the floor. This emphasizes design aesthetics while maximizing space and storage options.  

Console Sinks

A console sink stands alone looking almost like a piece of furniture. They can be metallic and industrial or decadent like something out of another era. Either way, you make great use of space in a way that looks more like a choice and less like a tradeoff in a small room.

Toilet Tech and Bidets

Nothing in the American bathroom needs an update as much as the humble toilet, but change is finally here.  

High Tech Toilets

“Smart” toilets are all the rage in Japan. These feature everything from heated seats to integrated bidets and music to cover up…other sounds. Now, brands like Toto are bringing these high tech thrones to America.  

Wall-Mounted Toilets

Stylistic echo of the floating vanity. You’ll be happy about this one when the time comes to clean it and you no longer have to worry about all those hard to reach spots.


Bathrooms consume a lot of resources: bright lighting, heat, and water by the gallon. As home design becomes greener and more earth conscious so do our bathrooms.

Bamboo floors

Bamboo is tough and suits some of the on-trend contemporary color schemes. Bamboo grows incredibly fast, making it a renewable alternative to other woods that take a lifetime to grow.

Saving Water

Ducks everywhere can rest easy knowing humans are getting serious about saving water in our bathrooms.

Low Flush toilets can pay for themselves in as little of one year depending on the age and efficiency of the model they’re replacing.

Efficient showerheads use 40% less water.

LED Lighting

LED lights use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional lighting options. They also give you a variety of hues to pick from. You can have bright bluish-white lights over your mirrors and warmer mood lighting over the tub.

Tile Trends

Tiles come in an almost infinite variety of colors and patterns. The modern bathroom takes full advantage of these options.


Minimalism and simplicity have a color scheme: black and white. Some people have taken this trend to the limit with the all-black bathroom.

Old School Cool

Another way to be modern is to look to the past.  Art deco designs–that until recently would have unheard of outside of grand hotel lobbies and the sets of Wes Anderson movies–are becoming popular in the home. Think accent walls, blues and golds, and toilets and sinks in colors other than white.

San Diegans can look to Southern California’s mid-century modern designs for inspiration. Many modern bathrooms make a nod to this era of design and architecture as art. You can see some iconic examples of this in person on a trip out to Palm Springs for Modernism Week.

Remember, when it comes to updating any room, “dated” is something that happens to a space over time; “vintage” is a choice; a bold choice.

Patterns and Decorative Marble

From herringbone tiles to color splashed marble, your bathroom walls can be works of art in their own right.

Color Coordination

When you think beyond white in your color scheme, you are free to explore all sorts of color combinations and complimentary tones.

Alternatively, you could go all-in with a one-material bathroom.  

Natural Colors

Modern doesn’t mean cold. Bamboo floors, wood, and stone can give a warm, natural, yet contemporary feel.  

Blending Modern and Classic Designs

Modern and classic aren’t two separate choices; they can be seamlessly integrated into a unique and current style that gives you the best of both worlds.

Opposites can complement one another. Vintage, industrial lighting stands out beautifully in a spare, simple modern bathroom. Putting a clawfoot tub near a floating vanity calls attention to both of these features.  

Decoration Ideas

Here are a few ways you could decorate your current bathroom while you explore remodeling ideas.

Install LED lights: enjoy a brighter bathroom and save a few pennies to put towards your remodel.

Bring in some plant life: As we’ve seen, modern design is all about improving the feel of a room. Greenery is an excellent way to do that. Try something low maintenance like bamboo.

Declutter and reorganize: Bathrooms can be hard to reimagine without doing a full-on remodel since most of the main features and fixtures are permanent and unmovable. But you can give your current bathroom a new feel by cleaning up the clutter, investing in new mirrors and accent pieces like soap dishes and wastebaskets.


Give us a call; we can help you modernize your bathroom.