Bathroom remodelers reveal top trends – Marin Independent Journal


Pardon the pot talk, but we’re discussing bathrooms today. I think about it because I just came back from France where I spent a week cycling in the Loire Valley visiting several castles.

While wearing sweaty spandex and helmet hair, I visited the exceedingly lavish castles of the beheaded royal family and other aristocracies, which gave me insight into both why French commoners revolted and how far bathrooms have evolved.

As I passed through dozens of lavish bedrooms and parlors outfitted with beautiful tapestries, painted portraits in gilt frames, carved marble fireplaces and ornate ceilings, I did not see a single bathroom – because they did not exist.

No royal flush, of course. Even the Château de Chambord, the largest castle in the valley with 426 rooms, had no bathroom. So imagine the residents hosting a lavish dinner party with guests all festooned in ermine furs, pearls and silks seated around an ornate dining table, and then, God forbid, one guest has to powder their noses ?

I saw a chair with a built-in chamber pot.

Fortunately, French bathrooms are commonplace today, but they still fall short of American standards. While I find a lot to love in France – the food, the fashion, the perfumes – I have nightmares and nightmares of getting stuck in one of their public toilets. The toilets have no seats. Lights turn off automatically when not convenient. The floors are often wet and uneven. Windows, it seems, are forbidden and ventilation has not changed since the Middle Ages. Every time I come back from there or any foreign country, I thank heaven for American plumbing.

Don’t take it for granted.

Coincidentally, I returned home to find that Houzz, an online home design platform, had just released its 2022 Houzz US bathroom trends study, which analyzed the data of over 2,500 homeowners who had recently completed or were in the middle of a bathroom renovation. Respondents, whose average age was 57, answered a deluge of questions about finishes, fixtures, colors, costs and more.

The juxtaposition of Houzz tallying the number of homeowners installing anti-fog mirror systems and dual shower heads as I had just witnessed how the wealthiest French kings and queens took weekly baths in buckets had not escaped me. We all live better. I will take a room with an attached bathroom above a castle without a bathroom anytime.

The report also confirmed that American bathrooms, which I dare say are some of the best in the world, are still getting better. If you’re looking to improve yours, trend data is important. Because, when you embark on a home improvement, you not only want to improve your life, but also increase the value of your home, which will not happen if you are not aware of market trends.

I skimmed through the 32-page report, then called Houzz economist Marine Sargsyan to tell me about the results. But first I had to ask, “What’s going on with bathrooms overseas?”

“In other parts of the world, people tend to think of bathrooms as purely functional, while Americans think of them as a place to relax and unwind,” Sargsyan said. “But you’ll be happy to know that bathroom renovations are the most popular project, not only here, but also abroad.”

Thank God. Here are some other findings:

The biggest surprise. “Wood replaces white,” Sargsyan said. “For a very long time, white has been the dominant color in bathroom and kitchen cabinetry, so we were excited to see, for the second year in a row, wood cabinetry trending, along with other colors .” While 32% of respondents always choose white vanities, 30% choose wood (especially midtones), followed by gray (14%), blue (7%), black (5%) and green (2%). “We still see white in the showers and on the walls, giving that look of cleanliness that people are looking for.”

Main motive. The number one reason homeowners renovate their bathrooms is because they’re tired of their outdated style (48%). The second most important factor (33%) is that the old part fails.

Average cost. According to the report, national median spending on bathroom renovations jumped 13% from a year ago to $9,000. The cost of the top 10% of projects increased by 17% to $35,000 or more.

popular movements. Over 80% of renovators replaced faucets, flooring, showers, light fixtures and wall coverings. More than three-quarters (76%) have replaced their vanities. Most (59%) opted for white counters. The majority (53%) chose natural stone such as quartzite, marble or granite, while 40% chose engineered quartz, a cheaper look-alike of man-made quartz.

Stylistic trend. This year, the transitional style (a hybrid of traditional and contemporary or modern) overtook modern and contemporary as the preferred design style. Now at 25%, transitional looks have grown steadily over the past four years. Modern and contemporary styles fell 16% each. Traditional came in at 11%, and farmhouse appearance held steady at 5%.

Contactless technology. Motion-activated toilets and hands-free faucets are no longer just for airports, Sargsyan said. Half of respondents have installed one or more high-tech features in their remodeled tubs. Nearly two in five added high-tech toilet functionality, with notable increases in bidets (24%), self-cleaning elements (17%), heated seats (15%) and integrated nightlights (13%).
Many have also installed tankless water heaters, radiant heated floors and fog-free mirrors.

Professional help. Recognizing that bathrooms are complex spaces, 85% of homeowners have hired a building professional and 13% have hired a designer.

Most Essential Upgrade: If you can’t afford a complete bathroom remodel, start with the systems. “The average American home is 40 years old, which is why our survey shows that 62% of homeowners have upgraded their bathroom plumbing and ventilation,” Sargsyan said. “If the systems aren’t working, no design will help you take advantage of the space.”

Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books including “What to Do With Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want”, “Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go” and “Downsizing the Blended Home – When Two Homes Become One. You can reach her at


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