15 ways to create a contemporary scheme

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  • Clean lines, sculptured shapes, punchy colour schemes…modern bathroom ideas tick all these boxes and more. And whether big or small, wet room or en-suite, modern style is easy to pull off whatever size or shape bathroom space you have.

    Start big by looking at sanitaryware first when you’re putting together a new modern bathroom idea. Glam statement pieces can be key to this look, from a luxurious freestanding tub as the bathroom focal point, to his and hers basins that add a touch of hotel chic.

    Modern bathroom ideas

    Tiles and flooring are another way of working modern style into a bathroom scheme, whether luxe marble or rugged natural stone, down to eye-catching patterned porcelain and colourful terrazzo. Then finish off by focusing on the details. A statement tap, oversized shower head, accent fixtures and standout fittings will all add polish to a modern scheme and help pull the whole look together.

    So if a bathroom makeover is on your to-do list this year, scroll on for more modern bathroom inspiration…

    1. Create a soothing scheme with calming greens

    White and green bathroom with fluted tiles and green vanity unit

    Image credit: Roper Rhodes

    Simplicity is at the heart of many a modern bathroom scheme. Forget fussy details and brash colours instead opting for clean lines, calm tones and fluid shapes. Mixing soft shades of green will create a restful colour scheme that will work in bathrooms big or small.

    Choose tiles in complementary tones and textures. Fluted surfaces and reeded finishes are one of the big trends in bathroom design right now and working them into a bathroom scheme on tiles and furniture will add a tactile touch as well as visual interest. Team with soft, muted paintwork and sleek fitted furniture for a calm, cohesive look.

    2. Mix marble and monochrome

    Grey and white bathroom with marble tiled floor

    Image credit: Future PLC/William Goddard

    Marble shows no sign of losing its popularity and is a fabulous way of bringing luxury and glamour to modern bathroom ideas. Create a monochrome colour scheme with contrast and edge, by teaming a marble floor or tiled splashback with glossy white tiles and matt black paintwork.

    Choose large-format marble floor tiles for a luxurious look that won’t date. By using larger tiles there will be fewer grout lines, which gives a cleaner finish for a more high-end look.

    3. Go for a colour-happy modern bathroom scheme

    Pink and white colourful bathroom with twin basins and terrazzo floor

    Image credit: Acquabella

    Be inspired by sunnier climes and give your bathroom a colourful Miami-themed makeover. Bright, playful colours are the perfect tonic for light-starved spaces and will cheer up a drab bathroom in no time.

    Start with a fun colour-block treatment on bathroom walls to get this scheme started. Paint large panels, circles or arched sections in bold, poppy shades, from bubblegum pink and minty green to ocean blue and soft coral.

    Make more of a statement by working in some Art Deco style curves where you can. Colourful curved basins will make a fabulous focal point or bring in lots of accent accessories, from globe-shaped lighting and circular mirrors to colourful floor rugs and bright ceramics.

    4. Use jazzy tiles in a modern, monochrome scheme

    White bathroom with black vanity unit and black and white tiles

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jake Fitzjones

    For a modern colour scheme with staying power, consider black and white bathroom ideas. It’s hard to go wrong if you stick to a simple monochrome colour palette throughout and using black and white in equal measure will give a balanced scheme that will work in bathrooms big or small.

    Black and white tiles are a brilliant way of adding pattern and giving a plain bathroom a focal point. Cut costs by opting for a feature panel instead of using patterned tiles wall to wall. A single tiled panel as a backdrop for a vanity unit or behind a statement bath will look chic and be an instant attention-grabber.

    5. Transform a small bathroom with lush colours

    Blue panelled bathroom with pink bath and leaf print blind

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Colour is an instant game-changer and is a great way of giving a plain white bathroom a more modern, up-to-date look. Panelled bathroom wall ideas serve two purposes in a bathroom. They will protect the lower portion of wall from scrapes and splashes and are a great way of working extra colour into the room.

    Try a bold, hot-house theme in a small bathroom, by painting panelled walls in a smart navy blue or emerald green, teamed with a lush leafy blind at the window and potted palms dotted around the room. Patterned floor tiles are a clever way of grabbing the attention in a small bathroom, as the floor becomes the focal point and so makes the rest of the bathroom feel more spacious.

    6. Put the focus on a beautiful bath

    Stone freestanding bath with green leafy wallpaper

    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    A staple of many modern bathroom schemes, a stunning statement bath can be a real scene-stealer. Ensure that a freestanding tub is the focal point of the bathroom by setting it against an eye-catching backdrop. A painted panel or bold feature wallpaper in lush, leafy greens will make a striking background but feel calm and restful too.

    7. Make the floor the star feature

    White bathroom with terrazzo floor and blue doors

    Image credit: Porcelain Superstore

    Give a modern bathroom idea extra edge by revamping the floor with bold, standout tiles. With its colourful, fragmented effect, a terrazzo floor will add a playful touch and is the perfect pick-me-up for a plain bathroom that’s crying out for a splash of colour.

    Choose a shade of terrazzo that will complement your wall colour. Then pick out two or three key colours from within the tile to use on accessories throughout the bathroom, from cabinets and fittings to bath towels and toiletries.

    8. Opt for moody, modern neutrals

    Neutral wet room with tumbled marble tiles and polished plaster walls

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jake Fitzjones

    Turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat by opting for a restful scheme and sleek wet-room style layout. Dispensing with the bath creates space for a super-sized shower and by tanking and tiling throughout to make the whole space water-tight, there’s no need for a bulky separate shower cubicle.

    Velvety-looking Venetian polished plaster gives the room a sumptuous feel, teamed with tumbled travertine tiles in warm neutral shades to provide texture and soften the minimalist scheme. A mirrored cabinet and sleek white sanitaryware adds an extra touch of glamour.

    9. Add personality with a playful print

    White bathroom with colourful palm pattern wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Give a simple white bathroom a modern touch by introducing a perky wallpaper in a cheery colour combination. While plain white tiles are practical, they can sometimes feel a little stark and clinical without any additional colour or pattern to soften the harshness, so a bright feature wallpaper is the  perfect antidote.

    Don’t rule out having wallpaper in a bathroom. In an area that doesn’t come into direct contact with water, a splash-proof vinyl wallpaper is fine. Regular wallpaper won’t be able to withstand the humidity that you’d get in an average bathroom, but vinyl will be able to deflect any moisture.

    10. Create a sleek and seamless look

    Grey slate tiled bathroom with neutral splashback

    Image credit: Topps Tiles

    Make a small bathroom feel bigger by continuing the same tiles throughout, from walls to floor. With no visual break at floor level, this trick creates a sleek, continuous look that deceives the eye and makes the space appear larger than it actually is.

    Adding a band of contrast mosaic tiles at splashback level or in a window recess will give definition and create extra interest. Team with polished brass or chrome fittings for added sparkle and to give a high-end look.

    11. Relax with a soft and soothing scheme

    White and grey bathroom with pine furnishings

    Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young

    Modern bathrooms often have lots of straight lines and hard surfaces that can make the space feel quite cold and clinical. An easy way of making a harsh scheme feel softer is by introducing colours with warm undertones (as opposed to cool) which help add a comforting feel to the space and take away any chilliness.

    Soften the mood further by bringing in lots of tactile textures and woven basketware, together with plush towels, soft bath robes and thick mats underfoot.

    12. Double-up with his and hers tiling

    Black and white geometric tiles and twin basins

    Image credit: Tile Mountain

    Create visual impact with a patterned tile feature as the focal point of a twin bathroom. While boldly-patterned tiles can work out pricey used over a large area, by limiting their use to just a key area, fewer tiles are needed, so the cost will be less.

    Keep the look balanced in a twin bathroom by mirroring fixtures and fittings on both sides to create symmetry.

    13. Stay grounded with relaxed neutrals

    neutral bathroom with wood effect vinyl floor

    Image credit: Carpetright

    Create a laidback bathroom scheme with a relaxed, modern-rustic vibe. Earthy neutral shades on walls and surfaces feel calm and restful and make an easy-to-live-with backdrop, teamed with woven basketware, natural linens, waffle weaves and lush plants and greenery.

    While real wood flooring isn’t advisable in humid spaces, such as bathrooms and wet rooms, achieve a similar effect by opting for a wood look-alike instead. Vinyl flooring like this has a realistic wood-effect finish that feels soft underfoot and is water and slip resistant, so ideal for a bathroom.

    14. Go all-out for glamour with a bold black bath

    white bathroom with black freestanding bath and gold taps

    Image credit: Amara

    There’s not much that’s more daring than a bold black bath. Guaranteed to make a statement, it will add a daring touch and be a dramatic feature in an all-white bathroom or as a standalone bath in a master bedroom.

    While a black bath doesn’t need much accessorising to make it look beautiful, try teaming it with polished brass fixtures and fittings that will set the black off beautifully and give added glamour and sparkle.

    15. Be at one with nature

    Green and neutral bathroom with greenery

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Bring the outdoors in by turning a small bathroom into an oasis of greenery and calm. A neutral-coloured scheme makes the perfect tranquil backdrop that can be brought to life with flashes of lush green on tiling, wall art and accessories, with plants and greenery bring extra colour.

    Bathrooms can be a haven for plants and greenery, with high humidity levels that will help them thrive. And by opting for air-purifying varieties that filter out harmful toxins, the space will be healthier to spend time in too.

    In a small bathroom that’s short on space, try hanging planters and wall-hung baskets to display trailing greenery, so surfaces can be kept clear.

    What is modern bathroom design?

    ‘Now more than ever, there is a demand for more exciting forms and colourways in bathroom design,’ says Zoe Jones, Senior Creative Producer at Roper Rhodes. ‘For 2022, expect fresh colourways, verdant greens, novel brassware finishes, classic-contemporary furniture and curved silhouettes. We feel our designers have more than met the brief this season.’

    What should a modern bathroom look like?

    There’s no hard and fast rule, but simplicity is key for many modern bathroom schemes. Sanitaryware – like baths, basins and loos – should be clean-cut and streamlined, with fluid shapes and no unnecessary details or overly fussy trims.

    Likewise, fixtures and fittings should be simple and functional too, with perhaps the odd accent colour and bold finish thrown in, alongside oversized and sculptural shapes.

    Colour-wise, the options are endless, but neutral schemes, monochrome and dark, moody colours are ever-popular and have a timeless appeal. Brighter, playful colour schemes are a big bathroom trend for 2022 and these can work well in a modern bathroom scheme too, with colour block walls, bold statement tiles and colourful terrazzo all on-trend right now.