While Brexit is as much – or perhaps more – of a worry for the bathroom market than the kitchen market, Francesca Seden finds the industry soldiering on, introducing more stylish features in furniture, nature-inspired design and luxury digital power showers
As UK Prime Minister Theresa May continues the battle to access an acceptable Brexit deal from the EU that she can put before the UK parliament, bathroom manufacturers have other things on their minds, such as growing revenue in a very uncertain economic climate.
Bathroom brands have told kbbreview that, peering into their crystal balls for 2019, they see different trends emerging, including clever storage solutions and stylish space-savers, even in the shower.
Product experts told kbbreview that wall-hung pieces will continue to be popular and the easier they are to install, the better.
Julie Lockwood, product manager for Bathrooms to Love at PJH, noted that as well as providing essential storage, furniture is becoming a way to express individual style and so pieces are becoming more design-led and distinct.
She suggested that the soft-close and internal pull-out drawers, staples in kitchens, are becoming more prevalent in bathrooms, while Grohe UK senior product manager Paul Bailey told kbbreview that concealed shower valves that enable greater personalisation of layout are also gaining traction.
Home improvement and construction sector experts MTW Research has forecast that the concealed mixing valve sector is outperforming the showers market, with double-digit growth expected to 2022.
Marketing manager for Vitra, Margaret Talbot, pointed to the rise in popularity of the “deconstructed bathroom”, which she defines as a “re-examining of bathroom pieces to bring shared bathing experiences via unusual positioning of basins and furniture”.
In practical terms, this means the use of open shelving, freestanding furniture, luxury accessories, warm, nature-inspired colours and tactile textures.
According to Talbot, the market for Hygge – the Danish word for cosiness – is moving on with the introduction of the latest wellness theme of Coorie – an old Scottish word meaning “to snuggle”, so expect lots of natural wood and stone finishes in bathroom furniture and beautiful colours that combine to create an air of calm and nature.
On the other hand, sales, marketing and product managers have also mentioned the growing adoption of the industrial look, with exposed brickwork, concrete finishes and darker colours, such as anthracite and black.
One of the biggest trends in 2018 was for black accents, such as matt black brassware and black, Crittall-style shower screens – a trend that Merlyn and Aqata have both hooked on to.
Catalo marketing supervisor Karen Barcoo predicted that home improvers will spend more money on their bathrooms in 2019, with luxury styling seen in boutique hotels having a bigger influence on the domestic market.
She told kbbreview that baths would increasingly be replaced by large shower cubicles and wet rooms with extra-large rain-drench shower heads or digital power showers, which MTW Research has forecast will grow 30% over the next few years. Where baths are kept, they are likely to be luxury, freestanding models in which to soak.
As eco concerns grow, demand is expected to rise in 2019 and beyond for water-saving and long-lasting products that take less toll on the environment.
“How we enjoy our bathrooms is becoming intrinsically linked with how we adopt a more sustainable existence, meaning intelligent solutions that reduce water usage will only increase in prominence,” Hansgrohe UK managing director Martin Mongan, told kbbreview.
- See the full feature in the November issue of kbbreview