When designing a new bathroom or renovating an existing space, it can be tempting to play it safe or stick to bathroom trends that have been popular in the last decade. While you may be thinking to pair matte black tapware and fittings with white tiles and walnut-coloured laminate, we’re here to encourage you to be a little more adventurous.

We’re now well past the 2010s, which were heavily focused on uniformity in “modern” angular designs with stark palettes. This year’s bathroom trends are looking to be all about embracing both nature and luxury, to turn your space into a secluded oasis. 

The team at Barben can help you update your bathroom for 2021.

Design theme for 2021: Bring the outside in

After a year of being cooped up indoors, in-and-out of lockdown, we’ve seen a real desire to move away from the standard “cool” shades and dark undertones that have come to define modern bathrooms. 

We’re all looking to open up our homes with more inviting hues and textiles. They can make our spaces seem bigger than they are, as well as more connected to the natural world.

Organic colours

Earthy tones are looking very popular, say our bathroom stylists at Barben. They recommend that, rather than defaulting to pure white, navy or black colour schemes, start with unconventional cream or peach tones in your bathroom design. 

Even if you prefer a white base, you can still deviate from the norm. Accent with more pale timbers (like bamboo and pine) or evoke nature by playing with feature colours on one wall or your towels. Think soft, moss green or even a light, sunny yellow.


If your budget can support it, the team at Barben are big fans of building an open skylight or adding a large window to your space (privacy permitting). You won’t find a better way to give that indoor-outdoor feeling and enlarge your bathroom without increasing its size. 

Because you’ll also be turning on that lightswitch less often, a skylight or large window will also have the added benefit of reducing your power consumption.

Sensory materials

Your bathroom doesn’t have to be sleek, featureless and ultramodern. In 2021, Barben recommends looking beyond plain tiles or white porcelain and towards sanded stone tops, timber handles and even exposed brick walls. 

This retreat from smooth and cold surfaces is about embracing and stimulating our sensation of touch, which is so needed in modern bathroom designs. Bringing in greenery in the form of pot plants or a wall hanging garden can also take the tactile and natural feeling to the next level.

Hardware in 2021: Put luxury first

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the importance of creating a comforting space to unwind and unplug from the chaotic world. 

While functional hardware, fittings and fixtures are a given, we expect 2021 to be the year of truly embracing opulence in our bathrooms. We’re going to see a lot of attention being placed on making the bathroom a real ‘me zone’.

Freestanding bathtubs

So many bathrooms in the last decade have forgone the tub and opted only for the humble shower. The Barben team sees this trend reversing at least a little this year, thanks to the renewed focus on comfort and relaxation that stemmed from a tough 2020. 

A modestly sized bathtub also requires less water to fill than you may think, in keeping with the environmental trend that’s continuing in 2021. If you’re someone who takes particularly long showers to unwind, soaking in the tub instead may be the more eco-friendly option.

Bold vanities and basins

Think about much you use your basin and vanity and how awful it can look with just a few errant hairs on the counter or a smudge of toothpaste on the bowl. We’re all looking for low-maintenance in 2021, so Barben expects the trend towards natural materials to extend to these most used parts of our bathrooms. See our new range of bathroom basins here.

You’ll notice organic shaped stone bowls, rather than porcelain basins, gaining popularity – along with quartz tops on floating timber vanities. Just be sure to keep the dedication to environmental friendliness going by pairing your bowl with water efficient tapware, with a WELS rating of at least 5 stars.

Copper plated fittings

Did you know that copper is widely known to have antimicrobial properties? By releasing ‘reactive ions’ when it comes into contact with germs, copper inhibits the spread of E. coli, salmonella and influenza viruses. 

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine even found that while coronaviruses can survive for days on stainless steel or plastic surfaces, they can’t survive longer than a few hours on copper surfaces. 

By selecting copper plated cabinet handles and bathroom accessories (such as towel rails), you’re both protecting users from germs and bringing the upscale aura of high-end hotels to your bathroom. 

Bathroom trends in 2021 are focused on reconnecting not just with organic aesthetics, but also with ourselves. Working towards the themes of luxury and nature can be challenging, but the team at Barben Boutique are here to help. 

They’ll help you marry the right architectural hardware, fixtures and fittings with your incredible vision for your private paradise.