Sanitaryware is sleek and efficient, bold colours are in, and tiles are embracing interesting new shapes and retro styles.
Tiles are a go-to, durable and visually attractive finish for bathroom walls, floors and splashbacks, and today they are being produced in more colours, shapes, sizes and texture options than ever before.
Hexagonal tiles – popular in the 1920s and 1940s – are trending strongly right now.
‘Hexagonal tiles give you an interesting organic honeycomb shape. The difference with modern hexagonal tiles is that they are now available in a variety of colours, textures and materials, to suit any decor style, from contemporary to traditional,’ says Johnny Lamprecht from Bathroom Bizarre.
Wood, marble and stone-look tiles can work with a range of looks.
The trend for 2019 in Europe is the polished marble look in large-format porcelain tiles, which look exactly like the real thing but are much more affordable and durable than genuine marble. Italtile has over 50 types of marble tile – and they also come in the super new size of 1,200 x 1,200 mm.
Wood-look tiles, meanwhile, infuse warmth into your bathroom, and the long, slender plank-type tiles of 150 x 1,200 mm add to the timber flooring look.
Mosaic tiles are available in an amazing variety of shapes, colours, textures and designs, so your choice has never been more personalised or more expressive. ‘An interesting way to use mosaic tiles is to insert them in a random way,’ suggests Liza Watermeyer at Tile Africa. ‘So, you might create a bespoke feature using just a few sheets of the mosaic tile.’
Then there are the neutrals. ‘Neutrals never go out of fashion, as they offer longevity of style. The most popular neutrals are various shades of grey, beige, creams and whites,’ says Johnny Lamprecht from Bathroom Bizarre.
Colourful baths and basins
There is a huge shift away from the usual white glazed porcelain, with matt black at the forefront of this trend, but other colours, like racing-car green and red, are catching up.
The black Kate Woburn bath by Libra Bathrooms (in the LIXIL Africa group) is a work of art in its own right, offering home owners with an eye for design a handcrafted piece made to order in South Africa.
The washbasin can also be the show-stopping centrepiece in your bathroom. ‘The latest fashion for basins is that they are a lot bigger and more of a statement piece in the bathroom, as many people are no longer putting in baths,’ says Danielle Sterling from Sterlings.
The Artist Editions washbasins by Kohler Africa, for example, are individually crafted one-of-a-kind creations from a range of materials.
Metallic colours continue to surprise in sanitaryware – Bathroom Bizarre has a range of metallic basins, and the GROHE Essence Spa Colours range features taps, mixers and showerheads with 10 possible combinations of colours and finishes. ‘They work perfectly in high and middle contrast environments, as well as in tone-on-tone designs,’ says Michelle Lowe from Grohe Dawn.
Modern toilets – with either an exposed or a built-in cistern – should come with – at least – a dual-flush mechanism. Standard dual- flush toilets use between four and six litres per flush, but newer models can use much less than that. One of the more water-efficient toilets on the market, says Gill Lomas of Your Space Bathrooms, is Vitra. ‘All our Vitra toilets flush out at 2.5 litres or 4 litres,’ she adds.
Great water-saving features are also in the Torino 74 cistern, for use with wall-hung toilets, available at Italtile. ‘Its delayed filling mechanism saves 300 ml water – unlike some comparative products,’ says Nicole Russell of Italtile.
For toilets that don’t have a double-flush mechanism, you can buy the KT1 – WDI dual-flush mechanism, available at Bathroom Bizarre.
Cobra, meanwhile, has just launched Focus – mixers and bath spouts fitted with the award-winning MIKADO flow restrictor that restricts water flow to 1.9 litres per minute.
Most shower roses are also manufactured with eco-credentials top of mind, so flow rates start from as little as nine litres per minute.
Sleek, smart toilets
With home technology on the rise, toilets are smarter than ever, with minimal interruption to the overall bathroom space.
The latest toilets have a minimal footprint with programmable settings for cleaning, seat temperature and cover opening. A hand- held or wall-mounted touch-screen remote offers adjustable spray, temperature and drying functions. Water temperature, water spray intensity and spray wand position can all be adjusted, and after use, the remote control can be placed back in its wall holder. Duravit’s SensoWash toilet, which is available at Ferreiras, offers a choice of wash functions – Rearwash, Ladywash and Comfortwash – while GROHE’s award-winning Sensia Arena and Kohler’s Veil intelligent toilet range feature similar functions