Shelley Ferguson hosted The Block NZ and is an award winning magazine editor. Using her love of interiors she now has her own interior design business. Together with Newshub Shelley is running a six part online series called Your Place – where you’ll discover the latest styling trends and tips.
As the most used and looked at rooms in the house kitchens and bathrooms deserve attention to detail with design. But how do you create a current look while also achieving a timelessness that lasts? The answer is prioritising your personal style and the lifestyle you want to live at your place. Here are five trends based on personalised spaces.
The biggest current bathroom trend is a feat of technology. Large sheets of tile up to three metres high are being produced in stunning designs to mimic stone like marble and granite. These sheets are made from hardwearing porcelain with a thin profile to make cutting them to fit different bathroom spaces possible. The result is less lines, less interruptions of pattern and therefore less visual clutter, creating a calming effect of being surrounded by nature.
Alternatively, using the same tile on the floor and walls and extending it into the shower is a great way to keep the surface going, teamed with a frameless custom glass door. If you’ve got little spaces, tiling floor to ceiling in small tiles can actually make the room look bigger than one wall of small feature tiles. A popular option is beautiful mosaics like the Bisazza range from Tile Space that surround you in beautiful colour and texture. Go light for a more open feel, however many designers are choosing to embrace the enveloping feel of a little room by cladding it in dark tiles.
If you’ve got a large bathroom take a wet room approach and ditch the glass door altogether! Feature tiles in geometrics, metallics and dusky colours are still a popular option, especially in one key area like the bathroom floor teamed with a larger more neutral tile on the wall.
Pro tip: Installing a cavity slider in a small bathroom saves space and makes spatial planning easier.
Bathroom design is being used to create havens to get away from the pressures of everyday life, and natural light is one way to create that calm, relaxing, healthy feel. If privacy isn’t an issue keep your windows unobstructed, if not louvres or clouded glass provide privacy while still letting light in.
If you don’t have windows, consider adding a skylight that can be opened for ventilation and allows you to look up to the stars. You don’t need many accessories in a well-designed bathroom but a couple of interesting natural details like a carved wooden stool or woven baskets add that natural feel. A simple grouping of hand wash and body lotion in beautiful bottles adds a bespoke feel, and plump towels in a quality thread count ups the pamper factor. Bring the outdoors in by positioning trailing plants on high ledges in your bathroom to create that rainforest feel.
Choose plants that are easy to maintain and like moist environments, and trailing or crawling plants that create that lush tropical feel. A favourite is Devil’s Ivy, a great plant for beginners that’s tough, will tolerate low light levels, is easy to look after and has a stunning cascading effect. Other Devil’s Ivy varieties are available with mottled yellow or cream colours to go with different colour schemes. Another crawler is the Chain Of Hearts with its delicate heart-shaped leaves – the chains can reach several metres long creating a calming effect perched high in a bathroom. During the warmer months when plants are actively growing feed them regularly with Yates Thrive Indoor Liquid Plant Food to supply nutrients, support healthy growth and green up leaves. Succulents require a slightly different type of feeding with Yates Thrive Plant Food Spikes for Cacti and Succulents – check out yates.co.nz/plants/indoor/ for everything you need to know about which plants will be happiest in the bathroom and how to care for them.
Pro tip: For a bushier more compact Devil’s Ivy plant, trim the tips and plant these cuttings into moist Yates Indoor Potting Mix or a glass of water to create freebie new baby plants!
Creative and unique
Kitchens and bathrooms went through a phase of being very minimal, white and utilitarian. This is changing in 2020 as people seek to express unique personality through their home and see the extensive design options on offer. Kitchens and bathrooms are being designed like living rooms, including pattern, colour, panelled cabinetry, metallics and luxe accessories like orchids to create a tailored and elegant look. Thanks to the advancements in lighting technology, bespoke and integrated bathroom lighting is a top trend in 2020. Rather than keeping lighting restricted to bright downlights, we are now seeing layers of lighting in bathrooms just as we do in living rooms.
A combination of downlights, a feature pendant (or even chandelier!) and wall lights provide great task lighting. Clever mirrors like the LEDlux Halo mirror Light feature integrated LED lighting with dimming and colour changing function so you can personalise the effect. You can also have LED strips installed under cabinetry or hidden within ceiling bulkheads to achieve luxurious and spacious atmosphere. We are seeing tiles in a more varied range than ever before, with metallics, natural stone-look, glazed colours and large format slabs popular options to create a rich, warm and elegant effect. People are styling their kitchens and bathrooms to reflect their hobbies like baking and wellness, adding a layer of personality to the space.
Pro tip: A large plant like Monstera or Fiddle Leaf Fig adds even more drama to a large statement kitchen! Plant yours in Yates Thrive Indoor Potting Mix and keep the nutrients coming by using Yates Thrive Plant Food Spikes (Plants & Ferns). Gently dust the foliage regularly and rotate every few weeks to promote even growth (they love to grow towards the sun).
Many designers are enjoying using lightly coloured cabinetry including pale greys, blues, greens and pinks to tie in with accents featured in tiles or benchtops. Benchtops and tiles are another way subtle colour will be introduced into kitchens and bathrooms in 2021, with nature-inspired stone and porcelains featuring beautiful veining in metallics, inky blues, emerald greens and pinks. Earthy kitchens and bathrooms with a tonal natural colour palette including glazed tiles and paint in muted colours teamed with natural stone and crafted timber details are also popular. Get inspired on new ideas and trends by picking up a copy of habitat by Resene magazine or check out the amazing Resene Instagram (@resenecolour).
Pro tip: A tonal palette with the benchtop, cabinetry, paint and tiles in the same hue can make small kitchens look bigger, as there is less contrast and visual lines.
While the stark minimalism of the nineties included lots of bright white, chrome and reflective surfaces, the new minimalism is softer and more welcoming. There is a big emphasis on clever storage to maximise every space like high touch-to-open cabinets and internal drawers that hold more than cupboards. The ’make my life easier’ smart home trend is helping to clear the clutter in kitchen and bathroom design too, with smart fridges, sensor lighting, automatically flushing toilets and bathroom mirrors that demist themselves on the rise along with appliances connected to smart phone apps. As a result of clever technology and design the surfaces and lighting are left to become the heroes with little else on show.
White paints are popular as ever, but many are choosing warmer, softer whites for this look in eight, quarter or half strengths, with no gloss finishes in sight (pick up a Resene Whites and Neutrals palette for inspiration). Tiles are matte, large and neutral with textures that mimic sandstone or plastered concrete. Furniture is pale but features curves and lots of textured fabric like velvet and boucle for comfort. Lighting is sleek, large, modern and low profile in white painted metal, glass or gold and features LED technology. LED lights are a gamechanger in the lighting industry as they’re much smaller and last significantly longer than traditional bulbs, making them a great option if you’re going to the expense of wiring in new lighting you want to last. LEDs also light up more quickly, use less energy and are environmentally-friendly.
Lighting Direct is leading the way with a range of minimalist LED pendants - my favourite is the sleek and streamlined look of the Avenue pendant in high-end brass. In bathrooms there is a trend towards wiring in wall lights that match the pendant lights and table lamps in the home to achieve high-end hotel style and a practical and flattering effect on the face.
Pro tip: Lighting Direct’s new Ledlux track spots are on a 2.4 meter track and have moveable spot heads, allowing you to direct light to task areas like kitchen benches. You can also click extra spot heads into the track.
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