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How to Design a Chic Modern Bathroom

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Who doesn’t like a clean bathroom? With modern design principles, you can put together a stunning bathroom that radiates cleanliness from its very base! That’s why so many people—homeowners as well as hospitality professionals—choose this aesthetic for bathrooms regardless of the style of the residence. Because the space is inherently set apart and closed off, you don’t have to worry about it clashing with the rest of the house. You’re free to create the sanctuary you want, so here’s how to build the modern bathroom of your dreams!

American Standard Townsend Freestanding Tub

The Townsend Freestanding Tub from American Standard has sculpted clean lines and a unique shape that allows it to sit against a wall to save space. You’ll love its high-gloss acrylic construction, too!

Brighter Is Better

The colors you choose set the tone. It’s common to see white everything—flooring, paint, tile, sanitaryware—with polished chrome or nickel fixtures. This look is so popular because it offers an ambiance both bold and clean, and it can even visually enlarge the space. Openness is one of the most important tenets of modern design, so you don’t want anything to feel too close if you can help it. Dousing the room in white and reflective surfaces helps create a spacious feel, but don’t be afraid to mix it up if you need balance. Consider a darker floor so the room seems to open up from below, darker grout to enhance the lines between tile, or dark matte fixture finishes to pop against the light backdrop. You can’t go wrong with a grayscale palette, but natural wood tones also look great and add a nice organic touch.

If white walls seem too plain or harsh, explore a variety of modern bathroom designs to find an aesthetic that works for you. Light sandy tones are very popular because they offer a gentle neutral base that’s warm rather than cool—perfect for those who think modern design is too cold. If you want some actual color, subdued blue and green tones work well. No matter what you like, remember to take a step back and view the whole picture with all windows open and lights on. It should be bright rather than dim. The super dark and saturated bathroom images you find online are professionally designed and staged primarily for photography purposes—they aren’t meant to suggest palettes for residential use. If in doubt, consult with an interior designer.

DXV Modulus Bathroom Collection

The DXV Modulus Bathroom Collection includes everything you need to configure a sleek and functional bathroom. This example uses a double countertop slab in Natural Oak, 55-inch double bathroom sink with vanity tray, single-handle faucets, and two wall-mounted drawer units for an open feel with slim profiles and floating features.

Sleek Lines and Shapes

Whether used to describe architecture or furniture, modern is almost synonymous with having clean lines. The basic shape of each piece makes identification automatic. If you’ve shopped for finishing products recently, you’ve noticed the sudden influx of modern lighting and plumbing fixtures—they stand out due to their unique geometry and profiles. Striking modern forms result from simplified lines, but those lines can be straight, angled, or curved, so there’s much style variation and you won’t be stuck for lack of options.

Everything has lines and you should think about how sharp or smooth you want them to be. Modern soaking tubs, for example, tend to have more square or swoopy shapes than standard. The same is true of sinks and toilets, too. Faucets might be extremely angular or rounded, or exhibit a mix of both from the body, to the spout, to the handles. There’s only one bathroom feature that almost everybody agrees on, and that’s the frameless stall shower. Not only does this practically erase its lines completely, but it also contributes to a more visually open space. Whether it’s just a large swinging glass door on a tile shower or the stall has three glass walls, it makes a huge difference compared to a regular sliding door or using a curtain. So, think about the shapes you want to stand out in the bathroom—most designs tend toward one end of the spectrum from sharp to smooth, but you can add a pop of variety if you’d like.

GROHE F-Digital Deluxe

The F-Digital Deluxe shower system from GROHE creates multi-sensory spa experiences in the comfort of your own home. You can change the colored lighting, turn on the steam feature, and even stream audio from your Apple or Android device. It looks awesome from outside—imagine being inside!

Advanced Technology

While not strictly necessary to design a good modern bathroom, many homeowners love to add extra functionality where they can. If you’re going to make use of modern technology, the bathroom is a good place to invest—automatic faucets reduce the spread of germs, and bidet toilets that offer a better clean are finally starting to catch on in the United States. Technology can help create a healthier home and family, so be sure to look at the options with an open mind. Different models use different methods—touch vs. IR sensors, buttons vs. remote control—so even technophobes could be interested.

If you love the latest and greatest features, rest assured you’ll find them in the most modern packages. You can enhance every piece of the bathroom to make it more functional. Imagine underfloor heating to warm up cold tile at the flip of a switch, a tub that heats to maintain the optimum temperature, or a shower with a steam feature to create your own personal sauna. Some fixtures use Bluetooth to keep you connected and even play music or podcasts while you get ready. It’s a big, advanced shift in the world of bathrooms, and you’ll find lots to discover!

Designing the perfect bathroom begins with what you have to work with. If this space is a priority for you, check out our Great Master Suites House Plan Collection to find a home that gives you plenty to personalize and enjoy! We can also help you modify any of our house plans if need be, so don’t hesitate to contact us!