Why wood is the material of the moment when it comes to bathrooms

BathroomsFeatures Thu 11th Jan 2024 by Nicola Hanley

Why wood is the material of the moment when it comes to bathrooms

Why wood is the material of the moment when it comes to bathrooms

Feature by Nicola Hanley | Thu 11th Jan 2024

Nicola is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about interiors for 15 years. A former editor of Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business magazine, she has also worked in PR and is now a freelance writer specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. More

Wood is taking centre stage as homeowners look to go au naturel when creating chic, spa-style sanctuaries – Nicola Hanley looks at the trend and how it’s influencing bathroom design.

Wood, in all sorts of guises, is making its mark in the bathroom. When it comes to flooring, furniture, walls or even baths, this versatile material is cropping up more and more, giving designers scope to get creative. It’s not a new trend, but it is one that has gained momentum as consumers increasingly embrace mindful living and prioritise health and wellness by transforming their bathroom spaces into stylish havens of relaxation.

Havwoods’ reclaimed Veneer planks can be used on walls to add depth and interest to bathroom designs. In cool greys and off-whites, the Boreas Vertical planks seen here are perfect for Scandi-inspired schemes

“The use of wood and timber-effect materials is a dominant trend in bathroom aesthetics at the moment,” says Julie Lockwood, furniture product manager at Bathrooms to Love by PJH. “The natural, outdoor styling trend continues to influence interior design, especially in bathrooms. This ‘natural’ biophilic theme brings the outdoors into our homes and with it an idea of promoting calm and relaxation. Natural materials such as wood, stone and plant life, along with earthy, muted shades are the perfect partner to complement crisp white bathroom ceramics – the look is clean and fresh.”

New from PJH’s Bathrooms to Love brand, the Volta Oak modular furniture range features a contemporary oak-effect finish, which adds a warm, textured look to the bathroom. It is pictured on a double wall-hung basin unit

“There has always been a demand for a wood offering but what has changed over the years and become a growing trend is the desire for wood-effect to look and feel as realistic as possible,” agrees Helen Clark, head of marketing at Utopia Bathrooms. “Gone are the days of those very artificial looking wood-effect foils and laminates.”

Launched earlier this year in response to demand for authentic, natural woodgrains, Utopia’s Dorchester Oak finish features golden tones and subtle grain texture. It is seen here on the company’s Nadia fitted furniture

Kerri Asker, senior designer at Ripples’ Winchester showroom adds that wood can introduce character and personality to a space. “It provides warmth and feels inviting, which is very much in-keeping with the trend of people creating spa bathrooms.” She says that Ripples is finding clients are increasingly keen to create more homely bathroom spaces that link seamlessly with other rooms within the home. “We’re seeing fewer tiles and shiny materials, which can make a room feel quite clinical, and more texture and warmth.” 

This reclaimed vanity unit made from lacquered oak was incorporated into a client’s new bathroom by Ripples Winchester, who were keen to add unique pieces in keeping with an older-style home

Nick Duggan, managing director at The Radiator Centre, also comments on the natural warmth that wood can bring to a room and its ability to create a more homely, inviting atmosphere. “It’s important to choose the right type of wood, but when properly sealed or treated, wood can be a durable and long-lasting material in the bathroom,” he says.

Bringing wooden accents to the bathroom, the Fender towel rail from The Radiator Centre is made from mild steel and comes with beech, oak or teak shelves. It is available in a choice of sizes with heat outputs ranging from 173 – 707W

With sustainability high on the consumer agenda, a material’s longevity is proving more important. “There is a definite heightened awareness of sustainability with consumers looking to purchase products that are designed to last much longer and be more sympathetic to the environment,” says Utopia Bathrooms’ Helen Clark.

Inspired by natural materials such as wood, these Chalkwood bathroom panels are from Bushboard’s waterproof Nuance range, which offers panels in a range of decors and textures

“People are striving for a more sustainable way to refurbish their homes,” agrees Ripples Winchester’s Kerri Asker. “So something that has a history, character and tells a story, whilst doing its bit for the planet, has to be a win.”

Ideal for clients looking to introduce a touch of contemporary Scandi-style to their bathrooms, Naturewall’s SlatWall Waterproof panels in a Natural Oak and Black finish are 2.4m tall and are designed for high-moisture commercial and residential spaces

Designer and consumers should ensure they know how the wood is sourced if they are looking for a more sustainable solution, notes The Radiator Centre’s Nick Duggan. “Choosing sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood for bathroom elements can contribute to a more environmentally conscious design,” he says. “And there are many ways to add wooden elements to a bathroom, from adding smaller wooden accessories to using it more prominently in vanity units, cabinetry or worktops.”

Handmade from smooth, untreated cedar wood, the Japanese-inspired Urufo bath from Indigenous is a short, steep-sided tub made for relaxation. It comes in 980mm or 1270mm x 660mm x 770mm versions

Joss Thomas, Indigenous’ founder and designer, agrees. “Wood provides options for all types of homes and interior styles. It can be included as a small feature of it can steer a room’s design.” He believes that the trend for wood in the bathroom is here to stay and will only grow as consumers become more eco-focussed. And it’s a view shared by others, too. Helen Clark says wood will always have a significant presence in Utopia’s portfolio. “What will change over the years, in-line with interior design trends, is the type, colour and the grain of wood.”

Textured fittings and furniture look set to remain popular into 2024 and beyond and Crosswater’s Limit bathroom furniture range, which comes in Modern Oak, pictured, and Steelwood finishes is perfect for consumers looking to create a Japandi-style bathroom

Ripples Winchester’s Kerri Asker gets the final word: “Natural materials like wood, marble and stone never really go out of fashion. They are a staple that will not date and a timeless choice.”

Offering homeowners the look of oak flooring without the ongoing maintenance, Multipanel’s Aspen Oak Click flooring can be used in wetrooms and bathrooms. It is newly available with a 30-year warranty


Tags: bathrooms, features, wood, wood effect, natural finishes

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