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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”