These changing demographic characteristics also impact how consumers use their baths, the prod­ucts they demand, and the looks and styles they favor. The retail markets of today offer the con­sumer and designer an unlimited array of choices for bathroom design. Although certain styles may go in and out of fashion, today’s selection of colors, materials, styles, sizes, and textures allows the designer to create a room to fit every preference and situation. As new trends are incorporated into the bathroom, you, as the designer, must always keep in mind that the bathroom is a very complex space to plan, and the fundamental characteristics of sanitation, ergonomics, and safety should always be considered.

In addition to population and demographic changes that may affect bathroom design, specific consumer preferences can greatly impact the bathroom projects your clients request. Surveys con­ducted by national trade magazines, associations, and manufacturers can give designers an idea of what consumers prefer in their bathroom. Just remember, tastes change quickly today.

Housing and Consumer Buying Trends

Design trends begin with general home trends. Surveys by the National Association of Home Build­ers (NAHB) and Better Homes and Gardens provide a profile of home trends and what people want in their homes. The average home size shrank to 2,480 square feet in 2009 as reported by NAHB, but the U. S. Census found the average home size to be at about 2,100 square feet. Builders expect homes to continue at this smaller size, averaging about 2,152 square feet in 2015. These smaller homes are not only desired by individuals 65 and older looking to downsize, but by the echo boomers interested in smaller, more affordable starter homes.

NAHB survey findings also show that the number of homes with three or more bathrooms declined for the first time since 1992. More builders plan to incorporate luxury features like master baths with multiple showerheads, and they will focus on energy-saving features. Many new homes of the future expected to have a master bedroom and bath on the first floor of two-story homes.

Nevertheless, surveys consistently show that bath remodeling remains one of the most popular remodeling projects. The primary goals of households who are remodeling a bathroom vary some­what from survey to survey, but generally include updating the appearance, adding new fixtures, and often, making the bath larger if possible.

A large percentage (65 percent) of the consumers surveyed wanted an additional bedroom with bath to accommodate the multigenerational household. Consumers would rather downplay the master bedroom suite and put more money into rooms like the bathroom. Consumers are also becoming more savvy buyers, taking a lot longer researching purchases and projects. Many con­sumers (58 percent) are "extremely reluctant" to spend money they do not have.

As a professional designer, you will find it beneficial to stay up to date on ever-changing consumer preferences, as well as style, material, and color trends, by reading consumer and trade magazines, visiting industry-related websites, and attending trade shows.

Updated: September 23, 2015 — 10:58 pm