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ISH 2019: 12 colour trends win the race in the bathroom

Dec 10, 2018

Lifestyle is still the dominant notion behind the trends for the bathroom – and ISH 2019 will be exhibiting more shades of colour than ever before. This is how planners and industry alike are responding to the desire for individually designed, ultra-modern bathrooms, with an ever increasing variety of finishes and surprising effects. And the demand for variety is equally in evidence when it comes to materials, too: along with wood, it is marble and new kinds of metallic finishes that now play the major role. This trend applies equally to taps and mixers, furniture, surfaces and accessories.

From 2019 onwards, individually designed bathrooms will include more colour. The ‘Pop up my Bathroom’ trend show at the heart of ISH demonstrates this in a close-knit and, at the same time, multifaceted display. The multicoloured approach is one that is being used deliberately as a design element for ‘lifestyle bathrooms’. Traditional ways of looking at things are turned on their head and worked in with various dominant stronger colours, including splashes of paint.

At ISH 2019 there will be some colourfully challenging bathrooms to be seen – from brightly coloured sanitary ceramics to transparent bathroom furniture in blue and green.

From 2019 onwards, 12 colour trends will be making the running in the bathroom. ISH, the world’s leading trade fair for HVAC + Water, will showcase them as part of the Trend Show ‘Pop up my Bathroom’. (Source: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitärwirtschaft e.V. (VDS); Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)
From 2019 onwards, 12 colour trends will be making the running in the bathroom. ISH, the world’s leading trade fair for HVAC + Water, will showcase them as part of the Trend Show ‘Pop up my Bathroom’. (Source: Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitärwirtschaft e.V. (VDS); Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH)

Whilst, in recent decades, minimalist restraint in the colours used signalled elegance and an awareness of design, today it is the courageous use of colour that counts. At the same time, colour in the bathroom does not necessarily mean exorbitant colourfulness – the shift from the dominance of white to a neutral spectrum of browns and greens, of mixed shades, or strong tone-on-tone colour concepts also represent an evolutionary step in the direction of the ‘lifestyle bathroom’.

Grey provides a contrast to richer colour tones. The trend towards a modern bathroom with long-term durability is encouraging the use of this gentler shade. Grey is, after all, an ideal starting point for a neutral interior décor. This mid-shade is no newcomer to the bathroom. But, in the upcoming season, it is precisely the greys that will find their place in the timeless modern bathroom. Grey – a mix of white, black with a touch of secrecy - proves itself a multi-talented shade that can complement practically any and every colour family.

And the colour palette of modern architectural and interior design would be unthinkable without the inclusion of greige; it reminds us of the natural surroundings, the country house and is also a little reminiscent of the flooring in a New York loft. It goes equally well with a light-hearted vintage look as it does with a minimalist industrial style. The word greige is a neologism that derives from its two components: grey and beige. It is, therefore, typical of the colour principle that is setting the tone in this current trend in bathroom colours: a colour mix that provides a modern, neutral base shade and has a strongly harmonising effect. Greige is a good example of a whole category of bathroom colours, which have established a long-lasting connection to a second colour and created something new.

At the same time, we are seeing the comeback of various shades of brown. Increasingly, interior designers are choosing neutral and warm natural colours, in order to make the bathroom cosier. Rather like the use of grey, the rule is: don’t just choose a boring plain colour. The secret lies in the underlying tones – be it mud, clay or terracotta; bronze or rust; olive, pine forest or cedarwood; powder or taupe. Brown can be interpreted in two ways: either as an organically inspired spectrum, that is frequently combined with natural materials to create a harmonious colour palette or as an allusion to past styles, that is used to artistic effect.

As befits a warm colourway, gold creates optical highlights in the bathroom. Along with platinum and copper, this precious metal has become a ready highlight of bathroom design. Thus, for instance, wash basins are plated with genuine gold leaf and walls, too, are painted in shades of gold.

Black continues to constitute a clear statement of individuality. This trend, which originated in furnishings, is finding more and more enthusiasts in the bathroom. Black is noble, elegant and modern at one and the same time. In a mix of materials with marble – black-and-white, or green stone, which is particularly popular at the moment – and leather, black has turned into an extravagant classic. In a more rustic combination with lacquered metal furniture, wood and concrete, on the other hand, black is a fitting accompaniment for an industrial style. Even the tap manufacturers are going with this trend. New manufacturing techniques make it possible to offer darker colour gradients down to deep black.

Those seeking exciting colour combinations without any hint of garishness are venturing onto the supreme heights of the art of bathroom design: putting together several colours to create a harmonious overall effect. Colourways that represent a combination of several colours of the same brightness and quality are the most demanding and, at the same time, most individual in this context. But it can be done in all areas of colour. The important thing is that one colour should set the tone and three or four others then work together to help create the harmony of the overall impression.

With boldly chosen colours, tone-on-tone colour concepts can indeed create a calm aura. With this arrangement, one colour in the mix takes on the dominant role in the design. At all events, for interior design purposes, the use of monochrome effects rarely means the creation of surfaces with only one colour; rather it involves a gradation of surfaces with various shadings and nuances of a single colour. With the absence of contrast, this results in an understated sense of depth, whereby the monochrome technique develops a hugely expressive impact.

A parallel trend is the bathroom bathed in green. This trend felicitously reflects our longing for a natural environment, in which nature is felt to be mankind’s original home. On the other hand, green is, in any case, a popular colour that is very much on trend at the moment and which creates an interesting mood, particularly when combined with plants. And, by using individual products like, for instance, a free-standing bathtub, the bathroom designer can make an unmistakeable statement.

Pastel shades, too, are on trend in the furnishings sector. Mint, rose-pink and light blue create a friendly, welcoming effect and provide colourful accents. Pastel bathrooms evoke a beautiful new world – sometimes overtly trendy, sometimes dreamy, but always with a hint of escapism. If pink is combined with brown fittings – perhaps a light wood floor or corresponding tiles – this emphasises cosiness.

Blue is becoming increasingly popular in European countries. It is a colour that has a relaxing effect, reminding us of the expanse of sky and stretches of water. Paint manufacturers have modernised the palette of blues considerable in recent years. What have emerged are not only innovative paints for the walls; there are new kinds of paint for tiles that make for a cosy feel. And the rediscovery of marble in interior design is encouraging the use of blue sanitaryware.

White is the traditional bathroom colour. White stands for cleanliness and has been dominant for decades, sometimes, too, as the starting point for a whole host of design approaches. 45 percent of the German population opt for this timeless basic colour – a colour that goes with anything. One can easily understand the thinking behind it: products for the bathroom must sparkle for as long as possible – sparkling clean and in a gleaming colour. Over 80 percent of ceramic products sold in Germany are white. More recently, sanitaryware manufacturers have even been offering a range of different shades of white.

The ‘Pop up my Bathroom’ trend show will showcase, in its ‘Colour Selection’, the wide variety of possible applications of current trends in the use of colour for interior design in the sanitation sector. The special show is being organised as part of ISH 2019 by Messe Frankfurt and the Association of the German Sanitation Industry (Vereinigung der Deutschen Sanitärwirtschaft - VDS) and will be held in the Saal Europa, Hall 4.0, from 11 to 15 March 2019. In addition, ISH will be exhibiting an extensive range of products and services covering a variety of current issues in the sanitation industry and will be presenting innovative technical solutions for some of the key challenges in the sector. Amongst a host of other things scheduled for 2019, there will be a dedicated area in Hall 3.1 devoted to the question of demographic change and entitled ‘The therapeutic bathroom 2030’, where the trade and professional visitors to the show can gain hands-on experience and check out the exhibits for themselves.

Pop up my Bathroom press center

Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With over 2,400 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €669 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services.
With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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