Living trends

Disappearing boundaries between bathroom and living room

From the wet room to the wellness oasis - bathrooms are becoming larger, more comfortable and more individual. This long-standing trend is leading more and more manufacturers to develop furniture for bathrooms that also fits into the kitchen or living room - or vice versa.

Dec 01 2020

"Whether coloured wallpaper or tiles: Even for the basic equipment customers are spending more and more money. Because in the bathroom, people can really let their mind wander and forget about everyday life," reports the trade magazine Trend & Style. "Extensive showering, peeling or wellness are more popular than ever in one's own four walls".  

This will not change even with a (long-awaited and sometime coming) end of the Covid 19 pandemic problem, because the trend is not new: "In bathroom furnishings in particular, we have observed a strong trend towards individualisation in recent years," explains Jens J. Wischmann, Managing Director of the Association of German Sanitation Industry (Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitärwirtschaft - VDS). 

"Because the bathroom is opening up more often to the adjoining living areas, furniture is no longer just simple storage space in which everything can be quickly hidden away when unexpected visitors come. Rather, they are increasingly involved in the design process and, thanks to intelligent interior design, are themselves always tidy." 

If there is order in paradise, the soul can dangle better. All storage space solutions are designed to channel potential chaos into aesthetic paths without restricting the bathroom. Light-looking cupboard furniture from Burgbad does just that. © Association of German Sanitary Industry (VDS) / © Burgbad

Big brands, big successes 

The editors of Trend & Style have observed that many large companies are picking up on the trend towards the homely bathroom. Brands such as Villeroy & Boch are increasingly developing washbasins, toilets or bathroom cabinets as design products that score points through colour and material. Duravit is developing its own chic bathroom collection together with star designer Philippe Starck and many other companies are coming onto the market with accessories and unusual furniture for bathroom design. 

ambista members such as Burgbad and Emco Bad also benefit from the demand for individual bathroom furnishings. For more than 70 years of its existence, the German company Burgbad has established itself as a bathroom furniture specialist and market leader for individual solutions in the premium sector. 

It confirms the trend that the boundaries between bathroom and living are continuing to dissolve and is developing correspondingly specific bathroom products, whether by equipping a classic mirror cabinet range with an innovative lighting concept or by reinterpreting the bathroom with a patented reclining position of a new bathtub. 

In 2020, Burgbad has launched a sensational furniture range, a design world of glass and colour. "rgb" is the name of the modular system with which a whole range of very different applications can be put together from just a few elements - from the living room shelf to the corridor cloakroom or the kitchen module to the bathroom washbasin. In this way, Burgbad is also moving into the attention of new target groups. "We are furniture makers - that is our core competence. The fact that we have specialised in the bathroom does not mean that we are not also interested in other markets relevant to interior design," explains Burgbad board member Jörg Loew.

Young and older people in particular are renovating their bathrooms

According to a Forsa study, since 2012 a total of 17 percent of all German citizens have either completely (12 percent) or partially (5 percent) renovated their bathroom. Young and older people renovate their bathrooms more often than the age group between 30 and 44: 18 percent of those under 30 invest time, money and work in their bathroom, as do 18 percent of the 60-plus generation. 

At the end of 2018, Fachschriften-Verlag presented the results of a study which, according to its own statements, is the "most comprehensive study in the target group of private builders and renovators". It covers over nine million home owners in Germany who are planning (major) renovations in their properties by 2020. 

According to the survey, the most important motives for refurbishment are the desire to improve the quality of living (80 percent), visual enhancement (75 percent) and maintaining or increasing value (73 percent). 49 percent cited barrier-free, age-appropriate renovation as the reason - eight percentage points more than in 2016.  

In the furnishing sector, the bathroom clearly maintained its position as the investment favourite in the study with 38 percent. Despite an increase to 27 percent, the kitchen had to be content with second place. With roller shutters or blinds (20 percent) and interior doors (19 percent), the next best only achieved about half of the bathroom quota. Jens J. Wischmann from the VDS sees this as confirmation: "This impressive vote (confirms) once again the high relevance of the bathroom for people's personal well-being".

Opening up to the bathroom trend can therefore be worthwhile, because people always adapt their bathrooms to their personal needs. And almost half of all Germans have a separate WC next to the bathroom. If they want all their sanitary rooms to be more stylish and cosy, there is a lot of potential for the furniture industry.

Anyone who has decided to spend more time and holidays in their own country in 2020 to protect themselves against viruses and their spread can do so in their own bathroom at home and dream of distant places with souvenirs from all over the world. © Association of German Sanitation Industry (VDS) / © Burgbad

Technical requirements for the new all-rounders 

Furniture in the bathroom is exposed to moisture and water vapour and therefore requires robust and easy-care surfaces that can withstand these. The same applies to drawers and their inserts. Here too, security against humidity and corrosion is required. Mirrors and accessories must also be protected against moisture with sealed edges, advise the VDS professionals in their blog 

For hinges they recommend anodised aluminium, which has a decisive influence on the function and durability of the furniture, as well as exact adjustment. This is the only way to prevent furniture from sagging even after years, doors continue to match the carcass and drawers can be closed easily and flush even when heavy and full. Stable corner joints, solidly coated shelves and flush-mounted guide rails also contribute to this. 

An important detail that always goes down well with bathroom renovators are the legs and plinths, which can be used to compensate for uneven floors and adjust heights to the height of the bathroom user. Individuality is the order of the day at all levels and what it looks like in the years to come. 

Author: Christine Sommer-Guist 

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