As in this exaple by Bette with a wall in lilac and corresponding rug, color becomes a significant topic in lifestyle bathrooms, being used in decent shading.

Stylepark ISH 2019
In love with my bathroom

Customization and coziness are increasingly transforming bathrooms into living spaces. In 2019, ISH’s special show “Pop up my Bathroom” is focusing on experiencing current trends in color.

The average German spends 40 minutes per day in the bathroom, or so a representative forsa study conducted on behalf of VDS, the Association of the German Sanitary Industry reveals. So it would appear obvious to make this, the smallest room in the house, a more pleasant place to be. And, according to a recent statement about current trends in bathrooms, “anything goes, anything but white”. When the sanitary installation makers and air conditioning manufacturers meet up in Frankfurt once again for the ISH trade fair in mid-March there will be a particular focus on bathrooms – and this year this promises to be a particularly colorful event. At the world’s largest fair for water and HVAC the latest trends will be presented in a special show “Pop up my Bathroom” in the Saal Europa, Hall 4.0.

As in previous years, this exhibition highlighting current trends had been initiated by Messe Frankfurt in collaboration with VDS. The title of this year’s show is “Color Selection” and one of the highlights is personalization of bathroom design. Feel-good touches such as textile elements and solid wood furniture are accompanied by a new emphasis on color. This is in part reminiscent of the bathrooms of the 1980s but at the same time brings to bear a new focus on materiality – ranging from wood and marble to innovative metal surfaces and even transparency. With this in mind, VDS is issuing 12 trends colors in anticipation of the fair.

Villeroy & Boch bathtub "Oberon" with wooden cladding in front of natural stone

What we are expecting here is not a riot of colors but of tone-on-tone gradations from gentle pastel hues to bright shades of red. The smallest deviation from the standard white of the past decades is various shades of gray which can easily be combined with splashes of brilliant color. Next to this, greige, a mixture of gray and beige, can lend the bathroom the feel of a country cottage or hark back to a vintage industrial style, depending on how it is used. And shades of brown, colors such as mud, clay or terra-cotta are also back in play; in combination with natural materials, these can produce a particularly cozy effect. In this world of warm colors gold can add a touch of class. Black, be this ceramic paint or the delicate surface of a faucet, is also becoming more widespread, making the move from the living area into the bathroom itself.

From gray to black, marble and bold colors: Burgbad combines several bathroom trends in one.

However, to return to the vibrant colors – “Color is a central theme throughout the entire interior of a home,” explains Jens J. Wischmann, CEO of VDS, “And the colors available range from the monochrome to loud patterns. And it is only in bathroom that a reluctance to change this has been noticeable.” And now, the word is that, if used tone on tone, the effect produced by bold colors can even be to create a peaceful mood. One idea is for green, as a symbol of naturalness, to extend its dominance in the bathroom. And pastel hues, from mint to pink to pale blue, can – if combined in the right way, for example, with a wooden floor – underscore the comfortable feel of a bathroom.

Nevertheless, it is definitely not the case that all those gray and white color combinations need to be consigned to the trash can of history. Nobody has to be afraid of seeming old-fashioned if they prefer the most neutral of colors. As many as 45 percent of Germans opt for white for their bathrooms as a timeless, universally combinable basic shade. And 80 percent of ceramic products sold are white. Sanitary ware manufacturers even stock various shades of white. And anyone thinking of taking the plunge should, according to Wischmann, stick to the following rule: “if color is to play an important role in designing a lifestyle bathroom, users should be guided by a key tone or color combination. The result is a color collage – and all the other materials and surfaces should take their lead from this basic color scheme and harmonize with one another.”

Alongside the special show the trend forum, with its lectures by experts, devotes itself to the meaning of colors in the bathroom. And if all this concentrated information bears fruit the amount of time that people spend in the bathroom and the feel-good factor look set to reach new heights. (mh)

Messegelände Frankfurt/Main
March 11 to 15, 2019

Pop up my Bathroom
Hall 4.0, Saal Europa

Opening hours:
March 11 to 14, 2019: 9 AM – 6 PM
March 15, 2019: 9 AM – 5 PM (open to the public)

Bathroom refinement: Gold can add a touch of class.
Depending on combination, greige, a mixture of gray and beige, can lend the bathroom the feel of a country cottage or hark back to a vintage industrial style.