The trend toward using natural materials in the home also reflects a growing desire to balance the many aspects of our lives: work and play, family and personal time. It’s the contrast of smooth countertops and textured tile backsplashes or a stone hearth against a polished hardwood floor. Everywhere you look, the trend of everything that’s familiar and natural is appearing in today’s homes--especially in the bathroom.
Natural necessitiesWhen choosing a sink or faucet, look for smooth, organic shapes similar to those found in nature. The delicate, arched handle and curved spout of the Vas® ceramic faucet, for example, mimic the petals and stem of a flower.
While organic-shaped faucets offer visual reminders of the natural world, some expand the experience to other senses. WaterTile® Ambient Rain™ flows water from overhead, invoking the gentle, soothing touch of a rainshower.
Material worldHoned stones such as granite, quartz, soapstone, Jerusalem stone and marble are popular for countertops because they soften hard edges. In addition, they complement the woods often used in bathroom cabinetry.
Many nature-inspired colors and textures are available now, including realistic stone-like finishes, engineered quartz, versatile concrete and warm woods such as cherry. Eco-friendly materials can also be used. Many homeowners prefer recycled glass, paper or concrete for a look that's both natural and green.
Tile is another opportunity to mix color, tone, texture and motif. Glass, ceramic, stone and marble tiles each deliver their own natural feel, and can be mixed and matched to create a unique mural in the shower or on the wall.
Bathroom sinks come in a range of materials, including bronze, glass, and cast iron. Some decorated sinks draw inspiration straight from nature directly onto the basin.
Take advantage of this variety by choosing more than one surface. Because natural materials complement one another, you can use different materials for the countertops in your vanity area, and yet another for your wall tiles and tub surround.
Cabinets and hardwareThe trend in bathroom furniture is toward adding soothing warmth to the space.
Also on the rise are warmer, earthier brown finishes. Dark, rich cabinetry is still in demand, but now homeowners are softening that look with glazes and highlights. These techniques are often applied to accent a difference in textures.
Choose hardware that contrasts or complements your cabinetry to create a natural balance. You can add drama with drawer pulls and handles without making a long-term color commitment. Replacing the hardware with a different color, finish or style at a later date can change the look of the room.
The extensive range of hardware that’s available today offers opportunities to support or enhance your style or color concept. An increasing number are being produced in antique bronze, for example, which integrates well with the natural materials of countertops and cabinetry.
Flooring, walls and window treatmentsAn array of natural flooring options is available, including limestone tiles in earth tones; authentic linoleum made with linseed oil; cork; bamboo and various hardwoods.
A shift is occurring in the intensity of wall colors. The change is toward nature-inspired colors in stronger hues.
Even window treatments are more natural now, featuring leaf-inspired rods and natural fabrics such as textured cotton and silk. These appeal to the eye, as well as the touch.
Part of the beauty of natural materials is that they are so varied, and can be used in your home in so many ways. Whether you choose to work with granite, wood, marble, bamboo, slate or a combination, bringing the natural world into your home is sure to make it a more comfortable – and more stylish – place to live, work and play.
See designer Beth Slifer discuss her nature-inspired room for the Kohler Design Center:
Explore the room.