Which Bathroom Design Trends Are Still In & Which Are Out, According To HGTV Stars

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Bathroom designs have seen some real highs and lows over the decades. From the 1970s avocado green porcelain plumbing fixtures and wall-to-wall carpeting in the wettest room in the house to the shiny, pristine, all-white restrooms (and entire homes) of today's biggest social media influencers, this humble room has been through it all. Thankfully, modern bathroom design tends to be more practical than some of the fashions we've seen in the past, but this doesn't mean that what's popular for the WC isn't still changing, or that the current trends are timeless. There are many modern home décor trends that won't age well, including certain popular bathroom features. 

According to a few of the brightest stars of HGTV, several design features commonly seen in bathrooms today are already out of fashion, while others are holding strong or moving in. If you struggle to keep up with design trends but don't like the idea of your home becoming outdated, you can depend on these designers to do the sleuthing for you. Just be sure that you're keeping up with bathroom design trends because it makes you happy with your home, and not solely because you expect the renovations to add value. According to Clever Real Estate, the return on investment when it comes to bathroom updates can often be lower than expected. 

Out: builder-grade vanity lights

For decades, builder-grade vanity lights have been considered standard bathroom illumination. While there is certainly nothing objectively wrong with the lights that have helped so many get their hair and makeup precisely applied under a bright glow, the time has come to move on. According to HGTV star Jenny Marrs, hanging a pendulum light over each mirror can provide a much more modern take on your bathroom design.

In Season 4, Episode 10 of her hit design show, "Fixer to Fabulous", HGTV's Jenny Marrs has a unique solution for outdated bathroom vanity lights: Installing pendants. Admiring the finished product, she marvels over the transformation. "With the new fixtures, new shower door, new pendant lights and the warmth of the wood on the cabinetry," she explains on the couple's blog, "the look is completely updated with a clean Swiss-inspired style." While the lighting swap was only one part of the makeover, the impact it has in updating the feel of the space is palpable. If you're renting or simply don't want to call an electrician in justthis to reroute your bathroom wiring, you can achieve this look with plug-in pendant lights, such as these brass ones from Amazon. Not a fan of the cords? You can also get battery operated-versions from Amazon, like these wireless globe pendant lights

In: bold wallpaper

In recent years, pure white kitchens and bathrooms seem to have taken over, especially on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. However, the beginning of the end of that pristine trend may finally be in sight, thanks to a new, more colorful one that's fast emerging. Hilary Farr, designer and star of multiple HGTV shows, solidified her support for bathroom walls with personality when she posted a photo of her own "powder room" decked out in bold wallpaper on Instagram.

The wallpaper in question may not be brightly colored, but its wavy pattern has a major impact on the space. "I absolutely love how the powder room came together." Farr gushes in the caption of her Instagram post. "It's like walking into a giant geode," she continues before adding, "This gorgeous wallpaper transforms my powder room from really nice to fantastic!" With Farr's impressive run as the lead designer on HGTV's hit show "Love It or List It," we're not about to argue if she suggests that wallpaper is better than painting. Tempted to jump on the bold wallpaper bandwagon but too nervous to commit? Try a removable peel-and-stick variety like this vintage botanical print on Amazon. Or, recreate Farr's design with this geode pattern (non-removable), also from Amazon. 

Out: oversized corner bathtubs

There was a time when a bathroom basically required a very large corner tub in order to be considered luxurious. Unfortunately, the aesthetics of these bathtubs seem to have been prioritized over their functionality, resulting in a generation of largely unused, gigantic corner tubs relegated to oversized décor. Fortunately, that era appears to officially be ending, thanks to designers like Leslie Davis of HGTV's "Unsellable Houses." In Season 2, Episode 2 of the series, the hosts tackled an outdated home with a large corner tub.

The oversized bathtub was first on Davis' list of features that needed to be removed from the room to increase the chances of the house catching buyers' eyes. "Even though there was that huge soaking tub, it was really not usable," she explained (via Realtor) while revealing the bathtub's replacement: A fully tiled walk-in corner glass shower. The swap didn't just make the room look and feel more modern; it provided a more convenient, accessible option for the home's new owners. 

Out: fully enclosed showers

When it comes to home design, it's only natural for features that appear sturdy, built-in, and permanent to be considered higher value than those that seem more temporary. This concept went a bit too far, however, when homes started featuring fully enclosed showers nestled inside floor-to-ceiling walls. Completely entombed — other than a door for entering and exiting — these showers may have been considered high-class, but there is no denying how dark and downright claustrophobic it would likely feel to use one.

In Season 5, Episode 9 of HGTV's "Home Town," designer Erin Napier lamented the dark cavernous nature of the fully enclosed shower that was originally present in the home being renovated. "It had a wall that came all the way across before and there was just a small door," she describes (via HGTV on YouTube). "It was kind of a cave and really dark and a little creepy." In the end, Napier chose to replace the shower cave with a light, bright, modern glass shower stall.

In: porcelain instead of marble countertops

When you think of the most luxurious countertop material on the market, it's likely that marble at least enters the imagery your mind conjures up. Displaying such a beautiful, unique natural stone surface in your home has been considered a symbol of wealth and social status since marble adorned the temples of ancient Rome. The sleek, glossy surface, pure white color, and one-of-a-kind vein pattern found in Calacatta marble has reigned supreme for centuries, especially once modern cutting techniques made it an option for kitchen and bathroom countertops.

In today's era, however, the majority of homeowners need to balance budget constraints with aesthetics. Most have been hit hard by record inflation and are more cost-conscious than they've been in the past. Besides cost, homeowners also need to weigh up the durability of countertop options, as well as ease of cleaning and maintenance. These considerations are what led Christina Hall of HGTV's "Christina on the Coast" to choose Calacatta-esque porcelain countertops over traditional marble for a luxury bathroom makeover featured in Season 4, Episode 14. "Porcelain versus real marble is so much more durable," the trendsetting designer declared (via HGTV on YouTube). The stars of "Married to Real Estate" also recommend this marble countertop lookalike for homeowners who want a luxe aesthetic for less. 

Out: vintage hardware

If you've ever tried to replicate a home décor scheme that relies heavily on trendy vintage charm, you may be familiar with the disappointment that sometimes follows when your design ends up looking more dated than tastefully vintage. This can often be the case with fixtures like drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, towel rods, lights, and even doorknobs. Old-fashioned hardware can timestamp a home in a subtle and unexpected way. While this might be bad news for those who were expecting a cute, vintage vibe from their old fixtures, it can serve as good news for those who are open to change.

Lyndsay Lamb of "Unsellable Houses" told House Digest in an exclusive interview on moving an imperfect property that one of the "easiest, least expensive, and fastest ways to make a change to your home is by changing out the hardware if it's dated." The underrated impact of hardware truly can't be overstated. "Fixtures," the star added, "make a huge difference in making the house feel fresh and move-in ready." Struggling with outdated fixtures on an ultra-tight budget? Try painting your drawer pulls and cabinet knobs with metallic spray paint. Taking a room's fixtures from worn brass to satin nickel, for example, can completely change its vibe, and cost you less than $12 with Rust-Oleum spray paint on Amazon

In: reglazing vs replacing tile flooring

When attempting to update a tired bathroom — especially on a limited budget — sometimes small swaps like fixtures just aren't enough, but bigger projects aren't within reach. What is an unsatisfied homeowner to do? HGTV veteran Hilary Farr has the answer. Bucking the longtime trend of ripping out and completely redoing porcelain or ceramic tile flooring, Hilary Farr has a genius trick for refreshing outdated bathroom tile on a budget. Enter reglazing, which is the process of re-coating tiles with a new epoxy paint or resin coating of the same or a different color.

As long as the tile is in good shape and only needs a cosmetic upgrade, reglazing is an affordable DIY option that also saves on waste. In Season 1, Episode 8 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr," the designer found herself facing a very yellowed outdated bathroom design with a strict budget to update the room. "We didn't have a lot of money to do this bathroom," she explained. "There was all that tile and that yellow ... so all we've done is reglaze." The result was a clean, crisp white tile floor fit for a modern spa-like bathroom. Ready to reglaze your bathroom tile? Grab a DIY kit from Lowe's and follow the store's step-by-step instructions