Design by Room Bathrooms

This Room Has Doubled in Size Over the Past 50 Years

So now’s the time for an extra-bold space.
Blue patterned tile bathroom
Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

For a room developed purely for function, we sure do care a lot about bathrooms—to the point that the number of them found in American homes has doubled over the past 50 years, as well as their typical size (from 35 square feet to 70), according to a recent story in The Atlantic. There’s obviously a lot to gain from an extra washroom—not having to wait for a family member to get out of the tub just so you can brush your teeth, for one—but the most exciting prospect is all about design.

The value it can add to your home can’t be understated: Zillow shared with The Atlantic that a bathroom renovation is three times more cost-effective than a kitchen remodel, if you’re focused on selling your property. An updated space also comes with its own mental benefits. As the prevalence has grown, so too have our feelings about self-care. We place a greater emphasis on taking extra time to groom and rest and unplug from our assorted devices now more than ever. There’s nothing better than starting (or ending) your day in a beautifully tiled shower niche.

Admittedly, the impulse to go classic when remodeling is strong. Renovations are often pricey and time-consuming; opting into a trend with iffy staying power can feel like a not-so-smart risk. But consider the flip side: The bathroom is arguably the most private place in your home, where you’re guaranteed to get much-needed alone time to focus on yourself. When you have one to call your own, why not make it personal?

Personal might mean choosing a dramatic color for your vanity and eschewing the more expected all-white scheme. It could be the choice to forgo subway tile for a vibrant, patterned statement wall instead. Or perhaps it’s as simple as splurging on the matte hardware you’ve been eyeing. We have a few ideas if you want to go all out.

Go Monochrome

Monochrome green bathroom
Photography by Trevor Smith

This all-green-everything bathroom, designed by Sweet Laurel, shows that one color can make a major impact. Okay, maybe two. Those warm brown hand towels add the perfect contrast.

Double Down on Tiles

Garance Doré’s blue bath is a splashy surprise in the rest of her blush- and neutral-toned home. A custom Caesarstone sink and simple black hardware let the floor-to-ceiling tile have all the attention.

Try Terrazzo

Black and white terrazzo bathroom
Photography by Jennie Corti

Yes, we still support this resurrected trend—especially when it peps up a neutral palette, as in this San Diego home. When you add a stately black double sink to break up the pattern on the walls and floor, you get the perfect balance of buzzy and classic.

Fulfill Your Retro Dreams

Retro pink bathroom
Photography by Samuel Wiles

But who says you need to follow the trends? What can happen when you commit to a theme is on display in this English house. Pink marble (bought on eBay!) and a golden swan faucet speak volumes to the homeowners’ joie de vivre.

Find Your Focus

Bathroom with chevron pattern shower
Photography by Heidi’s Bridge; Design by Byrdesign

If going for the boldest option isn’t quite your speed, consider a smaller scale. The pattern play in this Venice Beach home’s shower nook is all that’s required to take a minimal space to the next level.

See more stories like this: So You Want to Install a Shower Niche Shower Hooks Are the Earrings of the Bathroom I’d Given Up on Bath Mats—Until I Found This One

Rebecca Deczynski


Rebecca is most often found digging through troves of vintage treasures, both in-person and online. Ask her to recommend a good book to read or an obscure Instagram account to follow, and you won’t be disappointed.