When it comes to bathrooms, black is the new black
“People are not afraid to be edgier with décor. Monochrome and industrial is very much ‘in’.”
Think of the traditional, bright, typical Irish bathroom with its white tiles, white bath, white radiator, white towels and… you get the message.
Now think again.
More and more Irish households are choosing dark interiors for their bathrooms. They are creating a far cosier environment that is becoming less a functional space to quickly wash themselves, and more a haven to get away from the madness of the rest of the home.
Black has not been commonly used in traditional bathrooms, given the impression that it can shrink an already small room and make it feel claustrophobic. However, more and more people are coming around to the idea that a dark interior can make them feel like they’re entering their own private cave.
We spoke about this new trend to Richard Sloan, Managing Director from SONAS, Ireland’s leading bathroom suppliers for more than 40 years, and a company whose catalogue is seen as the bible for those looking to either renovate or build a new bathroom in the home.
“Bathrooms are changing to a multi-functional space - people use it as a getaway from real life,” says Richard.
Homeowners are getting away from a ‘shabby chic, country vibe’ and embracing a darker, edgier atmosphere within their four walls.
“People are taking chances with their décor style and they’re being a bit braver with their choices, and bolder.”
Paint it black
We asked Richard if there was a risk that the current trend will evaporate and leave people with a bathroom that feels dated in years to come.
“The thing with black interiors is that you can add it in ways that won’t be critical to the overall look. You don’t have to have black tiles, a black floor, anything like that,” he says.
“Painting is a cheaper option than the tiles, and can add a bit of drama. So it’s not necessarily forever, you can add black in small ways that really lift the atmosphere in the bathroom.
“There’s been a huge consumer demand for black bathroom products and we’ve seen a big increase in the number of people coming to the showroom and seeking out black taps, black shower heads and shower panels.
“There’s a definite trend for black overall in interiors, and that’s definitely translated to black in the bathroom as well.”
Far from extolling the virtues of an entirely colourless, dark room, Richard believes that black does not have to mean gloomy.
“The space can be light-filled - it doesn’t mean an absence of colour. There are lights, dramatic lighting that offsets the dark interior. Dark doesn’t necessarily mean gloomy.
“If you want to ease yourself into the black trend, you could go for black accents.
“One very popular item from our 2019 catalogue have been the Edge vanity units - these come in an oak finish or white and both have black accents on the legs.
“They’re just a really cool product with a great look. There’s plenty of countertop space on them as well so they’re very practical pieces.
“Black really can add to the whole atmosphere of the place, and make it somewhere that people want to light a few candles, have a bit of a soak and get away from everything.”
Social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest have played a massive role in persuading people to really think about creating moods within the home.
“People are seeing the potential in their spaces and stepping out of their comfort zones,” he insists. “They’re not afraid to experiment a little more because they’re exposed to these social platforms and see the potential of a space.”
Ask the experts
Richard has just one piece of advice for anyone looking to change their bathrooms or, indeed, any other part of their home: Seek professional advice and avoid getting stuck with something you’re not happy with.
“You can pick out lovely stuff but if you’re putting it in the wrong place, or not using a professional to do it, it can end up being really expensive,” he warns. “This is especially true of bathrooms.”
It is a key part of the home and nobody wants to be dealing with messy plumbing, leaks or shoddy products. Also, if you have mould in your bathroom, the last thing you want to do is just paint over the problem.
“Speak to your architect or speak to your plumber. Communication is key. Have an idea of what you want in your head but find out what’s practical.
“Things like getting a massive shower head but discovering afterwards that you don’t have adequate water pressure [can be a real issue].
“Getting the advice of a professional will help your bathroom flow as it should. Even a bit of Googling will help you not just focus on the cosmetics, but to think about the deeper issues as well.”
If you need some professional tips on revamping your bathroom, SONAS are the headline sponsor of house 2019 and will be exhibiting at the event from May 24 - 26.
house 2019, Ireland’s premier interior design event, takes place in the RDS from May 24 - 26.
Tickets are on sale now on the house 2019 website.