Modern Bathroom Ideas

  • 01 of 10

    Modern Bathroom, Asian Style

    Bathroom Asian Style
    Bathroom Asian Style. Copyright American Standard

    Makers of bathroom fixtures, toilets, and tubs are often the best sources for modern bathroom ideas. After all, they have a vested interest in modernity, as few homeowners will go out of their way to buy antique toilets (though it must be said that refurbished cast-iron clawfoot tubs are a fairly hot niche).

    The majority of our featured items come from American Standard, and specifically from its Tropic collection: the sink faucet, the shower faucet, the sink, the furniture. And, yes, that mainstay of American Standard: the toilet.

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  • 02 of 10

    Modern Bathroom Ideas: Generously-Large Tub for Relaxing

    Modern Style Bathroom
    Modern Style Bathroom. Copyright American Standard

    Bathtubs fell out of fashion in bathrooms for a few decades in the 20th century. Along with Victorian rowhouses, solid wood flooring, and leaded-glass windows, bathtubs were suddenly considered passe. Tubs were torn out and replaced with that modern tool for bathing, the shower.

    Then a change happened: people decided that bathtubs were pretty good after all.  Designers began to devise luxurious tubs that fit right in with the modern bathroom.

    This tub is from American Standard, and we're viewing a mix of three (count 'em - three!)  collections from that manufacturer: Town Square, Copeland, and Brook.

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  • 03 of 10

    Modern Bathroom Ideas: Mixture of Fixtures

    Bathroom Pedestal Sink
    Copyright American Standard

    The cabinet looming behind the pedestal sink: why? It doesn't seem to do anything except be in the way.

    From a functional perspective, ​it does two things. First, it creates a natural private space for the toilet--eliminating the need to build a privacy wall. Second, it provides storage room for towels, toiletries, toilet paper, and maybe even linens. Shelf access is cleverly built into the sides so that pretty things do not accidentally fall into the "unmentionables."  

    The two-piece toilet, pedestal sink, and faucet all come from the Town Square collection.

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  • 04 of 10

    A Private Asian-Style Modern Bathroom

    Asian Style Master Bathroom
    Asian Style Master Bathroom. Copyright American Standard

    Another Asian-inspired bathroom that shouts "Modern!" Geometries in this room from American Standard's Moments collection are distinctly contemporary.

    But notice the raised platform for the bathtub? It's a clever stylistic touch that gives a hint of tatami mats. Those glass screens look an awful lot like the paper screens found in traditional Japanese homes. The rectilinear sinks set in the long, narrow countertop echo other shapes in the bathroom. It's an example of how to design a bathroom without overdoing it: clean, simple, modern.

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  • 05 of 10

    Modern Bathroom Ideas: The Open Wall Rain Shower

    Master Bathroom Tile and Marble
    Master Bathroom with Tile and Marble. Copyright American Standard

    Rain showerhead, marble tile, open-air shower: all essential elements of this modern bathroom.

    It's no small thing to install an open, no-wall shower. Space is the main issue, since you need to deal with the splash that would ordinarily be contained by shower walls. One element that really helps is incorporating a rain shower-head: water comes from straight above and more gently than with conventional shower-heads. Since a pre-fabricated shower pan has yet to be invented for this open shower concept, everything needs to be tiled.

    A luxury of the 1%? Perhaps. But given enough space and the burning will to do it, you can install the same item in your bathroom.

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  • 06 of 10

    Modern Bathroom Ideas: Doubling Up on the Vanities

    Bathroom With Double Sinks
    Bathroom With Double Pedestal Sinks. Copyright American Standard

    You may want your bathroom to have two sinks, but do you want one of those giant 72" countertop slabs that look like they came from the Brady Bunch house? No.

    Any self-respecting modern bathroom will have separate bathroom vanities or pedestal sinks. Most of these pieces hail from American Standard's Studio Collection.

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  • 07 of 10

    Modern Bathroom Ideas: Open Shower and Two Wall-Hung Sinks

    Tiled Bathroom - Open Shower
    Copyright American Standard

    Nothing says modern more than an open, doorless shower. You can only barely see it, but the right-hand side is plate glass; the left-hand side is open for all the world to see.

    Colors are muted greens. ​The shower is tiled in mosaic.

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  • 08 of 10

    Modern Doesn't Mean Doing Without a Bathtub

    Small Bathroom with Double Ended Tub
    © Image Source / Getty

     Bathtubs have come a long way. No longer are they limited to iron clawfoot bathtubs or those tiny casket-like tubs you see so frequently in tract homes.

    Why tuck the tub away? When you spend a bit more for a stylish tub, the tub becomes the focus of the room. This one is called a double-ended tub, with fixtures located in the middle. At night, you can lay on the left side and view the stars through the skylight. During the day, lay in the other direction so that light coming through the windows shines on your book or magazine.

    Keep these small bathrooms Spartan. Except for a wall cabinet and generous windows, this bathroom has little other adornment.

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  • 09 of 10

    Wall-Hung Toilets Define the Modern Bathroom

    Wall-Hung Toilet
    Toto Aquia Wall-Hung Toilet From American Standard. © American Standard

    Our Bathrooms Guide Lisa Kahn has a fantastic article called Don't Buy the Wrong Toilet: 10 Features to Avoid, and this is where I first saw the Toto Aquia wall-hung toilet. As she notes, a wall-hung toilet "preserves precious floor space," and nothing is more precious in your small bathroom than floor space. Just be prepared to also install an in-wall tank system.  Wall-hung toilets are serious business and most do-it-yourselfers are not equipped for this installation.

    Short of that, to fully modernize your dinky bathroom, consider two alternative ideas from her article:

    • Slow-Drop Seat: A slow-drop seat gently sets the seat down. By far the easiest option, this idea requires little more than a screwdriver and the outlay of about thirty dollars at a home improvement store. It's a great fix for little effort.  
    • Pressure Assisted Toilet: This is the kind of toilet you typically see in commercial applications, where the toilet goes Whoosh! instead of Gurgle, to briskly whisk turds away. I was surprised to learn that pressure-assisted toilets are relatively easy to install. They are expensive--at least twice as much as conventional, gravity-flush toilets. But no special lines (air, water, electric) are required. Pressure builds up in a sealed tank within the outer china tank from your existing water line, ready to be unleashed when you push the handle.
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  • 10 of 10

    The Modern Bathroom Needs a Medicine Cabinet. Really.

    Modern Style Medicine Cabinet
    Modern Style Medicine Cabinet.

    Many homeowners' preconceived notions about medicine cabinets are not good. Myself, I think of dusty metal 1930s-era medicine cabinets full of expired pills. Did I mention metal? Yes, because those materials are the one thing that differentiate old-style cabinets from this modern one.

    Look upon this modern medicine cabinet with joy. It's dark wood with three shelves, squared-off and linear. Notice how the glass nearly reaches the edges of the cabinet, so no archaic framing, no doo-dads or embellishments.  Better yet, because framing only calls attention to a cabinet, the edge-to-edge mirror on this one means that the cabinet seems to disappear into the wall.

    Not only does this baby allow you to squeeze more items into your small bathroom, it contributes to your clean, contemporary style.