Linda Barker

Linda Barker is a designer and television presenter. She recently partnered with waterproof decorative wall panel manufacturer Multipanel for a signature collection

Bathroom trend in focus: Cool and minimalist Japandi style

Posted 4th Dec 2018

Just when you’d though you’d nailed your customers’ favourite decorating trend, along comes a new genre that captures your imagination and starts your design antennae twitching.

Japandi is the new kid on the block and, as its name suggests, is a hybrid of the cool, light-filled, neutral style we know and love that is Scandinavian chic; coupled with the pared back, richer and darker and more geometric Japanese style. Both have a similar aesthetic but when married together, they create a striking and compelling partnership.

For a good while now, I’ve been admiring the black framed Crittall-style windows and mentally placing them both in bathroom and kitchen spaces with the idea of bringing a strong dynamic to these spaces, forgetting momentarily that the Japanese shoji screens have been doing, very much, the same thing since I first fell in love with them at Habitat during my student years.

Matki has lovely black-framed shower cubicles, as does Drench bathrooms, and I’m a devoted fan. Combine this look with my Nero Grafite waterproof wall panels from Multipanel, pictured below left, and you have a dreamy bathroom space in the making.

Neatness and a simpler monochrome palette will always achieve great looks in a bathroom – really, what’s not to like? So the Japandi look is as reassuring as shopping at Ikea, in many ways. But what about the creative flair, and a sense of individuality that makes our customers’ decorated spaces stand apart from the crowd? Isn’t that what most consumers are really craving in 2018? A sense of the individual, tailor-made décor that suits their uniqueness and reflects their personalities? For me, it’s more essential than copying the latest look book.

And what of the avocado bathroom suite? And the peachy suites that my mum and dad had at home? (I can feel sharp intakes of breath as you recall wall-to-wall bathroom carpet and gold swan taps.) Where do these fit into a Japandi aesthetic?

Nowhere, I hear you say, but it’s interesting to know that the new avocado bath is making big strides in the bathroom business and it’s a compelling retake on the suites of the 70s. I feel, however, that unless your customers are hosting fashionable parties in their bathrooms, then they shouldn’t worry about switching out their white freestanding bath tubs just yet.

Encourage your customers to stick with what makes them feel great; but if they want to buy into the ‘avo’ trend that’s making a comeback, urge them to go down the accessories route rather than making the commitment to an entirely avocado suite.

In my book, a sound investment is the new black bathroom taps and shower fittings, which look lovely combined with the black-framed shower cubicles. These are more than just a nod to the Japandi trend, but can make a bathroom space unique. A bathroom is too important to get wrong, and your customers may prefer their avocado on toast rather than in the bathroom.

x Linda

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