How to design a contemporary bathroom

Want a bathroom that says modern, sleek and stylish? Here’s all you need to know to get it right

A bathroom with contemporary good looks needn’t be hard to achieve, nor put a burden on your credit card. Use our guide to create a scheme that’s bang up to date, and a pleasure to spend time in.

You can opt for a complete bathroom suite, or choose your bath, basin and toilet separately to create the look you’re after.

What fittings does a contemporary bathroom need?

Consider every element of your scheme to get cutting-edge style.


There’s a huge choice of baths that’ll suit a contemporary bathroom. If you have the space, a freestanding bath is a great way to create a stunning centrepiece for your scheme.

Choose from designs that give traditional styles, such as the classic slipper bath, a modern update – our Vittone bath is high backed but with super-sleek modern lines. Alternatively, pick a simple but elegant design, such as the Leoni, or go for lines and angles – the Thornton has real presence.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the space available to fit in a freestanding bath. A back to wall bath will give you the look but take up less floor space, and can have the same contemporary vibe with either cool curves or powerful angles.

For modern rooms that don’t have space for a separate shower, a shower bath or corner bath are worth considering as they pack two must-have fittings into one footprint.

Straight baths have neat shapes that may fit into your room plan better, so don’t be concerned if a look-at-me design just won’t go. They’ll work with other contemporary fittings, so your room still has modern cool.


A contemporary bathroom can look good with many different styles of basin.

Frequently thought of in their traditional shape, pedestal basins with modern lines can be a fabulous focal point – if you have the space, one each for a couple looks stunning. Try our showstopping Janssen floorstanding basin.

Wall hung basins either with a semi pedestal – like the Vittone – or more minimal choices – such as the Calthorpe – are great for smaller rooms, keeping the floor of your bathroom clearer.

If you love the idea of having some space for essentials around the basin, and like the contrast of different materials, consider a countertop basin. The Malvern is great for a minimalistic look, or try the curvaceous Maderno.

Both a semi recessed basin, which sits neatly into a piece of bathroom furniture to boost your bathroom storage, or inset basins – which fit in a countertop – have contemporary credentials, too.


Complement your bath and basin with modern taps. Both angular and curvaceous taps can work beautifully, but don’t mix and match – taps should be from the same range for design success.

Browse our selection of taps, and bear in mind:

• For minimalist style, monobloc designs with a single lever are a great option.

• A freestanding bath with a floorstanding tap will create a designer feel in your bathroom.

• Tall monobloc taps are the perfect partner for a countertop basin.

• Waterfall taps make for a fabulous feature in a small room when you can’t squeeze in a freestanding bath or standout basin design.

• Wall mounted bath taps and basin taps can be soothingly symmetrical if you opt for a three hole set, or you can create interest and an individual finish with an asymmetrical two hole set.

Find out more about pillar taps with our buyer’s guide.


Close coupled, back to wall and wall hung toilets are all great options for a contemporary bathroom. Finding it hard to choose?

• Close coupled toilets are easier to put in, so can save you time and hassle when you’re fitting out your room.

• Back to wall toilets will help keep your room streamlined, as the cistern is concealed.

• Want the floor clear and luxury hotel style? A wall hung toilet is the way to go. Bear in mind, though, that your wall may need to be strengthened depending on its construction to bear the weight.

Find out more about choosing a toilet in our buyer’s guide.


For the ultimate in contemporary style, think walk in enclosure as it’ll give you a wet room look but you won’t have to go to the trouble and expense of waterproofing your entire bathroom.

Bathroom not big enough? Pick your enclosure to suit your bathroom’s floor plan – there are shapes and dimensions to fit all but the most petite of bathrooms. A frameless enclosure that’s all about the glass rather than its framing will give you the maximum contemporary points score.

Check out our buyer’s guide to shower enclosures

What about the decor?

Modern bathrooms can be sexy and sultry with walls painted in moody blues, or rich reds so the shape of your fittings stands out against a darker backdrop. Both will need good lighting but will look especially good when you’re relaxing in the evening.

All-white rooms can maximise the pristine, modern look, but can feel cold. The way to avoid this? Think textured white tiles for the walls or try adding a bold accent of colour with towels and accessories. The latter is a good option if you like to change the look from time to time as it’s easy to swap in a different colourway when you want a fresh effect.

Like the idea of a period style bathroom instead. Discover how to plan a period bathroom.

Check out the contemporary bathrooms on our Pinterest boards

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