No longer a purely functional space, bathrooms present an exciting opportunity to reflect the latest interior design trends and create a contemporary, relaxing and luxurious space. Here, Rachel Oddy, Marketing Manager at Fibo, explores some of the latest trends to hit bathrooms and how waterproof wall panels can help housing developers to achieve them.

When it comes to buying a new home, prospective home buyers are wanting and expecting more, with high-quality, on-trend fixtures, fittings and finishes all serving to create a welcoming, attractive and contemporary space. With increasing competition within the housing market, it’s important that housebuilders and developers work to meet and satisfy these high expectations. Inclusion of the latest interior design trends is one of the best ways to do so. 

The bathroom, in particular, is a great opportunity to do just this – a room that has changed dramatically in the last decade. Originally seen as a purely functional setting, it is now a place to relax and unwind at the end of a long day, with homebuyers expecting more from this space.

Perfect for bathrooms, biophilic design is one interior design trend that has taken off in recent years and certainly shows no sign of dissipating. With all of us spending more time inside than ever before, biophilic design provides an opportunity to reconnect with nature by “bringing the outside in”. As well as looking great, incorporating natural elements and materials into the interior space can help to relieve stress, improve mental health and wellbeing and make residents feel happier and healthier. 

The trend can be delivered in many ways, from the addition of larger windows to bring more natural light into the space to installing wall and floor coverings inspired by wood, plants or stone textures.

Incorporating blue and green hues is another way to meet the biophilic design brief – two shades that are proving very popular. Helping to create a spa-like aesthetic, blues and greens have ascribed qualities such as purity, calmness, restoration and peace and are also associated with the natural, coastal environment. 

Moving away from the natural aesthetic, housebuilders and developers will find industrial design – a style that is proving just as popular, taking inspiration from materials, patterns and textures commonly found within the urban landscape. By making use of a building’s original features, including bare brick walls; creating a raw, stripped-back look, featuring concrete walls and even exposed ductwork; or mimicking the iconic staggered brickwork patterns found within New York subway stations, the industrial style is an ideal way to bring character and a sense of history to a new-build property. It is perhaps for this reason that the trend has swiftly made its way into aspirational kitchen and bathroom designs. 

When it comes to bringing these trends to bathroom walls, housebuilders and developers may automatically lean towards tiles. However, despite often being seen as the ‘go-to’ solution, tiles certainly aren’t without their issues. Installation can be a lengthy process, depending on the bathroom size, requiring a skilled labour force of talented tilers to deliver the high-quality finish expected by prospective buyers. Tiles are also heavy to manoeuvre, can easily be damaged, and have the potential to crack or chip upon installation – certainly not ideal amidst a busy, live construction site. Even when the work has been done and the house has become a home, tiles aren’t always the optimal choice. The grout, for example, is an area well-known for failing, deteriorating and encouraging the growth of mould, which requires constant and careful maintenance. 

This is where waterproof wall panels can hold an advantage. While previously holding a reputation as being cheap and unattractive, thanks to developments in the market this is no longer the case. Now, wall panels can be relied upon to create stylish looks and meet the latest interior design and tiling trends, as well as being quicker and easier to install. With only simple carpentry tools required, housebuilders can complete bathroom installations quicker than ever before, with no impact on quality or style. What’s more, wall panels are incredibly hardwearing and durable, commonly manufactured from layered timber plywood.

At Fibo, we manufacture high-quality, waterproof wall panels from seven layers of birch plywood, covered in a high-pressure laminate surface and backed with an enhanced moisture barrier. With over 80 stunning designs available across a range of six collections, we can aid developers, contractors and architects in meeting the latest design trends and are always updating our portfolio with this in mind. For example, we have recently introduced a range of Vertical Plank wood-effect panels, including the subtle Avalon Pine finish, as well as a high-gloss Bright Marble décor (inspired by natural Carrara marble stone). We also added a brand-new tile-effect pattern, the Straight Herringbone, to our Urban Collection – an alternative take on the classic herringbone design.

Our tile-effect panels feature a 3D, routered-in grout line – ideal for those not wanting to wholly move away from tiles, being that they look and feel just like the real thing. All offered with our unique Aqua-Lock joining system and a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty, housebuilders can rely on the panels’ durability and waterproof qualities, without the worry of call-backs due to dissatisfied homebuyers.