Bathroom Remodel Trends Orange County
During the last several years, I’ve had lots of clients ask me about bathroom remodel trends in Orange County for their bathroom remodel in Mission Viejo, Irvine, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, and many other South Orange County, California communities.
Here are the bathroom remodel trends in Orange County that DAD’s clients were doing during 2018-2020.
Master Bathroom Remodel Trends in Orange County
Clients want the master bathroom to serve as a roomy, relaxing retreat. The master bathroom is becoming like a personal spa where folks can relax and unwind after work. Overall, the footprint or size of the bathroom is growing in order to accommodate a more papered environment.
Clients with a higher budget are increasing the square footage of the home to grow the bathroom; however, this is not always necessary to achieve a bigger space. Many homes have options where the bathroom can grow by using existing space. Some of the more frequent ways to do this includes taking some closet space, relocating the closet, relocating HVAC and/or hot water heaters, taking linen closet space, removing/relocating walls, and rearranging an adjacent rooms floor space to accommodate the larger bathroom.
Clients are requesting two things in the master bath: (1) remove the tub/shower combination (or remove the side-by-side tub and shower configuration (2) design and install a much larger shower by completely eliminating the bathtub. Fewer clients still want a free-standing bathtub. In fact, less than 10% of customers want any bathtub in their master bath – preferring a much larger and more luxurious shower instead with a seat, rain shower, hand shower, and grab bars.
Bathroom Shower Remodel in Orange County
Clients opting to remove the tub entirely turn to the shower as the large, luxurious focal point. Clients want a beautiful centerpiece to their bathrooms that isn’t a tub . . . and they want these showers to be big. This continues as a highly desirable bathroom remodel trend.
Safety is now a key aspect in shower remodels. This adds safety measures for those looking to age in place and provides attractive resale prospects. DAD’s is installing grab bars even for younger clients because now they’re decorative. DAD’s continues its practice of blocking the walls for grab bars so down the road clients don’t have to disturb the existing tile to add grab bars when they’re ready. The blocking adds a significant safety measure.
The most popular length of a shower is 60” – 72” in varying widths. The preferred width is about 48”. To learn more about showers, please see the additional DAD’s articles Is Porcelain or Ceramic Tile Better For Showers? and How Do You Remodel A Shower?
When clients still want a bathtub in the master bathroom, they are looking for large, 2-person, 72” deck mounted soaking spa tubs with hand showers. The deck allows for candles, salts, aroma therapy products, easy phone placement for music, and a convenient place for a beverage. Fewer clients are asking for jet or air bubble tubs. When installing large soaking tubs, most clients opt for a tankless water heater. Why? To accommodate the extra hot water requirements. What’s the reason for a tub these days? Clients who still want a tub are looking for a relaxation escape from work, kids, and a place to unwind and simply enjoy a private place where they can close their eyes, listen to music, and let all the tension float away.
Although many manufacturers are offering more freestanding tubs in smaller sizes, most people find a 60” tub far too small to relax and be comfortable (that’s generally the same size as the standard track home bathtub). Space permitting, the most popular bathtub size is 66”. If possible, clients prefer a 72” bathtub. These tubs also come in varying widths and configurations.
Cast iron, acrylic, or fiberglass tub? Clients looking to capitalize on durability and strength prefer cast iron. For the more luxurious baths, acrylic is the smart choice. If economy is the preference, it’s fiberglass. To learn more about the best materials for a bathtub, please see the DAD’s article What Is the Best Kind of Bathtub to Get?
Bathroom Remodeling Aesthetics
Large-format tiles with decorative accents remain a top preference for both flooring and walls, thanks to their easy maintenance and clean look. There are fewer grout lines with large-format tile, creating the more serene look that plays into the spa-like atmosphere customers want. Clients also prefer a longer recess for shampoos and other personal care items with fewer opting for a separate soap dish. A large bench seat for easy leg shaving and for sitting when standing is uncomfortable or difficult is always requested and highly desired.
As for shower and tub enclosures, frameless enclosures using clear 3/8” tempered glass are highly preferred for safety and keeping water inside where it belongs. A hinged door is strongly preferred vs. a sliding enclosure when possible. The worst enclosure is a curtain. A curtain will almost guarantee water damage to the outside walls, flooring, baseboards, and it’s a sure bet dangerous and destructive mold and mildew will not be far behind.
Accessories for your Bathroom Remodel
One-piece seat height toilets are the preferred toilet by a wide margin when performing a bathroom remodel. These toilets provide a more relaxed experience and are significantly more comfortable. They are also much easier to keep clean. More clients are also splurging on washlets with front and rear warm water cleansing, warm air drying, and heated seat. To learn more about toilets, please see the DAD’s article What Is The Best Toilet?
Custom all wood cabinets with darker staining continue in popularity. Clients continue to prefer cabinets with deeper drawers. Beautifully accented tile and stone backsplashes to match shower accents are strongly desired. Under counter sinks with quartz countertops remain popular. Banjos are out. The preference for knobs or finger-pull doors and drawers are about the same. Clients do request full extension soft close drawers, pull-out drawer under the sink, and additional convenience electrical outlets including phone charging. Space permitting, a pullout hamper continues to be very popular. Separate seated makeup areas continue their long trend of being out of favor.
Only about 50% of clients still want a traditional medicine cabinet. Clients really like large wood framed mirrors to match the sink cabinet. Clients also really like separate wood framed mirrors matching the cabinet for each sink.
When there is only 1 sink in the bathroom, clients almost always add a second sink. A second sinks adds tremendous convenience and value.
Brushed nickel and brushed stainless steel are tops for finishes.
Lighting and Fans for Bathroom Remodel Trends in Orange County
One of the big bathroom remodel trends in Orange County is LED recess lighting. LED recess lighting throughout the bathroom is a strong preference. More clients desire 4” vs. 6” recess lights. The smaller recess lights make the ceiling less busy. A separate dimmer controlled recess light over the tub, shower, and toilet is highly desirable. LED recess lights with 5 built-in discrete color temperature settings ranging from warm (2700K) to daylight (5000K) are extremely popular. These allow customization to create a friendly and inviting atmosphere throughout the bathroom.
Separate switch-controlled task lighting for the general bathroom space remains popular. A wall sconce above the sink remains popular for applying make-up, shaving, and facial hair trimming.
Clients prefer high efficiency exhaust fans without a built-in light. They want the light separate from the fan on it’s own switch.
Clients are also requesting built-in LED photoelectric nightlights by the toilet.
Windows and Doors when Remodeling your Bathroom:
Windows are significantly more efficient than 5 years ago; saving more on utility bills. Clients are replacing windows that were installed 10+ years ago with significantly more energy efficient windows. Clients increasingly are discovering that the retrofit windows they installed to replace older windows leak and do not offer a polished appearance. They have also discovered that the lifetime warranty they received on their retrofit windows is rarely honored. Replacing these windows with new construction or “nail fin” windows is the only option that truly offers a lifetime warranty free of leaks and expensive water, mold, and insect damage to their home. Clients prefer a clear glass double hung window in their bathroom.
Original, hollow core doors are replaced with embossed solid core wood doors with antique or oil rubbed bronze hardware. A nice robe hook behind the door is always asked for. New door case is installed on both sides of the new door and is always decorative. Insist on solid, real wood door case. Do not use MDF, particle board, plastic, or fiberglass door case.
Many clients are installing pocket doors (these open by sliding into the wall cavity). The beautiful feature of a pocket door is that it takes up no space inside the bathroom. Many bathrooms in Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, and Irvine have hinged doors that just barely miss hitting the toilet when you open and close it. It’s almost impossible to be in the same room as the toilet!
Is a solid core door better than a hollow core door?
Hinged or pocket door, insist on solid, real wood door case. Do not use MDF, particle board, plastic, or fiberglass door case. Only real wood door case will hold up to the heavy moisture and traffic of a bathroom. One of the many benefits of real wood door case is that it can be easily repaired and repainted if damaged. This is not true for other materials.