•Choose from a variety of colors, textures and materials.
Once upon a time, when it came to choosing plumbing fixtures, your only choice was white.
•Add drama to the bathroom with colorful focal points.
If you wanted to bring color into the bath, you had to do it with accessories (shower curtains, rugs, fuzzy toilet seat covers) or the surfaces in the room (tile backsplashes and tub surrounds, flooring, countertops).
Times have changed. Now bathroom fixtures are available in a broad palette of colors ranging from Biscuit to Black Black.
Not-quite-whites such as Sunlight, Skylight, Innocent Blush and Tea Green occupy the softer end of the scale. On the opposite end are bold shades like Igneous Blue, Vapour Green and Roussillon Red.
You can choose sinks, tubs and toilets in delicate Cashmere, rich Timberline, or warm Wild Rose. Or you can choose from a variety of KOHLER Artist Editions, decorated products in multiple colors.
Test your color quotient
Would you be happy with colored fixtures in your bathroom? That depends on your personal style, and how long you expect to be in your home.
Seattle-based interior designer and color consultant Barbara Kalis recognizes similarities among homeowners who opt for color fixtures. They are generally people with confident attitudes, she says. They're building or remodeling a bathroom to suit their own style, not worrying about whether prospective future owners of the home will like it.
These clients are generally very comfortable with color and use it throughout their homes, choosing various shades for walls, carpets, furniture and accessories. "People who live with a lot of color won't have any problem using a colored fixture in the bathroom," Kalis predicts.
More colors, more color
Kalis says the way her clients use color in their homes has changed. "I'm seeing a lot more color in people's homes than when I started my business 25 years ago," she says.
Why the change? "I think it has a lot to do with fashion and globalization," she speculates. "The influence we're seeing is incredible." Brighter colors can be traced to the palettes of Mexico and India, for example, while more subtle shades often reflect the hues found in nature.
Color in the bath
Many homeowners opt to play it safe when it comes to fixtures, choosing whites or neutrals. But Kalis says that if her clients fall in love with colored fixtures, she always encourages them to follow their instincts.
If you're reluctant to incorporate color in your master or guest bathroom fixtures, consider doing it in the powder room. Though small, this room can make a strong statement about you and your home. So why not use color to say it?
If blue is your favorite color, for example, you can choose fixtures in Cobalt Blue or Navy; or go with a traditional white toilet and pair it with a dramatic Vessels Spun Glass™ sink in Aquamarine Glass.
Another way to add color interest to a room is by opting for more dramatic faucets, in shades such as brushed copper, brass or nickel. "People feel they've made a change by not using what has been traditional over the years, which is polished chrome," says Kalis.
If you've got a vintage bathroom that you want to update, Kalis recommends a couple of ways to accommodate colored fixtures.
"If the fixtures are in excellent shape—and often they are—then let's just keep them and work around your mint green sink, tub and toilet," Kalis advises, adding that homeowners can choose faucets, accessories and wall coverings that match the vintage style of the colored fixtures, or update the room's look by using white walls and contemporary accessories, for example.
Going for the bold
If you're ready to make a statement, consider designating your sink area asthe focal point of your bath or powder room. A brightly patterned undercounter sink with a solid-color countertop can look striking. Likewise a boldly colored sink with matching vanity top, like the new Ipanema™, Congo™ and Zanzibar™ sinks and countertops from KOHLER. These pieces are so finely detailed and painstakingly crafted they're like works of art for the bathroom.
Kalis advises using caution when mixing fixture colors—for example a white pedestal sink and a black toilet—in a small space. The result can look, "like a polka dot [pattern]," says Kalis. "You walk in and think 'How did this happen?' because it obviously looks like it hasn't been completed."
On the other hand, rules are made to be broken—and Kalis agrees. "They don't have to match, but you have to pull it all together to make sure it looks like you did this on purpose," she says.
To pull your bathroom style together, consider adding a decorated sink, bath or toilet that includes or complements the colors of your existing fixtures. Kohler's Crimson Topaz design, inspired by 18th-century European botanical drawings, is primarily white, but pulls in shades of red, green and mocha. Another floral design, English Trellis, combines blues, yellows, and greens. And the Nantucket™ sink, reminiscent of a beach cabana, could be combined with either cream or white fixtures.
Whether your taste tends toward soothing pastels or bold, saturated hues, you can choose from a rainbow of bathroom fixtures to suit your personal style.