Designed with a 50-something businessman in mind, Angelique Armstrong’s dark and moody bathroom is a bang-on trend for early 2021, writes bathroom trends specialist Tony Simpson, who describes how to get the look in the home …

Angelique, of Armstrong Interiors in Christchurch New Zealand, saw her design win the 2020 New Zealand TIDA Designer Suite by utilising expansive, dark furniture to accentuate a sleek and professional look, created with a specific user in mind. The design, which also uses exposed wood and large, mirrored wall furniture, sets the tone for the design, which has seen a resurgence throughout the last year.

'Dark and moody' might be a great way to describe much of 2020, but in terms of bathroom furniture and design, it is something positive which dominated the recent awards in New Zealand. Trends Ideas reveals that several nominees and winners featured dark furniture and crisp, moody colours, but it was Angelique's bathroom which truly stood out.

The centrepiece of the design, and the dominating feature running along the 8m wall, was a double vanity fabricated from Neolith Calatorao. The vanity is highlighted by a 50mm gap at to the rear which causes it to sit out from the wall. This, combined with LED lighting, creates a floating effect that adds a lightness to the overall aesthetic. The dominating custom mirrors are finished in anthracite, while open steel shelving at either side strengthens the overall masculine feel of the room, while also delivering more open space, preventing the dark colours from creating a tight, hemmed in space.

It was a good year for Armstrong, who also took home the top prize in the powder room category, again with a dark and moody design so typical of the current trend. The room again used Neolith Calatorao for the furniture, but set it against a wall of bluestone, rustic rough-sawn timber cabinets and a trough vanity basin. The bluestone is something Angelique has spoken about in the past, expressing how durable and timeless it can be when used correctly.

“Timeless, classic and durable, it will make a lasting statement in any space,” she told Metropol earlier in 2020. “We admire the history that exists behind the process of sourcing and producing stone slabs, and we love knowing that each piece is original in colour and veining, ensuring that every installation comes with its own authentic sense of style.”

The overall feel of this iconic design is not hard to recreate around your own home, with the right use of dark furniture. Any domestic bathroom can aim to use the right materials and create the same striking look.

Flooring can be just as important as the furniture in setting the aesthetic, with the Armstrong design using reclaimed French oak to take away some of the harsher edges of the furniture and add character to the design. Coupled with stone furniture, you too can have the masculine, crisp design that seems very reflective of the overall mood for 2020.

The important aspects of any bathroom redesign are budgeting and being realistic. Whilst it is possible to get the look for the right price, it is also pertinent to know your limits, in terms of space and what you can adequately afford to put into your bathroom. Stone might be expensive, for example, and not everyone can reclaim French flooring, but both have modern equivalents which will do the job just as well.

Post-renovation, it is also important to protect your investment, especially if a bathroom is a design choice and not just functional for you. HomeServe recommends getting cover for any new bathroom installation, which is an additional cost to factor in, but something that will give you peace of mind once you have achieved your perfect look. Any problems that occur afterwards can be covered, preventing nasty shocks and unnecessary expense.

Dark and moody is certainly the trend of the year, whether that is in your bathroom furniture, or perhaps even in pieces you choose to use elsewhere in the home. However, if the style is a little too morose for you, you might want to consider using furniture which is bolder and outstanding, such as The Accordion Bond by Josip Gotler which Furniture News examined here.

Tony Simpson has worked in the building supplies industry his whole life, starting out with a popular merchant before moving on to specialise in bathroom sales. He now works as a consultant and commentator within the bathroom sector, specifically looking at design and trends.