Features by Diane Larner founder and editor of Bathroom Review & Kitchens Review.
Diane Larner launched both titles over 12 years ago and has been writing about the bathroom and kitchen interior design industry ever since, publishing regular features across the two sectors.

According to new research released this week by Readly, one in ten Brits report using smart home technology every hour of their day. The latest stats indicate a wholesale shift towards a connected home lifestyle, with a third (37 per cent) of UK households owning at least one smart home device to manage tasks such as security, lighting and heating, and kitchen appliances.

Unsurprisingly, the home technology industry is moving apace when it comes to new, innovative smart design. Consumers are keen to save water and energy whilst personalising interior spaces by integrating music and lighting into every room. This opens up opportunities for bathroom manufacturers.

Lee Robinson, product manager for residential fittings at Ideal Standard agrees, “Bathroom trends are continuously evolving and when it comes to today’s ‘smart bathrooms’, that’s no different. End-users are increasingly looking to technology to help make their bathroom space work harder for them.”

Statement lighting

Bathroom Review Liprotec Schluter Systems Lighting

Lighting is no longer simply a practicality, and the trend for customisable mood lighting is emerging as a key consideration when designing a bathroom. In 2024, we expect to see an increase in innovative lighting displays that interact with the bathroom design to deliver on-trend accent lighting.

Encompassing the latest LED technology, Schlüter’s LIPROTEC-LED creates restful lighting for relaxing spaces or bright, colourful lighting for busy family bathrooms. Enabled with Bluetooth/wireless receivers, light colours are selected via remote control or Bluetooth-compatible smartphones and tablets. Specifically designed for the bathroom, Schlüter-LIPROTEC-EASY is the company’s simple plug-and-play version, which comes with matching power supply units up to 100W.

Comfort & cleanliness

SensoWash D Neo

Shower toilets are increasing in popularity in the UK. A recent report by the European Bidet Seats & Shower Toilets Market study predicts sales of shower toilets will grow by 8% and indicates a cultural change in hygiene habits.

Martin Carroll, managing director for Duravit, agrees and comments, “Shower-toilets in combination with rimless technology are the next big idea for bathrooms. The open design of the WC rim enables an innovative and effective flush even at low water volumes (4.5 litres) and makes for transparent, easy cleaning. Despite not being a traditional market for bidets, shower toilets are growing in popularity in the UK for reasons of age, culture and general enhanced comfort.”

Duravit’s SensoWash® D-Neo lets users configure options via remote control for three shower flow types through a user ID in the seat. Timings for seat heating can also be individually configured. Its attractive price point means it is ideally suited to the requirements of the project sector and price-conscious developers.

Spa-light, spa-bright

Bringing light and colour into the bathroom, Ideal Standard’s Solos shower range features an integrated colour-changing ambient light in the overhead shower, which creates a relaxing atmosphere for the ultimate spa-like shower experience. Users can customise the colour and brightness of the LED to match their mood, thanks to built-in smart technology that integrates with any smart home app, such as Philips Hue or Amazon Echo. 

Lee Robinson, product manager for residential fittings at Ideal Standard comments, “Smart technology is key to home evolution, giving people the ability to personalise their environment – from showerheads with integrated ambient LED lighting like our Solos range to wireless speakers and shower settings that can be controlled with the touch of a smartphone button.”

Bathroom brand Laufen is also embracing smart technology and has launched a new version of the Val bath (pictured left) that harnesses the power of light and colour to promote well-being and bring chromotherapy – traditionally offered by hotel spas – into the guest bathroom to enhance the user’s experience.

The redesigned model was recently on display at HIX and has a translucent structure through which an LED panel projects different light settings according to mood.

LAUFEN also presented its new shower system prototype. Designed in collaboration with Andreas Dimitriadis of Platinum Design, the shower system offers the ultimate spa experience to hotel guests thanks to a 12-inch touchscreen display integrated into the shower for the first time.

Taking remote control

Dialling in your requirements is one of the most celebrated aspects of the smart home and brings luxury and convenience to daily life. Aqualisa’s Quartz Smart Showers combines personalised showering with a range of advantages that enhance the user’s experience. For example, users can start their shower remotely using Alexa or Google Assistant or the remote control via Wi-Fi. A clear LED display indicates when the shower is ready – there’s no need to lean in and test the water. A bath fill option allows remote selection of the water temperature and level.

Jessica Clarke, head of channel marketing at Aqualisa, reasons, “With more than 30 million smart meters installed in the UK and nearly half of all adults under 65 owning a smart speaker (Alexa or Google Assistant), the understanding of smart technology and the benefits it brings to our lives is increasing rapidly. There is now an opportunity for bathroom manufacturers and installers to deliver the next generation of connected bathroom solutions to enhance not only showering functionality and performance, but also wellbeing and sustainability.”


You can see more on our site if you enjoyed this Bathroom Review feature. Alternatively, if Kitchens are your thing, please visit our sister site, Kitchens Review.

Popular restaurants, clubs, and hotels have been blazing the trail: intense colours, furnishings in rich tones, and homely wallpapers all designed to transform bathrooms into places full of character and charm.  Creating a complete work of art within your own four walls takes courage and requires a “thread” for a harmonious colour scheme that runs throughout the room.

The guest bathroom as a calling card

Small room – big impact: the guest bathroom is the ideal place to start – you can express your own personality and experiment with colours. Bathroom objects in strong colours can be combined with expressive wall coverings that highlight an individual wall or smaller surface. Wallpapers with graphic designs or botanical patterns, selected tiles, or coloured paints are especially well-suited for such a project. Furnishing items, walls, floors, and decoration should have a consistent colour harmony, be that tone-in-tone or combined with complementary colours. The selection process of individual elements or materials lends itself to experimentation with collages of materials and colours until the optimum and harmonious result is achieved.

Wallpapers as a stage for bathroom objects

Modern wallpapers with graphic designs or botanical patterns are like works of art – they lend rooms a certain vibrancy. Graham & Brown have brought about a veritable renaissance of wallpaper over recent years with their extraordinary and colourful prints.

The renowned British manufacturer of high-quality paint products and wall coverings works with a range of motifs from nature, graphic design, various textures, and luxurious gold accents – and shapes trends as a result.

A wallpapered feature wall sets the stylistic scene for the whole bathroom, which, more often than not, is a small room. Combined with neutral or complementary colours on the other walls, this forms the perfect backdrop for Duravit’s Vitrium bathroom objects with their reserved designs and intense matt colours.

Furniture, washbasin, toilet, and bathtub in strong colours

The Vitrium colour concept was curated by Christian Werner, who was also responsible for the formal design of the furniture and washbasins. The total of six colours make their presence felt without dominating, and they harmonize perfectly with one another. The colour palette can be divided into three neutral shades Matt Light Gray, Matt Dark Gray, and Matt White as well as the three rich shades Matt Green-Blue, Matt Parlour Blue, and Matt Cinnamon. This broad range of choices ensures that the right tone can be found for any bathroom – from the minimalist designer bathroom through to the modern rustic style.

“Colour also determines how we perceive a product. It’s an emotion because everyone responds to it differently. Multiple colours create a kind of colour resonance, something that ideally creates a harmony. And colours for an interior can never be thought of in isolation, but always in the context of the room,” said Christian Werner.

Faucets and accessories define the look

It’s the small details that give the interior design the finishing touch. Duravit opens up additional design potential in the bathroom with faucets, showerheads, and accessories in five tasteful finishes. A classic chrome surface or thrilling Matt Black or PVD surfaces in Brushed Bronze, Brushed Stainless Steel, and Polished Gold can change the look of the entire bathroom.

Bathroom Review Small Bathroms Duravit

About Graham & Brown

Founded by two friends – Harold Graham and Henry Brown, the business has been family-run from its Headquarters in Lancashire, England, since 1946. For over seventy-five years, Graham & Brown has inspired people to think differently about their homes through continuous innovation, creativity, and craftsmanship.
Graham & Brown products are created by the in-house design studio and by drawing on an archive of over 50,000 pieces.

Graham & Brown has expanded its award-winning collections to include paint, murals, soft furnishings, bed linen and wall art to offer customers a perfectly partnered, full-room solution.

Four brand new additions to Utopia’s colour palette for this Autumn reflect the ongoing dominant trends for colour and texture in the bathroom.

Joining Utopia’s already extensive collection of door colours available across the Original Fitted, Symmetry, YOU, and Geo ranges are Bay Green, Carbon Black, Dorchester Oak and Richmond Walnut.

Bay Green (above & below) is a rich, sophisticated colour intensified by its silky matt finish, particularly stunning when teamed with woodgrains and brass accessories. At the same time, the dramatic Carbon Black (pictured at the very bottom) is a deep version of charcoal, a statement finish perfectly pitched to complement and accent other decors in the range.

Additionally, in response to tremendous demand for realistic, natural woodgrains, joining the collection is Dorchester Oak (pictured below), a timeless classic with a golden tone and a light grain texture. The addition of a new carcass and 22mm laminate worktop in the same finish allows the consumer the freedom to create a completely harmonious look or to mix and match.

Richmond Walnut (below) offers a bolder, darker option with a striking vertical grain detail, equally at home in a vintage or contemporary setting.

Helen Clark, head of marketing at Utopia, comments, “Anticipating trends in terms of colour and finish is a key part of our product development programme. Our carefully curated collection of colours and finishes is continually evolving so that we can offer our customers a vast portfolio of colours and finishes to choose from plus the option to combine them for a truly personal design scheme.”  

To help consumers design their dream bathroom, Utopia offers a free sample service for all finishes and tiles. This, combined with Visualise, Utopia’s online planning tool, allows the consumer to explore all eleven furniture collections, experimenting with colours and combinations in the comfort of their own home until they create their ideal bathroom.    

Pictured above – Carbon Black

Utopia Furniture Ltd

01902 406402


Leading bathroom brand HiB has added a wide range of stunning new products to its existing lineup. A new Veles modular furniture range, stunning basins, the latest elegant mirrors and cabinets, and quality brassware have joined its portfolio.

The cornerstone of HiB’s latest launch is the Veles modular furniture range, which it says has been meticulously crafted to offer ample storage, useful sizing and beautiful finishes.

For small spaces, the Veles Compact range offers stunning quality and finish in a reduced depth, while the Veles Standard range offers more storage and larger dimensions ideal for family bathrooms. This new range pairs perfectly with the new Terra basins and countertops. Created from high-quality mineral marble in four finishes, this tactile, durable and stunning basin and countertop combination enhances the complete look, offering an exceptional level of finish.

Bathroom Review HiB latest launch

Along with the introduction of the Terra basin range, HiB has expanded its basin category offering to include a whole host of new options, including the Opia and Dexter vessel basins and Cerys corner wall-mounted basin, allowing customers to choose from a wider variety of designs to suit their desired look. Each basin seamlessly integrates with HiB Novum furniture ranges and other units to provide style and function, transforming daily routines into moments of indulgence.

HiB has also launched a selection of mirrors and cabinets, offering the latest bathroom technology, blending contemporary style with practical solutions. The new Rubin and Alba illuminated mirrors include the latest heat pad technology, covering more than 75% of the mirror’s surface. The feature reduces a greater area of condensation, further enhancing visibility.

HiB has been a pioneer in bathroom products for more than 30 years. With an unwavering commitment to innovation, quality and design, HiB has consistently pushed the boundaries of bathroom aesthetics and functionality. This latest launch is HiB’s biggest yet, demonstrating the company’s desire to bring new and exciting products to the market for customers across the UK, Ireland and the Middle East.

To see all the new HiB and HiB Novum products, see the latest brochure at https://www.hib.co.uk/brochure

Us Brits are often tasked with planning compact bathrooms, with the average UK bathroom measuring a modest 2M x 2M1. Fortunately, many innovations and designs allow homeowners to create an inviting yet functional space. Opting for wall-hung fittings within a compact space is an ideal solution to provide additional space while limiting clutter, helping to create a streamlined finish, and these fittings are continuing to grow in popularity as we get more familiar with their benefits.

Today, bathroom experts GROHE, provide a complete buyer’s guide and share all there is to know on wall-hung fittings, including how these design choices can elevate even the smallest of bathroom spaces with reduced outward projections and elevated placement.

Simple Installation

While its recommended wall-hung fittings are installed by professional installers, the fittings are often
not as invasive and complicated to install as often believed, especially when it comes to full bathroom
renovations. Many of GROHE’s models can be installed in front of a solid wall or within a stud wall in
next-to-no-time thanks to the GROHE QuickFix system with ToolFree feature, which requires no tools
to connect hose, inspection shaft, or water supply.

Functionality & Durability

Wall-mounted fittings offer the same functionality and durability as standard fittings and can even provide
improved function in some cases. The ‘built to last’ fittings firmly mounted to the wall allow room for improved cleanliness and hygiene. As the fittings are elevated from the floor space, with just the toilet or basin bowl visible and no exposed pipework or cistern, there’s less surface area and corners for dirt and grime to build up in, making easy cleaning.

A common misconception with wall-mounted toilets and sinks is that they do not offer adequate support, however a correctly installed flush-frame and basin can more than comfortably support the weight of almost any adult without any concerns. GROHE’s wall-mounted fittings carry the German TUV certification for load capacity with the toilets approved for weights up to 400KG and basins approved for up to 150KG.

Future-proof fittings

With modern flushing systems models such as the GROHE Rapid SLX, homeowners can have peace
of mind if future renovations are needed. While the Rapid SLX can work well with the regular WC
pans, it is exciting to note that it has been designed specially to cater to future-planning and features a
built-in electric socket and water connection ready for shower toilet installations, limiting the need for
invasion renovation work. The system is also equipped with various technologies, including GROHE
3 Whisper which prevents sound travelling through walls making it an ideal choice for households where
someone may be waking up numerous times throughout the night.

Wall-hung fittings can also provide enhanced accessibility to users, thanks to the fitting’s height being
adjustable and not limited to the fitting’s pedestal stands. GROHE’s concealed flush-frames have
adjustable feet, setting the height at the desired level and providing additional comfort.

Arranged like a Japanese lunchbox: the new Bento Starck Box bathroom series from Duravit and designer Philippe Starck represents the latest Duravit Artisan Lines addition. Inspiration is drawn from a traditional Japanese bento box – which is subdivided into several internal compartments by separators.

The new series includes a washbasin, toilet sets, plus bathtub, featuring a clear-cut design that is perfectly matched to different variants and dimensions of the bathroom furniture. The spacious Bento Starck Box washbasins offer practical and convenient storage areas. All personal care products and accessories can be placed within easy reach.


The Bento Starck Box single washbasins are made from DuraCeram®, and the double washbasins from DuroCast UltraResist. Enabling Duravit to demonstrate how a range of different materials can be used to produce unconventional designs.

Alongside the 650 mm-wide washbasins, the Bento Starck Box collection comprises above-counter basins
in a range of sizes, all available in White and White Satin Matt: round variants with a diameter of 460 mm, and rectangular versions with a width of 550 mm as individual basins or, for two faucets, in widths of 1140 mm and 1340 mm – made from DuroCast UltraResist. The faucet is mounted inside the inner basin on all models.

Bathroom Review Duravit Bento Box Series


The freestanding acrylic infinity bathtub, sized 1800 x 900 mm, is ideal for a spa-like experience in your home bathroom. A tapered water channel prevents a build-up of water and can be used as a storage area for accessories.

Bathroom Review Duravit Bento Box Series


Bento Starck Box toilet sets harmonize with the design of the ceramic and bathtubs, including a compact model with a projection of just 480 mm and the HygieneFlush version with a projection of 570 mm. The range includes a floor-standing, close-coupled toilet and matching bidets. The integrated push buttons on the seat with the gentle, silent lowering mechanism means it can be easily removed and cleaned.

“The Bento Starck Box collection is the start of an elegant serenity,” said Starck, describing the washbasins and bathtubs. “With intelligently divided wet and dry areas, the clean, clearly structured washing areas and bathtubs enable countless options for personal design.”

Bathroom Review Duravit Bento Box Series

Leading bathroom manufacturer, Ideal Standard, has announced the latest addition to its i.life B range – a Glossy Grey finish is available on a selection of i.life B’s vanities, toilets, and bidets.

Designed in collaboration with the Italian studio Palomba Serafini Associati (PS+A). The entire collection is built to be flexible, offering various models for both large family bathrooms and smaller ensuites.

Ideal Standard’s Singular™ approach ensures compatibility since any of Ideal Standard’s portfolios can be brought together to create tailored solutions without compromising.

The manufacturer offers matching furniture options and shower trays in grey, with various models to suit any space. Partnering perfectly with the glossy grey finish, Ideal Standard’s range of Silk Black fittings, accessories, and shower enclosures enable customers to create a fully coordinated look. Equally, the new grey ceramics can be combined with Ideal Standard’s wide range of brassware collections in chrome or durable PVD colours for fully tailored solutions and truly cohesive space.

i.life B also boasts powerful flushing technology, while the lack of an overhanging rim means these WCs are easier to clean for a more hygienic space.

Making the installation process more accessible, the innovative EasyFix+ installation system means wall-hung toilets can be installed faster and by just one person – saving time and resources.

Ideal Standard’s UK marketing director, Leanne Martin said: “The i.life bathroom collection provides a smart, adaptable collection where design, comfort, and hygiene all come together. No matter the size or shape of your bathroom, i.life  can bring style to any space, and the addition of Glossy Grey to this range offers a contemporary and sophisticated look.”

Bathroom Review Ideal Standard i.life B Gloss

Find out more about the i.life collection here: www.idealstandard.co.uk/products/highlights/ideal-standard-i-life

‘Quiet Luxury’ is a trend into a movement that brings understated elegance into a space. This trend has been gaining recognition within the interior design sphere of late.

Influenced heavily by trending interiors that favour understated craftsmanship and quality design over mass trend-led styling and overbranded buys, ‘Quiet Luxury’ requires each design decision to be conscious, considered and refined. 

In a recent YouGov study, it was found that 23% of UK adults view the environment as one of the top three most important issues currently facing the country1. Since their research began in 2011, YouGov noted that those acknowledging environmental issues as important matters have steadily risen over the past decade, from having hovered between 5%-9% until 2014 to consistently staying above 20% ten years on. The societal demand and continued awareness around sustainability is a key driving trend for manufacturers to provide premium performance showers that cater to an eco-friendly and environmentally conscious lifestyle.

GROHE lifestyle & portfolio

With quality, sustainability, and human-centric design at the core of the GROHE product portfolio, GROHE says it naturally embodies the ‘Quiet Luxury’ approach to design and specification. Alongside premium quality products created with expert craftsmanship in timeless designs, the portfolio is subtly equipped with GROHE’s innovative technologies to deliver the very best in experience as well as offering sustainable benefits.  

GROHE & Caesarstone Collaboration

GROHE’s latest collaboration with premium quartz surfaces brand Caesarstone, for their brand-new Private Collections, is an extension of GROHE’s beloved premium models, Atrio and Allure Brillant. The collection provides a customisable design experience with a choice of colour, finish, material, and handle options.

Integrated within a number of the fitting’s body is GROHE’s water-saving technology, EcoJoy, which reduces the water flow by up to 50%, without compromising on performance.

Sustainable design

GROHE recently announced Spring 2024 as the market launch of its first-ever water-recycling shower GROHE
The shower system is currently being field tested and a training programme for installers is expected to start in the second half of 2023. In addition, GROHE is also aiming to have all GROHE concealed showers water-recycling-ready by 2030. GROHE Everstream has been designed to create the showering experience users expect but consuming as little fresh water as possible – and using far less energy. The Everstream system uses as little as a quarter of the water and a third of the energy typically required by traditional showers.

As one of the most versatile and widely specified products from Schlüter-Systems, Schluter-KERDI-BOARD finds applications for both retrofit and new-build installations, with different thicknesses of the extruded polystyrene (XPS) panel providing a stable and waterproof substrate for natural stone and ceramic tiling.

The panels are available in thicknesses of 5, 9, 12.5, 19, 28, 38 and 50mm and are easily installed across existing masonry, concrete, timber stud frames or lightweight metal framing, with panels featuring parallel grooves also available for creating rounded surfaces, such as for seating or curved walls.  With all thicknesses available in 1.25 m or 2.6 m lengths, both by 62.5 cm wide, KERDI-BOARD is frequently used to create work-surfaces, breakfast bars, islands and vanities. 

A handy guide can be downloaded from the Schlüter-Systems website which can assist both specifiers and tradespeople in picking the right panel for an application. For instance, 12.5 mm is the minimum thickness recommended for use where a stud frame is constructed to 400 mm centres.  The largest three thicknesses should be considered for construction purposes, while there are also special L-shaped and U-shaped panels for use as pipe boxing, and prefabricated niches in different sizes – with or without lighting – to create storage within walls. 

Both sides of the KERDI-BOARD panels have a waterproof, cement-free reinforcement layer, which offers an ideal surface for standard tile adhesive, either fully embedded or using the dot and dab method. Printed lines aid accurate cutting using a utility knife or power tools.

KERDI-BOARD is certified BBA certified.

For further information, call 01530 813396 or visit https://www.schluter.co.uk/

Award-winning bathroom supplier HiB has released two new ranges to enhance its illuminated mirror offering.

Both designed in their own distinct style, with a range of practical features, the Arcane and Cassini mirrors are perfect for use above a bathroom vanity unit and across other areas of the home.

Cassini’s clean and modern design concept makes it a versatile mirror suitable for a variety of spaces. With no straight edges, a deep band of illumination around the mirror and a chamfered diffuser to create a gentle glow, the Cassini Curve and Round both offer soft styling that focuses on maximising illumination.

The Cassini mirrors are operated using a touchless sensor and feature integrated colour temperature-changing technology and a heated pad to reduce condensation on the mirror’s surface, greatly enhancing the user experience after a bath or shower.

The Arcane range also includes a heated pad and touchless operation to operate the mirror’s color temperature changing-enabled illumination. Available in two finishes, black and brushed brass, with Curve, Round and Pill shapes in a variety of sizes, there is plenty of choice to suit every style of bathroom and requirements.

Ash Chilver, HiB sales director, said: “Round and curved mirrors have a strong popularity among bathroom designers and these new ranges offer a plethora of options that maximise style, while also offering the features we know our customers love.

“Each mirror has been designed to be hung portrait or landscape, opening up wider options for installation within a bathroom design. It’s fantastic to see Arcane and Cassini launched as our latest products to the market and I am looking forward to watching them flourish.”

Also new for 2023 is the 100cm Bellus mirror, an expansion to the existing Bellus range in a larger dimension, perfect for offering extra drama and opulence to the space.

To see the latest products, visit hib.co.uk  

 Notes to editors:

About HiB

HiB is a major supplier to UK and Irish Bathroom Retailers and is a market leader in innovative bathroom products such as mirrors, cabinets, lighting and furniture. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, the company is renowned for providing innovative, creative solutions which make bathrooms beautiful and substantially improves the lives of retailers, partners and the wider community.

Since HiB was established in the 1990s, the company has grown significantly. From humble roots as a fledgling business founded by Chairman Warren Ginsberg, to a 100 plus-strong operation with centres both in New Southgate, North London and a 85,000 Sq.ft national distribution site near Tamworth in the Midlands, the company has been responsible for many bathroom industry ‘firsts’.