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Unusual Bathroom & Kitchen Design Ideas

Whether it’s compact or colossal, there’s one sure-fire way to make your kitchen or bathroom as exciting as any on the cover of a glossy magazine – introducing unexpected materials.

Traditionally, the kitchen or bathroom was a purely practical space. We chose the materials for them on the basis of how easy they were to clean or how much they showed fingerprints. However, recent years have seen an influx of materials that previously wouldn’t have been suitable for a hot and humid environment.

Often drawn from other areas of the home, bathroom and kitchen design ideas now often include the trend for unusual materials. Get ready to embrace the most tactile and luxurious of materials in the most surprising of places.

Kitchen design ideas

New and noteworthy in kitchens

You can’t have missed the trend for marble in interior design, but in recent years, there’s been a big demand for marble worktops. It’s understandable – the stone has a crisp look and is easy to sculpt into edges. However, it’s marble’s softness and porosity that makes it at risk of stains from acids and damage. Fortunately, tailor-made sealants help to make it a bit more practical, suspending liquid on the surface of the stone which can be wiped away. It still may not be able to cope with lemon juice or curry, though. The best option is to use trivets and chopping boards and accept that the odd mark is inevitable – a small price to pay for the elegant look of this honed Carrara marble worktop.

kitchen design ideas

Image source: deVOL

The only metals in kitchen design that used to be standard were stainless steel and chrome. Now, there’s plenty of others on offer – from bronze, copper, iron, zinc and aluminium sprayed-on coatings to solid sheets. While less suitable than steel for worktops, they work well as cabinetry cladding, bringing a unique patina to the design. Again, they’ll need some protection, such as lacquering, to prevent tarnishing. This Bert & May kitchen combines reclaimed timber with brass and marble.

unusual kitchen design ideas

Image source: Bert & May

Bringing brutalism into the kitchen, concrete is also making inroads into design. A variety of tinted or decorative mixtures are turning up as poured flooring, a thin textured layer applied to units, and again, as worktops. These will require sealing to prevent heat damage and stains, and sometimes reinforcement for the units to cope with the weight.

Bathroom design ideas

Special surfaces in bathrooms

The backlash against visually sterile surfaces being the only option is beginning. Keen to inject colour and texture into the bathroom, Bette’s steel and enamel bath in its BetteLux Oval Couture range is wrapped in cushioned woven fabric by Jab Anstietz. While it sounds impractical, it’s actually a water, mould and climate-resistant fabric, more commonly used for outdoor furniture.

bathroom design ideas

Image source: Bette

Vanity units have also had a luxurious makeover with not just one or two eye-catching materials being used, but multiple. While marble has been a perennial choice for high-end bathrooms, now you can expect to see a variety of stones, brass, mother of pearl, mirror and deeply grained timbers, all carved, etched and beautifully finished. This vanity unit by Justin Van Breda for C. P. Hart features Art Deco-style metal handles with bevelled mirror panels and wooden beading.

bathroom decor ideas

Image source: C. P. Hart

As well as taps in on-trend copper and brass, there’s also a huge array of finishes as standard, that only a few years ago would have been one-offs. Rose gold, shimmering metallic black, brilliant white and Champagne colours are available to give your bathroom an upmarket look. But for something even more unusual, try a tap with a glass or porcelain spout, such as these Axor Starck V mixer taps.

bathroom and kitchen design ideas

Image source: Ripples

Need further help with kitchen or bathroom design? Post a job for free on Rated People in our kitchen specialist or bathroom category.

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    1. Thanks Clare, glad you enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of marble in the kitchen but copper is fast becoming a favourite!

  1. Has anyone in the Edinburgh Area used a Plumbing & Heating Company from Musselburgh called ARC ?
    If so, any feedback on service and reliability?

    1. Hi Brian,

      If this tradesperson is a member of our site and contacted you to quote on your job, we will have sent you an email to let you know. That email will contain a link to their profile which is where you can find out more information about them including previous homeowner reviews. I’d also recommend following the advice in our homeowner checklist ( to help you decide who to hire.

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