Clean lines, hard angles, and neutral palettes may be the traditional pillars of modern style but there's more to this timeless aesthetic than what meets the eye. In fact, the iconic design approach is no stranger to pops of primary colors and curved details — not to be confused with Scandi minimalism. So when it comes to translating those characteristics to the functionality of a shower or bathtub, it's worth going beyond the cement tile and glass doors, opting for a punchy detail courtesy of the fixtures.
These days, modern bath fittings can take on an eclectic array of forms and finishes — from polished chrome to brushed gold to solid brass — and the inspired spaces ahead prove just that. Pro tip: No matter what you decide for your showering essentials, just be sure you select a rust-resistant finish. Read on for eight ways to embrace modern fixtures with effortless cool.
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1. Ditch the chrome.
Switch up the expected by opting for a freestanding tub filler that's a little more matte and a little less metallic. Follow the lead of this dramatic bath from Australian studio Northbourne Architecture + Design, where the tonal scheme extends from walls and tub over to the minimalist, white freestanding faucet, which offers additional contrast and blends in seamlessly.
2. Think dark.
Matte black faucets and shower fixtures are a foolproof way to add a dose of drama to the bath, which can easily take a black and white scheme to the next level. Cue this perfectly minimalist scene from Kate Marker Interiors where the daring hue of the shower combo set plays out by way of an accent tile and matching storage niche.
3. Mind the backdrop.
Allow the color of your bath's tile to inform the finish of your tub or shower fixtures as Ginny Macdonald did here in Jaclyn Johnson's home. The Stormy blue Fireclay Tile backdrop called for a cool metallic accent, which the designer incorporated via the brushed nickel deck mount bathtub faucet with sleek lever handles and even a handshower to boot.
4. Pare it back.
Simplicity is just as important a component of modern style as visual symmetry. Designer Cortney Bishop offers a laidback and refined approach courtesy of a freestanding tub that comes paired with a wall-mounted stainless steel tub spout flanked by a set of sleek levers to match. The marble wall tile and patterned flooring complete the sophisticated design.
5. Combine eras.
Vintage fixtures reimagined with a fresh color detail is a popular trick of modern style. The creatives behind The Water Monopoly serve us with the ultimate inspiration that holds nothing back on the trim kit design front — a retro pastel green tub paired with complementary green cross handles and a brushed brass tub spout.
6. Take an artful stance.
Architectural firm Crosby Studios gave this NYC apartment a Parisian-inspired revamp and when it came to the bathroom, it was all about installing a beautifully minimalist shower system that could double as art. The wall-mounted shower faucet set — sleek, streamlined, and meticulously spaced — not only emulates the matte black finish used throughout the room but lends a focal point to the dramatic archway that frames the bath.
Get the look: RENIST Wall Mounted Widespread Bathroom Faucet, $86
7. Make it rain.
A high-quality rain showerhead with multiple spray settings is basically a must-have for a walk-in setup (trust us here). Designer Zoe Feldman's take includes white subway tile with white grout and brushed nickel fixtures that easily stand out as the main event. The single-handle shower trim located on the adjacent wall (no more getting soaked when turning the shower on!) is a thoughtful and clean addition, sans fussy details like a shower hose or slide bar.
8. Mix and match.
We're loving the major dose of sophistication this perfectly serene scene is serving, courtesy of Chango & Co. Part modern, part farmhouse, and part old-school glam, the space features an array of styles that merge in harmony. The polished chrome freestanding tub filler and handheld showerhead lend a much-needed dose of luster to the room's muted palette.