If updating your bathroom is on your to-do list for 2012, then read these bathroom design trends before you get started.

Is "bathroom makeover" one of your 2012 resolutions? Ours too! That's why we asked some of Canada's leading design experts for their take on the coming year's most compelling bath trends. Whether you’re planning a full bathroom renovation or just a few stylish updates, here's what the best-dressed baths will be wearing next year. (And beyond: because come on, we’re talking about baths, not one-season clothing trends!)

TREND: The natural bath

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION:"Although kitchens are going brighter, baths are going the opposite direction, with a lot of natural elements," says Debbie Travis, the Montreal-based design expert known for her books and TV series including Debbie Travis' From the Ground Up and Debbie Travis' Facelift. 

"Unless it's a children's bath, you don't want to be confronted with bright colours. The soothing, natural, bath trend is coming through the wood-grain ceramic or porcelain tile. Glass tile is also still in fashion, but recycled glass tile is even hotter. There's a growing trend towards recycled materials, which is fantastic," says Debbie.

People also want the warmth of metal fixtures in finishes like Champagne bronze or oil-rubbed bronze, says Debbie.

"Natural hues like pale greens, ivories, and anything warm and neutral are big, and so is texture," she says. "Concrete accessories like toothbrush holders and waste bins are popular, although forcountertops, stone is better than concrete (I've seen too many disasters!). Weathered wood in grey tones, like driftwood, rather than pine, is also big, as are stone finishes, whether real or faux."

Walls tend to be minimalist like a neutral off-white, but colour can be introduced on the ceiling, says Debbie, where it can provide a subtle halo of pale aqua, pink or green.

TREND:  Clean, streamlined design
DESIGNER INTERPRETATION:"Overall design will be modern rather than traditional. People are going simple and clean, with no clutter, which means getting rid of those heavy, dark vanities and chunky mouldings, and replacing them with light, airy colours; clean, large-format tiles – if not slab materials – with no fussy borders," says Says Alicia Sass, partner and senior designer atCarey Mudford Interior Design, in Toronto.

Plumbing also gets some upscale retrofits: "Flush drain channels in shower floors that are hidden, instead of the round chunky ones in the center of the shower. A lot of wall-mount faucets. Chrome will be a big hit," adds Alicia.

TREND: Eco-friendly countertops

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: "You can really make a statement with eco-friendly countertop choices," says Lynda Felton, a Toronto-based stylist, and co-founder of online style magazine Covet Garden.

"I really like Ice Stone, [a recycled glass composite] and Paper Stone, [a recycled paper and resin composite]. They mimic natural stone but are more durable and easy to clean," says Lynda.

TREND: Wood, in a starring role

Looking to add a one-of-a-kind, natural touch to your bath? Consider giving wood a starring role. "I love the work Italian companyFrancoceccotti is doing with wood. Not just the use of wood for benches and mats but sinks and bathtubs, too," says Lynda.

TREND: Adding personality with lighting and colour

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: Although baths are headed in a clean and streamlined direction, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for personality, says Alicia.

"We are seeing very fun trends for bathroom lighting, like hanging fixtures by the vanity mirrors, instead of wall-mounted sconces. Paint colours will be very bright and airy. Wallpaper has also been making a come back, but in 2012 we’ll see [alternatives to] the usual floral and stripe. We'll see a lot of geometric papers in bold colours, and a lot of prints that look almost like fabric," she says.

TREND: Show-stopping tile

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: Whether on backsplashes, shower enclosures, floors – or all of the above – eye-catching tile is taking centre stage in the on-trend bath.

"'Start at the end' with what you want to create and how you are going to use the space. Then choose from an unlimited number of tile: natural stones, quartz, glass. The trend is about you and surrounding yourself with things you love, to give you that separation from the rest of the world," says Lynn Donaldson, president of Calgary-based Lynn Donaldson & Associates Design and Contracting.

TREND: Wood floor

"I'm seeing lots of wood floors now. The planks are of better quality and they can last in thebathroom," says Debbie. "Salvaged barnboard is perfect for the bath and looks amazing on the floor. It can also be used in wood vanities and to frame a mirror. It's a very raw, textured look that adds warmth," says Debbie.

TREND: Textured shower curtains

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: Banish that vinyl shower curtain to paint tarp duty. Luxe linen or a cotton shower curtain, in rough-hewn, visible weaves, bring  texture to the modern bath.

In the bath environment, texture rather than colour, is the most effective way to provide warmth and visual depth, says Debbie.

By Yuki Hayashi