5 Plumbing Trends on Their Way Out, According to Real Estate Agents

published Aug 8, 2022
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Pretty shower with black tile, white shower curtain pulled aside

It’s true that minor kitchen renovations have one of the best returns on investment if you’re planning on selling a home. It’s also true that bathroom remodels are the projects homeowners are most willing to tackle. Something that both of these spaces have in common are plumbing fixtures — with sinks and faucets not only important for, you know, ensuring water flows properly through your home, but also for making a pretty big design statement. 

I asked real estate experts to share the plumbing trends that feel and look outdated. From certain faucet finishes to not-so-sustainable features, here are the fixtures that are on their way out. 

Farmhouse Sinks

“In my experience, the bathroom and kitchen are subject to the most trendiest of trends, which of course makes it hard to keep up and can find themselves dated, quickly,” says Carolyn Gagnon, a licensed real estate salesperson with Compass in New York City. 

“Farmhouse sinks are sought after less in favor of the more useful stainless steel sink,” she says.

Shiny Metal Fixtures 

Super shiny silver metal fixtures are the builder-grade standard in most homes. But Emily Waldmann, a Realtor with Den Property Group in Austin, Texas, says buyers are leaning away from the fixtures that look “too new.” 

“While mixed metals are definitely still happening, they are starting to go a more ‘lived in’ or timeless route — think things that show a patina or that would feel equally in place in a 1920 build as a 2020 build,” she says. 

Water-Wasting Features

Nothing is more out of style than wasting water, says Dan Bridleman, SVP of sustainability at KB Home. He suggests looking for EPA WaterSense labeled fixtures and consider touchless faucets that also reduce the spread of germs — both are great options and can help conserve water and save money on your utility bills, Bridelman says.

Want to go with a low-flow showerhead, but don’t want to sacrifice the high-pressure feel? Here are some options that won’t feel like a drizzle but are still sustainable. 

Ornate Fixtures

Plumbing and fixture trends, and design trends on the whole, have moved toward minimalist and modern, says Michelle Linovitz, a real estate agent at Villa Real Estate in Southern California. 

 “Overly ornate and traditional styles, popular in the late 90s, are being replaced with sleek designs that are often more functional,” Linovitz says. 

Bronze Fixtures

As for finish choice, matte black and brass are generally preferred over their more dated counterpart, the oil rubbed bronze look, Linovitz says. The now-passé finish comes from rubbing a dark oil solution over copper-plated fixtures, lending a finish that ranges in color but has copper undertones. 

Matching Fixtures

In addition to antique bronze falling out of favor, today’s homebuyers also don’t need or want every fixture in a space to match, says Gena Kirk, VP of Design Studio at KB Home.

“With so many options in black, gold, or natural metals, it enhances a space and adds visual interest when there is some variety between finishes on shower surrounds, faucets, and accessories,” she says.