Forget faux finishes and dropped ceilings. Exposed brick, pipes, and HVAC ducts are all the rage. Industrial chic is here to stay. As plumbers, we have often admired perfectly run pipes. Now the rest of the world is catching on. From pipe bookcases to exposed copper pipes, plumbing pipe décor is everywhere. We love seeing exposed pipes as well as decorative pipes covers like ribbon and rope. The San Francisco Bay Area is an epicenter for innovative design. If there is a hot décor trend, you will see it here. We love all the example of exposed pipes here in the Bay Area; it is one of our most requested looks
What makes the exposed pipe trend work? High quality materials. While PVC pipe is economical and functional, PVC is not what we are talking about when we speak of decorative plumbing. Think copper and steal. If your pipes are exposed but not pretty, consider decorative plumbing pipe covers. Read below for all the latest trends.
- Exposed plumbing. In bathrooms and kitchens, simply have the supply lines run outside the walls instead of inside the walls. Copper is beautiful; it makes naturally decorative plumbing pipes. No further work necessary when you have elegant copper pipes. These pipes seen on FrameWeb are lovely!
- Paint Exposed Pipes the Same Color as the Ceiling. This trend works because you get the full height of the ceiling, but the pipes blend in. Once you take note of this technique, you will start noticing it everywhere. It is very common to see exposed pipes painted the same color as the ceiling in urban offices and restaurants. When painting pipes, you will need to use an oil based paint. These pipes from Bob Vila blend right in.
- Paint pipes a contrasting color. Lime green against dark grey? Awesome. Want a pop of teal or scarlet? Do it. Simply use paint to make decorative plumbing pipes out of regular pipes. This is a great technique to use when you do not have pretty copper pipes but do not want to clutter up your space with soffits or curtains under the sink. Great example of painted plumbing from Apartment Therapy.
- Copper Duct Work. Unlike stainless steel, copper is metallic, yet warm. Copper has antimicrobial properties and never goes out of style. Wash copper with vinegar to keep it bright and shiny or allow it to develop a beautiful patina.
- Decorative plumbing pipe covers. Looking to ad some nautical flair to your home? Wrap rope around your exposed pipes. Are you going for a cute or girly look? Twist ribbons. Want to decorate for the holidays? Make your exposed pipe a candy cane with alternating red and white fabric swatches. There are endless possibilities for decorative pipe covers. We love this rope tutorial from Apartment Therapy.
- Painted radiators. There are many solutions for radiator covers, but a painted radiator can be a pretty focal point. Go bold and paint your radiator a bright contrasting color that will cheer you up on even the gloomiest winter days. This rainbow radiator from Cast Iron Radiators will put a smile on your face.
- The plumbing “look.” Don’t have exposed plumbing but want to get the look? Make friends with copper flashing. Copper flashing can also work around PVC pipes to make plumbing pipe covers that give the look and feel of copper without replacing any pipes.
- Pipes as bookcases and shelves. Pipes are not just for plumbing anymore. We have see pipes used as towel racks, bookshelves, railings, and shelf brackets. You can even DIY with pipes to give your home custom built furniture. Grab some pipes and let your inner Mario brother out. Check out this great pipe shelf tutorial from Lowe’s.
- Plumbing inspired lighting. Lighting designers are using pipes to create unique and romantic light fixtures. From intricate chandeliers to simple wall sconces, the plumbing look is a major trend in lighting. We love this look from MESH Architectures.
It goes without saying that leaking or otherwise unsound pipes will never be in style. Pipes must be functional and well maintained. From DIY decorative plumbing pipe covers to genuine and long lasting copper, exposed pipes are in. Why cover your home’s pipes with a soffit or drywall when décor websites abound with pipe decorative ideas? Next time you are at a chic restaurant in SOMA or a modernist winery in Sonoma, take a look around. Chances are you will spot some exposed pipes.