Traditional Bathroom Style: Create A Timeless Bathroom
Classic bathrooms are a perfect addition to older homes and traditional properties. With their clawfoot tubs and furniture-style vanities, traditional bathrooms help retain the authenticity and character of a home. For this reason, they are as popular as they have ever been.
What makes traditional style bathrooms great is that they are a charming idea even if you don’t live in a vintage home. You can choose to incorporate classic elements and your favorite traditional bathroom fixtures to create a masterpiece.
In this expert guide, we share our best tips on how to put together a traditional bathroom. We take a closer look at all the individual features of traditional bathroom design, and show you our favorites. Whether you are designing a traditional bathroom from scratch or adding a period touch to your bathroom space, you are at the right place.
The Traditional Bathroom
This bathroom style typically takes inspiration from design trends, decor, and materials connected to specific historical eras. In some cases, it is easier to define traditional bathroom design in terms of what it is not – modern, contemporary, or minimalist. A classic bathroom feels more like a relaxing spa oasis thanks to its elegant hues and luxurious touches. To put it short, traditional style bathrooms are classic, timeless, and beautifully aesthetic.
Elements of a Traditional Style Bathroom
What makes the traditional style bathroom “traditional” are the elements that constitute it. Choosing the right fixtures and decor that fits the traditional standards is somewhat tricky. For instance, some people try to use furniture pieces built in the 1800s and end up paying through their noses. Instead, they could use pieces that are manufactured today and still pay homage to a particular era, without crossing into contemporary bathroom style. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight to essential elements of a traditional bathroom style.
Traditional Bathroom Color Palettes
The traditional color palette consists of paler shades of paint or wallpaper, and there are plenty of options out there for you to consider. So, here are three color combinations that will always win the game.
Pale shades of blue or green
It’s calm, it’s serene, and it’s utterly traditional. There’s something historically fresh about these colors that contributes to a sparkling bathroom. Pale shades of blue or green as a bathroom color scheme are perfect, especially when brightened with natural light. Even better, a claw-foot tub makes a great addition to this color palette.
Soft neutrals like beige, peach, and pink
If you own a house with a circa 1950 bathroom, then chances are you are familiar with the rose-pink tile conundrum. The good news is that your job of making your bathroom look more traditional just got easier. Update with antique-style lighting; throw in some fresh flowers, and a dressing table. You are all good to go.
Deeper shades also work
Choosing a specific traditional bathroom color palette doesn’t mean that all parts are displayed equally using pale colors. Quite the opposite, it’s sometimes useful to opt for dominant shades that can be enhanced by a significant dose of another color. Deeper shades of blue, green, and purple can also work well if you are looking for a more dramatic look.
Materials and Treatments You Can Use in Traditional Style Bathrooms
When designing traditional bathrooms, don’t overlook the importance of the decorative yet functional style. Embrace these distinctive materials and treatments to turn your traditional bathroom into a magical spa.
Decorative wallpaper, molding, and wainscoting
Traditional bathrooms take pride in details. No area is spared when it comes to molding. It can be found on the ceiling, armoires, and cabinets. Decorative wallpaper, delicate wainscoting, and crown molding add flavor to a traditional bathroom design. What’s more, it creates a clean and classic look.
The right wallpaper can transform your bathroom into the room with the most personality in your home. From botanical-inspired designs to designs featuring motifs, there’s a wide array of wallpapers in the market. Our advice is to use subtly patterned wallpaper with wood paneling to create a luxurious country feel.
Moldings can help elevate your bathroom space and emphasis the top edge of the room. The sleek and detailed trim work lays the foundation for intricate furniture while perceptually raising the ceiling height. Crown and baseboard molding are the most common types. If your bathroom has a sloped ceiling, consider using frieze molding. This type of molding is fixed only on the wall surface, giving you enough space above to add architectural details to the room.
To add more details, decorate your traditional bathroom with wainscoting. It acts as insulation and prevents water damage on walls. The most common wainscoting ideas include raised panel, shiplap, and carved. Think of wainscoting as an alternative to tiles. Tiles create a cool ambiance, whereas wainscoting makes your bathroom feel warmer and more welcoming
Hardware and fixtures – oil-rubbed bronze, chrome, and nickel-plated
Sometimes changing one thing can change the entire look of your bathroom. This is especially true when it comes to hardware and fixtures. Finishes are crucial when buying bathroom fixtures and hardware. Chrome is the most popular finish, and it goes exceptionally well in traditional bathroom settings. It is durable, easy to clean and maintain and matches easily with other fixtures. If you want an alternative that will stun your guests, go for nickel-plated or oil-rubbed bronze finishes.
Nickel plating reveals a golden luster that chrome plating doesn’t. This material is also darker than its counterparts and can appear to change its color under different lighting. Polished nickel is also more durable and easier to clean. On the flip side, polished nickel is a bit expensive. It can also be hard to match it with other accessories and fixtures.
Oil-rubbed bronze offers greater aesthetic appeal and a more traditional look. Consider pairing an oil-rubbed faucet with brass items in your bathroom to save money and improve the ambiance. Oil-rubbed bronze fixtures don’t reveal water spots or fingerprints and are easy to pair with other accessories. This is a more costly option than their chrome and nickel-plated counterparts.
Tiles – marble, quartz, granite, and unique tile patterns
Traditional bathroom tiles feature lighter veining and colors. Generally, Calacatta or Carrara marble is considered classic. But, you will also find more tile play, mosaics, and unique checkered patterning. Getting the right tiles is an essential part of planning a traditional bathroom. Depending on the era you have in your mind, you can opt for patterned and wood effect floor tiles or glossy metro tiles. When selecting flooring for your bathroom, keep the anticipated wear and tear, the architectural theme of your house, and your favorite color or texture in mind.
Marble tiles are highly polished and come in various sizes. They are sophisticated and can be patterned or veined depending on your preferences. But marble tiles can be expensive and are vulnerable to scratches and stains. Therefore, we recommend a “marble look-alike” for the bathroom floor, such as this one recommended by Jamie Lundstrom. On the other hand, granite tiles are durable, versatile, and can be a better option if you anticipate the high wear and tear of a family with small children. Granite tiles are resistant to stains and moisture.
Mosaic tiles are currently a popular option. The design can be customized depending on your needs – you can play with different tints of glasses, types, and shades. When installed right, this type of tile holds up well. Mosaic tiles are great for shower enclosures as it is easier to get the sloped angle you need towards the drain. Consider texturing it to make it slip-resistant.
Darker high-end wood – polished chestnut or mahogany
From vanities to frames, and flooring, wood has a prominent role in traditional bathroom designs. Woods adds a level of sophistication to your bathroom and makes it look far beyond ordinary. Wood products often absorb moisture from the air and expand in size. So, when choosing wood, opt for a timber that has “low movement” characteristics. For instance, mahogany is a low movement timber. Also, consider the background. Dark finishes like mahogany and chestnut stand out against a light color.
Traditional Furniture for Your Bathroom
Traditional bathroom furniture is an excellent way to add elegance and authenticity to your bathroom style. Classic furniture pieces are all about the quality of materials and attention to detail. Take a look at our pick of the best furniture pieces you could use to add a classic touch to your bathroom.
Furniture-style vanities are in vogue now and they add some opulent details to your traditional bathroom. An ornate gold-effect mirror is a perfect addition to this style. Not only will it add detail, but it will also create a sense of light and space.
Pedestal basin or a washstand
You can’t go wrong with pedestal basins. After all, the simple lines and classic design they feature keep them timeless. Pedestal basins are available in a wide array of sizes and shapes, and they effortlessly hide unsightly pipework. If you have enough room, consider fitting two basins side by side for added luxury.
On the other hand, if you are limited by space, washstands are an ideal option. They transform a plain basin into something more fascinating. Place a wicker basket underneath the basin to keep toilet rolls or spare towels. In addition, pair them with traditional taps and metro wall tiles.
Though many people prefer waterfall taps, the class cross-head or lever taps are perfect for adding an instant traditional touch to your bathroom, and they work well with pedestal basins and washstands.
Curved and claw-foot bathtubs
Claw-foot bathtubs are one of the standout features in any traditional bathroom design. If space permits, we recommend adding one. A claw-foot tub is the most traditional option as it works equally with the classical theme or the aristocratic interpretation of traditional bathroom design. You can use both chrome and brass fittings to complete the classic look. Presently, a wide array of eye-catching designs is available in the market. So, take your time choosing one and pick out the claw-foot tub that matches your bathroom and home style.
For instance, a single-ended freestanding tub features taps at one end of the tub, whereas double-ended claw-foot tubs have taps in the middle. On the other hand, a slipper style claw-foot tub has one or both sides of the tub raised.
Make sure to consider the color of the claw-foot tub before purchasing. Though white is the most popular tub color, recently we’ve seen painted freestanding claw-foot tubs gaining popularity. Available in visually stunning painted designs, these tubs come in a multitude of colors ranging from gray to blue and even black.
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Details That Belong in a Traditional Style Bathroom
Mirrors should be sleek and streamlined to balance out the more traditional style of vanity. Collect your soap and hand cream on an elegant tray, and keep your countertop as clutter-free as possible. Then, complete the look by adding a vase of fresh flowers and some fluffy towels in neutral tones.
How to Visualize Your Traditional Style Bathroom
Ready to transform your bathroom into a timeless space? If all the information on this page feels overwhelming to you, here is our selection of the best traditional bathroom ideas you can use.
- Flowers dress up the bathroom and create a lively and aromatic space. Switch to fresh flowers rather than succulents or plants used in contemporary bathrooms. Traditional bathrooms look great with a vase of flowers.
- Add storage and reflection to your traditional bathroom using a mirrored medicine cabinet. It gives out a rustic feeling and brightens your bathroom with enhanced illumination.
- Mirrors are a necessity in all bathrooms. Go with vintage or antique mirrors to create a look twice as stunning as the typical traditional bathroom style. Or, opt for framed mirrors, especially mirrors with a wooden frame to add more personality to your traditional bathroom.
- Use vintage roman shades or curtain type window coverings to control natural light and add softness to your traditional bathroom’s hard surfaces. These shades help absorb sound and look perfect with almost all designs. You can choose from the endless color and pattern options, but make sure you select a fabric suitable for high moisture.
- Antique-style lighting adds a retro look to your bathroom and lights up the room with authentic vintage light. Metal is an integral component in creating that traditional aesthetic. It is an excellent choice for ornamental and unique light fixtures. Consider sconces with lampshades, fancy chandeliers, and candle-look lighting. It will enhance the cozy feeling and make your bathroom look even more special and relaxing.
Top RoomSketcher Tip!If you are blessed with a spacious bathroom, one charming idea is to install a dressing table for all your skincare and makeup routines. Consider designing a custom dressing table that’s both attractive and practical. Our top pick is a dressing table with specialized storage. The compartments can be used to organize your skincare and hair products.
With beautiful tubs and furniture-style vanities, the traditional bathroom style offers classical elegance. We are sure these traditional bathroom design ideas will inspire your space and allow you to relax in classic elegance that has stood the test of time.
Traditional bathrooms aren’t one style fits all design. There are a wide variety of styles to choose from. So always have an era in mind when designing your bathroom such as Victorian and Mid-Century Modern. As for accessories and fixtures, think “Timeless, Comfortable, and High-End”.
Start by creating a floor plan of your bathroom – either draw it from scratch using a bathroom planner tool or start with one of the templates in our Floor Plan Gallery. Then go ahead and add furniture, textures and materials, and create different versions to land your look. Get started today!
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Top Tips to Create Your Contemporary Bathroom Style
Clean lines and minimal clutter - Check out our guide to creating a contemporary bathroom style.