Victorian-style bathrooms

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
Hoxton Victorian Bathroom Inara Interiors Eclectic style bathroom
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It's hard to imagine, but there was a time when it was very common for homes to lack a dedicated room for washing and sanitation. The popularity of Victorian-style bathrooms would have you believe that bathrooms were common in the Victorian era, but in fact it was only at the very tail end of the 19th century that bathrooms as we'd recognise them today became a feature of middle-class English homes. So what we'd call a 'Victorian-style' bathroom is often a mix of the real (toilet cisterns set high on the wall, for example) and the imagined (claw's foot baths—baths in Victorian middle-class homes were more commonly made of copper or tin, and had no feet). Regardless of the historic accuracy of what we'd class as Victorian in style, we can all agree that there's something elegant and romantic about Victoriana in the bathroom; we'll take the glossy, curved porcelain and wood panelling and leave the arguments about accuracy to the historians!

Free-standing bath

If you have the space for a free-standing bath, it's the perfect centrepiece to a Victorian-themed bathroom. A wooden floor, properly sealed, is fine in a bathroom, and will make it seem warm and inviting. Go for broke with floral curtains—even if you aren't blessed with sash windows they'll evoke the Victorian era in combination with the free-standing bath. 

Floral wallpaper

The Victorians just loved wallpaper. Before mass production, wallpaper was something that was accessible only to the rich, but as the 19th century proceeded, prices fell and it became affordable for the less monied classes. Amazingly, up until 1836 there existed a wallpaper tax; with its abolition, wallpaper became yet more accessible. Floral and botanical patterns were popular thanks to the Arts and Crafts movement, and will give your bathroom that lovely romantic Victorian feel, especially if combined with antique accessories, as it is here. 

Put you bath under the window

Dents Road, Bathroom BLA Architects Classic style bathroom
BLA Architects

Dents Road, Bathroom

BLA Architects

A built-in bath under a window will give a bathroom a luxurious, hotel feel; though for maximum Victoriana you might just need to install some sash windows… If that's beyond your budget, invest in some antique accessories and fittings. 

Classic porcelain sink

The classic Victoria moulded porcelain sink, set into a free-standing dresser. With lots of room around the edges for soaps, lotions and other pampering paraphenalia one of these is an instant hit of Victoriana. Victorian furniture goes beautifully with contemporary pieces, too, as we can see with the chrome lamps over this sink. 

Wooden panelling

Wooden wall panelling, whether in the form of tongue-in-groove or more extravagant moulded wood panelling was a big feature of Victorian bathrooms. Add some bling to the romance with a crystal chandellier—as we noted above, this is a style that mixes very well with more contemporary touches. 

Modern Victorian

Hoxton Victorian Bathroom Inara Interiors Eclectic style bathroom
Inara Interiors

Hoxton Victorian Bathroom

Inara Interiors

Replace your radiator with a classic, old-fashioned column one, add in a slipper bath and some wood panelling around your cistern—even if you live in a modern home, it need only take a few touches to transform your bathroom into something romantic and Victorian. Add wallpaper to one wall for softness and a nod to the Victorians' love for the stuff.

Metro tiles

When it comes to tilework in a Victorian bathroom design, go for traditional hexagonal, penny or metro tile to create a classic, elegant, yet unfussy finish. White or other light colours are the traditional choice, but to mix up the effect a little, you could go for furniture in a saturated, modern shade, like the turquoise side table in this image. 

Just one detail

Sometimes all it takes is one little detail to bring some Victorian romance into your bathroom. Here we see a fairly contemporary bathroom given an antique feel with the addition of a moulded wood cabinet. 

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