Arts and Crafts Bathrooms

Get all the info you need on arts-and-crafts bathrooms, and prepare to install a historic and attractive bathroom design in your home.
Large Bathroom With Double Vanity

Large Bathroom With Double Vanity


Nancy Snyder

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're contemplating a bathroom redesign, and your tastes tend toward classic design and sturdy, quality construction, you'll want to explore the options available for arts-and-crafts bathrooms.

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The arts-and-crafts movement in design and architecture began in the 1850s in the British Isles, emerging primarily as a response to global industrialization. Before machines began making everything from textiles to cars, many goods such as cabinets, chairs and rugs were all created by hand — by skilled artisans. Industrialization virtually wiped out this class of artists and craftspeople, and the arts-and-crafts movement sought to celebrate the dedication, skill and loving care required to create truly high-quality elements of architecture and interior design.

The arts-and-crafts movement was in full flame for around 50 years, until the early 1900s. It continued to be deeply influential until around the 1930s, but many elements of arts-and-crafts design are still quite popular today.

In bathroom design, arts-and-crafts elements are often expressed through cabinetry. Wooden cabinets and furniture are both key facets of arts-and-crafts design, which emphasized the use and working of sturdy, high-quality woods into intricately carved cabinets, chairs and benches, for example. Dark or richly stained wood is a key element of arts-and-crafts design, and in bathrooms, sink cabinets, storage bins and linen wardrobes may all feature this signature rich wood style.

When it comes to fixtures, arts-and-crafts bathrooms tend toward simple, traditional designs. Straightforward porcelain pedestal sinks are commonly featured, as popular for their simple elegance as for their efficient design, especially effective in smaller bathroom spaces. The sleek white appearance of a porcelain sink or traditional claw-foot tub can offer a great contrast to dark wood used for cabinets and other storage. In some arts-and-crafts bathrooms, a more modern tub or sink style might be featured — bowl-shaped porcelain or metals like bronze and copper are all often seen for sinks and tubs, hinting at a forward-looking design that remains grounded in arts-and-crafts traditions.

Tile for walls and floors is another hallmark of arts-and-crafts bathroom design. Subway tile, in simple white or light colors, can be a great option for walls. Floors may feature penny or mosaic tile in white or black-and-white, offering great visual contrast for the darker woods in the design.

Finally, consider adding decor elements like wall art, wallpaper or decorative pieces to your arts-and-crafts design. Although this traditional design generally works well with a fairly unfussy decor, a small selection of keepsake items arrayed on windowsills or countertops, a gallery-wall of cherished family photos, or a few strategically placed live plants or flowers can liven up the design considerably.

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