Traditional Bathroom Designs

Gather ideas and inspiration for traditional bathroom designs, and prepare to install an elegant bathroom design in your home.
Elegant White and Blue Master Bathroom

Elegant White and Blue Master Bathroom

A bold blue accent wall in this bright white bathroom creates a high-contrast, sparkling-clean look in this spacious, luxurious master bathroom.

By: Sean McEvoy

Traditional bathroom designs generally take inspiration from design trends, materials and decor connected to specific historical eras. Victorian and colonial styles come to mind when traditional design is mentioned, but in fact, this design style doesn't necessarily have to be overtly era-specific.

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Graphic Wallpaper

Simply adding graphic wallpaper brings dimension to a small powder room. Designer Jennifer Jones enhanced the bold design with a vintage-inspired, decorative mirror. A vintage pedestal sink, which can be found at a flea market, completes the look.

Wall Tile Mosaic

For a true luxurious look, cover the shower and floor with inexpensive tiles and create a focal wall featuring a few high-end tiles arranged in a mosaic. A flowering branch is the highlight of this stunning bathroom designed by SPI Design.

Coastal-Inspired Bathroom

Soothing blue tones bring a clean, crisp look to this coastal-themed bathroom. Designer Erica Islas suggests painting your existing cabinets navy blue and replacing hardware with glass knobs and pulls. To add texture, paint beadboard stark white to wainscot the bottom half of the walls and paint the upper half a soothing blue color for a serene feel. Decorate with beach-inspired accessories and framed images of the beach.

Vanity Upgrade

Warm colors instantly add a luxurious, inviting feel to a bathroom. To bring a textured, elegant look to the space, designer Amy Bubier covered one wall with accent tiles and completed the look with bold artwork. To save money, repurpose an old vanity by staining it and replacing the doors to get a completely new look. Purchase a scrap piece of granite at a low cost as your vanity surface.

Natural Elements

Designer Lori Dennis chose a natural color palette to create a serene, modern feel in this large bathroom. Lori suggests incorporating large plants and natural objects, like a boulder, to bring the outdoors in. Installing interior stone tile on an entire wall can be expensive, so install exterior stone instead to create a similar look at a lower cost.

Antique Piece

To easily create an inviting space, choose one focal piece as inspiration for your bathroom's design. Designer Ammie Kim used an antique bench as the focal point in this Asian-inspired bathroom. Flea markets and antique shops have many different unique pieces to choose from that can make a big design impact. Incorporate floor-to-ceiling window treatments using clothing fabric instead of curtain fabric for an inexpensive way to instantly soften the look.

Mosaic Tile Flooring

Glass tiles bring texture, shine and high-end design to a bathroom, but they can be pricey. To lower the cost, install standard black and white subway tiles in the shower and splurge on mosaic glass tile for the bathroom floor, suggests Amy. The blue-gray color delivers a calm, luxury-hotel feel.

Spa-Like Atmosphere

The sage-green walls instantly deliver a Zen-inspired atmosphere in this small bathroom. Erica installed open shelving to add storage without taking up space, and the floating vanity, made from a scrap piece of wood, makes the space feel open and airy. Make your own mirror by hammering a square wood mirror and staining it a dark, rich color. Complete the look with framed images of nature.

Contrasting Colors

Contrasting color tones can mean the difference between an ordinary bathroom and a high-end one. Designer Christopher Grubb placed stark-white vessel sinks atop dark-stained cabinets. The contrast between the two colors creates a rich, contemporary look. Invest in a floating vanity to open up a small bathroom.

Bold Mirror

Adding one bold piece to a neutral, soothing color palette is a budget-friendly way to update a bathroom. Designer Beth Haley placed an oversized, zebra-print mirror above a large vanity, drawing the eye to the center of the bathroom. Simple touches, like plants and artwork, complete the contemporary look.

Old World Powder Room

Lori created an Old World-inspired bathroom with rich wood, elegant accessories and intricate tile design. To create a similar look, use decorative wallpaper and repurpose a vintage dresser and stone bowl into a vanity and sink. Add fresh flowers to rejuvenate the space.

Warm, Rich Colors

The combination of soft lighting and a warm, saturated wall color gives this contemporary bathroom a high-end look. Amy added a dark-stained frame and rich, textured accessories to continue the warm, inviting look.

In some respects, it's easier to define traditional bathroom design in terms of what it's not: sleek, modern, contemporary or minimalist designs generally would fail to qualify.

Surfaces are an important element of traditional bathroom designs. Countertops most often feature natural or faux-natural materials, like stone, slate or granite. Floor and wall tile choices range from historical to vintage, with subway, hexagonal or penny tile all popular types. It's also possible to mix and match eras in a traditional bathroom design, although you probably wouldn't want the effect to be too jarring — for example, pairing a stoic, unadorned colonial style with vintage 1940s accessories or classic pink and black tilework would likely cause some visual confusion. If possible, try to pair decorative touches from adjacent eras for a subtle but visually interesting effect.

When it comes to furniture for traditional bathrooms, natural materials are definitely featured most commonly. High-quality wood pieces are often used for sink cabinet bases, benches or chairs. For colonial bathrooms, the wood is often of a type traditionally found in the Northeastern United States, home to the original American colonies. Maple, oak and cherry are commonly featured wood types in colonial bathrooms.

Similarly, sink and other fixtures are generally made from materials with a historic pedigree, like porcelain or stone. Basin, pedestal and console sink types are quite common in traditional bathroom designs. For tubs, the trademark porcelain claw-foot tub is a popular choice — and it's now available in a range of materials that either emulate the look of porcelain or take a slight turn. Wood-paneled versions or ones in a range of metals from bronze to copper are also available.

Speaking of metals, these can be an important feature of traditional bathroom design, especially when used for fixtures like lamps, faucets and furniture hardware. Copper, iron and oil-rubbed bronze are common choices, lending gravity and historical authenticity to the design.

Finally, when it comes to linens and other accessories for your traditional bathroom design, simple, straightforward towels, bath mats, shower curtains and window shades are most commonly featured. Whites, browns and traditional reds, blues and greens are common color choices for both accessories and overall color schemes.

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