12 August 2021

Home ideas

Victorian style bathroom ideas

Here are some design ideas on how to create the perfect Victorian-style bathroom with contemporary flare.

The image of Victorian-style bathrooms is seared into our mind’s eye because that’s the era when the modern bathroom emerged. Not for everybody, of course, only within the houses of the wealthy. Nowadays, however, we can all recreate the Victorian style bathroom thanks to advances in mass manufacturing. Its elegant décor and vintage look fittings are timeless and ooze style. Adapt it for your own home with the following ideas.

 

A room, not just a ‘facility’

The secret to creating the Victorian style bathroom is to think of it as a habitable room. This is, indeed, how the bathroom was first integrated within the Victorian era home (the WC was usually separate). Victorian houses were often laid out before the advent of indoor baths and plumbing. A room was simply adapted when it became fashionable to have a fully equipped indoor bathroom. Subsequently, the bathroom layout was standardised during the 20th Century to the space we know today. Like any room in the home, having good natural light and tall ceilings is a bonus but not necessary. The Victorian-style bathroom can be yours with some judicious choices of materials, fixtures and fittings.

 

Victorian-style bathroom floor tiles

For bathroom flooring to look like authentic Victorian-era décor it must be thought of as a feature. Back in the day, this would be achieved with timber floorboards, marble, ceramic or encaustic floor tiles. Today, we can go one better. With advances in materials technology, we can get the look without the hassle of ongoing maintenance. Listed below are some of the best Victorian-style bathroom ideas in flooring.

  • Timber floorboards and parquet: The classic look of timber can be recreated in timber-effect porcelain tiles laid as planks or parquet. Unlike organic timber, there is no special maintenance required, and the non-slip finish provides additional protection.
  • Monochrome tiles: The black and white chequerboard tile was typically favoured in the Victorian home. Get the look with tiles laid orthogonally or at 45° for a decorate twist on the contemporary Victorian-style bathroom.
  • Pattern floor and Encaustic tiles: Victorian décor is all about ‘more is more’. Pattern and motif were applied to almost all finishes. The mosaic and patterned floors of the authentic Victorian bathroom can be recreated with these tiles.
  • Marble flooring: For a more sumptuous Victorian-style décor, it’s hard to beat marble tiles in the bathroom. Choose a porcelain marble effect tile and coordinate with the wall finish to create maximum impact.

 

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oxford-natural-19.3-1200

Oxford Natural

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Creating a modern Victorian-style bathroom

In terms of the fixtures and fittings of the Victorian style bathroom, much the same elements are found in today’s bathrooms: bathtubWCbasin, vanity mirror and storage units. Today, however, these pieces of sanitary ware are infinitely more sophisticated.

  • The WC of the Victorian home was High Level with cistern and pull chain, relying on gravity to clean the bowl. Today, Close Coupled toilets or Back to Wall toilets are more efficient but can be convincingly styled to resemble the Victorian period.
  • The Victorian-style bathroom sink was typically designed as a piece of timber furniture with a ceramic bowl incorporated. One of the most noteworthy trends in bathrooms recently is the move towards converting the basin into a piece of furniture again. This is achieved by making the entire piece out of a single continuous material.
  • The bathtub was almost always free-standing element in the Victorian bathroom, featuring clawfoot and roll-top detailing. Another popular style was the slipper bath which resembles the free-standing tub but has a raised surround at one end to support the head. These baths were designed to be supplied by hot-water heaters. Today, with modern plumbing, the look can be achieved elegantly incorporating the latest in plumbing advances.
  • Although taking showers for the Victorians was not as popular as it is today, we can nonetheless give a Victorian style to the shower cubicle with fittings. This is achieved through clever planning and the appropriate shower heads and controls. Choose a corner of the space and provide a glass screen for a separate shower. Or integrate a shower curtain and rain shower fitting to integrate with a roll-top bathtub.
  • Vintage style radiators and towel rails add a practical touch to the Victorian-style bathroom. Cast iron models can be sourced or their modern equivalents. Combine with a heated towel rail in a thick circular profile for a luxurious steam-punk effect.

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Marmol Carrara Blanco

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Victorian-style bathroom tiles & wall finishes

Consider the wall finishes together with the flooring as a unified whole for the best results. It was popular for the Victorians to feature timber or tiled dado rail and wainscoting with contrasting finishes. Often ceramic tiling below and a floral pattern wallpaper above the chair rail. The following options can evoke the same effect and add a modern twist.

  • Colour: Work within the same chromatic palette, i.e. combine chequerboard with patterned tiles in black and white, for floor and walls.
  • Wall mouldings: Add timber profiles to painted walls using oil-based paint to create panels like Victorian wood panelling.
  • Marble: Nothing evokes the walls of the Victorian style bathroom more than marble wall cladding. With porcelain marble effect tiles the grain of the marble can be matched to the specific décor. Dark and moody, light and airy or a pop of colour to provide a more contemporary touch.
  • Subway tiles: Even today the subway tile looks fresh and elegant in the Victorian style bathroom, or any other style for that matter. Use a contrasting colour grout or lay at 45° for a modern twist.
  • Wallpaper: Use for a feature wall or above the chair rail, the more floral the better. For design, aficionados use a William Morris print. There are numerous options still made today by the founder of the Arts & Crafts movement.

Victorian-style bathroom mirror & taps

The details count when recreating a stylish and convincing Victorian ambience. An ornate mirror should be included above the basin, preferably one within a circular or elliptical frame. Pair two separate mirrors over a double washbasin for a seriously chic effect. Copper, chrome or brass taps are another detail that will add a dash of metallic verve and authenticity to the Victorian style sink and bath.

Lighting the Victorian style bathroom

Combine several different light sources to mimic the ‘room’ like quality of the Victorian bathroom. A light installed over the mirror, a wall sconce and a vintage style ceiling lamp work well together. Vintage-styled metal light fittings look the part. Tip: always use humidity-resistant bulbs in the bathroom with an IP rating.

FAQs

The Victorians loved packing their interiors with stuff; walls were adorned with artworks and photos, surfaces were covered in ornaments and knick knacks. Wallpapers and fabrics had busy prints and floors were usually elaborate. To recreate the Victorian interior, think excess in all things.

Contrasting finishes and materials are recommended for Victorian style décor. Ceramic, timber, chrome and textiles all belong in the Victorian bathroom. Surfaces should feature pattern, whether that be the grain of marble, or wood, a fabric or wallpaper with intricate motifs. When it comes to Victorian interiors more is more, add layer upon layer. Combine an up-cycled dresser or chest for bathroom storage with glazed wall tiles. Fill it with rolled up towels and bathrobes. A collage of art works and photos on the walls will be the cherry on the Victorian décor cake.

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