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Traditional Bathroom Ideas For the Home

What do we mean when we say ‘traditional bathroom’? Think cast-iron free-standing baths with gilded claw feet, ornate vanity units, and toilets with high-level cisterns. Think Downton Abbey.

Drawing inspiration from the splendour of period properties, we’ve come up with a number of Victorian bathroom ideas so that you can recreate a sense of vintage glamour in your own home. Traditional bathroom designs, in all their opulence and elegance, are still very much on-trend, and we have a whole range of traditional bathroom perfectly suited to this style. One of our favourite things about opting for a traditional style is that you can incorporate an abundance of period elements or, instead, you can choose to combine traditional and contemporary fixtures in one space, contrasting the charm of antique furniture and exposed metalwork with bold motifs and glass shower enclosures.

In this blog post, we’ll take you through five traditional bathroom ideas you can easily incorporate into your bathroom. At the end of this piece, you’ll find our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to designing your dream traditional bathroom.

Traditional Bathroom Designs: Ways to Create Historical Splendour in Your Bathroom:

Period features

If you live in a Victorian, Georgian or Edwardian property, likely, you’ll likely already have some gorgeous original features to work with. High ceilings, scrubbed floorboards and ornate fireplaces all add to the feeling of grandeur in a room and are an excellent backdrop for period furniture and accessories. But don’t despair if you live in a modern home; you can recreate this look with the addition of cornering, deep skirting boards and picture rails.


Ornate Taps on a roll top bath


Vintage shades

A muted colour palette always results in a classy interior, so stick with mossy greens, putty paint, and heritage shades when thinking about decorating your bathroom. A ‘Downton Abbey’ style can be achieved with ornately patterned wallpaper on a feature wall, and you could even add wood panelling and dado-rails, which are ideal for breaking up blocks of colour and giving your bathroom makeover a vintage feel.




Antique accessories

When choosing a traditional bathroom suite, installing antique-inspired ceramics can make all the difference to the feel of your period home and can even add value by ‘putting back’ features that are suitable for the age of the property. When picking out a new bathroom, opt for high-level flush traditional toilets or chunky Victorian basins with brass taps to get the antique look with modern quality.  It’s equally important to consider your room’s smaller elements when attempting to recreate an antique look, so choose ornate mirrors, luxurious long curtains with tie-backs and decant your modern bath products into pretty jars and interesting bottles. Installing towel rails that replicate period radiators will look authentic, and a highly sought-after roll-top bath is essential to a period makeover, so invest in a new bath and gorgeous mixer taps to get the ultimate period look in your ‘Downton Abbey’ style bathroom.


5 Traditional Bathroom Ideas for Bringing Victorian Bathroom Styles into Your Home

Drawing on the golden age of interior design, traditional bathrooms boast luxuriousness and sophistication. Adorned with more elaborate and carefully considered touches than their modern counterparts, period-inspired bathrooms possess a timeless quality which will never go out of fashion. Below, we’ve compiled five of our favourite traditional bathroom ideas to help inspire you.

Period Furnishings

If you live in a Victorian, Georgian, or Edwardian property, you may already have pre-existing ornate features to work with. High ceilings, wall panelling, and scrubbed floorboards all add to the feeling of grandeur in a room and make for the perfect backdrop for putting in period bathroom furniture and accessories. That being said, if you live in a modern home, don’t despair; you can recreate this traditional style by adding deep skirting boards, picture rails, and items from our collection of period-inspired bathroom suites.

Whereas modern furnishings will tend to focus on minimalism and curved lines, by opting for an elevated cistern with exposed piping, a porcelain pedestal sink with non-uniform lines, and basin mixer taps, you’ll be able to recreate a distinctively traditional bathroom scheme.

Free-Standing Bath

A traditional freestanding bath is central to the Victorian design. With an elegant roll-top, characteristic claw foot, and striking mixer taps, free-standing baths sit with confidence away from the wall. Such a statement piece will instantly transform your bathroom into a Downton Abbey-esque space, and we have a range of traditional freestanding baths to help you achieve just that.

The April Skipton Double-Ended Bath has a classic style with a traditional roll top, a choice of four different claw feet styles, and boasts advanced thermal properties to help retain the water’s heat longer than your standard bath. Sure to become the focal point of any bathroom, this is the perfect addition to any Victorian-inspired space.

When choosing a freestanding bath, make sure to note the difference between those termed ‘single-ended’ and those that are ‘double-ended’. While single-ended baths will have the taps at one end, a double-ended bath will have them mounted in the middle. The taps themselves are an important feature to get right when you’re looking to capture the essence of the Victorian era; you’ll want mixer taps adorned with an intricate design, perhaps some old-fashioned turn mechanisms, and even the addition of one of our mounted shower sets.

Antique Decor

When choosing a traditional bathroom suite, installing antique-inspired ceramics can make all the difference to the period feel of your bathroom, and if you live in an older property, it can even add value by ‘putting back’ features that are characteristic of the age of the building. When picking out a new bathroom, opt for high-level flush Edwardian toilets or Victorian basins with brass taps to achieve an antique aesthetic with the quality you would expect from modern units. Fit one of our old-fashioned seats to your elevated flush toilet to complete the vintage look; this Tavistock Millennium Antique Pine Wood Veneer Toilet Seat is comprised of pine wood and has an authentic antique finish.

When exploring traditional bathroom ideas, a traditional style can also be supported through floor tiles, either patterned or wooden. Make sure to consider the smaller details of your room when you’re recreating an antique look; choose large ornate bathroom mirrors and luxurious long curtains with tie-backs, and decant your modern bath products into glass jars and bottles. Placing ornaments such as figurines and plants will similarly bring your traditional bathroom together.


Often under-appreciated when exploring traditional bathroom ideas is the installation of period radiators and metalwork. Mimicking the Victorian preference for exposed piping, radiators, and towel rails can help refine the authentic style of your traditional bathroom.

Traditional bathroom radiators may require a little more space than contemporary bathroom heating solutions, making them work well in a large, spacious room. Attaching towel rails to a Victorian-style column radiator helps to provide heat throughout your space and will warm your towels for you while you take a bath or shower, all while continuing the period-inspired design.

Our Moods Eterno Grey Traditional Radiator is well-suited to any size of bathroom. This grey-column-style unit is reminiscent of the Victorian era and is highly durable, thanks to its solid steel construction. The exposed piping is the perfect addition to complement other traditional items.

Vintage Colour Palette

When it comes to transforming your bathroom into a traditional space, choose wall tiles decorated with exotic patterns or vintage botanical wallpapers in rich, dark colours. Wall panels are ideal if you’re looking to create the illusion of height in small spaces, and when installed at half-height, they can be complemented by painting the walls in soft beige or grey colours. Similarly, a feature wall adorned with ornate wallpaper will make your bathroom feel larger than it truly is.

For your furniture, a muted colour palette of dark, mossy greens and heritage shades will add a touch of class to your room and create a truly authentic feel. Installing a functional yet stylish vanity unit is a good place to start when determining your colour palette of choice. Our traditional RAK Washington Cappucino Vanity Unit has a nostalgic look; the subtle cappuccino shade combined with the sleek grey countertop is sophisticated, providing ample storage space for family use.


We’ve used our expertise in designing traditional suites to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that crop up repeatedly among those looking to take the plunge and renovate their bathroom.

When is a traditional bathroom design a good choice?

Deciding on whether you want to turn your bathroom into either a traditional or a contemporary space is ultimately going to come down to personal preference. We recommend considering how the rest of your home looks and what sort of decor you can envisage yourself loving years from now.

Many people will find that traditional-style suites offer more elegance and cosiness than modern bathrooms, making them a welcome addition to any house. Traditional suites are suited to all sizes of spaces, with our collection including cloakroom-friendly traditional suites and larger, family-friendly rooms.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can pick and choose which traditional elements to use in your bathroom; fill your space with exclusively traditional fixtures or use a mixture of contrasting components where the traditional items act as the focal point.

What are the characteristic traits of a traditional bathroom?

Among the main characteristics you’ll see within traditional bathrooms are the quintessential high-level cistern, the free-standing bath, and the exposed pipework. Porcelain walls and floor tiles also played an important role in Victorian bathroom designs and would often exhibit ornate, floral patterns. Depending on the era your property was built in, you can either enhance pre-existing period features by pairing them with traditional bathroom furniture, or you can transform your modern, simplistic bathroom into an extravagant space filled with antique-inspired fixtures like brass apron shower heads and floor-to-ceiling antique mirrors. For a range of Victorian, Georgian, and Edwardian suites, take a look at each of the collections offered by Burlington on our site.

Can small spaces be turned into traditional bathrooms?

Traditional bathrooms are suited not only to the family bathroom but also to smaller en-suite rooms. Even if you don’t have enough room for a claw-foot roll-top bathtub, by having an elevated cistern, patterned wall or floor tiles, and a pedestal basin with ornate taps, you’ll be able to incorporate all the elements which make up a traditional bathroom.

We also have bathroom suites designed specifically for cloakroom-sized rooms; our Hudson Reed Richmond Suite has an authentic vintage design incorporating traditional lines and contours in the basin and toilet, while the washstand and lever flush handle seek to recreate the elegance of bygone eras.

Space providing, you can also install a walk-in shower in your en-suite, one which has exposed pipework to match its shower head; our Frontline Etros Brass Exposed Mixer Shower complements period-inspired bathrooms, and its antique shade of brass and crosshead handles will make a statement.