If you want a bathroom that smacks of elegant refinement and sophistication, a Victorian bathroom may be just the way to achieve it. Full of the kind of statement period pieces whose timeless appeal can turn even the grimmest of bathrooms into a little slice of paradise, it’s a style that’s as appealing to the eye as it is restorative to the body. Named after Queen Victoria, Victorian-style dominated the late 1800s/ early 1900s in a time when the Industrial Revolution was changing the very fabric of society. A century later, the style is as popular as ever amongst those who want to add a little dramatic opulence to their homes. As Fireclay Tile notes, in the bathroom, the Victorian style can be seen in the incorporation of pieces such as an antique pedestal or console sink, a freestanding, roll-top tub, beautiful paneled cabinetry, and sconces or vanity lights with milky, frosted shades. Interested? Then read on to discover the best way to transform your modern bathroom into a period piece wonder.
No Victorian bathroom is complete without a tile or two. While decorative tiles in a vintage pattern are the most obvious choice for those looking to recreate the Victorian look in their own bathroom, there’s actually a multitude of different styles to choose from, from geometric, checkered, and mosaic styles, to the functional yet stylish subway tile.
- Monochrome Checkerboard: There’s no denying the timeless appeal of a classic black and white color scheme. If you really want to go to town on the elegance, opt for simple black and white tiles laid on the diagonal. The look can work as equally well on a backsplash as it can on the floor (you can even go for gold by adding it to both) and will leave no one in any doubt as to your seriously refined palette.
- Metro Tile: If you’d rather keep things simple, a plain metro tile will look perfectly in keeping with the theme (and as an added bonus, they tend to be available for half the price of many tiles, making them an ideal choice for the budget-conscious).
- Floral: Floral designs are a huge feature in Victorian rooms. Bring the look bang up to date by opting for a striking, black and white floral tile and keeping the rest of your decorative elements stylishly simple.
Fixtures and Fittings
Choose the right fixtures and fittings and you can instantly transform even the most modern-looking space into a stylish, Victorian bathroom.
- The Bathtub: Nothing says Victorian luxury quite like a freestanding, deep soaking tub. If you can, opt for a cast-iron bathtub with ornate claw feet. A roll-top pedestal or even a slipper tub will also fit exceptionally well with the design scheme. (Just a note of caution before your imagination takes you further than your budget will allow; if you opt for a freestanding tub, you’ll need to consider the costs of installing extra plumbing and floor standing taps, both of which can sometimes cost more than the tub itself).
- Heating: If you’re going for a Victorian look, the last thing you want is a big, modern radiator spoiling the aesthetic you’ve worked so hard to create. While we’re not suggesting you rip out your central heating system entirely (although if you want to get hard-core Victorian, it may be worth a second thought), if possible (and if budget allows), look to replace your current radiator for a simple, metal towel rail that will keep your bathroom toasty while carrying on the Victorian theme.
Victorians tended to prefer darker, bolder colors to the more neutral palette of today. Of course, you can avoid the problem of choosing which shade you prefer by sticking to a monochrome black and white theme (which will let you keep the Victorian theme while staying very up to date). If you do decide to get adventurous with color instead, deep burgundy and purple are two very good choices, while dreamy blues, washed-out greens, smoky grays, and creamy ivories all make for a contemporary take on the color scheme (although just be sure to sprinkle in some bolder accents to maintain the eclectic style so beloved by the Victorians).
Once you’ve decided on your color scheme and have the main fixtures and fittings in place, you can start having some fun with accessories. As Luxury Bathrooms notes, frameless mirrors will provide both function and aesthetic appeal, while an antique painting in a gold foil frame will work wonders at adding a touch of period glamour. If you have space (and money) to play with, some sheer drapes in a rich hue and a few sumptuous upholstered chairs will look very in keeping with the style. You might also want to consider one (or more) of the following key pieces:
- A Curvy Table – Curves are a classic Victorian style feature and can be seen on everything from bathtubs to pedestals. Get the look for cheap with a simple, wrought iron accent table with spindly, curved legs and a glass top. Not only will it increase the aesthetic appeal of your bathroom, but it’ll also add a very useful functional element as well (try topping it with a plant in a ceramic planter for an authentic Victorian touch).
- A Wall Sconce – While we’d all love a dramatic, Victorian-Esque chandelier to take center stage in our bathroom, not every home (or budget) will be big enough to allow such a huge focal point. If you fall in that category, don’t despair- look closely, and you’ll find plenty of other suitable lightening options available. A nickel finish sconce is just such a case; simple yet sophisticated, a milk glass shaded sconce will add the kind of gentle, romantic glow that late-night soaks in the tubs were made for.
- A Silver Vase – No Victorian room is complete without at least a few pot plants and flowers, and where better to keep the latter than in a gleaming mercury glass vase?