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Period Bathroom Ideas: Styling your bathroom through the ages

Period bathroom ideas

From the romance and extravagance of the regency era to the artistic beauty of the mid-19th Century and the retro-modern craze of the 50s and 60s, how does period styling differ throughout the years? 

With TV shows like Bridgerton, Downton Abbey and The Crown on most of our watch lists, it’s no surprise that the interior design world has taken notice. There’s a lot more interest in traditionally-styled bathrooms of late and thankfully manufacturers keep giving us more and more reasons to choose this type of aesthetic for our space. 

It’s easy to see why a desire for period styling keeps on growing, especially in our bathrooms. Period dramas like Bridgerton help to bring these ages back to life and open our eyes to what life and décor was like. There’s a character and charm to these interiors, a room full of kept secrets and untold stories, contrasted with an enviable elegance and sophistication. 

Bridgerton even has its own interior trend: Regencycore. But it's not just this series that’s had us all in a flutter for traditional bathroom styles. Period dramas set in all ages have inspired renovations the world over.

With so much choice, it’s easy to find traditional bathroom ideas that work for your space. But, if you want to be a little more nerdy, like us, here's a look back at a few key eras in interior design and how you can translate this into your bathroom today. 

Period bathroom ideas
This Burlington Bateau Roll Top Bath has romance and regency in abundance.

1. Regency 1811 - 1820

The Regency era was short but packed a powerful punch of cultural significance. Defined by a high society relishing in the wave of fashion, architecture and style that came upon them. There’s no surprise that this has become a point in time for interior enthusiasts to celebrate. 

Regency style décor - or ‘Regencycore’ - has really taken centre stage in recent years down mostly to the popularity of period drama, Bridgerton. The Shondaland production on Netflix is inspired by Julia Quinn’s novels telling tales of the mighty Bridgerton family and the intertwined society surrounding them. 

The style is extravagant and decadent proving how important showing off money and fashionable status was. There’s lots of colour and sumptuous fabrics layered with romantic draping and statuesque lighting. Think rich, deeper shades contrasted with a lighter creamier palette and pops of blush pink and powder blue to really nail the grandeur associated with this era.

In your regency bathroom, decadence and style should be strong. A freestanding copper bath, an ornate mirror on the wall and a structured and elegant floorstanding vanity unit will look just perfect. 

You can add in other features such as unique bathroom storage ideas or a stool for towels or to display a floral arrangement.

If you’re opting for a shower then finding a traditionally-inspired shower head and shower value like this from the Crosswater Belgravia range won’t look out of place, despite it not being a feature of the time. 

Shop for more decadent mirrors and accessories.


 

Period bathroom ideas
The new Burlington Guild range is inspired by the arts and crafts movement of the Mid 19th Century.

2. Victorian 1837 - 1901

The Victorian era is probably one of the most significant in traditional style bathrooms. In fact, it’s one of the most influential times for bathrooms in general. It was during this time that indoor plumbing was introduced and flush toilets became widely used. But it was a revolutionary period for society as well with Queen Victoria’s famous reign and Britain remaining a powerful and strong empire.

Victorian bathroom ideas and classic features include pedestal basins, antique furniture, chrome fittings and high-level cisterns. 

It’s less decadent than the preceding period but style is still a focal point. 

Finding a statement piece that really sets off the space is integral. A freestanding bath with opulent chrome claw feet makes the grade, complemented with brushed chrome or nickel brassware for taps and fittings. Don’t forget the period accessories and mirrors to complete the look. 

The Arts and Crafts movement emerged around 1850 as a way to strengthen the perception of design which had at this point started to dwindle with the rise of industry. Craftsmanship and quality became increasingly important, placing emphasis on items that were built to last without compromising on style. It was a movement which would make the everyday beautiful and less about extravagance and unnecessary opulence.

The Burlington Guild range has been inspired by this movement and features a comprehensive collection of bathroom products that allow you to blend and create a harmonious space with this philosophy at the core. 

Artistic detailing merged with solid and functional brassware create the timeless and classic look of a Burlington Guild bathroom. 

Shop the complete Burlington Guild collection exclusively at Drench.


 

Period bathroom ideas
The Butler & Rose Catherine collection is understated elegance.

3. Edwardian 1901 - 1919

Moving into the Edwardian era which dominated the early part of the Twentieth Century. It was a time of mass production, wealth and leisure in Britain thanks to industrialisation. 

Interior design followed suit, it was easing up a little. There was a lighter, more relaxed and feminine feel to décor with more freedom for expression. The arrival of art nouveau in homes opened up more possibilities; more motifs, patterns and floral arrangements. It could even have been the start or seed for the later country-style aesthetic we love today. 

You may recognise this interior from the hit TV show, Downton Abbey, which followed the lives of an aristocratic Yorkshire family and their servants and was set around this time.

To make your bathroom aesthetic more Edwardian, choose deeper greens and plums and contrast with gold or copper accessories. Find opulent lighting for a focal point and antique or vintage furniture like the ones we’ve chosen below. You might also want to consider a patterned wall covering like waterproof bathroom wall panels

Shop the full range of traditional furniture here at Drench.

Feature baths are also important for an Edwardian bathroom, we love these below. 

Shop our full range of freestanding baths


 

Period bathroom ideas
Showerwall has a range of beautiful acrylic wall panels to brighten up any space.

4. Art Deco 1919 to 1939

Moving on from the Edwardian era, the desire for more expression and decorative style became mainstream. The Art Deco movement which ran until the early 40s was where things quite literally started to take shape.

Despite a relatively simplistic approach to design, shape and form became hugely important. Pieces were symmetrical, geometric even. Clear structures and lines were highlighted with metallic accents. Colours clashed with patterns and feature pieces were the norm and expected. 

How does this translate in your bathroom? Find structured furniture with fewer curves, clash geometric wall art with vibrant painted walls and shapely mirrors.

Consider a square or L-shaped shower bath and a boxy toilet. 

Look for modern basin taps that have a structured look.

Shop the full range of modern taps and traditional taps


 

Period bathroom ideas
This Drench L-shaped bath and screen has retro styling but with modern functionality.

5. Retro Modern 1950 - 1969 

Moving into the middle of the 20th Century and things start to become more typical to modern day spaces. TV shows like Mad Men and The Crown, both set during this time of major reform, showcase the exciting and super-sophisticated interiors that were present.

There's a lot of variation to a retro aesthetic, however. Some evidently more conservative than others shown by the varying depictions in those period dramas.

But bringing this into your bathroom can be very playful. Merging some of the best features of traditional spaces with more modern and functional ideas to really have the best of both worlds. 

Daring designs, fun pops of colour and functional décor create a timeless bathroom. But it’s also the perfect style to experiment with upcycling to include vintage pieces within your space. 

Fluted features, rich shades and metallic edges are good options to consider for bathroom furniture in a retro bathroom. 

Shower baths are an ideal choice for this aesthetic, along with experimenting with different matt finishes for brassware and fittings.


We hope you found this article helpful when planning for your unique period bathroom styling. For more inspiration, take a look at our traditional bathroom ideas

Shop the complete Burlington Guild collection and the stunning pieces from Butler & Rose

Enjoy our curated collection of timeless and traditional products all at discounted prices in our spring sale. 

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