Traditional bathroom ideas: 20 ways to create a classic look

Timeless and full of character, these traditional bathroom ideas will help you achieve a classic style

Traditional bathroom ideas
(Image credit: Future / Kasia Fiszer)

 Even if you don't live in a period home, traditional bathroom ideas, are always so inspiring and can definitely be recreated even in a contemporary space. Classic bathroom designs are just always charming and welcoming – so we have rounded up some ideas to get you inspired.  Whether you are designing a traditional bathroom from scratch or just looking to add some period bathroom touches to your space, here is our selection of traditional bathroom ideas. 

Find more inspiration on our bathroom ideas page.

1. Make a feature of bathroom windows 

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

In a space with stand out original features – a beautiful stained glass window for example – opt for a light and neutral scheme. It's an easy and effective way to make a traditional bathroom feel bright and spacious, while ensuring that an incredible feature becomes a focal point. 

2. Choose wall panels for a traditional look

traditional style bathroom with sage green pannelling, a black freestanding bath and other features

(Image credit: James Balston)

If you're blessed with a spacious bathroom, a charming traditional bathroom idea is to use vertical wall panels. As well as adding the impression of height to a room, they enhance the country-cottage feel of the space. Check out more of these gorgeous wall panelling ideas for some inspiration. 

We love the use of sage green tones, particularly when combined with exposed wooden beams and styled with delicate house plants

3. Go for a bold botanical wallpaper

Bathroom with rolltop bath by Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Beautiful botanical wallpapers inspired by traditional prints and designs make a striking addition to a tradition bathroom. Opt for something bright and bold if high ceilings and abundant natural light mean that your space won't feel overwhelmed, or choose a darker colour for a more dramatic impact – black bathrooms are having a moment.

4. Pick a cohesive traditional bathroom scheme 

white scheme bathroom with a pop of blue and freestanding bath and patterned tiled floor

(Image credit: Ton Bouwer)

Patterned floor tiles have seen a surge in popularity over recent years – and for good reason. Now available in a variety of colours and patterns, they're a lovely option for hinting at a bathroom's history, while adding colour and personality. We have loads of patterned floor tile ideas over in our inspirational gallery. 

For a cohesive look that works well in small bathrooms, we love the idea of opting for paintwork that draws out tones found in beautiful bathroom floor tiles – this sky blue door and door frame are a lovely example. For similar tiles, try Original Style.

5. Opt for a neutral scheme to show off exposed beams

traditional bathroom with white ceramic sanitaryware and exposed beams

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel)

If your traditional bathroom is blessed with striking original features – such as exposed wooden beams – is to opt for a neutral scheme that allows these stand out features to speak for themselves. 

A white freestanding bath in a traditional shape suits the style of this period bathroom. Find similar at The Bath Store or check out this round up of our statement freestanding baths

6. For a unique feel, choose a bold freestanding bath

(Image credit: James Balston)

Timeless pieces that make a real visual impact, freestanding baths are a popular addition to a traditional bathroom. To design a space with a unique feel, we love the idea of opting for a traditional shaped bath with a bold coloured finish – particularly if it draws out the more subtle tones of a beautiful botanical wallpaper. For inspiration for traditional freestanding baths, see our design gallery.

For a similar bath, try Drummonds

7. Hang artwork with a contemporary twist

traditional style bathroom with white scheme, freestanding bath and large piece of artwork with modern twist

(Image credit: James Balston)

While displaying photos or artwork isn't the norm in a bathroom, it can make a lovely addition to a traditional space. Pair a large work with a traditional freestanding bath to create a striking focal point. This unique, spray painted portrait adds a contemporary twist to an otherwise quite traditional space.

8. Make a feature of original details

beautiful frestanding bath in centre of bathroom with large fire places filled with cut logs

(Image credit: Aston Matthews)

While a grey scheme and matt black freestanding bath have a distinctly modern feel, a traditional look can be successfully worked into a space with the addition of reclaimed furniture and the establishment of an original feature as a focus point.

We love the stylish feel of this period bathroom, with carefully stacked and styled logs tucked inside an original fireplace. 

9. Create a timeless look with a grey scheme

grey scheme bathroom with panels and white freestanding bath

(Image credit: Davey Lighting)

If you want a traditional bathroom that is chic and timeless, consider opting for a grey scheme – this can be enhanced with the addition of French-inspired panelling. Pair with white sanitaryware and bathroom accessories for a soothing space.

We love the addition of this Hampton Wall Light from Original BTC for a classic feeling traditional bathroom. For more tips on how to light your bathroom, check out our guide. 

10. Be bold with a dark scheme

dark scheme bathroom with large white freestanding bath, ornate fireplace and gallery wall

(Image credit: Waters Baths of Ashbourne)

If your period bathroom has high ceilings and abundant natural light, consider opting for a darker, more moody scheme – something that works particularly well if your room has gothic features. Style with large ornate mirrors and a standout gallery wall.

If you love this dark and atmospheric look, we have load more inspiring ideas in our black bathrooms gallery. 

Find this Haze Freestanding Bath at Waters Baths of Ashbourne.

11. Or pick a subtle hue for a splash of colour

vintage blue bathroom with white sink and mirror

(Image credit: Fiona Walker Arnott)

If going for a dark colour scheme doesn't appeal to you, but you don't want to go down the keep-everything-neutral route, consider using a subtle colour that's suited to more traditional bathrooms. We love this green: it's bold enough to make a statement but it doesn't feel like too much. For a similar colour try Farrow and Ball Green Blue

12. Make the ultimate design statement with a copper bath

Aequs Bath by William Holland

(Image credit: William Holland)

Looking for traditional bathrooms with real impact? There is nothing quite like the amazing quality and shiny appearance of a real copper bath. As if the stunning look weren't enough, there are other benefits to choosing a copper tub. Firstly, they are virtually indestructible, and will last you a lifetime. Secondly, they require almost no cleaning, since they are mould- and bacteria-resistant. 

The Aequs Bath is from William Holland.

13. Go for a muted beige colour scheme 

Traditional bathroom paint in Little Greene Rolling Stone

(Image credit: John Lewis)

We can't think of a traditional bathroom this colour scheme wouldn't work with. Fine and mellow, and with more depth to it than white, beige is an easy way to create a smart, formal bathroom.

This gorgeous traditional bathroom has been painted in Rolling Fog by LIttle Greene.

14. Accent panelled walls with a contrasting paint shade

traditional bathroom with green panelling

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Wall panelling is a lovely period feature to be cherished in any room; in a traditional bathroom, it can be especially valuable, adding design interest to an otherwise plain room. Make the most of wall panelling, if you have it, by painting it a contrasting shade to the rest of the wall.

15. Exaggerate space with antiqued mirror glass

patterned tile bathroom with open style shower and freestanding bath and mirrored wall from Drummonds

(Image credit: Drummonds)

A large mirror – or a mirror of any kind – will make a small bathroom feel larger and brighter. Simple. But choosing something with impact for a period-style bathroom is a balancing act: you don't want the mirror frame to be too bulky, or it will take up too much space, visually at least; too small and it will lack punch. So, opting for a wall of mirrors is a good compromise, and choosing antiqued mirror glass is a perfect traditional bathroom idea – creating character and charm while reflecting light.

16. Liven up the bathroom decor with artwork

traditional bathroom with wall art

Add a touch of exoticism – and take a neutral colour scheme to the next level – with a large artwork. To protect it from moisture, get a glass frame. Find out more about how to display photos, pictures and artwork to effect in our guide.

17. Up the cosy factor with living room elements

traditional bathroom with wardrobe and book storage

This period bathroom looks wonderfully lived in thanks to elements borrowed from living room and bedroom design, including book storage and a wardrobe. This is also a clever way to utilise space in large bathrooms. 

18. Go bold with bright chequered floor tiles

vintage bathroom with green checkered tiles

Chequered tiles instantly smarten up a room – but there's a way to take this design hack even further, by choosing a bold colour rather than monochrome. A green colour scheme that matches the painted floorboards to the tub makes this bathroom really stand out.  

Use our guide to painting floorboards to create this effect on a pine floor. Or, discover how to pick the right size tiles for a small bathroom.

19. Create some privacy with a screen

Sanderson curtains and divider screen in a traditional bathroom

(Image credit: Sanderson)

Room dividers and screens are very helpful in bathrooms that are shared by couples – and they're a great way to add texture and pattern. Canvas will work best in the bathroom – avoid paper screens. This bathroom features curtains made from Sanderson fabric. 

20. Add wallpaper for a quick hit of pattern 

Removable wallpaper in a bathroom

(Image credit: Wallpapers4beginners)

Oh how gorgeous and glam is this wallpaper? The best is it's actually removable. A great thing about peel and stick wallpaper is you can test out really bold prints, without worrying that you will have wasted loads of time and energy hanging it, only to realise it's not for you. 

This crane print is giving us Gucci vibes (yes, Gucci make wallpaper, and yes, it's gorgeous, and yes, it's extortionate), the lovely green colours and the Oriental style print are just so dreamy. It's by Wallpapers4beginners and is £38.65 a roll. 

Find more bathroom inspiration below

Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She left the brand in 2020 to pursue another career, but still loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.