Bathroom Design Period Styles

Professional bathroom design period styles photos show that design includes two basic elements; function and appearance. Both are important. You can have a bathroom that functions well but doesn’t look that great. On the other hand, what good is a bathroom that looks great but doesn’t function well? It really takes both to create a well designed bathroom.

bathroom design period styles

Ever wonder how designers achieve a certain style or look? Each style uses different design’s elements to achieve its’ respective look. Examples of design period styles would be; traditional, contemporary, modern, craftsman, urban, rustic, or cottage. If you are trying to create a certain style, then you will want to study the following to see what design elements are used to create each look.

Traditional, Contemporary/Modern, Cottage, Art Deco

As you study the bathroom design photos, think of each of the following elements of design:

Scale is the size of an object or fixture in relationship to its surroundings. For example, a large bathtub in a small bathroom would be out of scale. A smaller bathtub would be better suited for a small bathroom. A large bathtub, shower or vanity will work well in a large bathroom.

Tip: The taller an object is, the larger the visual appearance. A short cabinet will appear smaller and a tall cabinet with the same width and length will appear larger. Tall objects overpower small spaces.

Color affects the feel and the apparent size of the room. Dark colors tend to make spaces look smaller but can evoke a feeling of coziness, warmth and intimacy. Lighter colors reflect light making spaces look larger with a bright and open feel. Dark colors can be used effectively in powder rooms. There is no right or wrong. Paint the room the color that evokes the feeling you want. Note the colors in the bathroom design photos.

Patterns: Geometric, floral, motif and pictorial are common types of patterns. Patterns should be selected and used with care. Those that use several colors and lines can look busy and overpowering especially in a smaller room. If you like patterns and want to use one in your bathroom, look for a smaller, muted pattern with shades of one color to avoid a stark contrast. Large, busy and colorful patterns are overwhelming in a bathroom.

Texture can be physical or visual. Physical would be the feel of the sleek vanity top or the feel of the tile floor on the feet. Visual texture can be perceived as warm or cool just like colors. All surfaces have some level of texture. Examples would be the wall finish, the tile shower walls, the textured glass shower door or the vanity cabinet. If you are trying to create a style, textures should be similar. For example, use all smooth surfaces for a contemporary look and slightly more texture for a traditional look or a high level of texture to create a rustic look.

Balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Symmetrical means if you divide a design element in half, both sides look the same. In asymmetrical balance, both sides are not the same but a feeling of balance exists. If you had one large object on one side and several smaller objects on the other side, you could get a feeling of balance even though both sides did not look the same. Design elements that are not balanced either symmetrically or asymmetrically, look odd and amateurish. Imagine a mirror with a light sconce on one side only. Wouldn’t that look strange?

bathroom design period styles

What Is Traditional Bathroom Design?

Traditional design, which evolved from classic European décor, may be the most common style. If you study bathroom design photos of traditional bathrooms you will find the design elements of the Traditional style are neutral colors, graceful lines, arches, and columns with complimentary details but not overly ornate. Feature trim, moldings, paneling and built-in furniture are painted glossy white. Dark wood tones using smooth grained woods like cherry or mahogany are commonly used for furniture and wood flooring. The feeling is formal yet comfortable.

This bathroom design photo is a good example of a traditional bathroom design. The light walls and tile floor make the dark-toned cabinetry stand out. The crown at the ceiling is painted glossy white. The cabinet doors are linear with nice detailing and complimented with an arch at the mirror. Notice the legs on the vanity base which gives it a more formal or furniture look. The two vanities are the same size and configuration which provides symmetry and balance. The lighting hardware is a dark finish topped with white globes. The pattern of the tile design in the shower is a simple but elegant look.

bathroom design period styles

What Is Contemporary/ Modern Bathroom Design?

What is the difference between contemporary and modern period styles? While some interior designers would argue that there is a distinct difference between the two, the basic design elements are the same. Bathroom design photos that claim to be contemporary use the same elements as modern design. However, both of them are the exact opposite of traditional design.

The elements of both period styles are:

Monochromatic: or neutral color scheme with bold colors used as accents.

Minimalist look: uncluttered – good storage is a must to achieve this.

Elegant Simplicity: not ornate – clean and graceful lines – sleek. The less detail the better.

Materials commonly used: cool, sleek surfaces such as stainless steel, glass, tile, laminates, and granite.

Focus on functional: the forms enable a seamless flow. A fixtures shape reflects its use.

Look at this bathroom design photo and you’ll see the elements of a good modern or contemporary design. A neutral tile is used with a colorful boarder to add some interest. The darker, wall mounted, high gloss laminated cabinets, stand out from the wall. The darker color gives a restrained contrast. A plain mirror with simple lighting is set on a subtle tile design. Notice how they repeated the cabinetry color by using a tile color on the tub wall that blends with the cabinetry.

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This design is simple and uncluttered with enough visual interest to keep it from being boring.

What Is Cottage-Style Bathroom Design?

The cottage style is best described as relaxed, informal, comfortable and charming. Colors are typically light and soft. White and soft blues work very well in a beach or lake cottage.

Woodwork, paneling, beams and cabinetry is usually painted white. An informal wood like pine works well too. Simple lines with simple details are indicative of the cottage look.

White louvered doors, plantation shutters and beaded board wainscot paneling are signature cottage looks. A distressed finish adds to the appeal. The cottage period style is not sparkling new.

Cottage bathroom designs can include new or old pieces to achieve the look but pieces that look slightly worn make it look authentic. An old painted chest would make a nice vanity. Decorate with finds from the flea market or grandma’s attic.

The cottage look should feel like an old leather jacket or your favorite pair of worn shoes. Cottage is comfortable like an old friend.

This bathroom design photo illustrates the cottage style. The beaded board wainscot paneling is painted white.

A simple white pedestal sink with a column base works well with the antique faucets with separate hot and cold spouts. A plain mirror keeps the look uncluttered.

A wood cabinet in a stained finish is used above the commode. This repeats the stained wood floor and baseboard.

What Is Art Deco Bathroom Design?

Art Deco, often confused with the Art Nouveau style, was popular in the 1920’s and 30’s. It gets its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts) which took place in Paris in 1925. The term “Art Deco” came from shortening the words Arts Decoratifs in the title of the exposition.

bathroom design period styles

The sleek style of Art Deco influenced architecture, sculpture, furnishings, fashion, and jewelry. Later it was evident in the glamorous design of Hollywood.

Art Deco style is recognized by its use of angular, balanced geometric shapes. Design elements include; graceful, sweeping curves and lines, arches, and zigzagged patterns. Surfaces are smooth and clean, lacking texture. Art Deco is functional, sleek, modern and comfortable.

Curved furniture pieces, clean lines, chrome, aluminum, pressed glass and mirrors are used in Art Deco design. Colorful plastics such as Bakelite and Catalin were also used.

Woods commonly used in Art Deco design are light maple; birds eye maple, ebony and Indian rosewood. Furniture finishes were lacquered.

What design elements would I use for an Art Deco bathroom design?

Being a minimalist style, colors are used sparingly. Color schemes include black, red and black and white and black. Chrome and gold are used for accents.

Check out the Art Deco design elements in the two bathroom design photos to the right; black and white color scheme, sleek surfaces, muted colors, clean lines, and a modern look. They definitely have a minimalist look.

The lavatory, toilet and bathtub have smooth graceful lines and are functional. Notice the nickel feet on the bathtub. They may be a little ornate for Art Deco.