Victorian Bathroom Design Ideas: Rediscovering Timeless Elegance

Published by: Kevin Sears

28th September 23

Bathroom Ideas

Reading Time: 7 mins 42 secs

The Victorian aesthetic subscribes to the “more is more” philosophy, which seems at odds with the minimalist modern interior design ethos. But the elegant maximalist style of the early 19th century works surprisingly well in a contemporary bathroom setting.

Free-standing, centrepiece bathtubs; jewel tones; ornate washstands; patterned tiles; traditional radiators, and vintage basins can take a humdrum space and transform it into the lap of luxury, where bubble baths abound and cosiness is compulsory.

Sound good? Well, if you’re thinking of giving your bathroom a facelift with a Victorian twist, you’re in the right place, as, today, we’re presenting you with a myriad of beautiful Victorian bathroom ideas.

Defining Victorian Bathroom Design

It wasn’t until the 1920s that the modern bathroom was introduced to smaller new-build houses in England, so during the Victorian era - spanning 1837 to 1901 - only the wealthy enjoyed such a luxury.

But the elite of the time didn’t want just any bathrooms, they wanted lavish spaces teeming with ornate furniture to match the rest of their home.

Free-standing tubs with incredibly detailed feet and brass fixtures were a must-have, as were large mirrors with intricate frames - the likes of which you’ll see skirting masterwork paintings.

Flooring and tiles would often be intricately patterned with sinuous, repeating designs, and stained glass windows were essential for those who preferred to powder their nose in ultimate privacy.

High tank sinks were here, there, and everywhere, sometimes two to a room! And if the patterns weren’t to someone’s taste, solid wooden flooring was simply the done thing.

The Timeless Elegance Of Victorian Bathroom Designs

The idea of a completely Victorian style in a contemporary house is outlandish, but when it comes to the bathroom, there are numerous ways to introduce the elegance of this by-gone era.

Why is this the case?

Well, bathrooms are already distinct from the other rooms in our houses. You don’t expect to open a bathroom door of a home to be greeted by the same aesthetic you were in the lounge, kitchen, or bedroom.

The bathroom really is its own thing, and you can take advantage of this with a few eye-catching Victorian pieces. Visitors won’t be left questioning why the bathroom is so stylised when perhaps the rest of the house isn’t, they’ll simply be awestruck by the splendour of the space.

What’s more, although the Victorian style is defined by elaborate details, it’s actually quite tame and tasteful. 

Because of this, the Victorian bathroom is aging remarkably well and is still very much in vogue. It’s a way to blend elevated style with modern comforts, so you feel like royalty every time you walk in the room.

Top Victorian Bathroom Ideas For Modern Homes

Central Freestanding Tub

Understandably, people worry whether moving their bathtub to the middle of the room will eat up too much space, but let this stunning design ease your mind.

It tells us that with the right amount of light, white walls, and a rugged wooden floor, the room can feel exceedingly open and airy, even with a large centrepiece embellished with stunning Victorian faucets.

Of course, it helps that this particular bathroom is quite large and has a very high ceiling, but you could take a lot of the same design principles and apply them to a smaller space. 

Browse our freestanding bathtubs

Patterned Flooring

Patterns were BIG during the Victorian period, especially where flooring was concerned, and this design embraces this aspect of the style wholeheartedly.

We think this was a wise move for a bathroom with a slanted ceiling, as it celebrates the space's structural quirks. What’s more, the natural light streaming in from multiple skylights really makes the details of the tiles pop.

Now, an abundance of patterns can make a room feel smaller, but note how the designer has countered this shrinking effect with the enlarging impact of a full-wall mirror and simple white walls.

Props deserved for the chandelier placement as well — Hanging from the highest part of the ceiling, it’s glamorous and decidedly Victorian without imposing on the space below.

Twin Sinks With Brass Fixtures

Another staple of Victorian-era bathrooms was brass.

A darker metal, brass has a distinctly antiquated appearance, even when brand new, so if you’re looking for a sort of time machine experience when entering your bathroom, brass is the way to do it.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention how beautifully this design blends Victorian aesthetics with mid-century minimalism to form something that seems to be highly practical and incredibly stylish.

Small Room, Big Style

Here’s a very clever contemporary Victorian design that makes excellent use of a very compact space.

The ornate, free-standing bath is obviously the most luxurious piece of furniture in the room, but it also blends in with the hexagonal floor tiles of a similar color, meaning your eye is drawn to the beaten-up antique stool.

Even though the bath, with its gold fittings, is resplendent and quite clearly brand new, the stool ages the scene significantly and holds the extravagance of the bath in check.

It’s a thought-provoking combination of replica and genuine Victorian furniture that adds a lot of depth and balance to the room.

Modern/Victorian Blend

Roughly a quarter of this bathroom is dedicated to the uber-modern shower, but some choice features dotted around the other three-quarters of the room add some quintessential Victorian charm to the space.

The towel rack is plumbed into a traditional radiator, the toilet is classically designed, and the very angular shape of the stand-alone sink is as Victorian as it gets.

Some might think that this bathroom is a little on the fence or doesn’t know what it is, but we feel that it’s the perfect combination of antiquated statement pieces and modern amenities.

The figurative lines between modern and Victorian aesthetics are blurred here, but the way in which the towel rack/radiator literally blends the styles into a single unit is remarkable.

Patterned Walls

It wasn’t just the floors that were often patterned in Victorian England, but the walls too. Both would be a bit much in this day and age, but choosing one or the other and setting it against a plain wood floor or white wall can garner incredible results.

Take this design, for example, with wonderful William Morris-esque nature patterns interrupted by a decorative fireplace and tall, Victorian-style doors in a deep muted blue. Is it quirky? Absolutely. Does it work? Absolutely!

The free-standing bathtub is also a work of art, but thanks to the lovely wooden flooring, it doesn’t feel like a hat on a hat, so to speak. 

Monochrome Masterpiece

One way to bring Victorian style into the 21st century is to utilize design tropes of the era and give them a modern flavour, as is evident in the above bathroom.

The tub is a classic Victorian shape, and the faucets are quite typical too, as is the patterned flooring, yet there’s no way you’d ever see this bathroom and immediately think… Victorian.

To make this look fresh, the designer has opted for a stark monochrome pallet, creating a cornucopia of contrast — Even the Victorian taps are black to stand out against the blinding white of the bathtub.

The contemporary take on the bathroom chandelier isn’t lost on us either, again, marrying old style with a new veneer.

How To Create Your Own Victorian Bathroom


Victorian style is all about the details, so don’t neglect your fixtures when redesigning your bathroom.

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, brass was the metal of the Victorian era, as it was easy and cost-effective to mass produce — As opposed to forging iron by hand.

In bathrooms, brass faucets often had a swan-neck design with ornate detailing.

And don’t forget your radiators. A modern radiator can really fracture the scene, so we’d recommend having classic designs installed, perhaps with a few extra bars for warming and drying towels.

Colour Schemes

Jewel tones were the pinnacle of style during the reign of Queen Victoria — We’re talking reds, yellows, greens, blues, and purples.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match various shades, but choosing subtle tones ensures your design won’t end up too loud.

You should also feel free to venture beyond jewel tones, as colour is one of the ways you can bring your Victorian aesthetic into the present.

Delve into our guide on choosing a colour scheme for your bathroom to find the perfect mood for your space.


Patterned tiles were one of the most prominent aspects of Victorian bathrooms. The more intricate the patterns were, the better, but that’s not to say you have to choose the busiest designs in the world.

There has never been more variety of patterned tiles than there is right now, so be sure to choose something that appeals to you. Even if the patterning is fairly subtle, it’s still a nod to the Victorian aesthetic, just with your own flare worked in, which, ultimately, is the goal.


Accessories are the finishing touches that can make your Victorian bathroom feel that much more magical.

Vintage soap and shampoo caddies can be a fantastic addition, as can an antique chair or stool against a wall, and if at all possible, opt for a chandelier instead of pendant or recessed lighting.

Final Thoughts

To say Victorian bathroom designs are very in right now wouldn’t be right, as the timeless nature of the aesthetic means it’s unlikely it will ever truly fall out of style.

Modern bathrooms are typically quite sterile, prioritizing function over fashion, but the Victorian themes discussed here today prove that you can have the best of both worlds — A bathroom that looks breath-taking and caters to your modern needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Incorporate Victorian Bathroom Ideas Into A Small Bathroom?

Victorian design prefers a large open space, but if you’re discerning in your choice of Victorian artifacts, you can still make it work remarkably well in a small bathroom.

A free-standing bathtub is a must, but instead of using it as a centrepiece, have it snug against a wall. A vintage radiator is another fantastic addition, as it stays well out of the way but looks fantastic.

Avoid too many patterns, as they can shrink the room visually, and you don’t want to overwhelm the space. Opt for rich, wooden floors, and if you do crave patterns, why not tile an accent wall?

Chandeliers might not be an option unless you have a particularly high ceiling, so experiment with some ornate, short-hanging pendant lights instead.

Can I Incorporate Victorian Design Elements Into A Non-Victorian Home?

Unless you have a super sleek, hyper-modern interior aesthetic, you can absolutely incorporate some Victorian design elements here and there, especially in the bathroom.

As mentioned earlier, the bathroom is the most unique room in most houses, giving you more leeway when it comes to experimenting with styles different to those established in the rest of your home.

Kevin Sears

About Kevin Sears

Kevin Sears is a bathroom and interior design blogger here at 34 St John. He creates original content utilising his extensive knowledge of the bathroom industry and latest trends.

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