In the annals of interior design history, few periods stand as regally as the Victorian era. Victorian design style might seem intimidating at first glance with its circular towers and ceiling medallions, but this style is surprisingly easy to pull into your modern bathroom design with the right elements and the perfect handmade tile.
A well-done Victorian bathroom is an exquisite blend of sophistication, function, and timeless beauty. From decadent wallpaper to timeless mosaic tile designs, we’re walking you through 8 bathrooms that bring the Victorian age into the modern era with swoon-worthy features you’ll want to borrow for your next project.
First, What Exactly Is Victorian Style?
Named after Queen Victoria, Victorian style was popularized in the mid-19th century. Victorian home design marked a turning point in history when millions were moving to the city for work during and after the Industrial Revolution. The advent of mass production made it easier for city dwellers to live in homes that were not only comfortable but were ornately detailed and featured modern amenities such as running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity.
Although most of today’s Victorian homes don’t have nearly the same amount of opulence as they did in the past, several elements of Victorian style are preserved by even the most modern decorators.
Victorian style today can be identified by architectural characteristics such as decorative windows, double-entry doors, steep rooflines and high ceilings, ornate fireplaces, and elaborate molding. Wood, marble, and (of course!) tile are commonly used materials, while ornate textiles like heavy drapes, plush furniture, and tapestries add another level of ornamentation.
A true Victorian color palette is rich and saturated, full of greens, golden browns, reds, and blues, although today’s contemporary take on Victorian often features a more neutral palette with creamy ivories and smoky greys.
Sample Victorian Style
From richly regal to delicate elegance, we've rounded up our favorite Victorian-inspired colors. Your first five color samples are free!
1. A Luxurious Clawfoot Tub
No discussion of a Victorian-style bathroom is complete without mentioning the iconic clawfoot tub. These cast iron beauties, raised on elegant legs, are emblematic of the Victorian era and an excellent way to exude Victorian charm into your contemporary bathroom.
Claire Thomas chose a slipper tub finished in porcelain enamel for this whimsical space, complete with shining golden feet and a high-back construction that’s begging you to sit back and soak with a glass of wine. A patterned expanse of coordinating white and golden tiles is the perfect foundation for this clawfoot beauty to perch.
2. A Freestanding Vanity
Freestanding vanities and cabinets made of wood or marble were a mainstay in Victorian-era bathrooms, often embellished with decorative carvings. This stunning bathroom brought the Victorian flavor by topping its handsome wooden vanity with a marble counter, while a floor of hexagon mosaic tiles draws the eye to the classic wood detailing at the bottom of the facade.
3. Ornate Fixtures
Victorian bathrooms are renowned for their intricate and ornate faucets, handles, and plumbing fixtures, and selecting elaborate fixtures for your own bathroom is a foolproof way to bring in Victorian vibes.
The Hoopes Vineyard Guest House designed by Erin Fetherston boasts luxe, gleaming hardware in its Victorian shower, proving that you don’t need a clawfoot tub to encapsulate this design style–and how amazing do the fixtures look set against our artisan-made tile?
4. Mosaic Tile on the Floor (Or Backsplash, Shower, Or…Anywhere)
Detailed mosaic designs create a visually stunning and artistic ambiance in any Victorian bathroom, adding a sense of timeless elegance whether on the floor, walls, or inside showers.
A stunning example of a mosaic in action, we adore the black and white floor that Sarah Sherman Samuel designed for Vanessa Carlton’s moody bathroom. Tile is the most common flooring material found in Victorian design aside from wood floors, and with its moisture-resistant properties, it’s an ideal choice for wet environments like bathrooms.
Our Mosaic Tile comes sheeted for your convenience, making flawless installation a breeze.
5. A Decorative Mirror
One of the easiest ways to bring Victorian style into your bathroom? Switch out your standard mirror for something more decorative, like the wavy arched mirror above. Rounded edges, scallops, arches, framing–the more ornate, the better, especially when paired with other Victorian features like a tile wainscot (more on that later).
6. High Ceilings
Granted this isn’t necessarily an easy feature to add if your bathroom doesn’t already have it, but tall ceilings add a decidedly Victorian grandeur to your bathroom if you do. Case in point, high ceilings perfectly frame the regal soaking tub perched on a stellar floor of Star & Cross Tile in this light-filled space.
Tile wainscoting is an ideal way to protect your walls from moisture as well as add timeless character to your bathroom, as this stunning space demonstrates with our 3x9 Ceramic Tile in smoky brown Cardamom.
Pro tip: finish it off with one of our handcrafted trim pieces, including architectural molding, for a truly authentic look.
8. Rich, Intricate Wallpaper
Reach for wallpaper with rich patterns and designs for a demolition-free way to transform your space into a Victorian haven. These wallpapers add depth and charm to your space and look especially timeless when paired with handmade tile as exemplified by Jenna Kutcher’s romantic bathroom.
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By Blair Hagensen
By Blair Hagensen