The word "traditional" gets tossed around with regularity in the design world. For some it might bring up negative connotations or be misinterpreted as predictable, boring, or staid. But there's more to this design style than its name.
So, what is traditional design? As you might have guessed, it's rooted in, yup, tradition, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and is heavily influenced by Europe and the Far East (think chinoiserie). Pieces tend to be ornate and on the heavier side and some, like the wingback chair, have strong regal undertones.There's also an emphasis on symmetry and order.
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These tenets translate perfectly to the bathroom where order, a neutral color palette and timeless elements like marble, crown molding, gold hardware, and clawfoot tubs are celebrated. So what does a traditional bathroom look like? You might be surprised. Here are six variations on the theme.
1. You can't go wrong with the classics.
If you're looking to create a sophisticated commode with luxe undertones, a traditional bathroom idea replete with tried-and-true combinations like marble tile, creamy paint, and brass light fixtures is for you. Don't forget to add character with greenery, vintage-inspired textiles, and wood accents, as Studio McGee did in this spacious bath.
Get the look: McGee & Co. Desmond Open Oval Lantern, $925
2. Paint your tub.
A traditional bathroom idea that never goes out of style? A clawfoot tub, like the one seen in this bathroom by Katie Hackworth. Its black exterior makes a unique statement that adds to the bohemian mood created by dark wood cabinets, encaustic floor tile, and a garnet kilim rug; traditional wainscoting gets a fresh makeover when it's fashioned from subway tile and a thick marble baseboard.
Get the look: Pottery Barn Nicolette Hand-Knotted Rug, $799 - $2,499
3. Say "yes" to color.
Color steeped in history, like the regal blue seen on the walls of this Victoria and Albert Bath, is a traditional idea that adds depth and accentuates signature wall paneling. A floral window covering in jewel tones, a pair of metallic sconces, and a freestanding pedestal tub enhance the refined setup.
Get the look: Victoria + Albert Elwick Tub, price upon request
4. Incorporate eclectic details.
Can you create a traditional bathroom that exudes personality? You bet! It's all in the details. Take cues from Amber Lewis who anchored this fresh space with marble hex tiles and a bright coat of white paint, and then layered eclectic details like a Moorish tile backsplash, a vintage rug, and woven accessories for a traditional bathroom idea with a dash of unique flair.
Get the look: Serena & Lily Teak Stool, $78 - $88
5. Embrace allover texture.
Looking for further proof that a traditional bathroom idea need not be predictable? Heidi Caillier personalized this charming space with thoughtful details like allover tongue and groove surfaces, a hex-shaped mosaic floor tile, and a no-fail Carrara marble countertop with feminine edges and a detailed cutout on the backsplash. Wood surfaces and a nature-inspired Roman shade add plenty of warmth.
Get the look: Rejuvenation Small Oval Cabinet Knob, $10
6. Put a personal twist on it.
Known for putting a creative stamp on all of her projects, we admit there isn't anything traditional about Leanne Ford, in the traditional sense of the word; which is why we (and the world) love her designs. But she has an uncanny way of using enduring materials — like the penny and subway tiles in this floor-to-ceiling application — for unexpected results. Gold and porcelain fittings are eye-catching details that elevate the space.
Get the look: Signature Hardware Alliston Exposed Pipe Shower, $559