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Victorian Bathrooms 4U

Edwardian Bathroom Ideas and Style Guide

The Edwardian era covered the period from 1901-1910. It was a time of inventiveness, tranquillity, and optimism. In design terms, this translates into calm, light colours, plain patterns and a pared-back approach to ornaments and accessorising – elements that are ideal when looking to create a bright, spacious bathroom. The Edwardian style emerged as a stark contrast to the opulent, indulgent feel of the Victorian era, with clean lines, crisp tones and luxury touches brought to the fore.

Despite being a mere decade in time, the era endures, and its influence is still strong today. It’s no surprise, then, that many still look to decorate their bathrooms in this classic style. In this post, we’ll look at Edwardian bathroom ideas, covering everything from furniture and tiles to fixtures and accessories.

But first, a few golden rules to bear in mind to bring this style to life.

Open up the space

As the Edwardians did, keep ornaments and accessories to a minimum. Keep towels, bathroom products and any other items safely stowed in cupboards – you don’t want to show these off! For anything you do want to incorporate, invest in some quality pieces that will add that luxury twist – but remember to avoid anything too ornate.

Having lots of light is a great way to open up your space and make it feel larger than it is: always a must in a bathroom, especially one that is downstairs or has minimal, windows. From bouncing light around with clever use of mirrors, to installing a skylight, to mimicking the look of natural light with white lights, there are tons of ways you can achieve a light and bright space. We have some great ideas for lighting and accessories later in the blog.

2) Pastels are your friend

The Edwardians loved classic pastel shades, and these help capture the carefree feel of the period. Colours of primrose yellow, eau-de-nil, and duck egg will make the space feel classic and bright. Grey tones and soft lilac shades can give a modern edge to this antique look.

Here are some example palettes you could try. Scheme 1 focuses on grey and blue tones, with black as an accent colour, while Scheme 2 has a more heritage feel with a vibrant green at its heart. For more playful pastels, Schemes 5 and 6 show a broad spectrum of shades that work well in isolation and can play off against each other. Schemes 3 and 4 have a slightly darker feel to them but will pop against cream accessories and fixtures.

3) Don’t be afraid of wallpaper

While wallpaper isn’t always practical in a bathroom, if you’re able to use it, it’s the perfect way to nod to the period. Balance out wallpapered walls with some plain tiles or painted sections, or consider using a border wallpaper against a painted wall.

For rooms that are lacking in airflow, where wallpaper might be an issue, a light touch can make all the difference. One trick is lining inside a cupboard, which while simple to do, is very effective. Or, you could even consider framing a small piece of wallpaper to hang somewhere in the room as a throwback to the era.

Some good starting points for patterns are elegant florals and geometric shapes, which also work well on tiles. We’ll cover these later in a bit more detail.

Now we’ve given you a bit of background to the style of the era, let’s get to our Edwardian bathroom design ideas.

The showstopper bath

In many bathrooms, the tub is the centrepiece of the room – and this is something you’ll notice for the Edwardian era. The best choice is a freestanding design, as these evoke luxury and have a timeless feel, but whether you choose enamelled or cast iron is up to you. Elegance is essential, so consider both the feet and fixtures of the piece to ensure you nail the look. The clawfoot style is a favourite of the period and will lend a real authentic feel to your space.

Here are some statement baths with an Edwardian feel. Styles 1 and 2 capture that gorgeous Edwardian palette and the iconic claw foot design, while style 3 has a more crisp, angular design that feels true to the era. It also has a minimalist feel to it with its simple structure and classic white porcelain.

The elevated WC

While the toilet might be one of the last things you consider when designing your bathroom, in the case of the Edwardian era, it’s quite important to get right. The Edwardian toilet is a style with a high-level cistern that might, on first glance, seem more relegated to school toilets, but it’s actually an incredibly enduring style and one that we’re seeing popping up more and more frequently in fashionable bars and restaurants. It’s also a bit more unexpected when it comes to general bathrooms, so by incorporating one, you’ll be making a sharp statement.

Our Edwardian examples capture this perfectly. Each features the high cistern with the charming pull-chain, and the inclusion of a wooden seat lends a heritage feel. Another feature to look out for is engraving on the cistern itself, which feels more authentic and expensive.
The showstopper shower

Sleek, shiny and elegant, the Edwardian shower is far from being just functional. Drawing on the notion that design can elevate even the most simple things, they often feature an exposed style where you’ll get to appreciate the elegant pipework as well as the fitting. The showerhead itself is in a fixed position, though many come with a secondary, handheld shower head to give you options.

For our selection, choose between a projection arm style, like style 3 – which keeps the look clean and crisp, and is perfect for a more minimalist take on the era – or go all-out with style 1. For freestanding baths where you’ll want a showerhead option, style 3 makes for a classic choice.

The antique basin

Statement, angular, refined: three things you want to nail when shopping for your Edwardian sink. A pedestal design feels classic and gets the gorgeous lines into your scheme, while also feeling grand and befitting of the era. A square-shaped basin is the most faithful to the period, and a stepped style can further enhance an angular look. Other notable designs include sinks with a surrounding rail or ‘handles’ below for hanging hand towels.

In our selection, you’ll see how each features the square shape, and how each feels exposed. It’s best to shy away from anything inbuilt to show off the shape and craftsmanship behind the pieces.

The perfect tiles

Of all Edwardian bathroom design ideas, choosing Edwardian bathroom tiles feels the biggest decision. For inspiration, don’t feel consigned to just looking at other bathrooms – tiles used in kitchens and around fireplaces, in courtyards and hallways can all translate well into your space. While wall tiles are often found in floral designs, floor tiles come in geometrics, with designs that tessellate to create a seemingly endless pattern. These were meant to form a backdrop to the furniture and architecture of the period, so usually come in a more earthy palette, larger size and with simple patterns.

It’s worth considering wallpaper, too, as here, you’re more likely to find floral designs. A great tip for using wallpaper in your bathroom is to use a clear acrylic or glass panel over the top to create a splash-proof area.

We’ve found some historical examples of tiles and wallpaper. Scheme 1 was used around a fireplace –note the use of duck egg and primrose yellow. Schemes 3 and 4 are wallpaper, and more intricate in style than the tiles typical of this period. These focus on a floral design and inject some colour into your space. Schemes 5 and 6 are outdoor tiles with a similar design, capturing some of the yellows and greens of the era, but grounding the look with a terracotta centre. Finally, scheme 2 brings together navy and green and would work beautifully in a bathroom against stark porcelain.

Now that we’ve shared some Edwardian bathroom ideas, it makes sense to think about accessorising your look. Here are a few final things to consider when creating your perfect bathroom.

Edwardian bathroom accessories

  1. Mirrors – while it’s best to go simple rather than overly ornate, a large mirror in the Edwardian style creates light while being a prominent feature.
  2. Lighting – Tiffany-style stained glass was popular in the era, especially in sconce fittings, which create an antique-looking pooling effect.
  3. Towel rails – these can be a feature unto themselves, and many allow you to paint them, helping them make even more of a statement.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this style guide, which captures our tips and tricks for creating your own unique Edwardian bathroom ideas. For more design inspiration, why not check out our period styles hub?

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