A Georgian design may not stand out immediately when you think about refurbishing your bathroom, but hear us out. This elegant, period-style has a lot to offer.
Dolls’ House style country houses and bold sash windows are typical of this era, one which captured effortless and understated elegance. Think spacious and airy rooms, delicate furniture, subdued colour schemes, and a lot of wood.
We’ve written this blog post to give Georgian bathrooms a chance to shine. We’ll provide some visual inspiration to show you what the overall aesthetic looks like, then we’ll drill down into the individual elements. After reading, you’ll know everything you need to bring this stunning style into your bathroom.
The Georgian era started in 1714 when George I ascended to the crown and ended in the 1830s. Despite this timespan, you may be surprised to know the period isn’t named after one particularly sprightly king who lived for 116 years. Instead, there were four consecutive kings George in this period: Georges I, II, III, and IV.
Design-wise, the era was simple and elegant. Symmetry, balance, and proportion rooted in classical design schools were integral parts of the period’s architecture. Ornamentation was used, but in a more controlled fashion than some subsequent styles.
This home demonstrates quintessential Georgian architecture. Note the symmetry, the balance, and the subtle elegance.
Bringing these concepts into a bathroom involves prioritising proportion, and using ornamentation in a striking yet restrained way.
Here are some examples:
These images show some quintessential Georgian design elements. On the left, you have floral patterns, a deep bath, and oval lines. The middle picture has a striking symmetry captured by the sash window. Then, on the right, you have subdued tones, a black and white floor, another sash window, and even a piece of wooden furniture.
Let’s look at a few more.
Here we see a beautiful brass freestanding bath, complete with a roll-top. This is very evocative of the Georgian era. The exposed floorboards bring a dominant wooden theme to the room, supplemented by the chair in the corner – a real nod to this era. Notice how the ornaments are subtle, and the room feels less immediately like a bathroom as in more modern interpretations.
This bathroom combines Georgian elements – wood, an elegant bath, traditional taps, and light, airy spaces – with more rustic undertones. The effect is a stunning bathroom that practically invites you to step inside and run a bath. We’ve included this room because, although it is not fully Georgian, it demonstrates how the period can be combined with other styles to great effect.
Here we see striking yet subdued patterns, against a pale and muted backdrop. This demonstrates the perfect poise of a Georgian bathroom: elegant ornamentation set against calming tones. The white freestanding bath with traditional cross-mounted taps juxtapose beautifully with the patterned and eye-catching shower. This bathroom really showcases just how versatile the Georgian style can be.
If the images in the previous section piqued your interest, then the Georgian style could very well be the best choice for your new bathroom.
This style is a great choice when you want to make a statement, but not to overwhelm. Working within a Georgian design palette lets you achieve subtle elegance. It allows you to enjoy ornamentation without being garish. And, perhaps most appealingly, it invites design decisions that may feel less legitimate in other styles.
Those of you up to speed on your bathroom history will know that toilets, as we know them, did not become widespread until the 1850s – after the Georgian period ended. While flush toilets did exist, they were far from commonplace.
Because of this, it’s challenging to achieve authentic Georgian toilet design unless you’re willing to consider a chamberpot.
… We’re going to guess you’re not keen?
A more palatable option is to use a toilet with a traditional design, and perhaps even an elevated cistern. While this evokes Victorian design most closely, the old-fashioned design will combine conceptually and decoratively with the other elements in your Georgian bathroom.
In the Georgian era running water wasn’t a thing in most homes, so taps wouldn’t have featured heavily (or at all) in bathroom designs.
We’re guessing you don’t want to sacrifice taps in favour of pure authenticity, though. So with this in mind, we recommend choosing something that matches the styling of the period as closely as possible.
Traditional tap designs, cross-headed controls, and a brass or gold finish is a good place to start. Lever taps can do well to evoke the effortless elegance of the area.
As with taps, the baths they actually used in the Georgian period probably wouldn’t appeal to many people accustomed to modern bathrooms. Rather than replicating this outdated style exactly, you can choose a bath that captures its essence in a modern and appealing way.
One example is a freestanding bath: one of these in a bathroom exudes an automatic elegance, perfectly at home in the Georgian bathroom. To best fit with the era, prioritise oval lines, a roll top, and other design flourishes.
Simple, curved designs will best emulate the Georgian style. While mounted sinks would have been less prevalent than bowls and buckets, you are not restrained to these options in your bathroom.
A pedestal sink with ornamentation would work well. If you remember what we said earlier, the Georgians placed importance on the sense of proportion achieved in more classical architectural styles. The ridged lines of certain sink pedestals will evoke the elegance of a Roman column, for example, and fit with the wider aesthetic.
Wooden furniture would have been commonplace in Georgian times, and bringing a piece into your bathroom is a way to bolster the design. If you have space, a chair is an authentic nod to the era’s design. For maximum authenticity, choose a winged chair or one with a hoop-back.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be sourcing authentic Georgian furnishings, there are ways to replicate the period with contemporary alternatives. Adding a marble top to a chest of drawers or sideboard will create a fantastic vanity unit (and you can use faux marble if the real deal is too much of a stretch, financially). Mirrors in an antique style evoke the period well, also.
Look back to the images earlier in this article: you’ll notice that many of them feature at least one piece of furniture. Modern bathrooms rarely include chairs, so while they are not particularly striking design pieces, including one in your bathroom will automatically make a bold statement.
Striped fabric often graced furniture, and you can replicate this by bringing a striped rug into your bathroom, or even striped towels. Or if you prefer other patterns, an Oriental flavour – known as ‘Chinoiserie’ – was popular in the Georgian period, as were trefoils and, later, geometrics.
Early Georgian colour schemes employed burgundy and sage, giving way to paler and more muted shades later in the period. Think Wedgwood blue, pea green, dusky pink, and the like. Ceramic touches are a convincing addition to your Georgian bathroom. The material is a way to bring the muted colours and gentile design.
Wood elements would have featured heavily in this period. Exposed floorboards are a reliable way to capture this in your bathroom, as are pieces of furniture (as discussed previously).
If you’re not a fan of wooden floorboards, black and white flooring is an authentic period choice. It was often used as a nod to large manor houses and will make an elegant addition to your modern take on a Georgian bathroom.
We’ve shown you how great Georgian bathrooms can look. The symmetry, the understated colours, the traditional fixtures and fittings that combine to create elegant and captivating spaces.
You’ve seen visual inspiration to show you what’s possible, and you’ve learned about all of the elements most at home in a Georgian bathroom.
The question now, then: is a Georgian bathroom right for you?
It’s up to you to decide. We think this is a tried-and-tested design style with a considerable amount to offer, and we’ve seen many happy customers move ahead with a Georgian refurb. If you’d like to learn more about what other styles are available you can check out our handy primer, otherwise head to our bathroom store and get designing!
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