This can easily lead to confusion – when there are so many trends out there, what’s actually popular and what’s not? How do you know which movements to follow and which to ignore? What is ‘good taste’ these days anyway?
These questions apply as much to bathrooms as to anything else. In fact, we argue they are especially pertinent here, as any new bathroom is designed as a permanent fixture; in a house lasting decades, the style needs to be as durable as the hardware. In a bid for inspiration, this set of blogs is aiming to highlight a few classic world bathroom styles.
With famous brands like Twyford and Royal Doulton to their name, the English have perhaps the best-known style of European bathroom. Generally solid and regular of design, traditional English designs are timeless affairs, combining taste with functional durability. Colouring is typically white or cream, and floral patterns are common across wallpapers and even porcelain. Large bathtubs, often featuring claw feet, are usually prominent. Done well, it is easy to conjure up images of the 1800s aristocracy using these bathrooms as part of their daily wash. For us, the only thing that’s missing is a dedicated shower – a bath just isn’t the same!
Although initially appearing quite similar to their rivals across the sea, upon closer inspection French bathrooms are markedly different to those of the English. As French housing tends to go up rather than out, large windows or even doors that open onto small balconies are often featured, allowing light and air to spill through to the interior. As per English design, white and cream tend to be the classic colours, but French bathrooms often blend in more subtle touches. This may appear in wrought iron artwork on balustrades and mirrors, lace patterns on towels and table coverings, or even glass or crystal chandeliers for the refined nobility. Again, showers are not as common here as they could be – but with the right screen, one could easily be melded into this discernable décor.
Nordic or Scandinavian designs seem to be all the rage in bathroom talk at the moment, but what actually is a Nordic design? Organic materials are common: rather than plastics or acrylics, lots of stone and wood are used for that warm, natural feel. A dark / light interplay is also suggestive of Nordic design, symbolic of the varying amounts of light in Scandinavian regions. Typically this is black and white, but dark navies and greys can also work well in modern bathrooms. Many designs strive to keep things simple, removing unnecessary storage racks, cabinets or peripherals for a clean, minimalist appearance. If you can imagine being on the inside of a sauna in a mountain retreat, Nordic bathrooms are often just as relaxing.
Spanish and Portuguese designs are very different to those above. The most immediate contrast, as perhaps could be expected from geographical indicators, is overwhelmingly one of warmth. Earth tones of red and brown are common, as is clay or terracotta decoration; this stems from Moorish and Native American influences in art and architecture. Small, arched windows often feature, and there can be many in a single bathroom. They may even come without any sort of sill or framing, instead having the glass (or lack thereof) set straight into the wall. Mosaic designs and lots of tiling are also in character and can suit the mood of Iberian designs.
Hopefully these world bathrooms have given you a few ideas to get started planning your own timeless designs. Keep an eye on this space for the next in this series.