A beautifully designed and decorated bathroom can truly be the crowning jewel of any home. While contemporary trends come and go, there are certain traditional features that will always lend an air of timeless elegance and style to a bathroom space. Incorporating some classic elements into your bathroom design is a great way to create a soothing, spa-like atmosphere that feels warm, inviting, and aesthetically pleasing. Below, we explore 10 key features that can help make your bathroom into an instant classic.

Freestanding Bathtubs

A freestanding bathtub serves as a striking centerpiece in any bathroom. These elegant tubs evoke a sense of luxury, and their sculptural presence commands attention. Freestanding tubs are available in a range of styles, from vintage clawfoot tubs to sleek modern forms. Placement of a freestanding tub depends on the layout of the space, but positioning it beneath a window or near the center of the room makes an eye-catching statement. When choosing your tub, consider materials such as porcelain, copper, stone resin or acrylic. Each material offers its own aesthetic appeal. For a truly classic look, an antique-style clawfoot tub adds vintage character.

Subway Tile

Subway tile offers an iconic, timeless look for bathrooms. The simple rectangular white tiles lined up in a brickwork pattern provide a clean, classic backdrop that suits both traditional and contemporary styles. Subway tile has an enduring, versatile appeal that helps ground the space. Use it on the walls, shower surround, backsplashes, and floor for a cohesive look. For variation, consider alternating with contrasting grout colors or adding an accent border stripe. Subway tile works beautifully alongside other classic features like pedestal sinks, roman tub faucets and frameless glass shower doors. The clean lines and fuss-free minimalism of subway tile allow the other fixtures in the room to shine.

Pedestal Sinks

The pedestal sink exudes vintage charm with its elegantly slim silhouette. This sink features a bowl anchored to the floor by a central pedestal column, leaving an airy space underneath. Beyond its visual appeal, pedestal sinks have a smaller footprint, making them ideal choices for compact powder rooms. The exposed plumbing also allows for easier maintenance access. Choose a pedestal sink with clean curves and shapely pedestal lines to lend that touch of classic sophistication. Made from materials like porcelain, glass, copper, or stone resin, pedestal sinks come in a wonderful array of styles perfect for traditional bathrooms. Their graceful presence pairs nicely with other vintage elements.

Roman Tub Faucets

Roman tub faucets add a sculptural element that epitomizes classic luxury. Mounted on the floor near the tub rather than the tub rim, these freestanding fixtures make a dramatic statement. Styles range from sleek contemporary to more ornate and traditional. Polished chrome, brass, bronze and nickel finishes help roman tub faucets stand out against tiled walls. Beyond aesthetics, their floor positioning allows you to fill the tub faster compared to standard wall-mounted faucets. If you have a clawfoot tub or soaking tub, make it the star with coordinating roman tub hardware. The grounding presence and freeflowing lines of the roman tub faucet lend elegance to any bathroom.

Clawfoot Tub

Nothing evokes the classic bathroom like a clawfoot tub placed in a spot of honor. Extravagantly decadent, clawfoot tubs have an iconic vintage style that immediately dials up the elegance. The exposed “feet” showing off the tub’s piping add visual interest. Clawfoot tubs come in a array of materials like porcelain, acrylic, copper or stainless steel. Choose an ornate style with detailed feet, scrolls and tailpieces for full vintage impact. Situate your clawfoot tub beneath a window, or add a freestanding privacy screen. Keep the surroundings clean and minimal to let the sculptural tub take center stage. Pair with roman tub faucets mounted on the floor for a cohesive classic look.

Frameless Glass Shower Doors

Frameless glass shower doors have a stunningly modern, minimalist aesthetic that also works beautifully in traditional bathrooms. Unobstructed views of the gorgeous tilework lend an airy, spa-like feel. The sleek transparency of frameless doors allows more natural light in as well. Treat them with anti-limescale coating to keep the glass sparkling and easy to clean. Install your frameless doors to surround any shower or bathtub. The seamless design acts as an elegant focal point without detracting from the rest of the bathroom. For a cohesive look, match the hardware finish to other fixtures like sconces or roman tub hardware.

Double Vanity

A double vanity offers both visual appeal and practical functionality for two users. Positioned side by side, a his-and-her double vanity makes an elegant statement while allowing couples to get ready together. Traditional styled double vanities feature brushed brass or chrome hardware, beveled edges, and materials like marble, granite or porcelain. Incorporate open shelving or framed mirrors above each sink for a symmetrically balanced classic look. Double vanities take up more space, so they work best in larger master bathrooms. Treat the vanity area like a piece of statement furniture to create an inviting oasis.

Wall Sconces

For an ambient, welcoming glow, wall sconces are a must in classic bathrooms. Their warm light contributes to the overall vintage vibe and aesthetic harmony of the space. Plus, wall sconces free up counter space compared to single bulbs. Look for sconces with clear glass shades and designs that match other hardware finishes in your bathroom, like brass, bronze or nickel. Place matching sconces on both sides of the mirror above a double vanity for a balanced, coherent look. You can also flank a clawfoot tub with sconces to create a relaxing soak zone. Their understated elegance and soft lighting make wall sconces a perfect traditional touch.

Wainscoting Panels

Lending dimension, texture and a subtle vintage style, wainscoting panels have graced bathrooms for centuries. This classic decorative wall treatment typically lines the lower half of walls. Made of raised wood, wainscoting adds architectural interest and gravitas. The eloquent vertical lines and classic molding details contribute an old-world charm, without overwhelming a space. Use wainscoting to frame out a tub surround or vanity area. Pair it with wallpaper on upper walls for a striking two-tone look. Crisp white wainscoting also complements tile walls. Tailor wainscoting height and width to suit your bathroom’s proportions.

Freestanding Furniture

Freestanding furniture in the bathroom provides visual intrigue while serving practical needs. An antique side table or console beneath a mirror makes a lovely vanity for vintage charm. Or place a cushioned bench at the end of a clawfoot tub for a place to relax. A freestanding cabinet or dresser offers enclosed storage solutions. Distressed wood finishes, tapered legs, and minimal ornamentation keep freestanding furniture style aligned with classic bathrooms. Avoid pieces that clutter the room or obstruct flow and sightlines. When chosen thoughtfully, the right freestanding furniture piece acts as a refined finishing touch.

Incorporating some of these iconic, elegant bathroom elements creates an ambiance of timeless sophistication and grace. Their finishing touches lend cohesion and allow the character of the space to shine through. While modern trends come and go, traditional bathroom features remain beloved for their ability to provide an oasis of unhurried rejuvenation and style for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, your classic bathroom can become a family heirloom. Paying homage to beloved vintage style allows you to craft a bathroom that stands the test of time with elegance and beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions About Creating a Classic Bathroom

What are some hallmarks of a traditionally styled bathroom?

Some key features that lend a classic style to bathrooms include clawfoot tubs, pedestal sinks, roman tub faucets, subway tile, frameless shower doors, wall sconces, wainscoting, freestanding furniture pieces, and vintage-inspired hardware finishes like brushed nickel or brass.

What colors work well in classic bathrooms?

Traditional bathrooms thrive with a neutral color palette. Clean, crisp white is a popular choice for fixtures, wainscoting, and tilework. Soft hues like pale blue, gray, tan and ivory also pair nicely with classic decor. Use color sparingly for accents and accessories.

What types of materials suit a traditional bathroom aesthetic?

Natural, high-end materials are best for traditional bathrooms. This includes stone (marble, travertine), porcelain, ceramic, copper, brass, bronze and glass. Traditionally styled wood vanities and furniture also suit the classic look.

How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom in a traditional style?

Bathroom remodels range widely in cost, but incorporating traditional elements often elevates the budget. Classic fixtures like clawfoot tubs are premium investments, as are materials like stone tiles and solid wood vanities. The average bathroom remodel runs $10,000-$25,000, but a full overhaul with high-end finishes can easily reach $35,000+.

How do I add a vintage flair to my existing bathroom?

Some easy ways to give your current bathroom a dose of vintage character include replacing the faucets with roman tub-style fixtures, installing wall sconces, adding subway tile accents, bringing in freestanding furniture, hanging framed art and swapping shower curtains for sleek glass doors.

What flooring works well in traditional bathrooms?

Classic flooring choices like hexagon tile, black and white checkerboard tile, or marble help create an elegant vintage foundation. For visual interest, pair tile flooring with natural wood borders or area rugs.

How can I make a small bathroom feel luxurious?

In a small space, focus on quality over quantity. Choose one or two eye-catching vintage fixtures like a pedestal sink or clawfoot tub. Use wainscoting and sconces to add character. Install frameless glass doors in the shower. Add little decorator touches like folded towels, fresh flowers and art for an opulent feel. Proper lighting is also key.

What are timeless trends I can incorporate for long-lasting style?

Some quintessentially classic bath trends that retain their elegance include subway tile, roman tub faucets, pedestal sinks, wall sconces, clawfoot tubs, frameless shower doors, chrome details and wainscoting. These elements transcend trendy styles to offer an always fashionable look.

Investing in the right mix of traditional finishes and features lets you fashion a bathroom that truly stands the test of time. A classically designed bathroom has an enduring appeal that brings beauty and sophisticated comfort to your daily rituals for years to come.


A thoughtfully designed bathroom with classic details provides a private, indulgent space for relaxation and rejuvenation. Incorporating traditional elements like clawfoot tubs, pedestal sinks, roman tub faucets, subway tile and wall sconces lends an atmosphere of refined, vintage luxury. These fixtures stand the test of time with their sophisticated elegance. Freestanding and natural materials add striking visual interest while remaining versatile. Keep walls and tilework light and neutral to allow the other components to shine. Traditional bathrooms feel simultaneously peaceful and decadent. With quality craftsmanship and materials, your classic bathroom can become a beloved heirloom passing elegance on to future generations. The right balance of vintage details allows anyone to craft a bathroom oasis that offers comfort and beauty for years to come.