Europe has long been a leader in innovative and stylish interior design, and this is especially true when it comes to bathrooms. From sleek, modern designs to old-world charm, European bathrooms showcase elegant aesthetics and sophisticated functionality. Incorporating some key elements of European bathroom style into your own space can help create a relaxing oasis with just the right amount of flair. Read on for some top design ideas to give your bathroom a touch of European flair.
Choosing Fixtures and Finishes for a European Bathroom
Selecting the right fixtures and finishes is key to achieving the look and feel of a European bathroom design.
- Freestanding tubs – These elegant statement pieces often have clawfoot or ornate curved legs. They make bathing a luxurious experience.
- Built-in tubs – Seamlessly integrated into the design, these spacious tubs are sleek and modern. Platform tubs or those with one finished side create a focal point.
- Materials – Cast iron, acrylic, porcelain, stone resin, and copper are top choices for both durability and style.
- Walk-in showers – No door or curtain needed for these spacious showers. Choose from square, rectangular, or curvilinear shapes.
- Rainfall shower heads – Provide an indulgent soaking spray. Install overhead or on the wall.
- Shower benches – Built-in seating adds comfort and convenience. Natural stone, tile, or wood benches integrate seamlessly.
- Two-handle widespread faucets – Allow separate control of hot and cold water. Bridge designs make a statement.
- Wall-mounted faucets – Great for small sinks or creating a clean look. Choose minimalist styles.
- Materials – Brass, nickel, chrome, copper, and black finishes all work well.
- Digital faucets – High-tech options allow custom temperature presets and touch activation.
- Vessel sinks – Countertop bowls make washing up an art form. Glass, stone, ceramic, and metal versions available.
- Pedestal sinks – With no vanity, these sinks keep floors clear. Often made of porcelain or ceramic.
- Floating vanities – Minimize visual weight and show off floors. Made from wood, lacquered finishes, or glass.
- Natural stone – Marble, travertine, slate, and pebble mosaic tiles have an organic vibe.
- Ceramic or porcelain – Available in large format tiles or intricate patterns. Long-lasting and water-resistant.
- Radiant heated floors – Built-in heating systems provide luxurious warmth underfoot. Great for stone and tile flooring.
- Sconces – Mounted on walls to provide ambient and task lighting. Choose brass, nickel, or chrome finishes.
- Pendant lights – Suspended over sinks, tubs, or vanities for a decorative touch. Vintage filament bulbs add flair.
- Waterproof pot lights – Recessed fixtures give even overhead illumination. Dimming options available.
Creating a Spa-Like European Bathroom
Transforming your bathroom into a relaxing home spa is easier than you may think. Include these elements for a soothing, salon-style space:
Provide Plenty of Towels and Robes
- Stack thick, plush towels in woven baskets or wooden caddies within easy reach of the tub and shower.
- Hang soft robes on hooks or towel warmers so they’re ready to slip into after bathing.
- Display leafy potted plants like ferns or palms to bring nature indoors.
- Add a living wall or vertical garden to clean the air and add organic flair.
Use Natural Materials
- Natural stone like marble or travertine has mineral properties that can promote relaxation.
- Unlacquered wood vanities and shelves provide an earthy, calming contrast to sleek surfaces.
- Arrange candles of different heights around the bathtub, sink, and vanity.
- Put out decorative matches or lighters to encourage use.
Provide Space for Pampering
- Have a small table or countertop area to hold bath oils, lotions, and cosmetics.
- Make sure there’s comfy seating for applying makeup or doing pedicures.
Install a Sound System
- Conceal waterproof Bluetooth speakers to play soothing music.
- Choose speakers with nature sound effects like ocean waves, rainfall, or bird songs.
Small European Bathroom Ideas
Just because space is limited doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Use these clever tips to create a stunning small bath with European flair:
Select Streamlined Fixtures
- Opt for a wall-hung toilet and floating vanity to save visual space.
- Look for narrow pedestal sinks or compact vessel sinks.
- Consider a corner shower which maximizes footprint.
Use Glass Dividers
- Glass shower enclosures visually expand the room.
- Etched, frosted, or patterned glass provides privacy without confining the space.
Install Mirrored Cabinets
- Mirrored medicine cabinets add depth and light.
- Integrate mirrors into cabinetry or tilework for an even greater reflective effect.
- Console tables with shelves below are ideal narrow sink stands.
- Tufted ottomans offer seating and hidden storage.
- Ladder towel racks double as display shelves.
Select Pocket or Sliding Doors
- Doors that slide or tuck into the wall are space-savers.
- Look for soft-close mechanisms for smooth, quiet operation.
Maximize Wall Space
- Use glass shelves, wall-mounted taps, and vertical storage units.
- Have a continuous border shelf for attractive display.
Use Pendant Lights
- Hanging light fixtures take up no counter space.
- Position to highlight tasks or bathing areas.
Classic European Bathroom Design Ideas
For a timeless and elegant bathroom with old-world European charm, incorporate some of these classic design elements:
An iconic freestanding tub with ball-and-claw feet evokes luxury. Select an enameled cast iron or acrylic tub to recline in style. Place on a rug or bath mat to define the space.
These classic 3-inch by 6-inch rectangular ceramic tiles date back to early 1900s European subway stations. Use white, light grey, or blue tiles in a brickwork pattern as a tub surround or full wall cover.
Sleek yet retro pedestal sinks are bathroom icons. Made from porcelain or ceramic, they come in round or squared shapes to suit traditional to contemporary spaces. Coordinate with mosaic tile floors.
Interior shutters are common around windows in European homes. In the bathroom, use louvered shutters in a bright color as a decorative focal point and for natural light control.
Vertical paneled walls ooze refined charm. Wood, MDF, or faux treatments about chair-rail height lend traditional sophistication. Paint in the same hue as walls for subtle contrast.
Decorative Wall Mirror
Ornate antique mirror frames pull together the classic look. Go for French-inspired shapes with carved detailing. Lean against the wall or hang above a vanity.
For mood lighting, mount decorative wall sconces in polished metals or glass on either side of the mirror. Use dimmable bulbs to control brightness.
Define the tub area with a small ornate area rug. Intricate patterns like damask, oriental, or Persian designs, and fringed edges enhance the timeless vibe.
Modern European Bathroom Ideas
If you prefer a more contemporary, minimalist look, incorporate these elements for a sleek modern bathroom with European style:
A wall-mounted vanity with no legs adds lightness and space. Go for crispwhite lacquer or natural wood cabinetry. Underlighting highlights the clean lines.
Ditch the shower door for a completely open walk-in shower. Use tile or stone on the floors and walls for a seamless feel. Add a slim-profiled rainfall showerhead.
Reimagine utility with a sleek chrome heated towel rail. Horizontal or vertical versions keep towels warm and dry while displaying them decoratively.
Make a style statement with perforated metal or glass orb pendant lights. Cluster three together over a bathtub or position singularly above a sink.
For the modernist touch, opt for a sliding barn door at the entrance. Minimal metallic hardware and unfinished wood panels keep the look raw and contemporary.
Use poured concrete for shelves or slim rectangular vessel sinks. The organic texture adds casual contrast to refined finishes.
Integrate your sound system, lighting, shower, and more using touchscreen control panels or voice activation for high-tech convenience.
Unfinished brass fixtures, galvanized metal, and wood paneling add an urban edge. Streamlined decayed elegance for the modern minimalist.
Traditional European Bathroom Design Ideas
Incorporate old-world elegance into your bathroom with these traditional European style elements:
An antique-inspired mirror in an intricately carved frame makes a stunning style statement. Gold leaf, distressed wood, or faux marble surrounds suit traditional decors.
Nothing evokes a classic Victorian bathroom like an enameled cast iron clawfoot tub. Place on an ornate rug and hang draperies for a soothing soak.
For dazzling traditional elegance, hang a small crystal or pendant chandelier over a vanity space. Brass hardware and teardrop crystals sparkle.
Maximize space with custom cabinetry and storage nooks. Include glass-fronted shelving, enclosed hampers, and under-sink cabinets with detailed molding.
Forget dainty florals – go for bold damasks, ornate geometrics, or distressed textures. Contrast modern fixtures against the vintage backdrop.
Surround a freestanding tub with a hand-knotted Persian area rug, featuring intricate patterns and a rich color palette. Fringe trim completes the upscale look.
Plush velvet lends an elegant feel. Place a tufted stool by the vanity for a decadent perch when applying makeup or styling hair.
Classic white 3-inch by 6-inch subway tiles make a timeless backsplash. Go for high-contrast mortar lines or a herringbone layout.
Tuscan European Bathroom Design Ideas
Inspired by rural Italian villas, Tuscan style uses natural textures and warm, earthy tones to create a cozy and informal bathroom:
Terracotta tile flooring brings the Tuscan countryside indoors. The fired clay has unique color variations, from burnt orange to earthy reds and browns.
Exposed wood beams, whether real or faux, lend a villa architectural feel. The textured look pairs well with stone and tile.
Wrought Iron Fixtures
Wrought iron towel racks, chandeliers, sconces, and other accents have an artisanal, hand-crafted quality perfect for the rustic style.
Natural Stone Surfaces
Use limestone, travertine, or marble on shower walls, backsplashes, sinks, and countertops. The veining has organic depth and character.
Close off window alcoves with louvered shutters in a distressed painted finish. Open and close them to control both light and privacy.
Display antique glass bottles, worn leather buckets, or flowered porcelain for old-world charm. Keep the collections limited for casual style.
Neutral Color Palette
Stick to a calming neutral palette reminiscent of Tuscan landscapes. Layer cream, tan, beige, and light brown tones on walls, tiles, and textiles.
Rustic Wood Shelves
Rough-hewn wood shelves made from elm, oak, or pine contrast sleek modern surfaces. Use for organic display space.
FAQs About European Bathroom Design Ideas
What defines a European style bathroom?
Some key elements that create a European style bathroom include clawfoot tubs, pedestal sinks, subway tile, natural materials like stone and wood, sleek modern minimalism, vintage details, and functional luxury.
What colors work well in a European bathroom?
Neutral palettes of white, cream, beige, tan, light grey, and wood tones are common. You can also find bold blacks and blues paired with white for dramatic contrast. Warm metallics like brass and copper add flair.
What flooring is best for a European bathroom?
Porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone tiles like marble or travertine are excellent water-resistant choices. Or consider radiant heated wood flooring for warmth underfoot. Mosaic patterns and large format tiles both work well.
Should I get a walk-in shower or bathtub?
This depends on your priorities. Walk-in showers save space and feel spa-like. However, nothing beats a long relaxing soak in a deep bathtub. Why choose – opt for both if you have the room!
How do I add a spa feel to my bathroom?
Provide plush robes and towels, live plants, candlelight, pampering space for cosmetics and pedicures, comfy seating, Bluetooth music, and natural elements like stone surfaces, wood accents, and greenery.
What modern technology can I incorporate?
Digital faucets, high-tech toilets, lighting and music control panels, waterproof Bluetooth speakers, heated floors, towel warmers, and smart home systems like Alexa allow you to customize and automate your bathroom.
How do I add storage to a small bathroom?
Use a floating vanity, tall narrow shelving units, over-toilet racks, drawer organizers, and creative multifunctional furniture like a storage ottoman or console sink stand. Built-in cabinetry also maximizes space.
Should I get a vessel, pedestal, or vanity sink?
Vessel and pedestal sinks keep floors clear, great for small spaces. Vanities increase storage but take up more room. Floating vanities are a lightweight alternative to ground standing vanities.
What maintenance does a European bathroom require?
Follow manufacturer’s care instructions for materials and finishes. Sealing natural stone annually prevents staining and etching. Use bath mats to retain warmth and prevent slips and falls. Clean frequently to prevent mold and mildew in humid areas.
There are so many options when designing a beautiful European-inspired bathroom. Focus on selecting high-quality materials like stone, tile, glass, and metals that will last for years. Seek out interesting vintage accents with character to contrast sleek modern fixtures. Keep comfort top of mind with spa-like amenities. With the right combination of practical luxury, elegant old-world charm, and touch of contemporary minimalism, you can create a refined and relaxing bathroom inspired by the best of European design.