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Modern vs. Traditional Bathroom Design

Modern bathroom design and traditional bathroom design offer very different aesthetics. They can completely change the look and feel of not just houses, but restaurants and other businesses as well. Where does the desire for a modern bathroom design come from? What about traditional design? To understand the differences, advantages, and popularity of these designs, you have to take a look at the brief history of bathrooms.

We don’t need to dive too far back to understand the evolution of the bathroom. We know that way back when, people went to bathhouses to clean themselves and it was unheard of to have your own private bathroom. Even up until well into the 20th century, people were taking baths in tubs next to their fireplace.

It was in the 1960’s that everything began to change for the bathroom. Instead of being a sterile place to relieve yourself and get clean, it started to become a status symbol. Wealthy homeowners began to deck out their bathrooms with extravagant designs, materials, and artwork. You were seeing marble tubs, gaudy gold fixtures, carpet in the bathroom, you get the picture. People wanted the feeling of a luxurious spa getaway in their own home. That idea hasn’t gone away, just evolved.

With the introduction of social media, having a beautiful luxurious bathroom is a way to draw in potential customers at spas, hotels, airbnb’s, etc. Being able to show the world something new and unique is a driving factor for some of these hospitality industries. Of course, design and style has changed over the years and modern style has started to take over bathrooms, but that’s not to say that traditional bathrooms are gone.

Modern bathrooms have changed over the past few years, but there are aspects that will be staples of modern design for a long time. In modern bathrooms you’ll always see clean lines and simple design. In the past few years modern bathrooms were very sterile and felt almost cold. In 2019 we’re seeing a lot more color in bathrooms, interesting tile patterns, more natural materials, and unique showers and tubs. You’ll often find big vanities with lots of counter space and modern vanities with interesting finishes or materials.

There are also different types of modern style. It’s no longer an all white bathroom with chrome fixtures. We’re seeing industrial modern, farmhouse modern, and mid century modern, to name a few. These types of modern bathrooms are incorporating their own sense of style within the modern bathroom design we’re used to.  In these cases, you’re going to see more natural materials like wood, you’ll see concrete, and different types of metals. You can add in a lot of different design pieces as long as you maintain the modern design aesthetic.

When it comes to traditional bathroom design, you’re not going to see quite as many bathrooms that utilize this kind of design. As we mentioned before, people like to try and recreate a spa like feeling in their own homes. Traditional bathroom designs aren’t as spa like, but they do offer different advantages. Traditional bathroom design is similar to modern in that there should be no clutter in the bathroom. Clutter doesn’t add anything to any type of bathroom, so as a general rule of thumb, just try to avoid that.

An important note about traditional bathroom design, it doesn’t have to be gaudy, ornate, or frilly. Just because it’s traditional doesn’t mean it has to look outdated and ugly. When it comes to color, neutral colors like off whites, browns, golds, and beiges are what you should be looking for. Big, dramatic bathroom vanities in dark woods are also classic traditional bathroom pieces. If you really want to get serious about your traditional aesthetic, a large standalone cast iron clawfoot tub will really pull everything together.

It’s interesting to see how modern and traditional styles still pull design aspects from each other. In modern bathroom design, we’re seeing more and more standalone tubs complimented by a walk in shower. A standalone tub is a classic traditional bathroom style. As for the floors in a traditional bathroom, simple tile with some elegant detail is always a nice touch. Large mirrors are also a classic look in any traditional bathroom setting.

Usually when choosing a traditional style bathroom, it will look best in a traditionally styled home. It might be a bit jarring and uncomfortable if you’re in a very modern home with a traditional bathroom, and vice versa.

Overall, traditional and modern design are both great choices, each with their own pros and cons. Modern bathrooms can feel a little cold, sterile, and not very homey while traditional bathrooms can look outdated and “lived in”. No matter which style you decide to go with, as long as you spend time on your design choices and make intentional decisions, your bathroom will look great.

About the Author: Thomas is a lead content producer for Trade Winds Imports, a company that has 10 years of experience in bathroom design and an unbeatable knowledge of bathroom vanities.

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