Classic Bathrooms, Modern Bathrooms & Contemporary Bathrooms: Which Should I Choose?

Introduction To Bathroom Design

Designing your bathroom can be a tricky thing, but what if we told you that you could design your bathroom extremely easily through one simple decision?

All you have to do is choose to build your bathroom around one of three concepts, either a classic bathroom, modern bathroom, or contemporary bathroom. Modern bathrooms and classic bathrooms are two of the most influential and persisting design philosophies, while contemporary bathrooms are by definition ever-present.

So, which should you choose and why should you choose them?

Let’s break it down and explore why you should utilize one of the two design philosophies.


Classic Bathrooms

The design philosophy of classic bathrooms is just that, “classic”. In this case, classic refers to the purposeful recreation of aesthetic principles typically associated with the Victorian era of 1837 – 1901.

Why the Victorian era? Because that is when a lot of design tropes were crystalized in the public’s conscious, such as design elements like curved fixtures and furniture, as well as more ornate and thin furniture.

You may be wondering why people emulate this style, and the primary reason is because the design philosophies popularized in the Victorian era endured for a long time, through many different eras and even appear today. This has given the classic bathroom design a timeless quality that lends itself to being universally appreciated, and more clinically, less likely to be devalued when selling a home.

With that introduction finished, let’s dive in to the different ways you can bring your classic bathroom to life.

Classic Wash Basins

Pedestal Basin

Freestanding basins are king when it comes to classic bathroom design. This is because the pedestal design gave the bathroom a momentous centerpiece that helped develop the theatrical and esoteric design that informed the Victorian era.

As well as pedestal basins, ceramic basins are extremely evocative of this era and classic design. Ceramic is made from fired clay and has been a popular choice for bathroom supplies for a long time, as it is scratch resistant, water resistant and chip resistant. Ceramic is a fantastic and lightweight material, making it perfect for basins, especially pedestal basins as it makes installation easier.

Another common element of classic basins is that they are often coloured white. White basins have a clinical aesthetic and are easy to clean which helps lend to their popularity. This clean look has a simple charm and distinct flair that is easy to maintain and is so common, it is essentially timeless.

Classic Toilets

Close Coupled Toilet

Traditionally, classic toilets are typically close coupled, as it was unfeasible to hide the cistern in the olden times. Plus, there were not the tools to easily or adequately adjust or repair a hidden cistern. Therefore, if you wish to adopt the classic bathroom aesthetic you should get a close coupled toilet.

In addition to this, round toilets are the classic toilet design, and have many great benefits. They are a comfortable design that pair well with most bathrooms. This universality makes round toilets a great investment.

As well as this, white is the common colour for classic toilets. This is because, like with classic basin design, classic white toilets are easy to clean. This is extremely important to consider when choosing a toilet, as toilets are arguably the most likely item in your home to get messy. Therefore, you should definitely equip your home with easy to clean white toilets.

Classic Bathtubs

Classic Bathtub

Showers were no where near as popular in Victorian times as bathtubs were, and because of this are not often associated with classic bathrooms. Instead, bathtubs are. Specifically, clawfooted bathtubs. Freestanding bathtubs are baths that are not physically mounted to the wall and instead stand alone on legs. Classic bathtubs often feature ornate feet and legs that help highlight the beautiful aspects of the classic bathtub.

These bathtubs are often white, again highlighting that clinical and clean vibe, and are supplemented by metallic feet that take on unique shapes. The reason they are called clawfoot is because they are typically shaped like animal feet or fictional beast feet, which is more often than not: claws.

If you want that luxurious, classic look, then you definitely want a clawfoot bathtub in your bathroom.

Ornate Furniture

Ornate Towel Rail

To emphasize the classical look, you should install classical furniture, like ornate metal versions of furniture. For example, Durovin has a great selection of ornate furniture such as towel rails and robe hooks that have a beautiful bronze colouration, as well as a thin metallic body that curls and twirls with a special beauty.

This kind of furniture replicates the classical style of Victorian design and provides you with a specific, chic look that can really elevate your space while providing you with extra utility.

Classic Colours

Classically, bathrooms are black and white. That is, the fixtures are all a clear white and all the tiling and flooring is a stark black. This contrast is a great key visual to hone in on, as the distinct aesthetic makes the room stand out in a bold and fascinating way.

Classic Style

Classical bathroom style skews much closer to maximalism than the modern design philosophy does. To achieve this, fill your bathroom with accessories and furniture like stools, mirrors, curtains and more. This eclectic approach will provide you with an extremely classic look, but keep in mind maintenance. Lots of fabric materials in the humid bathroom could cause you mould issues, so it’s worth keeping certain elements in check.


Modern Bathrooms

When used in the context of bathrooms, the word “Modern” is often associated with whatever is current, however today we will be using it in the more traditional sense.

The modern bathroom truly originated in the 20th Century and is typically encapsulated by the artistic stylings of the 1920s-1950s. The main

Modern Basins

Counter Top Cloakroom Basin

Modern bathrooms are where curved basins first became popular, due to their space saving properties. There was a rise in the desire for making luxury out of less at the time and is evidenced by other design staples of the time such as drawing a central line around the bathroom to try and trick the eye into perceiving the space as better. This meant the time was perfect for the genesis of the cloakroom basin, a compact basin, often wall hung and curved to save as much room as possible and give people as much room to move around and install other fixtures as possible.

But it wasn’t just wall hung basins that were increasing in popularity, so were semi-recessed basins and counter top basins. This is because wood as a material used for décor and furniture was becoming increasingly popular due to it’s calming, naturalistic look. Therefore, if you want to achieve the modern look, incorporate wood into your bathroom through the use of wooden bathroom shelves and wooden vanity units,

Modern Toilets

Toilets mostly stayed the same as classic designs during this period, as the rounded bowl most commonly used by toilets already saved the user space.

Modern Showers

Frosted Shower Enclosure

In the world of showers, shower enclosures were becoming popular, and among those shower enclosures, frosted glass shower enclosures were the ones to watch. That sense of privacy without diminishing light flow helped increase that feeling of spaciousness without compromising security, giving users the best of both worlds. You can replicate this benefit today through the use of frosted shower enclosures and shower enclosures with frosted panels.

Modern Bathroom Colours

Modern bathroom is defined by an influx of colour. This is typically done through the use of colourful and patterned tiles. To inject a bit of colour into your bathroom, you should also look past tiling and at the furniture itself. For example, our basin vanity units come in a wide range of colours, and a tactical selection of colouration could really bring your bathroom to life.



Contemporary Bathrooms

Contemporary bathrooms are not the bathrooms of the past or the future, they are the bathroom of today. Put more plainly, contemporary bathroom design consists of the furniture and fixtures that are prevalent now. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s on trend.

Contemporary Basins

Wall Hung Basin

In the contemporary world, there are a few different kinds of basins that are currently popular. Black basins are becoming more popular than ever. This is because they offer a nice contrast to the typical classical design of white basins. Black basins look smart and sophisticated, while adding an earthy element to your bathroom that can act as a great aesthetic feature to draw the eye.

When it comes to basin mounting, wall hung basins are very popular and demonstrate the contemporary movement’s focus on convenience. Wall hung basins can easily fit into your bathroom, as they take up less space than their alternatives and don’t need any extraneous elements like a counter to function.

Elements surrounding basins that are currently popular include items like mixer taps and bottle traps. Mixer taps are singular taps that can summon both hot and cold water. Monobloc taps are mixer taps that only needs one lever to function. As you can see, this too fits the notion of design focused on convenience and utility. Similarly, bottle traps are traps that help you prevent pipe clogging and the loss of items by featuring a bottle shaped cannister that catches any objects dropped down the sink and can then be removed and emptied to free any dropped objects.

Contemporary Toilets

Wall Hung Toilet

Contemporary toilets are typically wall hung toilets. Wall hung toilets are quieter than their contemporaries and are easier to clean. They also, typically, take up much less space than other toilets, as they hide their cistern inside the wall.

As well as this, contemporary toilets often feature toilet seats with extra functionality, such as quick release toilet seats and soft close toilet seats. Quick release toilet seats make use of special hinges that allow the seats to be removed and attached quickly and easily. Meanwhile, soft close toilet seats slowly close themselves, as to avoid making noise. These quality of life improvements are a fantastic addition to the contemporary toilet and reinforce the contemporary philosophy of convenience first.

Contemporary Showers

Walk In Shower Screen

Showers have continued to evolve over the years, and now in the contemporary age, they have taken a new and interesting form dubbed walk in showers. Walk in showers are easily accessible showers that feature a distinct lack of doors and instead only have a shower screen acting as a divider between the wet area of the walk in shower and the dry area of the bathroom.

Walk in showers are simple, beautiful and highly functional, making them the perfect shower for the contemporary age.

Contemporary Bathroom Colours

In a funny contrast to classical bathrooms, black fixtures are currently popular and are often paired with white bathrooms. This is a complete colour inversion of the classical black bathroom with white fixtures and reflects how style often stays the same as much as it changes.

Contemporary Bathroom Style

Minimalism is in. Focusing on creating a beautiful, simple space that has maximized utility, while needing as little maintenance as possible. You can see this stylistic movement present throughout the home, as technology and furniture are more commonly becoming streamlined.



Choosing a time period to influence your bathroom design, and whether you choose to build a classic bathroom, modern bathroom or contemporary bathroom, you now have the tools to do so. Find out more about how you can effectively and efficiently design your bathroom by perusing the comprehensive articles on our blog.