Timeless Bathroom Design: Tips from the Experts

Remodeling a bathroom is a significant mental and financial investment. From choosing a new bathtub to picking out colors and materials, every single decision has an impact on a bathroom’s ambiance.

Regardless of taste, it’s important to think about how a bathroom will look five, ten or even twenty years down the line. Because if a homeowner doesn’t want to be remodeling every few years, avoiding modern trends might be a good idea.

To make sure a bathroom remains sophisticated and in style for years, follow this guide to timeless bathroom decor.

Wall Color

Remember the mint greens and salmon pinks that took over bathrooms in the 1980’s? That’s exactly the kind of trend all homeowners should steer clear of.

Instead of thinking about colors that are cool and stylish, think about colors that evoke freshness and sophistication. A Revitalized Bath and Kitchen explains that bright, white colors keep a bathroom timeless. Sinks, baths and other permanent fixtures should follow this rule, because they’re much harder to replace. Colorful tubs, toilets and sinks have been popular over the years, but they inevitably fall out of style.

On the other hand, Colortopia explains that older appliances in white can be extremely valuable. Since they’re both durable and timeless, vintage tubs and toilets make a great addition to any remodel. This also demonstrates how choosing white fixtures, rather than colored ones, can maintain the value of a home in the future.

According to interior design site Adorable Home, another benefit of white is that it can be combined with almost any color. To balance the starkness of white, consider colorful towels, art and rugs that will breathe more life into the room. It’s fine to choose decor that’s stylish and trendy, since these elements are easy to replace (unlike a tub, for example). Keep in mind that light tones of green, blue, beige and yellow create a soft, soothing ambiance, while darker accent colors offer a bold statement.

An additional benefit of white walls is that they help emphasize other materials and elements, such as a marble floor.

Interior Designer Becki Owens added a touch of gray to a classic coastal white paint in order to complement the floor. This technique can also work well for tile backsplashes behind a sink or around a bathtub. Owens paired the marble floor with a glass mosaic tile backsplash in her San Clemente beach house project.

To further play up a coastal or ocean theme, opt for sophisticated color palettes that will continue to feel timeless and approachable. Home stone retailer Planet Granite suggests combining creamy white and sandy beige with soft blues and greens. This supports a versatile color scheme that remains relaxing and comforting for many years to come.

Classic Texture

To add texture and intrigue to a white wall, beadboard is a great option. Beadboard is a wooden wall accent similar to shiplap, with boards running vertically rather than horizontally.

Home style editor Caroline Picard shows a master bathroom in Atlanta which features off-white beadboard walls and black decor elements. The black helps anchor the white and ensure that it doesn’t look too stark while offering a vintage look that remains tasteful. Black and white color palettes work with almost any design style, yet they’re always clean and expressive.

Home design site Housublime says that black and white themes also work well with patterned wall paper and elegant accent walls. Another idea for sprucing up a black and white color scheme comes from color expert Jacquelene Symond. She suggests incorporating Carrara marble into the mix. First used by the ancient Romans as a foundation for monuments and buildings, Carrara marble has a timeless, elegant appeal that works with many different accent colors. The natural appeal of this streaked, dark gray marble can be warmed up with potted plants and other greenery.

Traditional Tile

Glass and stone tile also serves as a classic addition to any bathroom. Fireclay Tile suggests opting for herringbone tile, which works well as a sink backsplash or a tub surround. Shapes like stars, hexagons and rectangle variations can also add intrigue to a bathroom.

To avoid looking too trendy, consider using tile in moderation. For example, home stylist Emily Henderson achieved a traditional look in her bathroom by incorporating cool blue fishscale tiles on half of the wall. The top is capped off with bullnose tile, which is a traditional approach to bathroom tile design.

Another thing to consider in a traditional bathroom remodel is the scale and scope of elements. Kathleen Steele, an interior designer, says that timeless bathrooms achieve the perfect proportions of size and scale. Balance is an essential element when using tiles or marble. Squares that are too large can throw off the scale of a room and create a look that feels too contemporary. Creating style harmony is important because it makes the room feel approachable and comforting, which is exactly what most people want to convey in a bathroom.

Freestanding Tubs

The freestanding tub may be the most classic bathroom element. Equal parts sophisticated and enchanting, an elegant bathtub never goes out of style. As pointed out by home remodeler New Life Bath and Kitchen, freestanding tubs remind us of a time when relaxation and self-care were of utmost importance. By incorporating one of these tubs into a remodel, it’s easy to provide both family and guests with a permanent option to relax. If there’s enough room to add a freestanding tub to the bathroom that’s being remodeled, it’s a choice that’ll make everyone happy.

Since the popularity of this bathroom fixture has given rise to many different styles, it’s worth considering all options. When searching for a freestanding tub, for example, take a look at the roll-top. Houzz UK Contributor Laura Wheat says that roll-top baths can add character to a home of any decade. Freestanding roll top baths include both clawfoot tubs and bateau baths. The latter style differs from a clawfoot tub because its entire basin sits on the ground, creating a slightly more modern look.


Organization is one trend that’ll never go out of style. When considering additional shelving units, baskets or storage, built-in shelving is a timeless choice. Many older homes come with built in shelving units already. But in a newer home, they’re simple to create and will last for decades.

The home style blog Unexpected Elegance showcases a simply DIY project for adding a built-in to an existing bathroom. To make use of existing elements, like a vintage vanity cabinet, consider how to repurpose them for storage. For instance, interior designer Kathryn Marsh suggests taking advantage of deep drawers and wide cabinets. Adding hooks, baskets and shelves to a cabinet can add modern organization to a classic vanity. Using the drawers to store bulky items like hairdryers can keep the bathroom feeling clean and luxurious, without sacrificing convenience.

Images by: Erika Wittlieb, StockSnap, Banksy07