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Bathroom Trends Over Time

Just as with any other room in the house, bathrooms respond to changing tastes, trends, and technology. At Bathroom Compare we love all things bathroom – whether that’s past, present, or future - so thought it would be interesting to look back at some of the key bathroom trends over the last five decades.

Major inroads in sanitaryware were made in the Victorian era. Water heaters were introduced into private homes in the 1870s and cast-iron bathtubs started to appear in the 1880s. Reserved only for the upper classes and elegant in style, Victorian bathrooms continue to heavily influence bathroom trends that are still popular today including roll-top baths, black and white tiling, and cast-iron radiators. As late as 1920s, bathrooms were still considered a luxury with many homes featuring an outdoor toilet and most families having a bath in a large tub in front of the living room fire.


The decade of avocado bathroom suites! Bold patterns, colours and pastel tones were favoured, and pastel-coloured suites were often accompanied by vibrant wallpaper and bright tiles.


Colour schemes that were popular in the previous decade continued but also included varying shades of blue. The 1980s embraced carpeted bathroom floors, sunken bathtubs, chintz wallpaper and curtains indicating that style was more important than substance – practicalities - such as carpets in bathrooms, were often overlooked. Ferns were the chosen accessory of the 80s and ended up everywhere, on shelves, in hanging Macrame baskets and on vanity units.


In contrast to the bold, bright colours of the previous decades, neutral and monochrome colour schemes became popular. Bathrooms were far more minimalist in style and innovation included track lighting. Luxury was no longer all about carpeted floors and sunken bathtubs but was replaced with wood panelling and corner baths.


By the noughties white bathrooms had become common place. Styles varied from shabby chic to modern spa-like sanctuaries and included upcycled furniture and rustic accessories or sleek sanitaryware and themed accent items. The nautical look was a very popular theme incorporating accessories from sailor boats, anchors, shells and seagulls and anything navy and white.


This decade built upon the previous. Wet rooms and sleek, modern free-standing tubs became a familiar sight, alongside tasteful white, grey and neutral décor. Natural stone tiles such as granite and marble were favoured offering a sense of luxury and elegance.


Elegant, sophisticated minimalism is very much on trend this decade as is the art of combining favourite classics with contemporary style. Mosaic and patterned tiles, wallpaper feature walls, vintage inspired furniture, and botanicals are all featuring highly.

27th Dec 2021