Traditional vs. Transitional vs. Contemporary Styles for Bathrooms

Traditional vs. Transitional vs. Contemporary Styles for Bathrooms

If you’re remodeling or refurbishing your bathroom, picking an aesthetic style is a vital first step. Your decision will dictate the colors, fixtures and other elements you incorporate into the room. In short, the design style will serve as a roadmap for how the room comes together.

While there are lots of styles to choose from, most start as one of three broad categories: traditional, contemporary or transitional. Use one of these styles as the basis for the foundational items in your bathroom, such as the vanity, bathtub, flooring or lighting. From there, you can incorporate your own unique touches for a truly one-of-a-kind room.

Here’s a look at how each style might be used in your bathroom.

Traditional Style, Defined

Simply put, traditional style is classic. It’s warm, comforting and homey. It’s rooted in designs of the past without being tied to one specific style. You might even call it vintage. It’s not overly ornate, but fixtures used in this style tend to be a little heavier and more intricate than other styles. In a bathroom, think of warm colors like beige, brown or navy blue. These bathrooms usually feature natural stone countertops, overhead lighting from an intricate chandelier and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures. Tilework may include subway tiles or a hexagonal pattern to create a timeless aesthetic.

Contemporary Design Features

Contemporary is the opposite of traditional style. A contemporary design definition might identify the style as modern, sleek and angled. It’s decidedly colder than traditional style, but it’s not stark. Rather, it’s simplistic and unfussy. In a bathroom, expect to see straight lines and square elements. You might encounter borderless features, undermount lighting and fixtures in trendy colors such as matte black or brushed gold. Colors typical of a contemporary bathroom include black, white, gray or even metallics.

What Is Transitional Style?

Transitional style blends traditional and contemporary styles. If you find traditional too busy but contemporary too streamlined, transitional is a good option to consider. The style combines elements of each style to create an aesthetic middle ground. By balancing characteristics from both styles, transitional is highly versatile. For example, you might use a showy chandelier in a bathroom fitted with a sleek contemporary vanity.

While transitional spaces let you incorporate your favorite features from traditional and contemporary styles, there are some common elements. The color palette is muted neutrals with accent pieces in darker colors. Glass and metals are matched with natural elements like raffia or wicker to create a sense of harmony. These rooms lean toward minimalistic without sacrificing comfort and character.

In a bathroom, transitional vs. traditional style means more modern elements but with decidedly more personality than in a contemporary style. A clawfoot tub paired with a glass-encased shower or unadorned cabinets fitted with highly ornate faucets are effective ways to mix these styles.

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