Design The Victorian Bathroom Of Your Dreams With Inspiration From HGTV's Home Town

HGTV's Ben and Erin Napier are known for the beautiful old-meets-new aesthetic often present in their "Home Town" remodels, which expertly blend vintage and historic accents with modern trends and contemporary functionality. In Season 5 Episode 9 of the series, the Napiers help redesign a small, cramped narrow hallway of a bathroom by opening up the space dramatically and adding some Victorian-style touches that instantly take the room from generic and drab to rich and romantic. Combined, the effect is evocative of a much older age, while still remaining bright and light-filled.

Describing the bathroom as the "Best Bathroom in 'Home Town' history," Napier encapsulates the entire home's design as "Key West Victorian," presenting a brighter and more casual sun-drenched take on typical Victorian style. The effect of open space is amplified by removing the wall that previously blocked the shower and opening up the space, allowing for a large marble glass-enclosed shower with a shelf and bench that looks like it belongs in an elite Key West hotel. By employing the Napiers' distinct mix of Victorian accents and modern functionality, you can also make this aesthetic work in your own bathroom by keeping a few things in mind. 

Small Victorian touches with big impact

The Victorian charm created by Ben and Erin Napier lies in a few key details. Instead of the builder-grade generic built-in white cabinets that existed before, Napier swaps them for a pair of dark wood bureau vanities with antiqued silver hardware, both topped with luxe veined marble, which is repeated both on the floor and in the shower enclosure. The wood, according to Erin Napier, mimics a collection of heirloom antique jewelry boxes treasured by the homeowner. Over the two mirrors, two narrow windows allow in daylight through beautiful floral stained glass panes. 

The element that nails the tropic-inspired Victorian style, however, is a strip of white fishtail iridescent tiles that fittingly evoke mermaids and sea life. It not only evokes a dreamy oceanic feel behind the shower's recessed shelf but softens the marble expanse and keeps it from looking too contemporary and austere. The bathroom also sports a black clawfoot tub at the opposite end of the room that offers a romantic Victorian touch. 

Getting the look

To bring a bit of Victorian charm into your home that rivals Erin and Ben Napier's "Home Town" transformation, look for ways to incorporate rich and luxurious materials like marble and dark wood into your design, both natural materials that have a formal and antique feel. Lighter wood is also an option, but going too light or weathered in finish can make the home feel more cottage or farmhouse-inspired rather than Victorian. In another home, the all-over sleek white marble could possibly read as more contemporary, but combined with the dark wood and other antiqued accents, it feels much older in inspiration while still being streamlined and easier to clean than traditional tiles. If all-over marble is not in your budget, try using classic white checkerboard or diamond-style tiles for a Victorian look. For the walls or shower enclosure, classic white subway tiles can also work beautifully. Wainscotting and wood paneling are another popular way to evoke the Victorian era.

Look especially for smaller, unique details that have a lot of history, like silver hardware and vanity accessories. This can mean adding actual antiques to your vintage bathroom, including art, furniture, or accessories with a sense of story or personality. Or you can add new elements that have a distinctly Victorian feel like the Napier's mermaid scale tilework and floral stained glass panels. Stained glass is a particularly great choice for any bathroom since it blocks visibility and offers privacy while still allowing in a great amount of light. For hardware and lighting accents, opt for antique silver, matte black, or polished brass.