VINTAGE BATHROOMS are a unique and beautiful way to improve your home or apartment. With so many options and price points, everyone from home owners to renters, and all budget sizes can create a retro haven in their bathroom. With all the information and sometimes all the supplies available on the Internet, DIY vintage decor has never been easier to recreate.
NEW TO VINTAGE BATH DECOR? Reproducing a look as exactly as possible can be rewarding, but it leaves little room for creativity. When making decisions for your new bathroom’s decor be sure to leave some room for “creative license” on your part. That personality will really make your vintage bathroom shine.
Each decade has its own unique look complete with holdovers from the years preceding, and little glimpses of the future of design. Choose your time period carefully,and then research it as well as the time periods surrounding it. This will give you a solid understanding of just what makes your chosen decade or time period so unique. Is it the particular color patterns, shape of the fixtures, or cut of the moldings? Look for books and online resources that are specific to your time period (“50′s home decor” rather than “50′s bathroom”)and you’ll find lots of imagery and explanations that will help you choose the specifics of your new vintage bathroom. No matter if you’ve chosen Victorian or 1920′s, the cornerstones of bathroom design remain largely the same.
VINTAGE BATHROOM CORNERSTONES: Despite the wide ranging nature of vintage bathroom decor, the basic foundational pieces remain the same throughout most time periods;
Vintage Bath Tub- Whether new, existing, or salvaged, a period tub is a must. Thankfully there are a couple manufacturers of reproduction vintage tubs, all of which are available from Vintage Tub & Bath in PA. All orders get free shipping in the continental US and their selection is exhaustive, so check them out. Restored bathtubs are also a great money saving option and allow you to use your existing tub as long as it is in decent condition. Over time you’ll actually save time and money buying a new vintage tub, but but restored tubs can last several years without needing extra repairs. Regardless of the time period, you’ll probably be looking for a clawfoot tub or pedestal tub in either acrylic or cast iron. Other gorgeous derivative styles are slipper bathtubs and double ended bathtubs.
Vintage Sink- If you could only afford one splurge item, a vintage sink should be it. It can be tempting to stick with a “built-in” vanity sink due to the extra storage they provide, but other hidden shelves can tastefully perform this function so you have room for a period pedestal sink or vessel sink.
Vintage Toilet- Styles of readily available vintage toilets don’t vary as much as other vintage bathroom decor items, but many unique options still exist. Pull-chain water closet styles as well as ornately decorated cisterns are excellent for Victorian style bathrooms. Unless your toilet is a dated color (think pink 50′s or green 70′s) that doesn’t work with your scheme, you may do well to keep your existing toilet. Kitschy themed bathrooms can utilize custom toilet seat covers or novelty toilet seats.
Vintage Bathroom Lighting - Perhaps the cheapest of the “large”purchases you can make, period lighting is essential to recreate an authentic vintage look, and is generally easy to install. Be sure to consider how much light output you’ll want as well as the style of the lighting fixtures. And even though energy efficient lightbulbs weren’t around very long ago, using them in your vintage bathroom will save electricity and energy costs.
Lamps Plus has countless styles available, tons of which have a vintage look.
Vintage Tile & Other Flooring - Vintage flooring options are numerous, but ceramic tile usually gives the most authentic retro look. Depending on your time period, don’t forget to investigate vinyl and hardwood styles, too. For an added bit of luxury, tile warmers can be installed to take the shock out of the cool floor when stepping from a warm bath.
Vintage Window Treatments - Because bathrooms go through many temperature changes, vintage curtains or other window treatments will not have a long shelf life. It’s better to buy a new set of window dressings or buy deadstock (new, unused) vintage fabric and sew your own. Since new “vintage look” materials generally stick to the stuffy flowered Waverly patterns or Mid-Century Modern styles, your best bet is to search eBay. There are always a variety of unique period window treatments and fabrics available.
Vintage Bathroom Extras - This encompasses everything else available to create a vintage bathroom. If you’re on a super tight decorating budget and not doing any renovations, this is the place to start. This includes artwork, towels, towel bars, door knobs & hardware, wall decor, shower curtains, scales, towel warmers (most popular in the 1920′s), or any other antique artifacts. eBay is loaded with vintage bathroom decor goodies so be sure to check the auctions below or search online yourself.
I’M READY TO START DECORATING! Now that you have some basic ideas and information you can start stocking up on supplies! You might also get some inspiration from other sites on the Web: 1920′s bathroom makeover, general vintage bathroom renovation tips, period style bathrooms. Good luck with your vintage bathroom!