Getting a vintage-inspired bathroom for the 21st century

Materials, colours and accessories can transform a regular bathroom into a stylish, vintage experience.

A vintage bathroom is about charm, style and warmth.  It doesn’t have to be retro and reflect a specific era, rather, a vintage bathroom can be timeless in its own way. The materials and textures of vintage-style bathroom furniture and accessories bring an elegance and sophistication to the bathroom space in a way that is also unique. Tiles, basins and colour tones are enough to set the mood and define the vintage style bathroom that fits your home.


Two iconic pieces for a vintage-inspired bathroom are the clawfoot bathtub and the pedestal basin. The linear form of the ceramic basin or a cast-iron contemporary bathtub, add elegance along with a perfect touch of vintage spirit.


vintage bathroom with Roca white bath and bathroom furniture

The allure of vintage furniture comes in part from its considered design elements as well as its materials. An elegant curve, structured forms or linear details that reflect styles of the past can combine well with contemporary spaces and colours.


(Pictured: Romea unik base unit in matt dark grey)

retro dark grey base unit with square mirror

Colour is a great way to capture the right atmosphere in a vintage bathroom. Today’s bathroom furniture offers a range of choice with colour being one of them. A vintage effect can be applied through black, brown and grey surfaces as well as more retro tones such as moss green or dusty pink. Matt finishes in jewel tones like copper, blue marine and bordeaux on a cast iron tub or piece of furniture create a sophisticated and classic look. Combine these pieces with a marble or stone tiling on the walls further captures an elevated and elegant vintage look.


Roca Newcast bath in bordeaux for retro bathroom

(Pictured: Newcast cast iron bath in a bordeaux finish with Carmen floorstanding bath-shower mixer)

Materials matter when it comes to designing a stylish bathroom and wallpaper, tiling and accessories are great textural ways to achieve a vintage aesthetic. Wallpaper is a bold choice that has become very on-trend in recent years. Floral patterns are classic in vintage bathrooms, ideal to create an English countryside aesthetic or a touch romantic. The texture of the paper and the patterns can create a cosy and inviting space to relax.  From ‘subway’ style to hexagonal tiles or marble, there are many tile designs and patterns which are dynamic and can be simple to install.


When it comes to accessories, smooth and shiny chrome is often the main choice for vintage-style bathrooms, but brushed titanium and matt black are also becoming popular options and can evoke the same look. Forms that recall art deco design, smooth lines, geometric shapes, machine like forms that feel modern are perfect to capture the right look.


Chrome accents can come through in accessories such as towel racks, like the classic circular form that is often seen in stylish bathrooms but also the wall-mounted soap dishes or cup holders; these are the subtle details that make the difference.

Carmen Collection towel ring for vintage style bathrooms

(Pictured: Carmen towel ring in chrome)

There is a lot of flexibility in mirrors for the bathroom when it’s a vintage look. Repurpose an old vintage mirror in wood or metal or go more modern one such chrome with streamlined designs in square or rectangular shapes, and think about finding one with matt dark grey or matt white finishes.


Whether it’s intended for a country home, an urban apartment or suburban home, vintage bathrooms can be applied in many different interior design styles. Vintage can mean traditional but it can also be modern and sharp, it’s a matter of mix and matching to get the right look that fits you and your bathroom space.