Pop Topic: How To Design a Vintage Style Bathroom

guest circle ICON[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”500″ size=”13″ bg_color=”#4a8891″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Writer: Christopher Smith
Bio: Christopher Smith is a writer with a keen interest in interior design.[/mks_pullquote]


If the course of history had followed the plots of sci-fi movies and novels, we would probably all be taking baths in sensory flotation tanks and enjoying the benefits of robot toilets.

As it happens, real life has taken a distinctly different course. Our taste in design has erred away from the futuristic and has gone completely the other way, with more and more people looking towards times gone by for design inspiration.

Vintage is a big theme in interior design and this is none truer than in the bathroom. The bathroom is traditionally the most ‘boring’ room in the house, full of harsh clinical lighting and drab cream interiors. It’s a room to have a ‘quick’ shower in and leave as soon as possible.

In the past, however, the bathroom was a room of opulence and grand thinking, a room where one could sink into a bubble bath for a couple of hours while enjoying a volume of romantic poetry and a glass of port.

Designing a vintage bathroom isn’t as easy as throwing old stuff into your bathroom though. It actually takes some quite meticulous planning before hand, and careful design. Here are a few of the considerations you’ll need to make if you’re considering going old school in your bathroom.

Choose An Era

Although commonly referred to as a single theme, vintage design actually consists of hundreds of different themes and looks. Generally, vintage design takes its cue from the past 100 years, with particularly popular themes being the 30s and 50s.

It is vital that you decide which era of vintage you want to work with before you get started on your design. While mixing and matching eras isn’t technically wrong, the harmony created by accessories and design trends from a certain era cannot be beaten. If it helps, you can even drill down to certain locations for vintage; think Paris in the 30s or Vegas in the 50s.

Authentic or Designer?

One of the biggest conundrums vintage design poses is where to get the accessories for your bathroom from. Vintage purists would claim that only authentic pieces from the era qualify as ‘true vintage’ but this is difficult in bathroom design for obvious reasons. Toilet or bath hygiene isn’t worth sacrificing for style! That said, Art Deco mirrors and such are well worth it if you’ve got the money to afford authentic pieces.

Fortunately, many designers have produced accessories, including items that wouldn’t necessarily have existed back then such as shower heads, that draw upon design trends from certain periods. These accessories aren’t even that expensive; as vintage has become more popular, lower-end suppliers have jumped on the bandwagon and have driven prices down.

Measure Out Your Room & Check Everything Fits

If you do opt for authentic vintage accessories, then it’s worth bearing in mind that the average size of a bathroom has decreased over the course of the 20th century due to the amount of houses now being built. In the UK, for example, the average house size has decreased by 40% over the past 80 years.

This means that a lot of bathroom accessories from the past were built for distinctly bigger bathrooms, and could end up taking up a lot more space in your distinctly smaller modern bathroom. Before making any decisions on accessories, make sure you know the measurements of your bathroom and compare them to the measurements of anything you buy. The last thing you want to do is buy something that is too big for your bathroom!

Think Outside of the Box

Beyond using old accessories and taking inspiration from the past, vintage design is all about expressing your personality and being a bit individual with your design choices. A great way to do this is to introduce some quirky accessories into your bathroom; buying an old chair and stacking classic novels on the seat (if you can get ‘well-loved’ editions then all the better), for example, can add a lot of character to your bathroom (and provide you with some excellent reading material!).

Ultimately, though, only you can make this decision. If you like the look of something, don’t worry if it’s not conventionally a ‘bathroom accessory’; just experiment and see what you can come up with!

Vintage design doesn’t need to be difficult; just plan well and express yourself.

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