Bathroom salvage: 10 ways to reclaim and recycle

Bathroom salvage: 10 ways to reclaim and reuse

Create a unique scheme with rustic and reconditioned pieces

By Paula Woods |

New isn’t always better. Reconditioned bathroom salvage can create a unique scheme, and is better for the environment. Take a look at these inspiring ways to recycle, reclaim and reuse.

1. Upcycled vintage cabinet

Turn a vintage cabinet or sideboard into a vanity unit. It’s a fairly straightforward job for a competent DIY-er or joiner to adapt a second-hand find. This vintage sideboard from Vinterior has been paired with concrete sinks and surface from Mortise Concrete.

Architectural project by MW Architects Photo: French & Tye

Architectural project by MW Architects Photo: French & Tye

2. Reclaimed tiles

If you’re prepared to spend time searching around, salvage yards are a good hunting ground for reclaimed tiles – though they may come in limited numbers. However, this is less of an issue with reclaimed ranges from tile retailers, like these reclaimed terracotta wall and floor tiles from Claybrook.


Reclaimed terracotta tiles. Photo: Claybrook Studios

3. Salvaged bath

Re-enamelling the interior of a stained or chipped vintage bath is best tackled by an expert. Try the Vitreous Enamel Association for advice. But the exterior could be suitable for an easy update with a multi-surface paint like those from Annie Sloan. Original salvaged sinks and baths are available from Retrouvius.


Salvaged sink and bathtub from Retrouvius. Photo Debi Treloar

4. Vintage taps

Vintage taps may be incompatible with modern pipework, but an experienced plumber should be able to modify the connections. Designer Nicola Harding created this bathroom scheme with vintage brass taps from a local salvage yard and cast iron bath from ebay.


Vintage Taps. Photo: Paul Massey

5. Specialist services

The below reclaimed Silver Barn Spruce double vanity unit with quartz top was created by The Main Company, specialists in reclaimed flooring and bespoke furniture. Companies offering characterful vanity units or washstands made from reclaimed wood include Indigenous and Maisons du Monde.


Reclaimed double vanity with quartz top by The Main Company. Photo: Chris Snook

6. Incorporate antiques

This loft conversion by Melanie Williams Bespoke Interiors features an antique French chair and vintage Art Deco armoire. Fitting mechanical ventilation is essential when including antique furniture in a big bathroom, or a bedroom with a bath in it, to avoid the risk of damage from high humidity. Always keep pieces out of the reach of splashing water.


Loft conversion by Melanie Williams Bespoke Interiors. Photo: Paul Craig

7. Reclaimed wood

Reclaimed timber has a degree of water resistance so is an ideal wall or floor covering. Options include vintage floorboards, second hand scaffolding planks or new engineered board topped with a reclaimed wood layer. Reclaimed 8mm weathered pine wall cladding, cleaned and wire brushed, from The Reclaimed Flooring Co.


Pine Wall Cladding. Photo: The Reclaimed Flooring Co.

8. Chips & cracks

While weathered and worn might be the look you’re going for when hunting for bathroom salvage, avoid anything badly chipped, cracked or with heavy staining because it may be impossible or too costly to repair. This miner’s cottage renovation project by Design Storey includes a bathroom with exposed stonework and beam, a sink reclaimed from a former workshop and upcycled copper-piping taps.


Miners Cottage. Photo: Design Storey

9. Recycled materials

Complete your scheme with towels and soft furnishings made from sustainable or recycled materials, such as this Nomad Tarifa washable Persian-inspired rug from Weaver Green, handwoven from yarn derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles.


Nomad Tarifa Rug. Photo: Weaver Green

10. Remixed paint

Rather than contribute to the 60,000 litres of waste paint that end up in landfill each year, decorate using the innovative Re:mix range by Little Greene. Made from leftover, unwanted and returned paints, it’s suitable for walls or ceilings.


Re:mix Bone Chine Blue, Lamp Black and Shirting upcycled flat emulsion. Photo: Little Greene