Vintage bathroom ideas

Modern-meets-vintage bathroom ideas

How to incorporate both contemporary and classic designs in a scheme

By Paula Woods |

Whether you want to invest in authentic period fixtures and fittings, or get the look through designs replicating heritage styles, follow this advice to find the best buys for your room and create a successful scheme. Plus, these vintage bathroom ideas touch on how to team modern and classic styles together.

All in harmony?

Create a mood board of colour, pattern and materials samples. Include images of the furniture and fittings you want. Seeing the designs together will help you decide if the scheme works before you invest.

vintage bathroom peach freestanding bath large blue splashback white fireplace green blue and peach triangular floor tiles

Spey cast-iron bath with painted exterior, L1,935xW865xD630mm, classic bath and shower mixer in brass with walnut lever handles and H-stand from Drummonds

Smart substitution

Low-maintenance sintered stone and quartz surfaces replicate the appearance of vintage marble and granite countertops.

vintage bathroom. White bathroom gold taps gold mirrors curved undersink unit

Suppliers include Caesarstone and CRL Stone. Bathroom project including bespoke quartz countertop vanity unit, mirrored cabinets and Calacatta Vegle marble-effect quartz slab flooring from Gunter & Co

Take it off the floor

Classically styled wall-hung or back-to-wall loos maintain a heritage theme while providing the space-saving and easy-clean benefits of wall mounting.

pale green tiles wall hung toilet gold taps gold fixtures grey painted wall

Wall-hung loo, W365xD500xH355mm, Edwardian basin with gold washstand, W510xD320xH880mm, and Claremont taps from Burlington

When more is more

Period schemes often feature several patterns. Try the 60:30:10 rule when designing in this way, so the main pattern takes up 60 per cent of the room, a second 30 per cent and 10 per cent for the accent designs.

long green tiled bathroom walk in shower blue boat bath gold fixtures

Bathroom by Wolfe Interiors. Boat bath from BC Designs. Hoxton tiles from Mandarin Stone. Safari Soirée wallpaper from Divine Savages

Contrasting styles

Set a contemporary bath or vanity unit against a classic backdrop such as tongue-and-groove timber panelling or heritage pattern tiles.

vintage bathroom white freestanding bath gold mixer tap pink wooden panelling white and blue ornate tiles

Bathroom by Studio Lunet. Viado bath, from BC Designs. Senska bath-shower mixer from Cast Iron Bath Company. Panelling in Crimson Red from Farrow & Ball. 10200 cement tiles from Mosaic Factory Photo: Lisa Cunnane

Heavyweight contender

If you want the durability and heat retention of cast iron, ensure the floor can take its weight and that there’s ample room to manoeuvre the tub into place.

vintage bathroom. white cast iron freestanding bath silver taps and pipes freestanding tilted copper mirror

This design weighs 160kg. Saracen cast-iron bath, L1,600xW720xD685mm, from Catchpole & Rye

Classic centrepiece

A rolltop bath made from a composite, acrylic or solid surface material is a lightweight alternative to cast iron. Team with a pared-back vanity unit so the tub is the focal point.

Double ended freestanding grey coloured bath white floor tiles white towel on wooden chair

Cheshire Quarrycast double-ended bath, L1,744xW798xD646mm, from Victoria + Albert Photo: GS + Lario

Built to last

When buying an acrylic rolltop, invest in a reinforced or double-skin design. This is where two thick layers of acrylic are sandwiched together to ensure extra durability and keep the bathwater warm.

vintage bathroom. Green slipper bath green painted wall off floor potted plant gold side table

Penny acrylic slipper bath, L1,360xW750xD780mm, from BC Designs. Moonlight Shadow cement tiles from Otto Tiles & Designs

Find a reputable source

When investing in antique or vintage items, such as this trough basin from a reclamation yard, buy from retailers displaying the Salvo code, which ensures they adhere to ethical sourcing practices.

sturdy concrete bathroom skink copper taps wicker baskets black vase

Qualis Rice porcelain tiles in three sizes from Lapicida

Mix and match eras

Give a walk-in shower or wet room a traditional look with a metal-frame glass screen and heritage-style fittings.

vintage bathroom beige walls blue door blue sink unit gold taps crittall style shower screen silver towel rail

Bathroom by Aurelie Brelivet. Brighton Stone Herringbone tiles from Bert & May. For a similar shower screen, try the Black Squared wet room options from Merlyn

Pick up on pattern

Include a heritage pattern through tiling. To prevent the space looking too busy, team patterned surfaces with white sanitaryware in simple shapes and keep the other decorative details to a minimum.

White tiles green drawer sink unit white freestanding bath wooden bath shelf red plant

Amberley matt porcelain tiles and Lampas ceramic wall tiles from Topps Tiles

Integrated tech

Look for brassware that includes modern innovations such as water-saving aerators, touch-free or digital controls in a classic style and finish.

vintage bathroom. White sink light teal tiles single silver faucet dark bottle hand lotion

Belgravia infrared sensor deck-mounted spout in nickel from Crosswater

New or original?

If they’re not designed for the bathroom, make sure pendants hang at least 2.25m above floor level, and wall or ceiling lights are more than 60cm from baths, showers and basins.

Blue tiled walls double sink unit wall mounted taps large black mirror white pill mirror lighting with black tips

Bathroom by Hám Interiors. Hám framed reeded double vanity unit with Cararra marble countertop and basins from Studio Hám. Selecta wall light from Lightsource