bathroom designs

Vintage Bathrooms - Uniquely Yours

For some people the term vintage bathrooms will mean a Victorian bathroom, whilst for another it may mean a Colonial or Traditionally styled bathroom. Yet for another it may mean Retro or Art Deco.

On this page we take a look at the Victorian style: 1837-1901 vs the Colonial style which lasted from about 1600-1800.

vintage bathrooms

The main difference between these decorating styles came about as a result of the Industrial Revolution during the Victorian era. Goods were then mass produced and therefore were more affordable.

It was a time to show off newfound prosperity and affluence and the ability to afford furnishings previously only used by the rich or aristocracy.

And they went to town!

The Victorian style is known for its abundant use of furniture, textures and knickknacks. Definitely a case of more is better which was also reflected in those vintage bathrooms.
colonial style bathrooms

During the Colonial era there was no mass production and goods were handmade by craftsmen. Furnishings were elegant and beautifully crafted.

It does not necessarily mean that carvings were less intricate or that fabrics were less luxurious. It rather means that the use of elements were more restrained, using a few choice pieces - creating a timeless elegance.

Are you in your heart a collector who enjoys displaying items that are evocative and nostalgic. Perhaps the typical Victorian bathroom is a bit more work in keeping it clean and tidy, rewarded by the visual abundance of period pieces lovingly collected over time.

And the Colonial bathroom will suit someone who prefers a less cluttered look by having just a few chosen accent pieces upon which the room's style is based.

Take what you love from either style and make it your own!


Vintage Bathrooms - Your Unique Interpretation

Most of us don't live in a listed or historic house so we don't need to conform to historic guidelines. And by the way, having a vintage bathroom does not mean you need to live in a vintage house or that the rest of your home must be decorated in the same style!

Successful bathroom design does not mean that the bathroom cannot have a character of its own. It is easy to tie it in with the rest of the house with the use of color or harmonious elements that are used throughout such as wooden floors, Kelim rugs or architectural elements.

We'll have a look at some typical antique bathroom fixtures and fittings so you can select those that appeal to you, to create your dream vintage bathroom.

Please visit our antique bathroom vanity page too for more ideas.

antique toilets

The two-piece toilet system with the pull chain is typically associated with antique bathrooms. Modern toilets however are manufactured in so many styles and shapes, that it is easy to find one that will blend in with the look. Choose one with curvaceous lines in the design rather than one with clean modern lines and add a brass and wooden handle to complete the look.

Showers were traditionally incorporated into the tub and surrounded with a curtain.

There is no reason why you cannot use new fittings in your vintage shower. Even high-end shower faucets with a variety of settings are manufactured with a vintage look. Bronzed shower frames blend in well with these fittings.
antique toilet roll holders

Toilet roll holders in brass such as the ones displayed here are great - the one on the right was used on the trains of the South African railways.

Faucets were generally ornate in vintage bathrooms. You can look for salvage companies that restore genuine old faucets to their former glory, without losing their beautiful patina. Alternatively there are many reproduction fittings available, perhaps with the advantage of modern valve systems which may be longer lasting and easier to repair.

antique bathroom flooring

Your choice of treatment for the floor can do a lot to enhance the vintage look in your bathroom. Old weathered and pitted wood planks can be polished to a shine and covered with beautiful rugs. Note: wood laminate may not be durable in high splash areas - consult with the supplier. Black and white and hexagonal tiles were a popular choice in older bathrooms. Terracotta tiles, natural stone and even vinyl flooring can be used very effectively - in fact, it is more to do with your choice of colors and patterns than the material itself.

Lighting fixtures in vintage bathrooms offer an opportunity for decadence, the fanciful, the playful and, if you wish, the practical. Chandeliers, wall sconces and down lighters are available in a myriad of styles. Look for old fittings with a distinct character that can be refurbished to great effect.

And of course, there is nothing stopping you from creating your unique blend of old and new in your interpretation of your vintage bathroom!

vintage bathrooms

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