By incorporating retro-style plumbing fixtures, classic patterned tiles, throwback color schemes, or nostalgic items into a modern bathroom, you can create a sense of timelessness and warmth, as well as a soothing nod to decades past. And if you have a vintage bathroom in need of upgrading but lack the funds to renovate, going retro might be a cost-effective way to add classic elegance to your space.
A vintage feel is added to this contemporary bathroom by a mid-century modern wood-framed free-form mirror and geometric black, green, and white floor tiles. Antique brass cabinet knobs, lighting, and plumbing fixtures amplify the retro vibes, but brilliant white paint maintains the space looking open and airy.
Vintage Avocado Green
Avocado green bathroom suites (and kitchens) were stylish and popular in the 1970s. While the majority of those original fixtures have been lost to time and shifting bathroom styles, if you have an avocado green vintage sink, tub, or toilet and a taste for real vintage decor, why not flaunt it? The remainder of the room is subdued, with plain gray wall tiles, a round mirror, and clear glass sconces—as well as a gently kitsch retro set of tied back blush pink drapes.
Long before soft millennial pink became fashionable, bright pink bathroom (and kitchen) tile was a distinct style. Here, aggressive pink subway tile and black terrazzo flooring lend a swinging 1960s time capsule vibe to this otherwise plain bathroom. The fresh white walls, towels, and shower curtain keep the space from looking like a film set, while the new vintage-style stainless steel piping and hardware connect the vintage motif together.
This bathroom blends historical and antique components, with black serving as a grounding accent color for the flooring, free-standing claw foot tub, mirror frames, sconces, and vintage wood and glass display cabinet. A bygone atmosphere is created by vintage-style wall-mounted sinks and a pea green wall color; a lush green plant in the room’s middle takes it into the present.
Vintage Armchair and Wallpaper
In interior designer Kathryn Ireland’s Santa Monica home, a pink button-tufted armchair and cheery pink-and-white wallpaper create a neo-retro vintage vibe that’s easy to replicate provided your bathroom has room for an armchair. If you don’t have one, opt for a fabric-covered stool or a vintage-style shower curtain, or choose a wall for some peel-and-stick antique wallpaper and add some comfy fabric lampshades to wall sconces to replicate the appearance.
This retro-inspired granny chic bathroom is reminiscent of a Lucille Ball-esque grandmother’s home, but the kitschy vintage vibe can easily be duplicated with big flower wallpaper in muted hues, vintage mirrors, cabinet knobs, and lighting (flounced curtains and stool cushions optional).
A fresh coat of white paint, new pedestal sinks in the old-school style, and a freestanding tub give this bathroom a slight retro vibe while being modern and cozy. By including ancient Oriental rugs, you can warm up the dark wood floors and create the illusion that this bathroom is not brand new.
Mid-Century Modern Twist
Jersey Ice Cream Co. turned a wooden mid-century modern buffet into a console for double farmhouse sinks for this vintage-inspired bathroom remodel. A round mirror and sconces in the old style complete the look.
A pedestal sink and vintage-style crystal sconces with soft pink silk lampshades create flattering light in this otherwise modern bathroom. A gilded accent mirror lends a lightly vintage vibe to the contemporary bathroom, which is easy to pull off. Black-and-white checkerboard tiles have a long and illustrious history, making them a design classic that will outlast us all.
This 1910 bathroom at the Mercersburg Inn in Pennsylvania is an excellent example of why vintage details such as wall tiles and plumbing fixtures should be preserved. Subtle updates, such as a new vintage-style freestanding tub, keep the room looking fresh and well-maintained. Classic penny floor tiles and a gray marble shower surround demonstrate the value of timeless materials.