With timeless charm and interesting quirks, a retro bathroom is bang on-trend right now. There are plenty of lovely fixtures and fittings to mix and match to create the perfect combination for your home – all alongside period-apt furniture and decor of course.
So no matter what kind of home you live in, here are our tips to create a retro bathroom that’ll give that ‘wow’ factor to whoever walks through the door.
Match your era
Before we get into creating a retro bathroom, it’s worth making sure the style is in line with the time your house was built. This will really complement the original features in your home. For example, a Victorian terrace bathroom may feel more at home with a freestanding bath, whereas a 1960’s home may benefit from some mid-century storage and colour. We’ll focus on these two eras as we go through the guide to give you an idea of the different looks you can create.
Got a new build? Then you’ve got the joy of picking the era you’d love to emulate in your home. You may even carry this theme on to the rest of the house to give a real retro experience.
Find your fixtures
There’s no better place to start when creating your retro bathroom than with your fixtures. These items are things like your toilet, sink and bath – physically ‘fixed’ into place. They’re also the first thing you’ll notice when you use the bathroom, so it’s important to get them right.
Baths and showers
There are lots of retro baths out there to choose from. Take these freestanding baths – Victorian-style, classic in design, with a range of different quirky feet and shapes to tickle your fancy. You’ll also find great fittings to complement. For example, a two-way shower or some vintage-style taps, such as the Bensham tap.
If you’re looking for something a little more mid-century, how about a curved bath, like this Indus right hand corner bath? The shape is reminiscent of 60’s and 70’s fashion and would complement art and decor from that period. Team it with a traditional shower, such as our fresh shower handset and riser rail, which became popular in the 1970’s.
Yes, that’s right, you can even go retro with your choice of toilet. Adding a traditional looking toilet, like this Whitechapel low level toilet, to your retro bathroom will amp up that period charm. Or you can go all out and install something with a longer chain and pipe, like this elegant Whitechapel high level toilet, very reminiscent of the early 20th century designs.
If you’re looking for a mid-century design, the traditional pedestal sink was very much in fashion at that time, so why not try our Newton pedestal sink. Though they were slightly more colourful back then – cue avocado suite. Alternatively you may want to source your own vanity unit and add a curved washbowl sink to it, like this House beautiful ceramic washbowl. This approach would also work for a more period home, depending on the kind of unit you sourced for your retro bathroom. And if you really want to go all out, try a timeless pedestal sink with matching taps, like the Whitechapel basin and pedestal.
We’ve spoken about vanity units, sourcing your own style depending on what era of retro bathroom you’re creating. This is also true of storage units. Simply pop along to your local vintage furniture shop and pick one up to add some true retro flair to your space. You could even pick one in your chosen colour scheme, or paint it yourself to create a matching piece.
Pick a colour scheme
Let’s talk about colours for your retro bathroom. For a traditional Victorian style bathroom you can’t go wrong with black and white. Think chequered floor tiles and white subway wall tiles to set off a freestanding bath. Rich greens, maroons and purples were also popular during that era.
If you’re going mid-century try the mustards, terracottas, pinks and teals of the decades’ art and fashion to really bring out the retro in your bathroom.
Add some accessories
Don’t forget to match these colours with your bathroom accessories. Try sourcing blinds, art, plants and pots with the shapes and patterns from that time period.