Some vintage bathroom trends never go out of style. From clawfoot tubs to gold faucets and knobs, classic elements can infuse a modern bathroom with sophistication, charm and comfort. But if you’re seeking to create a bathroom that’s both contemporary and classic, it’s important to understand how old and new styles work together. Here are some of the vintage design trends that work best in a modern bathroom.
How to Balance Modern and Vintage
Mixing modern and vintage elements is a great way to instill character into a new home. Interior design writer Amy Azzarito says that uniting traditional elements and contemporary design can create an eclectic look, but it all depends on your final goal.
Anchor the Bathroom with a Bathtub
For example, many of today’s homeowners are seeking bathroom remodels that provide luxury and indulgence. Interior designer Caitlin Wilson adds that personalized, spa-like bathrooms are on the rise among bathroom remodels. And to recreate the spa experience in your own home, California-based remodel company Reliable Remodeler notes that freestanding tubs go a long way. A freestanding tub makes the ideal focal point, whether you opt for a more vintage style, or something sleek and modern. In one project by William Standen Co., the remodeling company updated a contemporary bathroom with a vintage-inspired freestanding tub. The statement soaker tub gives the room a classic feel and balances well with other modern elements such as the wall-mounted toilet and custom glass shower.
Or Consider a Vanity
Vanities are an affordable, easy way to add more vintage into a newer home. Carrie Spalding of Lovely Etc.created her own vintage vanity with a repurposed dresser from the 1930s. Spalding refurbished the antique with a contemporary vessel sink to create a design that’s equal parts vintage and modern. Another classic element that works well in modern homes is medium to dark-colored wood. On the Dans le Lakehouse blog, you can see how the walnut cabinetry provides a streamlined yet practical addition to the mid-century space.
Classic Hardware and Decor
Hardware elements are sometimes left at the bottom of the list — but they shouldn’t be. Hardware can play a role in enhancing and balancing the design mood you’re trying to strike. According to Hardware Retailing, gold and brushed brass faucet fixtures are gaining popularity in modern home remodels. Because they create such a statement, it’s a good idea to pair faucets with neutral colors, like black and white. Home decor writer Anabelle Bernard Fournier agrees that gold fixtures are back in style. But, she gently reminds readers, faucets and fixtures don’t necessarily have to be real gold in order to look in style.
Mirrors may be an overlooked bathroom element, but according to Fresh Home writer Danica Rog, they’re a great way to add a statement without adding clutter. Many vintage mirrors come in intricate shapes and designs that can give your bathroom dimension. “Choosing an unconventional shape is an easy and effective way to make a statement in any size or style bathroom,” she adds. Antique and design dealer The Highboy adds that small mirrors can also be used in large quantities to create an interesting pattern. Vintage hand mirrors, for example, create a striking appearance when arranged on a modern wall.
Small decor pieces are a great way to make your modern bathroom more timeless. Writer and home stylist Vicky Harrison suggests adding old metal lockers for towel storage and toiletries, or even framed vintage posters to spruce up the walls.
Vintage Contemporary Colors
Colors can have a dramatic effect on the look and feel of your bathroom. So, how do you know which color is right for you? If you want to make your bathroom seem larger, white is always a solid choice. According to Better Living, subway tiling is a classic method for incorporating white in a way that won’t go out of style. Subway tile in your shower or tub area can be tailored to appear modern, classic and everything in between. As blogger Alison Allen explains, “White subway tile with white grout will read more modern whereas the black grout tends to lean more vintage and classic.”
Black and White
White can also support modern vintage trends when strategically paired with black in patterns and accents. Chicago-based interior designer Donna Mondi says that "white walls with black accents is effortlessly chic and timeless." Mondi adds that painting black trim against a white wall defines the architecture of the room and “punctuates the space.”
Dark colors like navy blue can help minimize a space and make it feel more approachable, according to Homesthetics. Pairing darker shades with white furniture and gold accents will help highlight smaller accents like sinks and faucets.
Home remodeling company Sebring Services says that vintage floor tile designs are becoming much more common. Smaller tiles in different colors and shapes are used to create larger geometric patterns that feel both classic and contemporary. Foster Remodeling points out that triangles and octagons are well-suited for this trend. Caitlin Wilson points out that these tile trends aren’t reserved just for the flor. “Using a simple, yet dramatic, patterned cement tile on your shower-surround is a fresh new way to give your bathroom an exciting pop of interest,” she says. Such designs complement more modern trends like neutral wall colors and white cabinets. Many people think of sleek tile floors when they hear the term “modern vintage.” But as Rebekah Dempsey at A Blissful Nest explains, vintage can also be natural and rustic. She recommends using shiplap on the walls or on the floor of your bathroom to create a more authentic and historical feel.
images by: Solomon Rodgers, Erika Wittlieb