Get inspired for vintage design bathrooms


A skillful combination of new fads and heritage style dubbed Soho frees us from expectations of what the classic bathroom should look like. Vintage bathroom enthusiasts can enjoy lavish colors, most new tile collections, and all the modern bells and whistles of a smart digital bathroom. What we avoid is old-fashioned, that is, too twee, an effort on Downton’s glamor – a disastrous spectacle that nods to the 1980s, not the 1880s.

Radical, modernist Bauhaus-style fixtures and tiling mixed with polished, Edwardian suites in the 1950s. Today, a well-chosen cast iron boat can float on any large tiling, alongside toilets without Villeroy and Boch ledge. There’s still so much art deco in every new spotless bathroom. If you yearn for 1920s jazz, you’re closer than you think. By keeping the silhouettes simple, there is room for easy stylistic marriages. Go wrong and hang a busy traditional toilet bowl on the wall? An unnecessary and aesthetic car accident.

1. New life for old walls. Ocean Wonders Mural, €47 per square metre, by Sir Edward on

The pandemic has changed us. We are increasingly turning to the natural world for our comfort. Rounded, inviting biophilic bathrooms do away with the edges of austere contemporary toilets that sting at sharp angles. Edwardian and Victorian suites have fluted, beveled and bosomy shapes. It’s a calming sculpture and often it’s just the fittings that make traditional suites difficult.

Still, bathrooms with antique flavors are preferable to the big house rather than the outbuilding. A period-inspired bathroom worthy of Hercule Poirot has varnish. While you may not be able to introduce very rustic raw wood or polished granite, inclusions such as a wooden toilet seat, oxidized metals, delicately veined Carrera, and other luxurious yet honest durable materials s will sit comfortably in a classic room.

New customizations are offered for the freestanding roll-top, including a boldly modern color or a riveted metallic finish on the underside. A large, antique-inspired bathtub can prove the success of modern sinks and toilets, even contemporary brassware. A lever or paddle in brushed brass or anodized white metal will often look less Hyacinth Bouquet than the jaded and safe faucets and hydrants of the 80s and 90s. a very big mistake, whatever you decide. The action, the tackle and the feel will give them away.

Countertop or wall mounting can introduce an understated day spa beauty to most period style faucets, but they have a slight edge. Crosswater and Hudson & Reed are reliable brands. Aged brass is a nice tonal inclusion, and it’s everywhere on the market as an alternative to the predictable, shiny choices of chrome and the new kid on the block – matte black. Need inspiration? The designers just turned up the volume with a click on the established classics. Look for the perfectly performing, jewel-embellished thermostatic showerheads and faucets offered by Swadling Brassware, which include mother-of-pearl on their center disc.

    4. Brass is back.  A selection of brass finish planters from 102€ on
4. Brass is back. A selection of brass finish planters from 102€ on

Artificially modified finishes and warm, demure gold can be found on the piping of even tall cistern toilets. Heritage bathrooms offer a high take in their Dorchester, €1,019, at

The brass planter is an era favorite to add more oxidized metals, brass or beaten gold to stage your species-sized darlings. Use moisture-loving ferns and palms to soften the corners of the room. Homesense still has a great collection of classically shaped metal planters, including Greco-Roman heads, starting at £20 a noggin. Expect rust in cheap mixed metals over time, as the cold surface will attract moisture no matter how fabulous your MVHR is, which could stain vulnerable tile surfaces, pale and not sealed. Slip a small rubber pad under their toes.

Tiles don’t have to turn into pristine fossils and faux stone. Eye-catching high gloss colors, prints and glazing are back to win. Dark, theatrical color jousts with icy white dinnerware can evoke classic Art Deco jazz without the starkness of pure black and white. Shake up your current or new classic suite by making it stand out with a choice of deep, bruised or jewel colors for walls and/or shoulder height panels. Green, in rich, deep forest shades, and sugar-dusted pink are trending in wall tiles.

Inexpensive subway brick tiles, as well as 1920s fish scale varieties are reminiscent of the gold floors, parquet floors and walls of the subway station. Beveled bricks are cheap, starting at just €17.90/m² from suppliers such as Woodie’s. Experiment with a close installation (rectified) or a medium gray grout color for a modern take on classic subways, even with white. Eclectic print choices with a fascinating artistic beat include random cubist varieties like Art Tiles from Roca £27.56 a yard and 1920s nightclub chic from Palm Stripe £73.96 from Bath Shack.

    3. The Matki Cross Handle faucet has a carefully sculpted form, celebrating the clean design of the turn of the 20th century.  The center of the handle can be embellished with a choice of four discs - black glass, white glass, mother of pearl and black lip pearl in brushed nickel, living copper or brushed brass finishes.  €839 a pair at
3. The Matki Cross Handle faucet has a carefully sculpted form, celebrating the clean design of the turn of the 20th century. The center of the handle can be embellished with a choice of four discs – black glass, white glass, mother of pearl and black lip pearl in brushed nickel, living copper or brushed brass finishes. €839 a pair at

Ornate murals and wallpapers transform the bathroom and are as far from the unhealthy formulas of the late 20th century as possible. These can be very illustrative, making the whole piece. Many of the finest themes channel the folios of paintings, prints and drawings of natural science and topography that fascinated Georgians and Victorians. To successfully amplify an antique note, avoid photographic images. To keep the look light and fresh, limit your decorative wallpaper to one punchy wall or niche, and opt for a large mural rather than a repeating wasp motif. Consider cutting the accent to the height of the dado, finishing below with paint, tile, or water-repellent paneling in a period style.

If your bathroom is slightly Japandi (a marketing word for combining Japanese and Scandi style), sprigs of flowers reminiscent of Japanese prints can be swept up behind a vertical Asian tub. Black and white engraving styles are perfect for a cool, monochromatic scheme. Only use papers protected by a thick vinyl coating if you take them to splash areas and make sure your ventilation does not allow steam to condense on the walls.

If your radiator is visually inconvenient, wallpaper with some complexity will disrupt its presence. Prices from €45/m, various suppliers including Wallsauce.

A wider view of Catchpole and Rye's beautiful Manhattan sink.
A wider view of Catchpole and Rye’s beautiful Manhattan sink.

Hovia has a good selection of verdigris rusty metal papers if you like raw luxury. For something outrageous and spinning 1970s, try Digital Living’s Retro 1, from €79 per panel, available to order, (Dublin)

Your choice of vanity will say a lot about your choice of style, and traditional types of dressers cost ten percent waterproof and relatively cheap materials. Choose deep drawers and crisp countertop materials (marble or composite contenders are ideal). Real handles or knobs should be left in place to maintain the authenticity of a turn-of-the-century bathroom, but be really bold with the color of the cabinetry. Take a look at the alluring curves of the Burlington 1340 Curved 4-Door Vanity Unit with Worktop and Basin, £2,835, at

Finally, to drive you wild with desire or determination to budget for daylight, explore Catchpole & Rye’s aristocratic coin sets.

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