Giving a new twist to a classic style, our resident Stylist shows you how to get the “Vintage Chic” look in your bathroom.
Even in these modern times, traditional bathrooms remain incredibly popular—and with good reason. Thanks to a combination of luxurious detailing and expert craftsmanship, vintage style products have enduring appeal.
When you think of traditional bathroom suites, there are certain elements that immediately spring to mind, like ornate toilets with high level cisterns and chain pull flushes, elegant roll top baths with telephone style shower handsets and monochrome tiles. However, if traditional is a little too run-of-the-mill for your tastes, it may be time to view this style from a different angle.
In my latest style guide, I’ll show you how to create a traditional bathroom with a twist. It’s a style we're calling "Vintage Chic".
Jump to any section by clicking the links below:
- What is Vintage Chic?
- Vintage Chic mood board
- Vintage Chic bathroom
- Vintage Chic bathroom products
- Vintage Chic in a smaller bathroom
- Shop the look
- Discover more “Get the Looks”
- The Great British Bathroom
What is Vintage Chic?
Influenced by a renewed interest in classical styles, "Vintage Chic" is a repurposing of the vintage look, taking elements of Victorian and Edwardian interior design and placing them in a darker, more theatrical setting, which is where the idea of "chic" comes into play.
This style allows for a mix of both old and new furniture but set within a vintage style decor that utilises deeper, richer colours. Hints of light and metallics are used to break up what could be an overbearing backdrop, whilst surfaces with a slightly more weathered appearance, be it countertops or skirting boards, help set the tone.
As artist Henri Matisse famously said "Creativity takes courage", and you will certainly need to be both brave and bold to try this interior style. But with the right product choices and a well-chosen colour scheme, you can easily create a timeless classic of your own.
Vintage Chic mood board
To begin your vintage chic bathroom project, it's always a great idea to create a good old-fashioned mood board, to give a flavour of the type of thing you're trying to achieve. It's one of the best ways to find inspiration, and quickly demonstrates which elements work well together. We've created one here, but you can easily make your own by cutting out inspirational images from home magazines, adding fabric or wallpaper swatches, or printing off and sticking images from the Victoria Plum bathroom ideas section.
Vintage Chic bathroom
Colour is a very important aspect of the Vintage Chic style, with dark coloured walls and floors providing the perfect back drop to your bathroom design. Whilst monochrome is very popular when it comes to traditional bathrooms, dark blues, deep purples, and rich burgundies can all play their part in being the basis upon which you build the rest of your decor. Secondary colours, which can add a touch of light to the dark, can include sage, teal, cream, ivory and bone. A black and white checkerboard floor can add a sense of drama.
As previously mentioned, rough-hewn and weathered surfaces add authenticity to this vintage style. Worn wood, crumpled curtains or even aged metallic elements can all bring this style to life. Wallpaper is something that only became widely available in the Victorian era, so you can stay faithful to the period by using it. Look for darker colours with a damask pattern or flocked velvet texture, or use dark metro tiles to add depth to your design.
Setting the scene
When it comes to placing your products, be prepared to be more theatrical with your setting. If you have the floor space to play with, a roll top tub, like the Dulwich black roll top bath from The Bath Co., should take centre stage and will make a luxurious addition.
If your bathroom is more compact, we also stock straight baths which fit in sympathetically with traditional designs, plus traditional style shower sets, so size certainly shouldn't restrict your creativity.
When choosing your ceramics, look for a high level toilet to keep in with the vintage theme, along with ornate pedestal basins, washstands, and accessorise with cross handle taps.
To give your Vintage Chic bathroom an even more dramatic, theatrical setting, add a large framed feature mirror or paintings with dark surrounds. If you have chosen a roll top bath, place a chandelier directly overhead to make an even more glamorous spectacle of your new tub. However, do make sure this is a specialist bathroom light suitable for zone 2 and above.
Handy hint: Check out our bathroom electrical safety guide before choosing lighting.
Vintage Chic bathroom products
This bathroom includes the following products:
Classic black roll top tub
What could be more dramatic than your very own freestanding bath? Taking centre stage, the Dulwich black roll top bath is the very epitome of luxury living, but with its black surround, it takes on a darker, more mysterious appearance.
Authentic high level toilet
Staying true to the period style, the Camberley high level toilet comes with a traditional chain pull flush, ornate brackets, upon which the cistern is mounted, and your choice of white or black wooden seats. If you have low ceilings, the flush pipe can be cut to size to suit your room.
They say you shouldn’t put anything up on a pedestal, but with the fabulous Camberley basin, we’ll make an exception! Featuring bevelled edges and a traditional surround that helps protect your wall, this version comes with 2 tap holes, so you can accessorise with traditional pillar taps.
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Although not featured in our Vintage Chic bathroom, the Camberley grey vanity unit is the perfect way to add both style and storage to your overall design. Featuring stunning panel detailing and plenty of room for toiletries, towels and more, it’s a great choice that’ll save your space from clutter.
Vintage Chic in a smaller bathroom
Of course, the bathroom I created above isn’t truly representative of the average British bathroom, both in terms of size and layout. However, you can still create your own Vintage Chic retreat in a smaller space.
Whilst it may require a little bit of creativity when planning your layout, the end result will certainly be worth it. If you’re really struggling for space, you’ll find smaller versions of some the products featured above.
Of course, a luxurious freestanding bath isn’t for everyone. If your household is like mine, you’ll need to cater to the needs of a range of family members. From a quick morning shower to a relaxing soak in the evening, you can still enjoy a family bathroom that’s full of Vintage Chic.
Simply swap the freestanding bath for a roll top style shower bath and fit a traditional style mixer shower, plus a close coupled toilet, for a functional family space that’s full of flair.
Shop the look
We hope this style guide has given you the perfect excuse to dust off those bathroom plans and get creative, turning your tired old bathroom into one that's full of Vintage Chic! Check out The Bath Co., where you'll discover many of the products featured in this article.
Get the Look
No matter how large or small your bathroom may be, you can “Get the Look” with our fabulous range of style guides. Simply click on the image below to find the perfect look for your bathroom.
The Great British Bathroom
We're celebrating The Great British Bathroom with fresh inspiration for the nation, each and every week. Why not look back through some of our most recent ideas by clicking on the image below.