Vintage Bathroom Decor Ideas

Explore vintage bathroom decor ideas, and prepare to add a classic and elegant decor theme to your bathroom.
Contain Bathroom Clutter With Vintage Wooden Drawers

Contain Bathroom Clutter With Vintage Wooden Drawers

Small vintage wooden drawers can be repurposed as bathroom storage organizers for toiletries and perfumes.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Photo courtesy of Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

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If you're updating an old bathroom or installing a new one, vintage bathroom decor ideas can help you decide on the style for your space. Vintage decor elements can be used in just about any bathroom design style, providing a historical and charming element that hints at days not-too-long past.

Decorate Your Bathroom With Thrift Store Finds

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Drawer Buster

Create art that doubles as storage and storage that doubles as art. Find a mini dresser and a few old black-and-white snapshots. Mount the drawers on the wall and tack a picture in each one using photo corners. Use the drawers as shelves, or hang earrings from looped pieces of wire.

Jam Packed

Coordinated bath canisters are expensive and don’t bring much to the party. So go for classic Ball jars instead. They're cheap, shabby-chic and available just about anywhere you shop second-hand. Label them with mismatched house numbers and give the cotton balls their own address!

Grand Stand

A footed dish elevates the mundane and frees up counter space to boot. Fashion a pedestal for your powder room out of a china plate and a short crystal candlestick. To give your soap a lift, flip a fancy teacup upside down and top it with the matching saucer.

Smart Cookie

People just can't throw away cookie tins. They feel solid, can still store plenty of goodies, and are just so pretty. Save those printed packages from the landfill and put them to work in your loo. Line them up on an etagere for a delightful display. Who would guess this stylish macaroon tin hides a roll of paper inside?

Changed Purse

Once a container, always a container! And an unexpected container, such as a cigar box purse, makes a clever caddy. It's nice and sturdy, plus it's just the right size for small sundries like lipsticks, nail polishes, and compacts. Regular cigar boxes work, too: they stack nicely and cost about a buck apiece.

Rack 'n Roll

Some thrift store finds don't need a new mission, just a new room. Wine racks hold rolled-up hand towels as well as they hold bottles. Shoe racks are really just shelves, perfect for folded towels. And an old-fashioned hat rack is designed for hanging things, whether they are top hats and cloaks or bath sheets and robes.

Merci Bouquet

There's nothing like a lovely vintage vase to turn ordinary items into extraordinary displays. For the bathroom counter, choose a little vase with big personality. Use it to arrange a whimsical bouquet of makeup brushes. Or fill it with toothbrushes for a toothbrush holder worth smiling about.

Straw Market

A tisket, a tasket, thrift stores have a million baskets. Pick up an unhandled one to hold your blow dryer under the sink. Get pint-sized baskets to tuck into a drawer for toiletries. (Sharing the washroom? Find one for each family member.) Dress up a flower-picking basket with a floral scarf to collect magazines while adding a dash of color.

Vintage decor is generally defined as incorporating accessories and other decor elements that are from or inspired by design eras less than 100 years old. Most design experts agree that once a decor item passes the century mark, it graduates to antique status — but prior to then, most will fit snugly in the vintage category. Currently popular vintage eras generally stretch from the 1920s to the 1950s. While it's not uncommon for items from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to be referred to as vintage, a design dictionary might be more likely to define these as "retro" until they've celebrated a few more birthdays. Additionally, many design elements created from the 1950s on tend to fall into the contemporary or modern design categories prevalent during the post-war era, whereas vintage design is generally viewed as a more fitting description for items crafted from the roaring twenties through World War II.

When it comes to individual decor elements, a great place to start incorporating vintage items into your bathroom design is on the walls. Wallpaper featuring chic, soothing, subtle prints in floral or pastoral themes would feel right at home in a 1930s or 1940s bathroom, and it can make a great addition to yours as well. Artwork featuring advertising for all manner of toiletries and bath products from the 1920s, some more snake-oil-seeming than others, can provide entertainment for guests and family members alike. Vintage movie or military recruitment posters from the 1940s have a distinctive, colorful and visually striking style and can add plenty of color and a sense of history to your bath space.

Accessories can also be a great way to create a vintage feel in your bathroom. Hairbrushes and other styling accessories from years gone by can be stored decoratively in vintage containers, helping to unite the decor theme. Other storage options like bins and containers for toiletries can feature unfinished, natural woods for a hand-made, 1930s farmhouse effect. Chairs, benches and sink cabinets can follow the same style to complete the design.

Finally, consider incorporating vintage style into your linen choices. Luxurious, thick cotton towels, bathmats and shower curtains can hint at eras gone by when quality and durability were paramount in textiles. Shower curtains might feature fringes or elegant lace top and bottom designs, in a style that would fit in a 1940s or 1950s bathroom as well as it could in yours.

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