Over the years, we've seen our fair share of homes with well-designed modern bathrooms. That said, we'd be remiss if we overlooked charming homes with comparatively "outdated" retro bathrooms. Boasting porcelain pedestal sinks, clawfoot tubs, and square subway tile backsplashes, these retro bathrooms are rife with delightful design details that are all too often misinterpreted as out-of-date.
The term “Primary Bathroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bathroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
Need a bit more convincing? Ahead, we've rounded up 15 retro bathrooms that prove modern isn't always best. Keep scrolling to see them all.
Add a Pedestal Sink and Flat Panel Wainscoting
A navy clawfoot bathtub and a flat-panel wainscoting wall treatment exude retro vibes in sought-after designer Ashley Montgomery's light-filled bathroom. Meanwhile, a silver handheld faucet, wood panel floors, and a stool with decorative flowers demonstrate that a few updates can go a long way in giving a retro space a bit of a modern edge.
Opt for Penny Tile Floors and a Clawfoot Tub
Charming details abound in this bathroom designed by Katherine Carter. Complete with penny tile floors arranged in a stunning design, a vintage table, a simple yet ornate chandelier, and a clawfoot tub, all the pieces come together effortlessly. This retro bath is proof that sometimes more is more.
Try Hexagon Floor Tiles
Hexagon tile floors? Check. A subway tile wall? Check. A clawfoot tub complete with chrome feet? Check, check, and check. In other words, this retro-inspired bathroom designed by Anthony Dargenzio of Burchard Design Co. checks all the boxes. The glass window adds a level of elegance that we absolutely adore.
Bring in an Open-Framework Double Sink Console
Although nearly everything in this vintage-inspired bathroom designed by Katie Martinez Design is fresh, the space exudes retro vibes. The open-framework double sink console is functional yet vintage. Plus, the penny tile floors and chrome fixtures help continue the trend. Finally, plenty of classic white shiplap paneling for good measure.
Go Bold With a Vintage Vanity
While pedestal sinks are always a sign of a retro bathroom, we are in love with the hexagon installation in this bathroom designed by Caitlin Higgins for Emily Henderson Design. The eclectic bust statue wallpaper gives a vintage atmosphere, with the mirror blending in seamlessly. The space is tied together by the vintage vanity and square tile backsplash.
Add an Enameled Cast Iron Double Sink
There's no mistaking the standout feature in this retro bathroom: an enameled cast iron sink outfitted with a pair of classic curved faucets. Hexagon tile floors and exposed wood beams add to the aesthetic of this charming bathroom conceptualized by Becca Interiors.
Add Ethereal Wallpaper
A gold exposed framework sink and black and white abstract wallpaper lend retro vibes to this vintage-inspired bathroom, which was designed by Brexton Cole Interiors. At once classic and modern, a solid brass double sconce outfitted with glossy white bulbs sheds light on the space. The small artwork additions introduce a charming flair to the room.
Try a Pedestal Sink
Allow Ashley Montgomery Design to demonstrate how to make the most of a rather dated rental bathroom. Here, the interior designer embraces the space's vintage aesthetic—note the basketweave tile floors and gray wainscoting—by installing a porcelain pedestal sink complete with a gold lavatory faucet and cross handles.
Get Playful With Zellige Tile
This eclectic bathroom from Katie Hodges Design has so much going for it. From the pale pink color scheme to the zellige tiles to the diamond pattern floor, there is plenty to notice here. The mixing of styles, plus the hanging artwork, gives a decidedly timeless vibe that we're huge fans of.
Use Geometric Wallpaper
An open-framework sink console with a brass faucet takes center stage in this vintage-inspired bathroom by designer Becca Interiors. The marble counter adds a slightly modern touch without overpowering the other elements. Wallpaper boasting a geometric print lends a touch of whimsy.
Opt for a Unique Mirror
This bathroom from Katie Hodges Design radiates retro vibes—the pedestal sink is an instant giveaway. However, the asymmetrical mirror and botanical print wallpaper add their own contributions to the theme. The slanted brass sconce gives a midcentury feel—a peek back in time.
Pair a Pedestal Sink With a Whimsical Mirror
This classic bathroom by JK Interior Living is filled with vintage-inspired details worth pointing out. Note the pedestal sink and the layered blue frame mirror— a solid combination of whimsical and stylish. The simple wallpaper and matching white scones on either side of the mirror are subtle, yet classic.
Add a Vintage Vanity
This all-white bathroom from Katie Hodges Design is a remarkable space. The bare white walls give a minimalist feel, yet the wraparound vintage vanity helps add some serious dimension. The pattern tile floors and retro floor runner add a burst of color while keeping in line with the nostalgic atmosphere.
Work With a Midcentury Vanity
At once vintage and modern, this stunning bathroom designed by Michelle Boudreau Design represents the best of both worlds. Pale green tile lines the walls and the molding in the space, instantly making the space's historic architectural details look and feel new and modern. The dual sink midcentury vanity and rounded edge mirrors give a softer feel that is easy to fall in love with.
Mix Midcentury Modern With Vintage Pieces
Speaking of midcentury modern, take a look at this bathroom from Mid Century Jo. The white clawfoot bathtub is an instant classic, yet that's not the only feature catching our eye. The painted white brick walls, oversized artwork, and full-length vintage mirror all seem to take us back in time. The fun print rug completes the entire look.