Adding antique bathroom fixtures can be a great way to add character and charm to your bathroom decor. Vintage-style fixtures have a timeless, classic look that can make your bathroom feel warm, inviting and unique. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about incorporating antique fixtures into your bathroom design.

What are Antique Bathroom Fixtures?

Antique bathroom fixtures refer to plumbing fixtures, lighting, hardware and accessories in a bathroom that are either genuinely old (at least 100 years) or designed to look vintage. This includes:

  • Clawfoot tubs
  • Pedestal sinks
  • Vessel sinks
  • Antique faucets
  • Vintage light fixtures
  • Vintage hardware like doorknobs, towel bars, robe hooks
  • Accessories like antique mirrors, framed art, rugs

Many companies now manufacture bathroom fixtures and accessories designed to replicate antique or vintage styles from different eras such as Victorian, Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern. So you can achieve a vintage look without necessarily sourcing genuinely old items.

Benefits of Using Antique Fixtures

There are many benefits to incorporating antique elements in a bathroom:

Adds Character

Antique fixtures have an inherent charm and uniqueness that adds warmth and personality to a bathroom. The patina and imperfections give them more character than modern reproductions.

Quality Craftsmanship

Many old plumbing fixtures were made with higher quality materials and craftsmanship that is hard to find today. Porcelain clawfoot tubs, real brass faucets and cast iron pedestal sinks often last longer than newer fixtures.

Visual Interest

Vintage fixtures often feature more ornate, decorative detailing like engravings, patterns and finishes that add visual appeal and interest. This gives a bathroom more depth and elegance.

Conversation Piece

Antiques attract attention and curiosity. Guests in your bathroom may inquire about an interesting antique tub or mirror, allowing you to share the history.


Using antique and vintage fixtures is a form of upcycling that reduces waste and your environmental impact, especially if you source them used rather than buying reproductions.

Cost Effective

Genuine antiques are often comparable in cost or even cheaper than high-end designer reproductions, providing value.

Tips for Incorporating Antique Fixtures

Here are some tips for successfully decorating your bathroom with antique fixtures:

Choose a Focal Point

Select one statement antique piece to build your bathroom decor around, like an ornate clawfoot tub or antique chandelier over a vanity.

Mix Old and New

Blend antique fixtures with some contemporary elements for balance. For example, pair a vintage tub with clean lined cabinetry.

Consider Functionality

While ornate, older faucets and handles have charm, be sure chosen fixtures will function properly. Test antiques thoroughly.

Complement Styles

Ensure your antiques coordinate in era and style for a cohesive look. Victorian hardware would clash with Art Deco fixtures.

Check Dimensions

Measure your bathroom carefully before purchasing antiques. Vintage cast iron tubs and other old plumbing fixtures often come in smaller sizes.

Update Finishes

Refurbishing or adding new finishes to antique fixtures can help them coordinate better with your overall decor. For example, re-chroming dated brass faucets.

Focus the Look

Use antiques sparingly in small baths. A powder room can handle more dramatic vintage flair than a primary bath.

Maintain Integrity

When refinishing or updating antiques, take care not to damage or alter important aspects of their original character and design.

Antique Plumbing Fixtures to Consider

Here are some specific vintage-style plumbing fixtures worth considering:

Clawfoot Tubs

Cast iron clawfoot tubs evoke classic, vintage luxury. New reproduction tubs capture their elegance at more affordable prices.

Pedestal Sinks

Pedestal sinks have a delicate, gracefully curved silhouette perfect for a vintage feel. White porcelain works well.

Wall-Mount Faucets

Exposed or wall-mounted faucets have an old-fashioned aesthetic. Look for new faucets with vintage design details.

Vessel Sinks

Vessel sinks mounted on top of countertops look distinctly antique. Opt for carved porcelain, hammered copper or glass.

Bridge Faucets

Bridge faucets with two handles hearken back to an earlier era. Go for polished chrome or black finishes for versatility.

Widespread Faucets

Widespread faucets with handles set apart suit antique decor. Designs with cross or lever handles add flair.

Freestanding Tubs

For a vintage vibe, consider a freestanding tub in materials like enameled cast iron or solid copper.

Antique Bathroom Hardware

Vintage-style hardware can provide smaller antique touches:

  • Ornate cabinet pulls and knobs
  • Intricate drapery tiebacks
  • Decorative clawfoot tub feet
  • Elaborate robe hooks and towel bars
  • Cross-style or porcelain doorknobs
  • Vintage-look mirror frames
  • Antique trunks or stands as storage

Look for genuine antique hardware at salvage yards and antique shops or seek vintage reproductions.

Sourcing Antique Fixtures and Decor

Where can you find authentic antique bathroom fixtures or high-quality vintage-style reproductions? Here are some options:

  • Antique shops and malls
  • Architectural salvage yards
  • Estate sales and auctions
  • Classified ads
  • Thrift stores and garage sales
  • Reproduction retailers like Signature Hardware
  • Bath specialty showrooms
  • Online antiques sites like 1stDibs and Chairish
  • Home renovation stores like Rejuvenation
  • Classifieds like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace

Be prepared to hunt for deals and rare pieces. Taking time to curate one-of-a-kind antiques can be rewarding.

Design Considerations

What should you consider when planning an antique bathroom design?


Consider layout when using vintage tub and sink sizes. Allow for traffic flow around clawfoot tubs.


Integrate storage like cupboards and drawers to keep necessities tidy. Freestanding furniture can supplement.


Use vintage-style lighting like sconces or chandeliers. Add windows and skylights for natural light.


Vintage ceramic, copper, wood, granite, and marble complement antiques. Use timeless subway tile.

Color Scheme

Stick to a palette with longevity. Opt for whites, blacks, browns, blues, greens, and brass accents.


Hire a qualified plumber to inspect connections and install fixtures properly. Update supply lines as needed.

Maintaining Antique Fixtures

Antique bathroom fixtures require some special care:

  • Use mild cleaners and gentle techniques to preserve delicate materials and finishes. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Inspect for damage like cracks and leaks regularly. Refinish enamel as needed.
  • Update internal parts like seals as required to prevent deterioration over time.
  • Hire specialists for extensive restoration work when necessary.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for maintaining reproduction vintage fixtures.

With proper care and maintenance, incorporating antique bathroom fixtures can be a worthwhile investment that stands the test of time with grace and beauty. Let vintage furnishings infuse your bath with enduring and eclectic style.

Frequently Asked Questions About Antique Bathroom Fixtures

What are some popular antique bathroom fixtures?

Some popular antique bathroom fixtures include clawfoot tubs, pedestal sinks, vintage faucets, antique chandeliers, and decorative antique hardware like vintage cabinet pulls and towel bars.

Where can I find authentic antique bathroom fixtures?

Great places to find genuine antique fixtures include antique stores and malls, architectural salvage yards, estate sales, auctions, and classified ads.

How do I incorporate antiques in a small bathroom?

In a small space, focus on one or two statement antique fixtures as focal points, like a pedestal sink or retro tile floor. Add vintage accessories sparingly.

Should I re-finish or update antique bathroom fixtures?

It depends. Gently refinishing or adding new finishes can help fixtures coordinate better with your overall decor. But take care not to damage valuable vintage finishes or alter original designs.

Are reproduction vintage bathroom fixtures worth it?

Quality reproductions can provide gorgeous vintage style at more affordable prices without the hassle of sourcing authentic antiques. Go for durable materials and solid craftsmanship.

How do I decorate the rest of a bathroom with antique fixtures?

Use materials like subway tile, marble and wood. Incorporate vintage-inspired lighting and hardware. Choose classic color palettes with longevity like black, white, brown, blue and brass. Display antique accessories like artwork and mirrors.

What maintenance do antique bathroom fixtures require?

Inspect regularly for damage. Use mild cleaners and gentle cleaning techniques. Refinish enamel as needed. Update internal parts to prevent deterioration. Consider professional restoration for valuable pieces if needed.


Antique bathroom fixtures allow you to surround yourself with beauty, nostalgia, and craftsmanship from eras past. Whether you seek out genuine antiques or quality reproductions, vintage furnishings add timeless elegance, fascinating historical charm and eclectic personality to any bathroom. With proper placement, creative decor and careful maintenance, antique fixtures can transform your bath into a unique vintage retreat that withstands years of enjoyable use.