Renovating a bathroom can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options for finishes, fixtures, and layouts, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, renovating with salvaged and vintage finds opens up a world of possibilities. Breathing new life into reclaimed materials not only gives a space unique character and charm, it’s also an environmentally-friendly way to update your home.

In this salvaged bathroom designed by Arent & Pyke, we explore how integrating secondhand discoveries can result in a stunning, sustainable space. From the clawfoot tub to the antique mirror, every piece was curated to create a bright, airy spa-like oasis with heaps of style and personality. Read on for a room tour and tips for crafting your own salvaged bathroom filled with fresh new ideas.

Select Statement Lighting and Plumbing Fixtures

When designing a salvaged bathroom, letting dramatic lighting and plumbing take center stage is key. Seek out eye-catching antique and vintage pieces that speak to you. Keep an open mind, as you never know what treasures you may uncover.

Find an Ornate Clawfoot Tub

A freestanding tub makes a serious style statement. Source a cast-iron or porcelain clawfoot tub in a unique finish. Options like oil-rubbed bronze or glossy white provide an elegant focal point. Place your tub away from the wall so it can be viewed from all angles. Go for a minimalist design that puts the sculptural tub on display.

Curate Vintage Light Fixtures

Lighting makes all the difference in bathrooms. Incorporate antique wall sconces, pendant lights, or chandeliers to add ambience. Rejuvenate pieces like this glass sconce with new wiring and hardware for a vintage look. Seek out interesting shapes and materials like brass, crystal, or colored glass.

Source an Old Medicine Cabinet

Salvaged medicine cabinets offer storage and charm. Look for cabinets with built-in mirrors and intriguing finishes like black crackle paint. Opt for floating wall cabinets to save space and add architectural details. Check antique stores and online auctions like eBay for deals.

Choose One-of-a-Kind Surfaces

From floors to walls, utilizing reclaimed and upcycled materials when surfacing your space can give any bathroom loads of character. Distressed woods, colorful tiles, and timeworn metals are just a few options.

Paint Floors with Vintage Stencil Patterns

Painted floors are a straightforward way to personalize a space. Source original tiles featuring retro patterns and colors. Or stencil your own custom design using vintage motifs. Geometric shapes, floral prints, and zigzags all work well. Use high-gloss paints to make the pattern pop.

Clad Walls in Reclaimed Tin

For organic texture, clad bathroom walls in antique tin reclaimed from old signs, ceilings, and cigar boxes. Opt for a rusted patina or paint it bold hues like deep blue. Adhere salvaged tin tiles in eye-catching patterns to dress up plain drywall.

Install a Repurposed Sink

Give an ordinary sink vanity one-of-a-kind character by utilizing a reclaimed stone trough, bowl, or garden urn as a vessel sink. Consider materials like concrete, galvanized metal, or terra cotta. Suspend faucets over vintage finds to create an artsy focal point.

Mix and Match Through Layers

When designing a salvaged bathroom, create visual depth by styling layers of old and new elements. Contrast rough with smooth and muted with bright to craft a collected look that feels curated.

Hang an Antique Mirror

A beautiful antique mirror makes a striking addition over any sink or vanity. Look for unique shapes like ovals, sunbursts, or interesting colored mirrors with silvering worn away in areas. Ornate carved frames in finishes like gold leaf accentuate vintage flair.

Display Collections of Bottles

Collections of glass bottles, vessels, and vases create an eclectic gallery wall. Search for apothecary jars, colored glass bottles, and vintage perfume atomizers to mount floating shelves. Keep it cohesive with colors and shapes that complement your space.

Add Pops of Color and Pattern

Punctuate your salvaged bathroom with playful pops of color and pattern to keep the mood fresh and lively. Hang a vibrant Turkish towel or keep a brightly hued stool on hand for quick visual impact. Introduce motifs that resonate with you, like botanical prints or abstract designs.

Refinish and Restore Wood Furniture

Salvaging and restoring bathroom furniture like cabinets and vanities breathes new life into old materials. Plus, working with reclaimed wood adds warmth and craftsmanship.

Whitewash a Vintage Vanity

For a light and airy feel, whitewash and update an antique wooden vanity. Gently sand the finish, then apply white chalk paint for a distressed look. Replace old hardware with new crystal knobs and shapely metal pulls for contrast.

Refinish Cabinets in a Tinted Stain

Refinishing worn cabinets in a semi-transparent glazed stain exposes wood grain in a fresh, modern way. First remove old varnish then apply a glaze stain in a soft hue like gray cashmere or weathered tan. Finish with a clear topcoat for protection.

Craft Custom Floating Shelves

Make a bathroom feel more spacious and serene by removing clutter from countertops. Fashion easy DIY floating shelves from reclaimed wood in sizes that fit your space. Sand, finish, then securely mount with black brackets for a sleek, minimalist look.

Embrace Imperfections with Cement Tile

Cement tiles are a smart salvaged choice for bathroom floors and walls. The tiles develop a patina and charm over time. Embrace natural cracks and variations for more character.

Choose Moroccan-Inspired Patterns

Typically found in bold graphic patterns, cement tiles take inspiration from Moroccan designs. Opt for small mosaic layouts in contrasting colors like navy and white, or go for larger tiles in dynamic patterns like chevron stripes.

Contrast Pattern with Simple Tones

To keep busy patterns from overwhelming, contrast vibrant cement tiles with simple, muted color tones. White, beige, and gray painted walls and cabinetry allow ornate floors to take the spotlight. Include some tiles that match your wall color for unity.

Mix Metallic Colors for Depth

Injecting metallic hues into graphic cement tile designs adds glamour and dimension. Introduce shimmering shades like copper, bronze, and pewter against more subdued tones. Metallic sheen makes colors dance in the light.

Salvage Materials Beyond the Expected

When designing a unique bathroom, look beyond typical salvaged items for creative ways to repurpose forgotten materials. From concrete to signage, everyday objects take on new life.

Upcycle Concrete Rubble as Flooring

Give floors uncommon depth by embedding concrete fragments into tile mortar or epoxy. Tumbled concrete creates random organic texture perfect for wet rooms. For balance, combine with uniform rectangular tile in coordinating neutral tones.

Transform Old Signs into Wall Art

Turn salvaged metal and wood signs from old stores and buildings into one-of-a-kind wall art. Look for signage with graphics or typography you enjoy. Freshen up with a new painted finish, or leave in distressed patinas. Mount in creative arrangements.

Fashion Vessel Sinks from Old Machinery

Industrial piping, valves, and machine parts take on new function when transformed into unique bathroom sinks. Copper and galvanized steel offer sculptural forms that make ordinary plumbing fixtures feel special. Have vessels custom-fabricated by skilled craftsmen.

Include Natural Textures and Greenery

Bringing natural elements into your salvaged bathroom creates a relaxing, spa-like retreat. Tactile organic materials contrast beautifully with repurposed industrial finishes.

Display Collections of Found Objects

Make your space feel curated by displaying favorite collected objects like shells, stones, beach glass, geodes, and crystals. Place delicate finds in apothecary jars, bowls, or on open shelves. Arrange seamless vignettes to enhance the salvaged style.

Add Woven Accents for Softness

The handcrafted look of woven accents lends cozy texture. Introduce baskets, wall hangings, rugs, and towels made from natural fibers like jute, cotton, bamboo, sisal, or seagrass. Choose neutral, undyed versions to complement vintage finds.

Style with Leafy Botanicals

Nothing freshens up a bathroom like plants and flowers. Display luxurious ferns and trailing ivy in hanging planters. Set a vase of garden roses, peonies, or other seasonal blooms on the tub’s edge. Greenery instantly softens the salvaged look.

FAQ About Designing a Salvaged Bathroom

How do I determine my bathroom layout?

Consider plumbing locations, window placement, and existing features like tub/shower enclosures when planning layout. Measure carefully, sketch ideas, and use design software to experiment with what works best. Focus on creating an open, easy flow.

What colors work well in a salvaged bathroom?

Natural, neutral hues like white, beige, gray, and wood tones make salvaged materials pop. Infuse personality with touches of navy, black, metallics, or vintage colors like mint, peach, and teal. Bold cement tiles can provide colorful accents.

What is the best flooring for a bathroom?

Water-resistant porcelain or ceramic tile is classic. For warmth, use reclaimed wood with ample coats of waterproof sealant. Painted or stained concrete is trendy. Mosaics and cement tiles add vintage appeal. Ensure proper sealing and slope for drainage.

How do I add storage to my bathroom?

Floating shelves, wall cabinets, freestanding furniture, and under-sink drawers efficiently increase space. Baskets and bins for organizing toiletries reduce clutter. If you have room, add an antique cabinet for displaying collections.

What are some budget-friendly salvaged bathroom ideas?

Painting cabinets, stenciling floors, and displaying found objects cost little. Check secondhand shops for vintage accessories and lighting. Add cement tile accents instead of tiling entire floors. Refinish existing sinks and tubs rather than replacing.

How can I give my bathroom a spa-like feel?

Natural materials like stone, wood, rattan, and linen add warmth. Display green plants and fresh flowers. Incorporate vintage signs, baskets, and glass vessels. Use calm colors like pale blues, greens and chalky neutrals. Add candlelight and relaxing aromatherapy.


Designing a beautifully curated salvaged bathroom is an artful exercise in mixing and matching reclaimed materials, vintage pieces, and new elements. By taking the time to source special secondhand finds and thoughtfully compose and finish surfaces, it’s easy to craft a space full of rustic and industrial charm. A salvaged bathroom furnished with one-of-a-kind fixtures, lighting, and accessories offers heaps of personality, sustainability, and style. Next time your bathroom needs sprucing up, look to the past for design inspiration and fresh new ideas.