Bringing a touch of nostalgia to your bathroom decor, vintage bathroom vanities are a classic way to create a timeless look. With their elegant designs reminiscent of past eras, these vanities evoke a sense of refined style and charm. Here’s a closer look at the world of vintage bathroom vanities and how they can enhance your space with historic character.

What Are Vintage Bathroom Vanities?

Vintage bathroom vanities are vanity units dating back to previous decades and style periods like the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and beyond. They are styled after the fashions and trends of those eras with details like curved legs, carved accents, glass knobs, and distressed finishes.

Some common characteristics of vintage bathroom vanities include:

  • Ornate detailing like carved legs, molded edges, and decorative hardware
  • Materials like solid wood, porcelain, and cast iron
  • Distressed paint treatments like crackled finishes and antiqued stains
  • Traditional silhouettes like pedestal sinks and wall-mounted cabinets
  • Glass, crystal, or porcelain knobs and handles
  • Clawfoot, pedestal, or tapered legs

Vintage vanities range from antique pieces original to a certain period to new vanities designed and detailed to emulate a retro aesthetic. Finding an authentic antique vanity can take some hunting, while new vintage-inspired looks offer more availability.

Why Choose a Vintage Bathroom Vanity?

Vintage bathroom vanities offer a host of benefits for creating a unique, meaningful bathroom space:

Timeless, Lasting Style – With their classic designs, vintage vanities remain stylish and relevant for years. Their elegance transcends trends and fads.

Craftsmanship and Quality – Older vanities feature exquisite details and sturdy construction using solid woods and metals. This artisanal quality is hard to duplicate today.

One-of-a-Kind Finds – Searching out an antique piece offers the thrill of the hunt. No two true vintage vanities are exactly alike, giving you a customizable, rare focal point.

Vintage Appeal – A vintage vanity gives a bathroom warmth, character and nostalgic charm. The patina and marks of use only add to their beauty and authenticity.

Conversation Piece – Rich with history and story, a vintage vanity is a unique talking point and centerpiece. It gives guests something to admire.

Timeless Investment – With their lasting design and finely crafted details, vintage bathroom vanities can even gain value over time and become family heirlooms.

Styles of Vintage Bathroom Vanities

From the sleek sophistication of Art Deco to the cozy cottage feel of Farmhouse, vintage vanities come in an array of styles. Here are some of the most popular options:

Antique Vanities

Truly antique vanities date from the early 1900s to mid-century. Their authentic age shows in details like wear, repairs, dovetail joinery and salvaged materials. Popular looks include:

  • Victorian – Ornate details, dark woods, marble tops
  • Art Deco – Sleek geometric shapes, glass accents
  • French Provincial – Carved cabriole legs, painted finishes

Vintage/Retro Vanities

Retro or vintage-inspired vanities emulate stylistic features of the past with new production methods. Trending retro looks include:

  • Mid-Century Modern – Clean lines, tapered legs, retro hardware
  • Hollywood Regency – Glam curved fronts, marbled tops, gilded accents
  • Atomic/Sputnik – Angular, boomerang shapes, starburst motifs

Reproduction Vanities

Reproduction vanities recreate the look of antique styles with exacting accuracy. Popular options include:

  • Farmhouse – Beadboard paneling, ceramic knobs, apron-front sink
  • Victorian – Elaborate details, clawfoot legs, vintage faucets
  • Cottage – Painted finishes, glass knobs, scalloped aprons

Where to Find Vintage Bathroom Vanities

The thrill of the hunt is part of the fun of vintage vanity shopping. Here are some top sources to kickstart your search:

  • Antique Stores – Scout local shops and antique malls for true vintage finds. Be ready to refinish.
  • Architectural Salvage – Reclamation warehouses offer a trove of vintage materials, fixtures and furniture.
  • Online Listings – Search auction sites, classifieds and forums for leads on vintage vanities and sinks.
  • Estate Sales – Keep an eye out for estate sales in historical homes that may harbor vintage bath pieces.
  • Reproduction Retailers – Many home décor retailers now offer new vanities in vintage styles.
  • Custom Builders – Work with a woodworker or cabinet maker to create a custom, antique-inspired design.

Design Tips for Decorating with Vintage Vanities

Integrating a vintage vanity into a modern bathroom takes a little design skill. Here are some tips for harmonizing old with new:

  • Mix modern and vintage elements like sleek tub fixtures with a retro pedestal sink.
  • Add vintage touches like beadboard wainscoting, clawfoot tubs, hexagon tile floors.
  • Incorporate vintage-inspired colors like sage, robin’s egg blue, or buttermilk yellow.
  • Use vintage decorative details like glass knobs, ceiling molding, wallpaper inside cabinets.
  • Showcase the vanity’s design with neutral backdrops of white, black, beige or wood tones.
  • Place a rustic or industrial metal mirror above the vanity to contrast with vintage style.
  • Layer on accent pieces like vintage soap dispensers, framed prints, or a Persian rug.

Maintaining and Restoring Vintage Vanities

To keep your vintage vanity looking its best, be prepared to lovingly care for it like the antique it is. Here are some tips:

  • Use mild cleaners and polishes recommended for antique woods and metals. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Fix minor scratches, chips or water marks with filler sticks, touch-up markers, or fine sandpaper.
  • Replace missing hardware like knobs or hinges with period-appropriate styles from antique stores.
  • Re-apply protective finishes like paste wax or tung oil periodically to protect and beautify wood.
  • Re-glue any joints or veneer that become loose over time with appropriate glues.
  • Address any new plumbing issues promptly to avoid water damage on vulnerable antique materials.
  • Consider professional refinishing if the vanity develops a severely damaged finish or veneer.

FAQs About Vintage Bathroom Vanities

What are the most popular design styles for vintage vanities?

Some of the most popular vintage design styles for bathroom vanities include Victorian, Art Deco, French Provincial, Mid-Century Modern, Hollywood Regency, Farmhouse, and Cottage.

Where can I find replacement hardware if my vintage vanity is missing pieces?

Great sources for vintage hardware replacements include antique stores, architectural salvage warehouses, online antique dealers, reproduction retailers, Etsy sellers, and eBay.

How do I refinish or restore the finish on a vintage vanity?

It’s best to consult a professional furniture refinisher for vanity restoration. They can assess the existing finish and properly strip, stain, paint or re-apply a protective topcoat.

What should I look out for when buying a true antique vanity?

When evaluating an authentic antique vanity, look for signs of age like wear, patina, repairs, construction details and salvaged materials. Check condition of joints, hardware and surfaces.

How much space should I allow for a vintage vanity?

Most vintage vanities need a space at least 60-72 inches wide. Measure the room carefully and account for doors or windows on adjacent walls. Deep vintage sinks require more overhead clearance.

What are the benefits of buying a vintage vanity reproduction?

Reproduction vintage vanities offer more availability, easier installation, reliability, product warranties, and fewer repairs than true antiques. They capture the vintage look without the headaches.


With their timeworn charm and old-fashioned elegance, vintage bathroom vanities can transform a utilitarian space into a nostalgic retreat. Their enduring craftsmanship and patinated finishes bring a warmth and humanity to bath decor. Beyond just function, vintage vanities tell a story and forge an emotional connection. Whether you seek out a rare antique treasure or a reproduction classic, a vintage vanity makes a beautiful focal point rich with heritage, ready to begin another century of service in your home.