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Today’s bathrooms are designed to have clean lines, neutral colors and seamless surfaces. Even the most modern of bathrooms builds off classic designs, because the best of these looks are timeless. Pulling these design features from the bathrooms of the past gives one of the most frequently used rooms in your home a unique look with a vintage flair. These five bathroom fixtures are must haves.

Elegant Overhead Lighting

Unless you are in a commercial bathroom, it is rare to see overhead lighting. Most residential bathrooms have light fixtures around the mirror or over the sink, but little else in the way of lighting. These fixtures provide straight facing illumination that works well for seeing your face in detail, but does not give off much light to the rest of the bathroom. Not many bathrooms today incorporate the classic overhead light fixture.

Designers of the 1930s recognized the need to have overhead lighting to flood the entire bathroom with a warm glow. These light fixtures that illuminated the whole room were popular for much of the mid 20th century. Overhead lights in these decades took on the design trends of the era. It was not uncommon for luxurious bathrooms to feature overhead fixtures with cut glass, crystals and intricate designs in gold. This style of lighting can lend an air of elegance to a modern bathroom. The overhead light makes everything sparkle and is the perfect complement to an elegant design. Adding this classic feature to your bathroom can help you bring this elegance into a modern context.

Tiled Walls

Almost since the bathroom was brought indoors, tiled walls have been the norm in bathroom design. Before more modern materials were invented, tile was a good way to provide a waterproof covering for walls and floors to prevent water damage to rooms that were not originally designed as bathrooms. Tiling bathroom walls peaked in popularity in the 1960s and then slowly started to decline as a trend. As designs moved toward minimalism, tiled bathroom walls became a thing of a different era.

Using tile on walls is a versatile way to reference beautiful designs of the past. In the early 1900s, bathroom walls were generally tiled halfway up with wooden moulding separating the drywall from the tile. As the mid century approached, fully tiled walls were often seen in bathroom designs.

Today, you can add this classic look to your bathroom in many different ways. White subway tiles are very reminiscent of the early 20th century. Beautiful, soft pastel tiles bring a taste of the 1950s to your bathroom. You can add your own personal touch through mosaics or custom colors.

Vessel Bowl Sinks

Before indoor bathrooms even existed there were vessel sinks. In early human civilizations, a bowl of water was your sink. Using a vessel sink in your design is one of the most classic features you can add to your bathroom. These types of sinks are available in an astounding range of styles and materials. They can be a statement piece in a bathroom of any design.

The most common vessel sinks are just large bowls. Other styles of this sink include a rectangular basin and a slightly curled slab of stone. The vessel sink is a great style for bathrooms with limited space. They take up less room than a traditional sink, and they make a huge visual impact. You can go for a prehistoric look with a chunky stone bowl, capitalize on pioneer simplicity with a carved wooden vessel or go for sleek elegance with a glass sink.

Clawfoot Tub

This bathroom fixture used to be considered the height of luxury. At a time when many were still bathing in their washtubs, only the very wealthy could afford this elegant porcelain tub in their home. Today, the clawfoot bathtub can still bring an air of elegance and luxury to a modern bathroom.

This classic bathroom feature is all curves. From the sides to the bottom, the clawfoot tub does not have an angle in sight. The curves give the tub the soft, feminine look for which it is famous. While early clawfoots had no need for faucets, modern ones have beautiful vintage fixtures to conform to modern plumbing.

These tubs can stand out in the center of your vintage inspired bathroom, but are also easy to adapt to a modern style. This bathtub is a truly versatile bathroom fixture that shows no signs of going out of style anytime soon.

Vanity Table

Not so long ago, the standalone vanity was an indispensable feature of the fashionable lady’s bathroom. As makeup became a necessary part of the feminine routine, there was a need for a dedicated area where she could apply her cosmetics, arrange her hair and store her various beauty potions.

Films of the 1920s and 1930s often featured the vanity table as a place of romantic contemplation. This contributed to making the table a popular item among the masses. Sometime in the later part of the 20th century the vanity table lost its mass appeal among women.

This classic bathroom feature is starting to make an appearance again among the design savvy. It is a time honored piece of history that remains useful among women today. Today’s women generally store their cosmetics in a cabinet or drawer in the bathroom. The idea of having a vanity area specifically for perfumes, makeup and skin care has caught on with a new generation of women.

A bathroom vanity table can capture the luxury of the classic Hollywood era with white wood, gold trim and a row of bare bulbs. Sleek, modern vanities with a minimalist design are also a great option for those who want to get it on this classic trend but add a contemporary twist.

Using classic fixtures in your bathroom brings a retro elegance to the room that sets it apart from any other design. If you prefer a warm, chic design to the cool, impersonal modern ones, you should add these classic bathroom fixtures to your space.