Art Deco bathrooms reflect the era between the early 1920s and the late 1930s. Art Deco's popularity carried over into the bathroom, taking up the design principles established during the Victorian era when bathrooms were no longer treated as though they still belonged outside the home as separate structures.
Shape and Form
The Roaring Twenties were the height of the Art Deco movement. The style was considered to be an eclectic art form since it was a combination of so many other art movements and principles.
Viewed as elegant modernism, true Art Deco should be both functional and expressive. Opulence and extravagance were two things you could count on for this design style. Don't be afraid to take your bathroom design to these heights. Whatever you do with your Art Deco bathroom, it should be a pure artistic expression that appeals to your senses.
The shapes and structures often used with Art Deco were based on mathematical geometric patterns. Many were curved as well as angular and combined to give a dramatic design to the lines of light fixtures, furniture, lamps, and even jewelry.
Transom windows were a popular architectural feature and an ideal place for a stained glass design. Stained glass windows were often used and often bathroom doors were a type of privacy glass with either frosted or stained glass patterns on the upper portion.
You can find Art Deco stained glass on eBay. Antique dealers sell various stained glass salvaged from vintage homes and other sources. You can also find individual artists with eBay studios that do custom designs. You may need to work with a skilled craftsman or carpenter to retrofit some of your finds, but it'll be worth the effort to display your treasure. Pricing varies.
Dean's Stained Glass Transom Windows
Adding a stained glass transom window is a wonderful way to allow light to enter a room and facilitate air ventilation. Dean's Stained Glass features both handmade transom windows and custom made. Price depends on size, type of glass and design.
Decorative Bathroom Stained Glass Windows
Doors by Decora offers a large selection of bathroom windows as well as the option to have a custom-design window made just for your bathroom. Each window page has an online form that you complete to receive a quote about your project. For custom projects, you work directly with one of the company's artisans to ensure your window design is exactly as you want it. Pricing varies.
The Importance of Color
Art Deco designs can be used to accent other elements, such as inlays of both glass and wood. Some of the most popular colors used during this era were the combination of:
- Mint green
- Rose pink
Many of these period style bathrooms used green or pink wall tile that were framed with borders of black tiles. If you don't have tile or a budget to accommodate tiling your walls, then consider the type of interpretation done in this Behr paints bathroom design.
White walls are framed in white molding to create panels that are painted a mint green in the true art deco fashion. Nickel light fixtures, mirror, sink and tub fixtures create an authentic feel with a pedestal sink and clawfoot tub.
Add a small side table for holding towels for an accent color splash of muted yellow and you have a complete design. Don't forget the window shades for window treatment.
You can find paints specifically categorized as Art Deco paints or you can create your own version of an ideal bathroom color combination.
Bathroom Tile Choices for Walls and Floors
Black and white were often used together for stark contrast. Popular bathroom two-color combinations included:
- Green and Black
- Pink and Black
- White and Black
Black was used as a border tile where the tile stopped about three-quarters up the wall. The tile was often laid at a lower height in part of the bathroom to create a dramatic effect before climbing back to the three-quarter mark.
- Daltile: Carnation Pink ceramic tile (pricing available at store locations)
- American Universal Corp: Black border, V-cap and Brittany Misty series colors. $6.95 - $15.95 sq. ft.
- Clay Squared: Mid-Century Colors collection of ceramic tiles. $12 sq. ft.
Floor tiles followed the popular hexagon shapes of white. Some bathroom designs used black hexagon shaped tiles within larger areas of white tile. You can find some great tiles that fit this era and design style at Lowe's.
One of the leading floor tile manufacturers, American Olean products can be found at Lowe's and other big box hardware stores.
Satinglo Ice White
Satinglo Ice White porcelain mosaic is a 1" x 1" hexagon white mosaic tile that's mesh-mounted on a 12" x 12" sheet.
- $4.72 / Sq. Ft.
- Available in a 10-Pack 12"x12" for $47.17 and covers 10.00 sq. ft.
Satinglo Hex White
Satinglo Hex white is a hexagon shaped white ceramic with black hexagon-shaped accent tiles. The tiles come in a mesh 12" x 12" square that creates a mosaic patterned floor.
- $6.38 per sq. ft.
- Available in a 10-Pack for $58.00 and covers 9.09 sq. ft.
Bath Fixtures, Lighting and Hardware
Fixtures during the Art Deco movement changed just like other aspects of furniture and architecture changed. Sink and tub faucets, drawer pulls, door knobs, towel racks, soap dishes, and other bathroom fixtures were stylish, often finished in highly polished nickel.
From doorknobs to hinges to wall sconces and ceiling lights, you will find everything you need at all price ranges for an authentic feel of Art Deco at Rejuvenation. Don't neglect these important details for your bathroom design.
A great resources for bath fixtures, towel racks and medicine cabinets (a big bathroom item for this era), Restoration Hardware has a big selection for all of these bathroom vitals at varied price ranges.
Vintage Lighting and Fan Shop
If you're going for authentic, then Vintage Lighting and Fan Shop is a great lighting destination. You can find some great restored light fixtures to brighten your bathroom. Prices vary with an average range of $500.
The bathtub was an important focal point of the Art Deco bathroom. The same style of function was reflected in the newer tubs that were molded and placed against the walls and then surrounded by tile work. Some of the tubs used were pedestal tubs, but many people couldn't afford to replace their tubs, so you'll find a clawfoot tub in an Art Deco bathroom. The tub gives a nostalgic feel to the overall design and works well with the eclectic properties of Art Deco.
Vintage Tub & Bath
These authentic reproductions of clawfoot tubs come from 10 different manufacturers with 200 different choices. These tubs are available in six sizes, including classic, slipper and double slipper tubs either in cast iron or acrylic.
- Tub sizes range from 48" to 72"
- Priced from $989.95 to $3,138
- Also available with complete shower kits and fixture packages
- Fixtures match clawfoot in chrome, old bronze, satin nickel or white
- Free shipping
Another era-popular tub style was the pedestal tub. Unlike clawfoot tubs, this tub sits on a base. Available in cast iron porcelain enamel these tubs offer a European ambiance to your bathroom design.
- Prices range from $1,196.95 to $1,496.95
- Free Shipping
Slipper tubs were considered a luxury tub and more for leisurely bathing since they were ideal soaking tubs. One end of the tub is raised higher than the other to create a sloping of the water level. This design is very popular for lounging in the bath. It's a very elegant bath choice and is available with claw feet or pedestal double ended slipper.
Sinks or Lavatories
Pedestal sinks were very popular as Art Deco fixtures because they could be shaped and molded into works of art.
Art Deco Lavatories
Console lavatories were very popular and came with a built-in 2" backsplash. The entire sink basin, splashback and console were made out of vitreous china or porcelain. Console lavatories were attached to the wall and had two front legs for additional support.
- Ferguson has a large variety of console lavatories ranging in price from around $300 to more than $600.
Like lavatories, pedestal sinks were made from vitreous china and were popular for their artistic sculpting and ease of installation.
- A large selection of pedestal sinks are priced from $139.95 to $412.95.
Console Sinks introduced undermount sinks and were available either as single or double sinks.
- Console Sinks are available in single or double. Prices $785.95 to $1,448.95.
Toilets or Commodes
Toilets or commodes were still limited in design and typically design followed function. Pull-chain gravity fed toilets were still used since few people could afford to change for the newer two piece compact style with a lower tank. Some of the toilet bowls were quite ornamental designs for the bases, but these were limited to the wealthy.
Pull Chain and Round Front
Go nostalgic with a pull-chain toilet or a round front bowl. Either one will complete your bathroom with a sense of stepping back in time. True to the era, the majority of these designs used an oak casing for the water closet and a matching toilet lid.
Although built-ins were very popular in the mid-1920s with glass-pane doors, very few bathrooms had built-in cabinets. Any cabinetry used was a stand-alone piece of furniture. Look for authentic pieces with inlay designs reflecting geometric designs.
Make a Plan
Decide on the color scheme you want, then begin shopping for each element such as paint colors, wall and floor tile and your bath fixtures. Once you select all of the design elements and fixtures that go into an Art Deco bathroom, take a step back to evaluate that the design reflects you and the things that you love. This is the true design function of this era. You'll soon be enjoying your stylish new bathroom.