Taking a moment to understand the origins and influences of the Art Deco design period is a good, yet often overlooked, first step for those considering creating an Art Deco themed bathroom. The Art Deco period spanned two decades, beginning in the 1920’s and lasting thru the 1930’s. Art Deco design was shaped by the industrial world’s participation in World War I, which began in 1914 and ended 1918. World War I introduced modern mechanized warfare on a global scale. By the end of the war, factories were relentlessly cranking out war machines like airplanes, tanks, and ships with modern shapes formed primarily of metal rather than wood. The war’s brutality crushed romantic notions of the past but also sparked a fascination with technology and optimism towards the future by the end of the war.
Art Deco style reflected all of the monumental changes brought about by World War I with architecture and industrial design that was dramatically different from previous Victorian period design movements. Unlike Victorian designs that were characterized by ornate embellishments often inspired by design elements borrowed from Greek and other ancient cultures, Art Deco architects and industrial artist depended on metals and modern materials to form geometric streamline forms that were futuristic in appearance.
Oddly enough, the lowly bathroom became the ideal room to showcase Art Deco design concepts and products. Art Deco bathrooms were commonly heavily tiled on walls as well as the floors and featured color schemes that contrasted black with white, pink, peach or light green. Bathroom sink faucets, tub faucets and showers, and home hardware items reflected the movement’s sleek, angular designs and were finished with brilliant chrome plating. Fortunately, infusing Art Deco style in the relatively small space of a bathroom can be successfully accomplished in a variety of ways depending on your renovation budget. Your bathroom renovation project and its budget can be divided into bath tub, sink, and other home hardware categories.
Bathtub Tub, Tub Faucet and Shower Options
The bathtub is typically the most expensive and complicated part of any bathroom renovation and this can be especially true for Art Deco bathroom transformations. In addition to the bath tub and its plumbing, tile installation can significantly add to your renovation’s time and money budgets. Below are a few tub style options to consider:
Pedestal Tub with Art Deco Tub Faucet and Shower Combinations
If you wish to have the bathtub to be a focal point of your Art Deco bathroom, including a pedestal tub in your design is a logical choice. Cast iron pedestal tubs became a popular bathroom fixture during the Art Deco period. Whereas clawfoot tubs rested on a centuries old furniture design of ornate ball and claw feet, pedestal tubs rested on sleek pedestal bases. Reproductions are available as traditional cast iron pedestal tubs or lighter weight acrylic pedestal tubs. Shop 4 Classics offers pedestal tubs in both cast iron and acrylic and in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Included in our collection of Art Deco style pedestal tubs, is a number of unique cast iron tubs from Sunrise Specialty that have solid black porcelain interiors as well as painted black exteriors.
Chrome is the finish of choice for Art Deco style bathrooms and all of our reproduction clawfoot tub faucets and shower sets are available in chrome. A line of Art Deco themed clawfoot tub faucets and shower sets by Sign of the Crab, however, are particularly well suited for Art Deco style pedestal tubs. These unique faucets and shower sets feature an ultra clean streamline appearance with angular handles and spouts.
Cast Iron Drop-in Tub with Art Deco Tub Faucet and Shower Combinations
If your bath has a drop in tub that you want to keep or you prefer a new drop-in style cast iron tub over a freestanding tub, you still can create a stylish Art Deco themed bath with smart tile and tub faucet and shower selections. The walls surrounding the drop-in tub should be heavily tiled with small to medium sized tiles in light pastel color choices. Creative use of black accent tiles can also be incorporated to create a unique look. Regarding tub plumbing, we again recommend Art Deco themed tub faucets and shower sets from Sign of the Crab. Similar to their clawfoot tub faucets and showers, these in-wall tub faucet and shower sets feature Art Deco style handles, spouts and angular escutcheons.
Toilet, Sink, Faucet and Bath Accessory Options
With the bathtub design complete, it is time to focus on toilet and bathroom sink selections. Since modern two-piece toilets can be found with simple straight horizontal and vertical lines that are complimentary to Art Deco style, replacing your bath’s toilet with a standard toilet is an opportunity to save money. The choice of sink and related items, however, is once again an opportunity to create a uniquely Art Deco look. Below are a few sink style options to consider:
Art Deco Pedestal, Console and Wall Mount Sinks
Similar to the pedestal tub, appropriately styled pedestal sinks and console sinks can become a focal point of your Art Deco bathroom. Distinct horizontal lines and streamline design are hallmarks of an Art Deco style pedestal sink. Console sinks that stand on chrome legs are also a good choice for Art Deco style baths. Wall mounting sinks are a budget friendly option that are also a wise choice for small bathrooms. As with pedestal and console sinks, consider sinks with square or rectangular shapes with simple straight line and angular accents.
Cabinet Vanities with Drop-in Sink Bowls
A common way to save money on kitchen as well as bathroom renovations is to refurbish existing cabinetry. With a little work, a bath’s cabinet style sink can be infused with Art Deco style. Generally speaking, stained wood cabinetry is counter to Art Deco period design. Thus, refacing or painting old wood cabinets to a solid color consistent with the bath’s tile and paint scheme may be a first step in creating the desired look. Chrome Art Deco style cabinet knobs and pulls are an affordable upgrade that can have a big impact on creating the right vintage look. Another upgrade with a big impact is replacing the sink and the cabinet’s counter top. Angular drop-in sink inserts with stepped linear accents along their edges are fitting choices for Art Deco design. The sink’s counter top could be upgraded to a black or dark gray marble or faux marble top.
Art Deco Bathroom Sink Faucets and Accessories
Because of its high visibility and use, choice of the right style of bathroom sink faucet is key to completing the look of your Art Deco renovation. The faucet should display clean lines, angular non-fussy form and most importantly be chrome plated. Shop 4 Classics offers many faucets that meet these requirements, however, Sign of the Crab’s Art Deco inspired Mississippi lavatory faucets feature all of these attributes in true Art Deco style. Mississippi faucets have angular metal handles and unique geometrically shaped spouts and escutcheons. Further, Sign of the Crab offers similarly styled soap baskets, towel bars, toilet paper holders and other bath accessories.
Completing the Look with Art Deco Accents and Other Home Hardware Items
Art Deco style bathrooms should maintain a clean uncluttered look. Wall art and accents should be bold but used sparingly and be period appropriate. Art Deco vent covers should be chrome plated and display geometric grille patterns rather than the scroll work patterns attributed to the earlier Victorian period. Finally, there a wide variety of Art Deco inspired lighting fixtures to complete your bath. Again, fixtures with a chrome finish and angular geometric forms are always a safe choice.