Adding the sparkle of chrome to your vintage bathroom can be inexpensive and easy- and it really adds to a 50s style bathroom’s overall charm. There is just something about chrome that livens up the space… that plays off and perks up the pastel colors you usually see in retro bathrooms.
Be sure to use chrome hardware to connect your toilet seat, for the little flush handle and of course, for your faucets. A light over the mirror, or two sconces, with chrome bases also are pretty much a “must”.
As for other fixtures – like the recessed soap dish, toothbrush holder and toilet paper holders as featured in the 1953 advertising above, it can be hard to find vintage pieces in pristine shape. The chrome just got too yucky.
Luckily, you can still get these items, with very little change over the past 50+ years, from Franklin Brass.
In fact – I am very very excited about their “bright stainless” Century line. This line should resist rust much better than chrome. It has more heft – important in the non-recessed pieces. And….drum roll, please….it offers the first towel bar that I find truly acceptable for retro renovation bathrooms — now superseding my previous “acceptable if we must” reco! Here is my overall recommendation for what to use:
From the Century collection, in bright stainless steel:
- Towel bar
- Towel ring, if necessary
- Towel shelf
- Towel pin
- Soap disk for sink
- Toothbrush holder for sink
- Recessed soap disk for tub with or without washcloth bar
- Recessed toilet paper holder (not shown here, but is available)
- Robe hook (looks like a nice one, does not protrude too much)
Now…there may be those who say that you cannot mix chrome
and stainless… that the finish-values will clash. That may indeed be so, and you might be able to talk me out of the mix. But I love the functionality and heft of these stainless steel fixtures and I would guess the “bright” has been added with the co-existence with chrome in mind.
In fact, in my kitchen, the two finishes co-exist all over the place, quite peacefully. If you really want all chrome, there are plenty of other pieces in the Franklin Brass line to complete a nice set, including a TP holder with a “concealed” cover as in
the ad, above.