Nothing says charm like the vintage-inspired beauty of a sink skirt in a bathroom design. The traditional aesthetic of a sink skirt adds a sense of whimsy and beauty.

Not only are sink skirts beautiful, but they’re also quite functional, which is design gold! If you are a lover of English country or French design styles, you will love the timelessness of a skirted vanity in your bathroom.

Today I introduce you to the inspiration for my upcoming bathroom remodel (a personal Boxwood Ave. Interiors project), which you guessed it: has a skirted vanity. Read below to learn about the history, use, and charm of sink skirts. In this blog post you’ll see beautiful inspiration as well as sources to achieve the look for your very own dream bathroom.

Above: Design by Trinity Shay (she’s amazing, go follow her!), photographed by Joseph Bradshaw.

The Timeless Appeal of Sink Skirts

Sink skirts originated in 18th and 19th-century Europe, particularly in England and France. They are quite a traditional bathroom design element, but have humble roots.


Sink skirts were actually first used in rural homes where sinks were made of unappealing materials. The skirts were added to conceal unsightly plumbing and add a bit of charm to something otherwise ordinary.

Nowadays sink skirts are used small bathroom designs, kitchen design, and even laundry rooms. The nostalgic beauty of sink skirts makes them appropriate for homes with an English or French country style.

Functional Benefits

As an interior designer, I can appreciate the combination of form and function. While adding beauty, sink skirts provide function as well such as concealing plumbing and protecting wood cabinetry from water damage. Additionally, sink skirts provide storage for towels, cleaning supplies, and other bathroom necessities.

Aesthetic Appeal

Sink skirts add charm and soften bathroom design, especially in the 18th-19th C where things were much more utilitarian. The beauty of a small bit of fabric was a welcome decorative touch to any bathroom design. Nowadays, washbasins adorned with fabric bring a sense of nostalgia to the space as they are reminiscent of traditional, vintage decor styles.

Being a designer, one thing I absolutely love about sink skirts is the opportunity to introduce pattern, color, and texture within the bathroom design. They allow for pattern play and color mixing which makes for much more interesting designs.

Designer Tips

  • Utilize various materials such as linen or cotton to construct sink skirts.
  • Adding trim can be a fun way to incorporate a mixture of colors and patterns.
  • Traditionally, sink skirts are made with a pattern heavy fabric, but you can get creative and use any fabric you’re drawn to.

Sink skirts continue to be a beloved feature in interior design due to their timeless charm, functional benefits, and ability to infuse spaces with vintage flair. As they evoke a sense of nostalgia and elegance, sink skirts provide a unique and charming accent to bathrooms, adding to the overall beauty and allure of the space.

Sink Skirt Ideas for Your Bathroom

How to Pattern Mix

  • Mix patterns and colors within the bathroom design. As a designer I love using complimentary colors such as red and green as shown below by the talented Anne McDonald.
  • To make this style pop, try using floral wallpaper, bold colors, and a mix of textiles. As a designer, I love mixing a strip with a large scale floral and a small scale floral. Three patterns is generally the maximum number I will mix.

Design by: Anne McDonald Design Photos by: Wing Ho

Incorporating Vintage Elements

One of the key ways designers utilize sink skirts in bathroom design is balancing an array of vintage elements. Remember, this is a very traditional style so implementing other traditional elements will bring out the beauty of the design.

One of my favorites being vintage mirrors and lighting. I source many vintage mirrors from Etsy as well as incredible vintage lighting for bathrooms!

Take a peek at the lovely design by Louise Roe (owner of Sharland England). At Boxwood Ave. Mercantile we offer many of her lovely rattan items. Can you picture a darling rattan waste bin in the bathroom? Love!

Additionally, opt for natural plumbing finishes such as brass faucets or polished nickel. Avoid anything artificial such as a brushed finish or synthetic materials.

Photo and design by Louise Roe, visit her shop Sharland England.

How to Achieve the Look

  • Where to source fabric: Vintage fabric from Etsy is a wonderful way to get the high end look for less. Search terms like “Vintage Laura Ashley Fabric” “Vintage Provençal Fabric” or “Vintage Liberty London Fabric“.
  • Where to source the stone top: I recommend a natural material such as marble, limestone, or soapstone. Opting for a natural material is in-line with the overall look and maintains the elegance of the bathroom design. You should use a local fabricator to make the sink top or source one from Etsy.

Sink Skirt Design Inspiration

Design by Hackett Holland Ltd. based in the UK.

Left: Design by Mike Moser (wowzers!!) and photographed by Christian Harder. Right: Design by Virginia Tupker, an incredible designer worth studying.

Design by Handelsmann Khaw and photographed by Felix Forest.

Be sure to follow along as I bring my guest bathroom design to life. I will be sharing the entire design process as if this were a client project so you can really see how we help our clients across the country design their dream homes. Step one is always a jumping off point, and a skirted vanity is mine. I’ll be honing in on the beauty of French and English country design elements with vintage touches, color, and pattern. I can’t wait to show you the design boards! Until then, be sure to follow along on instagram!

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  1. Any idea on how to make one with a round sink like the anne mcdonald design inspo above? Obv cant use a rod….