Which retro shower curtain is best?
Thanks to social media, interior-design styles are being unearthed every day. We now have access to decades of funky, artsy and avant-garde decor ideas.
One overlooked canvas for retro inspiration is the humble shower curtain. When styled as an accent piece, a shower curtain can be that perfect springboard for filling your bathroom with fun colors and flamboyant patterns. The best shower curtain to achieve a retro look is the YoKii Vintage Abstract Art Fabric Shower Curtain.
What to know before you buy a retro shower curtain
What retro is
Retro is all about nostalgia. The theme encompasses a broad range of styles that went out of fashion but are now in vogue as iconic — albeit dated — vestiges of the past. Rooted in memories of the homes people grew up in, retro statement pieces help anchor your decor to a specific time or open up room for some playful pastiche.
Popular retro styles
The most popular retro style today is mid-century modernism. Generations who grew up in the postwar era have rediscovered natural woods, organic forms and muted palettes. But other styles are also making a comeback thanks to the internet.
The ’60s, ’70s and ’80s are all big right now. From boho-hippie psychedelica to Technicolor open-plan living to Memphis design, there’s no shortage of inspiration.
You can also go all the way back to the prewar period’s Jazz Age and Art Deco, or break the mold with early-20th-century ornamentation.
If you’re going retro, your best bet is a pattern. Intricate geometric patterns with limited palettes (bonus points for gold) look great in mid-century modern decors. Psychedelic floral or abstract prints work best for a ’60s vibe, while psychedelic color-blocking and geometric patterns capture the essence of the ’70s. And zooty pop-art prints with loud pastel palettes are as ’80s as it gets when it comes to shower curtains.
If you want a solid-color shower curtain, you’ll need to be a little more strategic. Aim to match it to the palette of the respective decade you’re hoping to emulate. For example, avocado green was all the rage in the flower-power ’60s, only to be replaced by harvest gold in the groovy ’70s. By the time you get to the ’80s, it’s either mauve (shabby chic) or primary colors (Memphis design).
At any rate, you can’t go wrong if you pick a color from a palette based on one of these colors.
What to look for in a quality retro shower curtain
Shower curtains come in three materials that not only affect their appearance, but also their durability and texture.
- Cotton: This luscious fabric feels and looks premium. It’s perfect for solid colors and soft decors. Cotton’s not waterproof, and it is the most expensive, but if you wash it regularly, it can last for years.
- Vinyl: The budget option, vinyl is easy to print on and swap out as you play with style. This completely water-resistant material is either made from PVC or eco-friendly PEVA or EVA.
- Polyester: A synthetic fabric, polyester combines the waterproofing power of plastic with the woven splendor of cotton. There will always be that plasticky sheen, but this is the best of both worlds if you want a print on sophisticated material without shelling out for cotton.
- Standard: At 72 by 72 inches, these are made to cover one long edge of the standard bathtub.
- Extra-wide: For those with a freestanding or corner tub, a standard width won’t cut it. Extra-wide curtains extend from 108-180 inches to wrap around additionally exposed sides.
- Extra-long: If you have high ceilings, an extra-long shower curtain adds 1-2 feet in length so you don’t have to worry about soaking your floors.
- Narrow: Stall showers tucked into small bathrooms don’t have a lot of room to spare, and standard curtains will bunch up. Narrow curtains halve the length to 36 inches so you can have privacy without sacrificing precious space.
Shower curtains are installed on a rod via grommets. These are holes sewn into the top of the curtain that are reinforced with plastic or rustproof metal. Some curtains have grommets large enough to slide the curtain directly onto the rod. This is the easiest method of installation, but your curtain won’t lie as flat or pull as easily.
If your grommets are too small, you’ll need shower hooks. These slide onto your curtain rod and clip into the grommet. Shower hooks require a little more dexterity, but make for easy operation. They also limit bunching better than grommets.
How much you can expect to spend on a retro shower curtain
A vinyl curtain typically runs $5-$20. Polyester is usually $25-$60. And a high-quality cotton shower curtain can be as much as $70-$120.
Retro shower curtain FAQ
Should I use a curtain liner?
A. These protective barriers help ward off mold and mildew, which lower the lifespan of your curtain. While they aren’t strictly necessary for vinyl and polyester, a liner will get you much more use out of these materials. And they’re a must with cotton.
How do I clean my shower curtain?
A. Most shower curtains, regardless of their material, can be cleaned in a washing machine. Just follow care instructions on the packaging. You should do this once a month. Vinyl can also be cleaned with standard household cleaner and paper towel.
What’s the best retro shower curtain to buy?
Top retro shower curtain
What you need to know: What’s more ’60s and ’70s than a lava-lamp motif in beautiful, flowing pastels?
What you’ll love: This curtain is a blast from the past that will have you feeling like you’re showering in the summer of love. Available in standard sizes, this heavy-duty polyester curtain comes in two other psychedelic designs. You also get hooks with it.
What you should consider: There are no alternative sizes.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top retro shower curtain for the money
What you need to know: This mid-century modern curtain is a versatile throwback statement piece.
What you’ll love: Featuring an earthy palette with subtle accents and a minimalist geometric pattern, it will fit with a myriad of decor schemes. It’s polyester and comes in standard sizing. You also get 12 hooks to hang it with.
What you should consider: You can’t get this is in narrow, extra-wide or extra-long sizes.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This curtain is fun and retro-futurist with a googie motif that will send guests right back to the ’50s.
What you’ll love: Depicting zany nuclei in a toned-down palette of primary colors, this shower curtain is right out of the Atomic Age. You have your choice of a few other fun designs in a similar spirit from Amhnf. And the best part of this polyester curtain is that it’s available in a huge range of sizes and comes with hooks.
What you should consider: This might be a little too playful for more sophisticated decor.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Karl Daum writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.