Get the Perfect Vintage-Style Shower Curtain for Clawfoot Tubs

Clawfoot tubs exude vintage charm with their slipper-style oval tubs propped up by decorated feet. While the exposed plumbing can look blemished, one of the best ways to complement your antique bathtub is by outfitting it with a unique shower curtain.

Choosing the right curtains and rods to match your clawfoot tub style does require some special considerations.

Determine Left- or Right-Handed Drain Orientation

Clawfoot tubs can have a drain on either the right or left side. Standing at the faucet end and looking out over the tub, a drain on the left side indicates a “left-handed” orientation. If it’s on the right, that’s considered “right-handed.”

This orientation is important to note if you plan to purchase a ready-made shower rod kit. These kits are designed for specific drain directions, so an improper match won’t allow for correct installation.

Measure Your Clawfoot Tub’s Dimensions

Antique clawfoot tubs come in varied shapes, sizes, and silhouettes. Measure the full exterior perimeter of your tub from edge to edge to calculate the exact length you’ll need for shower rods and curtains.

shower curtain rod for a clawfoot tub

Consider the added length taken up by the curvature rather than a straight line. Make sure to measure across any protruding edges or decorative trim as well.

Create a Precise Measurements Diagram

Sketch your clawfoot tub from a birds-eye view indicating the precise measurements between sides. Note the location of the drain and faucet. Also mark windows, doors, and other bathroom features impacting available installation space.

Account for Shower Curtain Slack

Add a few extra inches to your tub’s length measurements when shopping. Shower curtains gather and drape more smoothly when they’re not pulled taut. Allowing this slack prevents billowing curtains from clinging to you mid-shower.

Choose Mounting Method for Shower Rod

There are several options to select from when deciding how to mount your vintage-style shower rod:

  • Tension rods: Tension shower rods for clawfoot tubs use spring pressure to remain in place between two walls. This doesn’t require any drilling or installation in your antique tub. However, the rods can loosen over time and don’t work as well for heavier custom shower curtains.
  • Mounted brackets: Brackets allow you to securely mount your shower rod to the sides of your clawfoot tub. Pick sturdy brackets lined with rubber or soft padding to prevent scratching porcelain. Mounting offers superior stability but does require some basic drilling into tile or drywall.
  • Wall mounts: You can forego brackets on your clawfoot tub entirely by mounting floor-to-ceiling poles on adjacent walls instead. The shower rod would then connect between the two poles hovering in front of your tub space. This is best for smaller tubs that don’t span entire walls.
  • Floor-to-ceiling poles: As the name implies, these poles mount to your floor and ceiling. Shower rods can then be hung from customizable placements along the height of the pole. This is great for adjustable shower rods but does limit space.

Match Antique Hardware Style

Try to choose brackets and poles that match clawfoot tub hardware finishes. Antique brass, chrome, bronze, and nickel are standard options. Matching your shower rod finishing contributes to a cohesive designer look for your bathroom space.

Select Ideal Shower Rod Length

Typical adjustable shower curtain rods range from 48 inches to 72 inches. Consider spring tension rods if you need something beyond this size range for an oversized or unusually shaped clawfoot tub.

Account for Outward Curvature

Rounded rods are preferable for circling the outward curvature of antique tubs. Flexible shower rods with adjustable telescoping lengths allow for the most customization to your tub’s measurements.

Round rodsIdeal for fitted curvature around clawfoot tubs
Square rodsCan appear boxy around rounded tubs

Consider Custom Cut-to-Size

Some specialty vendors offer shower curtain rods for clawfoot tubs custom-sized to your exact specifications. Though pricy, this ensures accuracy between your rod length and tub shape.

Shop for Vintage-Inspired Shower Curtains

It’s about more than just function–pick a shower curtain fabric and aesthetic that complements your antique clawfoot tub style.

Choose Durable Fabric That Repels Mold

Fabrics like polyester and nylon dry faster while fabrics like cotton retain water better in steamy shower conditions. Opt for polyester curtain liners or use cotton outer curtains paired with water-resistant inner liners.

Style It With Retro-Inspired Colors

Search keywords like “vintage” and filter colors to match retro bathroom palettes. Classic white and black inject Victorian elegance while shades like sage green, rose pink, and baby blue play up vintage undertones.

Pair colors with patterns reminiscent of past eras. Damask, toile, floral, paisley, and exotic jungle prints prolong the old-world allure.

Explore Alternative Shower Rod Materials

Iron, aluminum, brass, and stainless steel shower rods are standards for clawfoot tubs. But you can also introduce unique materials like oil-rubbed woods, bamboo, matte metals, or industrial piping:

WoodWarmer, natural look
BambooEco-friendly alternative
Matte BlackBold, modern contrast

Repurpose Household Items

With a little creativity, you can DIY a clawfoot tub shower rod using a vintage cane, beefy wooden curtain rod, or copper piping. Sand and stain items to suit your tastes then attach with heavy-duty brackets.

Choose Complementary Shower Curtain Rings

Shower curtain rings piece everything together–literally. Ball rings with rollers make opening and closing curtains smooth while also preventing fabric friction damage.

Allow 1 to 2 Inches Between Rings

Leaving space between rings helps fabric gather and drape elegantly. Place rings only where needed rather than overcrowding for functionality over appearance.

Match Rod and Ring Finishes

Mismatched metals clash. Look for clawfoot tub shower rings in the same finish as your rod for upscale bathrooms–oil-rubbed bronze with bronze, antique brass with brass.

Consider Clawfoot Tub Shower Rod Kits

Shower rod kits include all necessary mounting hardware plus rings and sometimes even shower curtains. Kits designed specifically for antique tubs save you sourcing individual pieces.

Weigh Convenience vs. Cost

The convenience of an all-inclusive kit comes at a price. Ready-to-install kits cost $150 on average. Compare DIY costs before deciding if a kit’s premium is worthwhile.

Shower Rod KitsPros: Convenient, includes mounting hardwareCons: More expensive than DIY
DIY InstallationPros: Greater control, customize, cost savingsCons: Time investment for assembly

Weigh DIY Clawfoot Tub Shower Rod Options

You can opt for DIY shower rod installation and pick out pieces separately. This allows room for creativity as you problem solve mounting solutions.

Tutorials for Installing DIY Rods

Search online DIY tutorials if you’re nervous about figuring out custom mounts yourself. Videos and blogs detail tips ranging from drilling into tiles for brackets to designing tension rod stabilizers.

Repurpose Existing Straight Rods

One easy DIY trick is repurposing long straight curtain rods. All you need are right-angle brackets. Mount the L-shaped ends along the sides of your clawfoot tub to create a DIY curved rod bracketing the tub.

Use Shower Tension Rods

As a shortcut, pick up Esx stainless steel tension rods with rubber-lined ends. These adjustable spring rods tightly wedge into your tub space without hardware or drilling needs.

For stability concerns, thread tension rods through the rings of a lightweight nylon liner. The tension and liner then sandwich together for added grip.

Tension rods work best for lighter shower curtains. Use caution with heavier custom fabrics or opt for permanent mounting instead.

Finding shower curtains to match the style of your vintage clawfoot tub requires some special measuring and installation considerations. But with the right rods, rings, and fabulous retro-inspired shower curtains, your tub can transcend into an elegant statement piece.

Follow this guide for recommendations ranging from DIY tension rods to professionally designed mounting brackets and kits. With details covered from precise measuring tips to pairing colors and patterns, you’ll pick out gorgeous antique shower curtains in no time.

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