This No-Demo Bathroom Redo Makes a Blue 1950s Tub Look Totally Chic

published Feb 20, 2024
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So many apartment-dwellers handle pastel-colored bathroom fixtures from a bygone era with grace and style. Another renter to add to the list: Mitch Weisen, who brought out the very best in her own bathroom’s original fixtures.

When Mitch moved into their 978-square-foot Philly rowhome, “Most rooms could be improved with some scrubbing and a fresh coat of paint, but the bathroom was in need of the most help by far,” Mitch says. The room had off-white 1980s tile, rusty light fixtures, mismatched hardware (a mixture of brass, chrome, wood, and plastic), and, of course, that centerpiece blue 1950s tub. 

“Being a renter, I’m happy with how far this space has come with some relatively small rental-friendly upgrades!” Mitch says. Here’s how they made the blue tub look chic.

Credit: Yuk K Tsang

The vanity got a paint upgrade.

In addition to the hardware and floors and tub, another aspect of the bathroom Mitch didn’t like was the vanity. But even though the aesthetics weren’t ideal, the piece had good bones. Eventually, Mitch stripped the old white plastic coating off the vanity and painted it blue (Sherwin-Williams’ Wondrous Blue) to match the tub. They also took the opportunity to upgrade the hardware on the cabinet, along with the hardware throughout the rest of the room.

Vinyl stickers rescued the floors. 

On the floor, Mitch went to the opposite side of the color wheel. “I got some vinyl stickers to cover half the floor tiles to create a checkered look and distract from the ‘80s builder-grade tile,” they explain. Mitch’s stickers are from Etsy.

Accessories make the whole space sing.

After their paint and vinyl remedies — plus a new light and mirror above the vanity — Mitch added smart finds that warmed up the small space and added function. 

“Once the walls and baseboards had a fresh coat of paint, I decorated,” Mitch says. “I added a little wooden shelf under my mirror to hold some odds and ends, I put up some art, I found a sweet little sewing cabinet from the ’40s that was just the right size for the space, and I hung a plant in the shady window to grow long and leggy.” (Their sewing cabinet was a Facebook Marketplace find.)

Now, Mitch’s bathroom is a blue and orange beauty that feels just as creative and vibrant as they are. For more makeovers that keep the colorful bathroom fixtures, check out the green tub and toilet in this bathroom, the pink fixtures in this one, and the blue fixtures in this $500 project.