Working The Vintage Bathroom Tile

Working The Vintage Bathroom Tile

Leah Moss
Mar 15, 2010

While many of us delight in the legacy of mid-century design, there are probably far fewer of us who relish the bold tile choices associated with retro-era bathrooms. And admittedly, pepto-bismal pink tiles are not the easiest to ignore or "tie in" quietly. The key seems to be in playing into their funk.

• 1. February's Lonny Magazine showcased Lizzie Bailey's retro pink-tiles bathroom, which she decked out with an Albert Hadley black and white patterned wallpaper. The paper adds a bit of graphic modern flair but also relates well to the classic vintage vibe of the space. She also used black and white Albert Hadley sketches and black and white photos to tie the wallpaper further into the decor.
• 2., 8. Admittedly black and white is probably the easiest tile choice to work with, but I was so taken with the simple chic solutions that Alex incorporated into his old tiled bath that I couldn't help but include it. Black is hardly a common choice for the bathroom, but Alex took a cue from his black and white tiles to give his retro bath a chic masculine feel. He plays up the old world appeal with a billowy navy blue curtain, nautical paintings, and brass accents. Check out his full house tour here.
• 3. Apartment Therapy New York's talented Geoff Bentz's fabulous bathroom makeover. I would never have thought red and white stripes could look so good with baby blue! I think this is a perfect example of going full steam ahead with a bold idea. Using a milder color could have left the bathroom feeling mushy or too cutesy, but the barber shop stripes and strong-statement vintage accents bring out the tile's best. To see more, including before pictures, click here.
• 4., 7. If you haven't noticed by the number of times I've referred to this image, Nicole and Colin's bath is one of my favorites. They worked their mustard yellow and black tiles in by choosing a shower curtain that contained the same saffron color, and then they painted the walls the other silvery sage color contained in the shower curtain. For the final touch, they used black and white art to tie in the black of the bullnose tile. To see their whole house tour, click here.
• 5., 6. Another house tour favorite of mine is Mara and Micheal's pink and cream tiled bath photographed by the talented Laure Joliet of Apartment Therapy LA. Mara painted the large graphic floral pattern in colors that compliment the original pink and creamy yellow tile, while also adding some modern spunk to the old bath. See the full tour here.
• 9. In my own retro bath makeover, I played up the boldness of the black and white vintage tile with an equally bold wall color, and then tempered it by painting a black silhouette scene of my daughters and adding in a few other black and white accents. Check out the full makeover here.

How have you worked in your vintage tile?

(Images: 1: Lonny, 2, 8: Rachel Grad for Apartment Therapy DC, 3: Geoff Bentz for Apartment Therapy New York, 4, 7: Leah Moss for Apartment Therapy DC, 5, 6: Laure Joiliet for Apartment Therapy LA, 9: Leah Moss)

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