The most popular bathroom color schemes from the 1950s
Article from the Tampa Times (Florida) February 18, 1958
BATHROOM PASTELS: While splashes of bright colors are becoming increasingly popular throughout the home, there is still a need for soft pastels.
In the bathroom, for example, soft pastels are always in good taste. Pink and gray ceramic tile continue to be the most popular bathroom tile colors.
Small bathrooms should use light-colored ceramic tile, and no matter the size of the room, never use more than three colors.
Vintage 1950s bathroom tile ideas
Article from The Baltimore Sun (Maryland) September 14, 1952
Spending more time under the shower in this seemingly hottest of all summers ought to make us appreciate some of the advantages and essential luxury of tiled bathrooms, but it probably does not.
When we have a tiled bathroom, we take it for granted. When we don’t have one, we wish we had one, or don’t know the difference.
Well, there’s a big difference, all right. You can have a smart-looking bathroom, and one easy to clean, too, by using other modern wall and floor coverings. But when it to the resale value of a house — and that’s an acid test — there’s no denying the popular acceptance of tile.
In fact, “tile” — meaning the fired clay product — is so well-established through centuries of use that the Federal Trade Commission ruled that the word can only be used alone to describe genuine clay tile.
The only exception is to hook another word on it, such as plastic tile, asphalt tile, metal tile, and so on.
In all shades
The clay tile industry is now making more than 200 shades of basic colors in wall tiles and almost 100 colors in floor tiles for you to choose from.
One manufacturer plays ball so closely with one of the big makers of plumbing fixtures that you can get tiles and bathtubs and towel racks and soap dishes that are a dead match in dainty pastel shades.
But anyone planning a colored tile bathroom is wise to order both tile and fixtures at about the time ground is broken for the new house. All except a limited number of colors carried in stock by dealers must be ordered from the factory.
A famous sportswriter tells of washing his bands and shaving at a basement sink for a month after he moved into his new home, while his wife waited for the right colored bathroom fixtures.
Incidentally, pink, green, peach, blue and white have long been the most popular colors in bathroom tiles. Since World War II, gray, has become the biggest seller in many localities.
But you can run into a lot of trouble in picking tile colors if you aren’t careful. The material is so permanent that you have to pick a color that will be easy to live with for the rest of your life.
Tile men will warn you not to pick a color because it goes well with some towels you have on hand. You can always get towels. And they’ll advise you not to use more than one, or at the most two, colors in a small bathroom.
Not easy work
The difference in cost for color is negligible. Some tile contractors allow colors or white at the same cost, if they are permitted to use a black trim and black accessories. But such accents can be distracting, and the difference in cost is worthwhile.
Looking at a tiled bathroom, you wonder why it costs so much anyway. To stick those precision measured squares on the wall looks as simple as laying bricks (which you’ve probably never tied).
But tilework is pretty much of an art. Like all things that look simple, its simplicity is very complicated.
For example, skilled tile setters know a sixteenth of an inch so well that when they join their work with fractional pieces of ceramic mosaics, premounted on paper by precision machinery, the whole job has a uniform appearance.
And a good tiled bathroom would float in the ocean, if you dumped it there. What it really amounts to is a concrete shell faced with a decorative glazing.
Bubblegum pink retro bathroom decor from 1954
’50s woman sitting in her all-pink bathroom
Retro pink mid-century bathroom (1958)
Many shades of pink in this 1950s bathroom (1956)
Retro restroom style with decorative rectangular wall tiles (1959)
Pink & white circus stripe tiled children’s bathroom design (1956)
A pale pink-all-over bathroom from the fifties
Pink Hermosa bathroom tile vintage decor (1952)
Simple tiled bathroom countertop in pink, with blue and off-white tiles to the side
Basic popular mid-century peachy beige & and grey shower tile
Retro peachblow pink bathroom with a space for houseplants
Pink mosaic vintage bathroom tile design ideas
Salmon-colored mosaic vintage bathroom tile for walk-in shower
Vintage bathroom decor with brown and beige tile (1954)
Brown & cream vintage tile checkerboard 1950s bathroom design
Old-fashioned brown, tan and gray bathroom decor (1953)
Shades of pink for a bathroom remodel in the fifties
Two tiled bathroom designs from the fifties
Old fashioned ’50s sitting area in a vintage tiled bathroom
This 1950s woman is on her yellow telephone — the color chosen to match her vanity top
Retro fifties bathroom decor in jade green and navy blue with white accents
Various pastel shades throughout this vintage bathroom with loft window
Black accents throughout this bathroom, which also includes a bench seating area
Aqua blue vintage bathroom decor with tile (1959)
Retro bathroom decor in bright turquoise (1958)
SEE MORE FROM THIS HOUSE: Tour the ultimate mid-century modern house: The Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year
Pink and blue tiled bathroom with yellow accents
Mid-century blue bathroom decor from the 1950s
Blue & white Roman-themed bathroom decor with copper fixtures (1954)
Vintage 1958 Briggs bathroom with aqua mosaic tile designs
Pastel blue and white vertical striped tile and a matching blue bathtub (1959)
Blue & pink tiled bathroom decorating from the late fifties
Blue and white retro bathroom with dark wood accents
In the 1950s, tile was one of the most popular bathroom finishes for many reasons: it was hard-wearing and long-lasting, versatile enough to be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces, available in a wide range of colors and patterns, and could even be installed by homeowners.
Vintage fifties tiled bathroom decor in blue and grey with marble-clad bath (1956)
Classic gray tile bathroom decor from 1953
Bathroom design by Pietro Belluschi, FAIA (1955)
“CLAY TILE…AN IDEAL MEDIUM FOR MODERN DESIGN… OFFERS LASTING BEAUTY, EASY CARE”
Here, in clay tiles of contrasting grays and black, is architect Pietro Belluschi’s exciting, practical conception of a modern bath. Imagine how your bath could look with a dash of modern design — and clay tile!
The spacious clay-tiled countertop, which doubles as a vanity, can be easily adapted for dual sinks to ease “traffic congestion.” And through years of wear and tear, clay tile will remain bright and beautiful with minimum effort.
In a luxurious clay tile tub-plunge like this one, bathing becomes a delightful event … with towels within easy reach in the tiled storage space. Picture these same lustrous expanses of glazed wall tile in your bath and stall shower area . . . the most enduringly beautiful of all wall surfaces—and the most practical.
Black, gray & white bathroom-sun patio by Marcel Breuer, AIA (1954)
“CLAY TILE… AN INSPIRATION TO DESIGNERS … A BOON TO THE MODERN HOMEMAKER”
Done in subtly blended clay tiles of black, gray and white, Marcel Breuer, architect of UNESCO building, has designed a bathroom-sun garden that’s sure to stimulate ideas for your bathroom — whether it be modest or frankly luxurious.
Roomy, convenient clay tile counter-tops like this will take suds, wear and water for a lifetime. Anal the clay tile tub and recessed shelf, dramatically reflected in the mirrored storage wall, come sparkling bright with minimum effort.
Note: Another view of this bathroom is featured in the photo above
Pistachio and grey ’50s bathroom with small corner bathtub
Vintage yellow Edward Stone bathroom tile design (1953)
“CLAY TILE MEETS THE CHALLENGE OF MODERN DESIGN …WITH BEAUTY AND PRACTICAL CONVENIENCE”
Noted architect [Edward D] Stone draws a spectacular performance from clay tile in this uniquely modern bathroom design. Imagine the same performance in your home!
Your bathroom — modest or spacious — can sparkle with the same permanent clay tile beauty. The roomy lavatory countertops you see above can be adapted readily to single or dual sinks.
Whether your preference is stall shower, tub or luxurious tub-plunge like the one illustrated, clay tile is the practical and permanent answer to any shower Or tub area. When it comes to bathroom floors — no wax, waterproof, scuff-proof, dent-proof clay tile is always the wisest choice!
And, of course, clay tile walls and wainscot will always hold cleaning chores to a minimum. For a new bath or a remodeled one, work out your own individual design with your nearest clay tile contractor or architect. Ask him to show you the wide range of decorator hues available now in lustrous glazes and muted color tones.
Retro 1950s blue bathroom tile and yellow corner bath & sink
Colorful retro bathroom decor and fixtures (1955)
Plan your new or remodeled bathroom so that it will stay new for years. By selecting these modern fixtures — completely new in design — you can change the accessories as often as you like and have a “new” room each time.
Notice how accessories — the bright rug, striped shower curtain and matching seat — accent the Ming Green fixtures to give this bathroom that “always fresh” look of tomorrow. The tub and lavatory were styled by Walter Dorwin Teague, nationally-known industrial designer.
Blue and red interior decorating with tile from the fifties
Vintage mid-century bathroom tile design with red and blue
1950s woman in a teal tiled bathroom
A retro range of glazed tile sizes (1956)
American-Olean provides a complete range of sizes and shapes in glazed ceramic tile. This variety gives you maximum design freedom in planning every type of installation.
Note particularly the two new sizes: 8-1/2 x 4-1/4 and 6 x 4-1/4. These two new shapes were developed to meet the increasing demand for larger unit tiles, and they offer new design possibilities to the architect.
The smallest size, 1-1/4″ squares, in single colors or in multi-colored treatments, achieve a strikingly handsome effect when featured on walls. They are being widely used for architectural coloration on the exteriors of buildings.
New crystalline glazes, abrasion-resistant for heavy foot traffic, to harmonize with wall tile colors, have just been made available.