How to create a midcentury style pink bathroom from almost scratch. I was on a tight budget, so I utilized inexpensive options that aren’t short on midcentury style. I hope you enjoy!
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How I Created Midcentury Pink Bathroom on a Budget
We finally created our new midcentury inspired pink bathroom on less than a $1,500 budget. This is a jack-n-jill full-bath between our bedroom and the guest bedroom (my dressing room) in our mid mod ranch home. We knew when we bought our 1954 midcentury home that we needed plumbing work done to the bathroom. This required demolishing the floor tile. Don’t worry, it wasn’t original. I didn’t include this plumbing in the budget as we worked that into the offer we made for the home. Read previous post to learn a little bit about our home and why we moved to Tucson, Arizona.
What I mean when I say “we”: I designed the room and sourced each item. Kevin (my husband) did most of the labor. We hired a professional for setting the floor tile. Not because we don’t know how to tile, but because we are still burnt out from our 9 year long restoration of a 1900 Edwardian home. If you know, you know.
You see, I’ve wanted a pink midcentury or art deco bathroom for a long time. I’m somewhat of a vintage bathroom nerd. Our last home was a 1900 Edwardian in Pittsburgh that we restored. Our bathroom had pink plastic wall tiles from the 1960s. It certainly wasn’t salvageable as they were faded and adhesive could be seen through the tile! Heart broken, but I knew I’d have my own pink bathroom someday.
I love Pam from Retro Renovation #SavePinkBathroom ‘s plight. I credit her for saving so many pink bathrooms! I think i originally discovered her plight on Flickr nearly 15 years ago! Her site, Retro Renovation, is such an informative site if you are looking for historical accuracy on midcentury (not necessarily modern) design. Personally, I am into historic preservation with a mix of modern lines and a dose of kitsch. My main love is Hollywood Regency, but I digress.
For this bathroom, I wanted an homage to midcentury pink bathrooms. I was so enamored with the design concept that I purchased a pink Universal Rundle toilet and sink from my neighbor. These were originally in his 1950s ranch home. Unfortunately the toilet and sink literally couldn’t fit without changing plumbing as our toilet needs to sit really close to the sink. I tried! It’s for sale now, hit me up if you want to pick up in Tucson, Arizona.
Once it was decided that we would create a midcentury inspired bathroom, I hoped to find actually vintage pieces. I looked and looked everywhere locally for a pink wall mount sink, a small vanity, or vintage light fixtures! None of these occurred. I scoured estate sales and marketplace for months. Of course, I could find these online, but it is much more economical to find in person and I had limited funds. Thus it happened that this pink bathroom wasn’t going to be extremely historically accurate, but definitely inspired by midcentury bathrooms. Just like my personal clothing style, I mix new and vintage in the home.
First we had to decide what to keep to save money.
What we kept:
- The layout: I generally always keep the layout for budget sake and also historical accuracy. Changing plumbing and toilet rough-in could easily have added much more money.
- Subway tile in shower surround: The previous owners installed this and I think it looks fine! However if you want a true historic look, go for a 4″ x 4″ square tiles about 3/4 up the wall. Or even run the same mosaic floor tile up the wall!
- Mirrors: We kept both mirrors (one is a medicine cabinet). Likely these were replaced by a previous owner. I love them and while not original, they keep the original vibe alive and only hardcore vintage nerds like myself will be able to pick out that they aren’t original at a glance.
- Shower faucets: These ARE orginal. I believe they are Crane – the Cadillac of midcentury faucets. I have a thing for orignal faucets. They make me sweat.
- Hardware: Door knobs! They are original, so duh we kept them!!! We also kept the shower tension rod, toilet paper holder, towel rod, and robe hooks. None of these are orginal, but they do the job!
- Doors & door trim: I always suggest keeping original doors if they are good shape.
What we replaced:
- Floor tile: I knew I wanted to go with a 50s inspired tiled floor. To save money we bought pink Merola Crystalline Square mosaic tile. We used a grey grout.We hired someone to install this tile. Definitely the feature of the bathroom! As I type this, this exact tile is out of stock. It was available in multiple colorways, here it is in blue! This Merola Academy pink tile was a close second!
- Vanity: Our vanity when we purchased the home was not in the best of shape and probably from the early 2000s. I wanted something with more modern lines. I also wanted to show off the feature tile floor. I bet originally there was a wall hung sink.
- I decided on a wall mount IKEA GODMORGON white vanity with sink to save on money. Have you seen how much new vanities are?! It’s easy to break a limited budget! This one is definitely economical!
- Our other bathroom has an original vanity (see photo below). It is a two toned vanity similar in theme to our built-in hallway linen closet. I wanted to create continuity throughout the house by extending the running theme into the small bath.
- To give the cabinet a more upscale look: I ordered real walnut doors for our Ikea Godmorgon from Semihandmade. I bought brass disc knobs from Rejuvenation. We have similar original disc knobs in our built-in linen closet in the hallway (see above photo).
- I debated hard on a chrome or gold/brass faucet. I decided that the original door knobs are brass, so I could go with my preferred gold/brass. This faucet is not even close to historically accurate, but I love the playfulness of a brass faucet. We also needed a one hole faucet and this Glacier Bay faucet is about as inexpensive as you can find!
- Toilet: As mentioned before, I couldn’t use the vintage pink toilet we bought because the toilet sits awfully close to the sink hookup. The previous toilet sat at an angle to fit (it isn’t very apparent in photos). Who wants a toilet to sit at an awkward angle? Solution: find a narrow toilet. I literally began the search by googling “narrowest toilet” and comparing measurements, prices, and reviews! Not only is the Swiss Madison Ivy toilet narrow without feeling tiny, it’s very budget friendly for a space and water saving design. Note: It is warped in photos, so it is narrower in real life. The toilet seat it comes with isn’t very nice, so we bought our own Kohler toilet seat.
- Lighting: I wasn’t a fan of our previous lights. Our previous boob light would have thrown this whole mid mod aesthetic off! Oh how I wish the original 1950s features existed! I wanted to stay on budget and at least reference the midcentury. I don’t think you will believe how inexpensive these lights are! Under $15 for the ceiling light. It is a no fuss light that totally works! We put the same light in our hallway, but spray painted the chrome part gold! This vintage reproduction vanity light looks so authentic it hurts! It was $21. Two lights for under $50 unheard of!
- Wall color: I played around with taking a color from the floor tile and putting it on the walls. However, I prefer a salmony pink. I think it’s a fun contrast to the rose shades in the floor. The color is Sherwin Williams: Oleander in satin.
- Vintage accessories: Personally I think if you are going to create a bathroom with a mid mod vibe you should have at lease some vintage accessories. I’m not really big into vintage reproductions unless done really really really well. We lucked out when I found most of the vintage accessories at the same estate sale! The shower curtain which is light and keeps our bathroom from being too monochromatic, the shag rug, the regal poodle photo (this is my favorite detail. THE PILLOWS! I die.), and the towels: all came from the same estate! The previous owners had great taste! The garbage can is vintage too. If you must know, vintage garbage cans also make me sweat! In a good way!
- Floor trim: When Kevin removed the vanity, we discovered that much of the floor trim was missing. If you have a midcentury home with modernist lines, you want unobtrusive trim. The profile is sometimes called: Hygienic trim or ranch trim. Kevin installed this and it looks great!
- Soap dispenser. I actually had this soap dispenser in our other bathroom. But it looks so much better here! I also have the coordinating toothbrush holder.
Summary of items we purchased:
- Floor Tile: This style of Merola tile seems to come in and out of stock. It was available in multiple colorways, here it is in blue! This pink tile was a close second!
- Vanity: Ikea GODMORGON in white
- Vanity Doors: Semihandmade in Walnut
- Vanity Knobs: Rejuvenation
- Sink Faucet: Glacier Bay
- Toilet: Swiss Madison Ivy
- Vanity Light: This vintage reproduction light is very inexpensive & is available in multiple sizes!
- Overhead Light: Your basic inexpensive ceiling light that can fit in midcentury homes.
- Paint: Sherwin Williams: Oleander
- Soap dispenser: I actually had this soap dispenser in our other bathroom. But it looks so much better here! I also have the coordinating toothbrush holder too.
Currently we are restoring our main bathroom.
Our larger main bathroom has many more original features (vanity, counter, wood beamed vaulted ceiling, bath faucets, and tub/tile/sink). At this moment there is paint stripper soaking the paint off of our vintage yellow tile. The previous owners covered the shower surround, bathtub, and sink in epoxy. It was peeling when we purchased the home.
I feel yellow bathrooms don’t get the love they deserve so it’s a good thing I don’t listen to popular opinion! I’m curious if I could make it palatable to the masses? Probably not. Heck I even declared myself a fat 30 something year old weirdo three years ago! If you are reading this, thank you for having good taste!
Sneak peek of current project:
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