10 tips to renovate your pink bathroom

Seems like the #1 issue for new retro renovators is: What to do with my pink bathroom? And I say: What a great problem to have! Mamie pink bathrooms — along with vintage steel kitchen cabinets and 9″x9″ vinyl tiles — are arguably my very favorite things about the era. Not that I don’t have many more.

Today, we look at the topic again – using Catherine’s 1948 bathroom as an example. If you have a pink bathroom, I have 10 recommendations for you:

  1. White it out. To start. That is, paint your walls white (SW Porcelain) so that you can become one with the pink.
  2. Strip your cabinetry and paint it white with the very very best paint that you can find. Honestly – excellent paint shows.
  3. Wallpaper! Bradbury & Bradbury has several designs that would be fabulous in a pink or pink-and-black bathroom. Or, buy vintage, I found several examples that could work, right away. Hey: You have a pink bathroom — it’s like being a flaming redhead. You aren’t going to hide it. Go with it.
  4. Coordinate your towels and shower curtains with the wallpaper, not so much the tile.
  5. Flooring: American Olean Chloe in white, or white with the black dot if you have black trim, are good choices. Catherine has pink metal tiles, so if she wants to re-do the floor, I’d recommend VCT tiles or even better, sheet. Just be careful and don’t let water sit in the corners where the VCT floor meets the tub, it will rot through over time.
  6. Windows: Finish these off with 2″ metal blinds, or a simple pleated or roller shade.
  7. Other fixtures, like mirrors, towel bars, etc.: Keep them if you can! If you need a new sink or toilet, you are fortunate, Catherine, it’s pretty easy to match white and there’s lots of vintage stock around. For those of you with pink fixtures – be very careful before you make a new purchase to ensure the colors really match – there were many variations back in the day. A good way to test, Palm Springs Stephan has recommended, is with a paint color chip.
  8. Add a bathroom exhaust fan. Put it on a separate switch with its own timer and use it!
  9. If you need to replace chrome faucets, cabinet pulls and towel bars, I have a handful of what I consider the best alternatives on this site.
  10. And if you need new laminate for your countertops, I have three choices for you here; there are also some basic carrera marble laminates that would be fine:

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  1. SurfaceToAirMedia says

    The half-bath in our master bedroom is a pink and grey number from 1961. And despite what my husband says, it’s not going ANYWHERE. 🙂 Thanks for this entry, love your site!

  2. Sumac Sue says

    I love the black touches in Catherine’s bathroom. Our tiny pink half bath doesn’t have such detail, but it still is sweet. The upper walls in ours originally were white. I made the mistake of painting them a pale lavender gray. It was awful with the pink. So, back to white they went.

  3. bombshell says

    i’m loving the wallpaper options. such better choices than the last time i viewed wallpaper.. granted, that was the early 90s and the ago of the ivy vines and / or sunflowers everywhere in the kitchen and bathroom

  4. says

    OMG, I remember the ivy everywhere! Your are new, bombshell – but become a regular and you will learn that I am a BIG FAN of wallpaper.

  5. catherine says

    It appears the walls were a sea foam green before they were painted white. An additional bathroom was installed in the garage, and I think the original sink is out there (it’s tiny, wall mounted with chrome legs.) The floor is a brown-grey marbled color, which I like and will probably leave. The bath has all original fixtures, black towel rods, recessed soap, and toilet paper holder. And Pam, I am definitely getting those samples from Bradbury! I really like the grey Googieland, I think it would pick up the grey in the floor and the pink of the tile. Thanks for featuring my home, you are amazing!

  6. MaryJo says

    Thanks so much for the tips–your site has sooo much wonderful information. I am looking for some chrome legs for my wonderful green bathroom sink–any ideas where I can find legs only?

  7. says

    MaryJo, search “Franklin Brass” on this site – Search box is at the top of the first sidebar. They have some chrome legs at a reasonable price. You can also look at your local ReStore and sometimes, you can even find old, cheapy versions at a hardware store. Make sure they are long enough – measure your sink from the ‘top’ of the hole for the legs, to the floors. As the legs are not structurally supportive, you can put a a rubber gasket(s) in the hole to provide a little more length – you can also put something at the bottom of the leg to nudge the legs to fit well and also to protect your tile from scratches if the legs move.

  8. says

    Just popped by as I am in the process of creating a 1949-1950 vintage influenced basement bathroom. I have no original bathroom features left in our 1949 house. I found the comments interesting!!

  9. Roman says

    Hi There! I am trying to fix my parents (pink) bathroom and am having a dickens of a time with the vanity and sink. They have a pink sink with a lighter pink vanity cabinet and it needs to be replaced but I can’t find any pink vanities ANYWHERE! My parents don’t want white so…..any ideas where I can find a pink vanity and sink? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

    • says

      Roman, can you email me photos of your project. That will help in making recommendations. Sounds fun – and what a great son you are for helping your parents! email to pam at retrorenovation dot com

  10. daviskyle says

    have pink painted bathroom cabinets that are not in the best of conditions. r there any ideas what to do other than paint white? bottom cabinet only with a pink tile top and pint sink?

    • Pam Kueber says

      how about refacing the cabinets with laminate including adding new laminate doors? see my Bathroom Vanities photo-set up in Galleries (top of page). There is a ton you can do with laminate….and if your home is 50s or on, it would be authentic…

  11. Stephanie says

    Thanks for all the tips…we also have a pink and grey bathroom. The walls are white and cabinets are already white but still trying to figure out the rest of the details. Thanks for the Bradbury recommendation, I might go with one of their wallpaper options.

  12. DCAT says

    I’m so glad I found this site my mother passed away few months ago and I now have her 1950-1960s home with a pink bathroom. When i was going up I had mixed feelings about it, so I had thought of removing the pink tile until i found this site and now I really can say I LOVE my pink tile. Some of the tiles have little flowers that are gray and black on them. So this is now my problem I have god awful yellow linoleum flooring I would like to replace with tile just unsure of what kind and what color to use and what color to paint my walls I was thinking a very dusty gray to match the flowers. I also was thinking of replacing my white toilet with a pink one I don’t know if I really need to go that far. Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated.

  13. David says


    So were does one get the light fixtures that are mounted to the left and right side of the mirror. My style is a little different as the above photo but the same concept . Thank you

  14. Carol Martin says

    I too have a pink bathroom…I cant say I’m in love with it but trying to blend in the old with the new. To replace my vanity I had to remove a ceramic soap dish and need a pink tile or two ug….so the search is on also…I also want to remove the sliding glass doors with the mermaid…It is retro indeed…..think I could sell it?

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