Liner tiles add personality and quality your retro bathroom — and where to find them

Retro salt and pepper tile with black and gold liner

How to spice up inexpensive 4×4 wall tiles in your retro renovation bathroom? Liner tiles add expense – but they are well worth considering because of their amazing decorative punch. They are so very typical of the postwar era. Snoop in the bathrooms at estate sales and you are sure to see their perky little appearance.

Liner tile from B&W Tile

Another great example:

Pink bathroom tile with green and lilac liner

Flickr friend Humblelabor provides these images – see more on her photostream. I am particularly in love with the first image — the salt & pepper tile with the black & gold liner tile. Isn’t that snazzy!

Liner tile for 40s 50s 60s bathrooms

The color photos in this post are vintage. But the liner tile samples are from B&W Tile’s website. In addition to offering many authentic vintage colors – including the iconic Mamie pink – B&W also can custom color – hand-paint – liner tiles to match your specifications. Regarding multi-color liners or liners matched with field tile in general: Think complementary color in equal hues and values… be careful about contrast, don’t make this too jarring…this is the kind of decorative decision you want to be not too hot, not too cold, just right.

I have to say, if I had my bathrooms to do over again – I’d put these in, in a heartbeat. I particularly like “Deco” and “Pearl” handpainted in multiple pastel shades. So sweet!

If you just want plain liner tiles, I also see them available from Dal-tile. For authenticity’s sake, I recommend staying with the narrow 1/2″ style x 6″ long. Top with 2×6 or 4×4 bullnose tiles in the same color filed as your wall tile. Amy’s 1964 salt ‘n pepper bathroom actually shows a liner topped by a 4″ field tile then a 2×6 bullnose – looks good this way, too.

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Comments

  1. Elvis says

    Almost more than the liner tiles, I love that salt-and-pepper field tile!
    Pam, have you found that available today? It would be a fab replacement for the more modern tiles installed in my yellow bath.

  2. says

    Elvis – salt n pepper tiles are still available today! You can get them at Daltile and American Olean (these are the same company) in a couple of colorways. Also, I believe, at U.S. Ceramic. Maybe more. Interestingly, I see they are now available at Daltile/AO in mosaic sizes, too – they even have a banner photo showing this. Everything old is new again!!!

  3. Cloudy says

    OH My Stars & Bars!!! Imagine my surprise tonite when I entered retro world here and found my EXACT black & gold liner tile! And I DO mean EXACT! I didn’t know anyone else in the WORLD had my tile! Now I’m actually kind of bummed because I really thought I was the only one. Damnit!

  4. says

    I would like to get in touch with your Flickr friend Humblelabor as she has some great pictures of tile floors for a bathroom. I need to put a new floor in my 50’s tan/pink bathroom, and am stuck! I don’t really love Marmoleum… it’s a bit flat looking. The azrock tiles might be nice, but what about a real tile floor?

    I like the ones that Humblelabor has on her flicker site!! How do I contact her?

    Joan Becich from Ashland OR

  5. pam kueber says

    Joan, for privacy reasons I cannot give out reader emails. But contacting someone who has a flickr account is easy. 1) join flickr, it’s free, 2) make them a Contact, 3) send them flickr mail – it’s at the top right of your flickr logon screen. I notice from humblelabor’s photos – the 1955 house set – another house with hex tile bathroom flooring.

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