The first colors for bathroom fixtures — Kohler introduces sink, tub and toilet sets in six colors, 1927

“…We had color in the bathroom; now we have the bathroom in color — a complete color ensemble, a new color charm…. six lovely permanent shades…”

the first green color for sinks tubs and toilets introduced by kohler in 19271927 was a momentous year in bathroom history — that’s when Kohler became the first company to introduce complete suites of sinks, tubs and toilets, in six glorious colors. I found this old catalog from 1928 that features beautiful, glowy photos of the bathrooms in the six colors —  Horizon Blue, Old Ivory, Spring Green, Lavender, Autumn Brown and West Point Gray. Gorgeous! Golly, though, the Lavender fixtures in these illustrations sure looks like Pink to me. I asked Kohler archivist Angela Miller, and she confirmed, “Lavender does look pinkish in the literature, a little more lavender in person. Although, still more on the pink side.” So there: Our first pink bathroom fixtures, I declare it so. And blue and green and yellowish and yes, even beige and gray. Continue clickin’ to see the rest of the historic bathroom colors, along with bathroom illustrations that suggest just how beautiful high-end bathrooms could be in the roaring ’20s, before the party shut down –>

The catalog says:

This is an age of color. Recent years have seen a remarkable increase in its use in interior decoration — and not alone for its mere decorative value, but for its effect upon happiness and well-being. Color in the world out-of-doors affects our moods, our outlook upon life. And properly employed within the house, it has a like effect.

The bathroom has, of course, shared in this growing use of color. Bright touches have appeared in towels and rugs and window hangings, and latterly, in shower curtains. It has crept into walls and floor, and sometimes to the very rim of the bath tub.

But there, in most instances, the color stopped. The most important things in the bathroom — the plumbing fixtures — were white. We perhaps got to thinking that they had to be white.

And the like was true of the kitchen and laundry.

Kohler Fixtures in Color: So the announcement of Kohler Plumbing Fixtures in color was really a major innovation. We had color in the bathroom; now we have the bathroom in color — a complete color ensemble, a new color charm…. six lovely permanent shades, of blue, green, gray, brown, lavender and ivory.

colors for bathroom sinks tubs and toilets introduced by kohler in 1927


It’s so interesting to see the color combinations in 1927. Lavender and yellow and green — why not! Also, I love tile run this high all around a room… and a tub/shower that’s arched or built in: Yum.

 

Kohler’s website now features a timeline showing the years for all their colors. These color chips, as rendered, seem quite “off” to me…I’d trust the printed documents first…

Here’s another image that Kohler sent to me, read the color and decorating combinations that the company recommended back in the day.

A closeup of Kohler’s recommended color combinations to achieve different design styles:  Italian, English, Colonial, Modern, French, Spanish, Provincial. This is SO COOL. 1927-ish

Link love:

Readers, which of these first colors is your favorite?

 

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Comments

  1. Dot says

    The bathroom with the tub in the alcove reminds me of my grandparents’ bathroom in Illinois, it was green with black and yellow/cream trim. Thanks for taking me back. Love all the colors.

  2. Susie Q. says

    Those illustrations are GORGEOUS. The wall and floor tiles look iridescent! The color palette seems very Poiret.

  3. bux1234567 says

    I think that all of these bathrooms, fixtures and colors are great and fun. What a shame that these elements are what that the HGTV shows look down on and say that they simply must go, all in favor of just one more been-there-done-that, “spa”-inspired bathroom—zzzzzz.

  4. Leeann says

    i just salvage a gorgeous kohler spring green pedestal sink in mint condition. Now trying to find a matching toilet. I can only find american standard Ming green. From photographs they look alike but I haven’t seen them in person. Does anyone know if the colors are the same or almost the same? Even if it’s not exact that’s fine, but I don’t want it to be really noticeable? They wouldn’t be next to each other to compare, just on opposite sides of the bathroom. Any info on this would be great!
    Thanks Leeann

    • pam kueber says

      See our research on where to get toilets including pink in the Bathroom Help / Toilets category – it’s right at the top, I believe.

  5. Patti says

    If someone could help me…..I’m looking for the lavender tiles, as many as I can get. I have a bathroom entirely in lavender from the original tiles and I’m doing a renovation, so I need some….can anyone help me?

  6. leisha leach says

    Hi I’m trying to find out where I can purchase a purple/lavender toilet, face basin and bath tub

    • pam kueber says

      Leisha, these colors are not available new, as far as I can tell. So to find them, you’d need to find vintage.

  7. Rick says

    I am looking for a Kohler round toilet seat in Spring Green. Toilet was manufactured in 1931. Bemis does not carry this color.
    Thank you

  8. Debbi White says

    I found a 1927 Kohler tub that the owner says is just dirty (looks more than dirty in the picture). Also says it shows 1927 Kohler somewhere on it. It doesn’t have the claw feet. Any idea what it would take (moneywise) to restore it? And where should I look for those feet and what should I expect to pay? Do you have a picture of what they look like? The ad also says they have the original porcelain faucets (not shown in the picture)? Do you know the length/width? Blessings, Debbi

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