Vintage bathroom tile — 171 photos of readers’ bathroom designs

Uploader now closed. Thank you, readers, for all the photos of your bathrooms — 171 in all, and lots of fantastic references and ideas here!

Friday on the blog I showed you a video of my beige bathroom tile with white bullnose. My tile is new, but it replicated the look of old. Above: clg1977’s “recently refreshed” master bathroom, just uploaded — yum, I have vintage liner tile envy.

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:


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  1. hannah says

    Picture #20, from Jeanne –

    What do you suppose the thinking was back in the day that towel bars were hung INSIDE the shower? Ours had two, we removed them both (as they were added later with a different tile) and just use the pieces (that are adhered to the original tiles) that held the bar to hang my scrubby loofa things on. *shrugs*

    • says

      Hannah, maybe the shower bars were for hanging wet washcloths or to drip-dry clothes (remember those?). We could use them today for my husband’s swim trunks and towels several times a week.

      • hannah says

        Hi Jane,

        Yes, I surely remember drip-dry clothing but I don’t recall it being hung out in the bathroom. More likely outside? Baby boomer here, so I think I’d recall if that was the function.

        I’m thinking this is more of a 30’s/40’s/50’s throw back for some reason?

    • Jeanne says

      Hi Hannah. I’m thinking people took more baths than showers? So the towels didn’t get wet? The house I grew up in (1952/pink & black bath) also had a towel bar in the shower area. I use mine to set my bottles of shampoo and conditioner on it. The balance perfectly. 🙂

      • hannah says

        Hi Jeanne –

        Well, when I think about it, when the option to shower came along over a tub bath, it was a welcomed change. A quick and easy way to wash off the days work. The water from the shower would totally wet any towel. And, if it’s just for “wursh rags” (as my grandmother would say), then it’s a bit of wasted space. Yes? No?

        Maybe Pam can do some research on this oddity of the 50s/60s bathroom design feature. I know our 70s bathroom (house built in southern CA in the mid 60s) didn’t have this feature.

    • Lynn says

      Thanks! That is the master bath in my soon-to-own house. We close next week.
      I’m not sure how I want to decorate this one. I almost want to do a rustic-y 1950s camp feel with gingham curtains. The other bath is pink and I found a vintage looking tablecloth with cowboys and cactus that I want to make into curtains..


  2. RangerSmith says

    Wow Pam you really set yourself up for a working weekend – having to edit and size all of these wonderful pictures but I hope you realize how helpful this is. Not knowing what to do with my peach & blue tiled bathroom (#s 31 & 32) is what brought me to your site in the first place. You’ve helped educate me that peach tile is not a bad thing and in fact is part of the integrity of my house. I even when ahead and wallpapered one wall in the bathroom. Thanks for the education and entertainment!

  3. Karen says

    I love these photos and am so thankful to have references! Just 2 weeks ago, I decided to remodel my small powder room in the vintage theme. The hunt has been on!

    I decided on Daltile Aqua Glow (a five week wait), white and black tiles and just cannot wait to get this started!

  4. Bird says

    Thank you for posting my bathroom photos, Pam! (Bird & Ernie’s 1948 yellow and black). It took me a while to love this bathroom– a minor remodel helped. Ernie hates it. If I gave him a green light, he would take a crowbar to that tile.

    When we bought the house, this bathroom was a true time capsule, and even I (a vintage lover) couldn’t live with certain elements. So we updated a few things, including the new black quartz countertop. Although the black quartz looks good with the tile, it shows every soapy water spot…oops. Strangely, the hardest thing to find was the right shower curtain! I tried several and finally hit upon the right one: an open mesh of black and gold metallic thread, which lets light into the tub area. The decorative vintage items are a Turner cockatoo airbrush (in cheap plastic frame!), a plaster cat head from Miller Studio, two MIJ wall pockets and, sitting on the toilet tank, a Sascha Brastoff bowl in the “surf ballet” pattern.

    • Victoria says

      I really liked your bathroom colors and think that the new countertop is a nice way of integrating new with old.

    • Jodi says

      Bird, Your bathroom is an ispiration toy own time capsule update. Do you know the name of the yellow wall tile?

      • pam kueber says

        Jodi, FYI, try B&W Tile – they make a nice yellow. Use Search box on this site to pull up my stories – there is one that points to a way to see B&W colors online.

  5. Janet says

    I posted this under Pam’s video so it may be showing up twice if Pam doesn’t delete the other one. Duh, gotta wake up. Anyhow, here it is:
    Lots of great new pictures this morning to moon over! I love the multi-colored floor tile in the bathroom Chaz has. Do you happen to have found any extra tile, any color? And whoever has the step up shower they are thinking to remove, let me tell you that you can’t find that tile. My bathroom that is tiled wall to ceiling has that bad back wall and we can’t find that anywhere. So if you rip yours out, we need that off-white tile to fix it. Our only other option is to fix it with other color tile we can find and make it multi-colored. In the meantime, we are living with plastic taped over the two huge holes. We have the same cast iron contoured bathtub as is shown in the Ming Green bath. Again, we don’t know if we have enough of the tile to repair the floor if we replace the tub. We did find some white and some of the black floor tile in the attic, but it isn’t enough for major repairs. I am not averse to mixing the colors; I think it is a wonderful look and fortunately the bath and fixtures are entirely white so anything goes. So if anyone has any of those little “chicklet” tiles, I need some! Once that is done, I need to figure out what to do with the ugly oak vanity replaced in the seventies.

    • Kae says

      Hi Janet – If you are referring to the step-in “roman tub” with the 1 inch tiles, then I will say that you are welcome to them if we decide to take them out. I just don’t know what to do with it. It’s not really functional as a tub, since it’s uncomfortable and doesn’t hold heat. It works fine as a shower, but IMO it is “aesthetically challenged”. Then there is the “brick” floor and the “acorn” tile counter…

      • Janet says

        Kae, that’s the one! If you do rip it out, keep in touch! Since we don’t know what to do with our tub walls yet, it may be some time before we fix it! I am thinking of doing the multi-color thing with a few different colors here and there, but I don’t know where to get those either, unless someone who does tile work has a stash of them! Always so much to think about!

  6. Janet says

    Shane, I love the cube windows in your shower wall! Beautifully done! I am getting so eager to fix my bath now. It has been in limbo for years and I am getting so many ideas. It is so bad, I wouldn’t even consider sending in a photo even though the fully tiled room is so unusual. I do have the towel bar in the tub area too but it doesn’t bother me, being on the wall opposite from the faucets. I will have to say that one on the long back wall probably wouldn’t matter because our water pressure is so low, it practically only dribbles from the shower head anyhow! And I have to say how I laughed over the short walls hiding the toilets. When we were looking for our first house, my mother’s main concern was that you couldn’t see, or hear, the toilet while in the kitchen or dining area. That was a big turn-off for her so I see the point of the little walls; she most definitely would have approved! That little wall is so old fashioned for sure. Once again, thank you all for the great photos.

  7. Janet says

    Thrifty gal, love your sink and the soap holders with the angels in them! I have been curious about something since we rented a house in 1991 while building our last house. One bathroom in that house and quite a few of the bathrooms shown here have a large empty space under the counter next to the vanity. One photo shows a scale in there. What was really the purpose of this space? For a wastebasket or laundry basket and the scale or maybe a short vanity stool? I have always wondered about that; it seems to show up quite frequently in bathrooms of this era.

    • pam kueber says

      I think they were dressing table space. The Mrs. would have a vanity stool that tucked underneath … pull it out … and do her hair and makeup.

      • Janet says

        Pam, that is what I thought too! Yesterday at the chiropractor’s, I saw the perfect short little stool to roll right under there! I can just see a cute little tilting mirror on the countertop!

      • Cynthia says

        Yup, I have vivid memories of my grandmother sitting on her little gold pull-out stool in the pink bathroom of her 1955 ranch in Wauwatosa, WI, doing her hair and makeup with a mirror that sat on the countertop. The memories are made much easier by the fact that the house was purchased a few years ago by a dear friend of the family. So it is still “in the family” and is the house we stay in when we go to Wisc. Our friend does not have a stool there, but every time I go in the bathroom, I can still picture my grandmother sitting there…

  8. tammyCA says

    I love the shade of the aqua tile in the mackay bathroom…wish I had that shade blue, but they didn’t have it at b&w.

  9. Michael Riffkind says

    The bathroom sink in our 60’s home is cracked. We need to find a source for 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 pink cap tiles and field tiles so we can remove the sink and redo the counter top.

    • pam kueber says

      Michael, see my category Bathrooms/Tile — I have numerous stories and resources on where to find this. Good luck.

  10. says

    Many sincere thanks to Kate H. who posted the picture of the enclosed master bath shower (image 118).

    We had this (almost) exact shower in our late 60’s home in Ft Smith, Arkansas. I have been scouring the net for a picture of an enclosed shower of this design.

    The great thing about this shower design is not just its looks, but the function. Essentially, the shower, because of its enclosed design, functions as a sort of steam bath as well as a shower. So it is the best shower design I’ve ever encountered.

    I don’t see this design today…yes, we have forgotten more than we have learned.

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