A color scheme for a pink, maroon and white bathroom

pink bath with white fixtures and maroon shower curtainReader Naomi’s new-to-her house came fully equipped with a retro pink and maroon bathroom — which she loves. However, there are a few problems — the toilet is broken and must be replaced, and there is also a non-repairable crack in the sink. Naomi is okay with replacing the broken maroon fixtures with white, but she doesn’t want to replace the still-perfect maroon tub. Her dilemma — she’s not sure how it will look to have two white fixtures and one maroon tub.

pink-and-maroon-bathroom-vintage bathroom

Naomi writes:

pink-flamingo-bath-tileI just bought a house with a classic pink bathroom. As soon as I saw the main second floor bathroom in this house, I thought of the “Save the Pink Bathrooms!” site — it was so emphatically a classic vintage 1950s pink bathroom. It has Mamie pink tile on the lower half of the walls and on most of the floor, with maroon accents: TP holder, soap dish, edges of the tile…….and all the fixtures. The toilet, sink, and tub are all that same maroon.

I am planning to paint the upper part of the room something other than gray — probably a very light pink.  My issue is the toilet and sink.  The toilet HAS to be replaced, because the tank leaks and a plumber was unable to fix it.  The faucet in the vintage sink also leaks, and was also not repairable. Fixtures in these colors are no longer made — I’m probably going to need to replace them with white fixtures. Since I don’t want to replace the tub, and the tub is that same deep burgundy, what are some ways to tie the room together?

vintage-retro-pink-and-maroon-bathroomCan you give me any suggestions on how to deal with this? Are there any pictures in your Flickr group from people who had colorful fixtures but who had to replace a toilet?

Thanks!

This issue hits home for me — since my minty green hall bathroom has a mint green tub, white toilet and white sink — that all work together in the room. Fear not Naomi — I have some ideas to help your bath.

Check with deabath.com first, regarding your fixtures

First up, though: Are you really sure the old toilet and sink are goners? Pam says the sink looks to be a Crane — and deabath.com is the expert in vintage Crane — so you might want to consult with them before ripping these lovely vintage fixtures out. If your old fixtures must go, yes, it seems white is the answer. You may also want to stay in touch with deabath.com, though — because over time, true replacement fixtures in your vintage maroon color may well come up. For example, was this your color in this photo of Crane Marcia sinks from our deabath past?

pink bath with white fixtures and maroon shower curtainPull together your bathroom colors with the shower curtain

*may* be too purple, but you get the idea…

If your maroon sink and toilet really must go — yes, replacing them with white makes sense. To pull the whole room together: Find a shower curtain that had all three colors — pink, maroon and white. I managed to find this Hometrends Ashdown shower curtain at Walmart.com that is not only pink, maroon and white. Assuming the maroon color worked in person with the tub, the walls could be painted to pick up the fourth color in the shower curtain, light beige. Use maroon rugs, and mix and match your towels to any or all of the colors in the shower curtain.

pink bath with white fixturesIf the first shower curtain didn’t work out, a simple white shower curtain would repeat a large area of white over by the tub, helping to evenly distribute more white around the room. Painting the walls a light pink — as Naomi suggested she might do — would brighten up the walls and make the whole room look cohesive.

Since there are a lot of maroon accents — the soap, towel and toilet paper holder, the border tiles, the small mosaic floor tiles and the decorative bird tiles — that even though the bathtub is the only maroon fixture, it will still make sense in the room. The key here is repetition of color. All of the colors are already repeated around the room — which is good design. Changing out the sink and toilet for white fixtures will not ruin this good design, but simply change the distribution of color in the room. Instead of pink and maroon being the dominant colors, white and pink will be the main colors and maroon will be more of an accent. The key to getting this color balance right is just choosing the right shower curtain and wall color to blend with the existing elements.

Good luck with your new pink bathroom, Naomi!

pink-flamingo-bath-tile

Oh and — come back and noon today, we asked Bungalow Bill, and — with no hesitation — he identified your gorgeous accent tiles!

What do you think, readers?
And, can you find some additional shower curtains online that would pull these colors together?

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Comments

  1. ChrisH says

    Nothing to worry about. As Kate says, the color is pretty well distributed. It will look fine. If you can’t buy vintage replacement fixtures (in Maroon or White) try to select something that has kind of a retro look to it – especially the sink.

  2. April in Denver says

    Such a beautiful Bathroom!
    I was in the same predicament last year, and after searching just a few weeks on craigslist, the gray Crane set I was looking for popped up for 200.00, and the guy coincidentally also had a gorgeous maroon set for sale as well.
    Point is, I wouldn’t loose hope in finding matching fixtures. Those decorating Gods that Pam often mentions have a mysterious way of delivering when you least expect it.
    Kates suggestions are great, and if you need to replace quickly, you can probably find inexpensive white ones that will work until the perfect ones do come along.
    I don’t know where Naomi is located, but I saw this on our CL the other day:
    http://denver.craigslist.org/atq/3316467167.html

  3. Kate H says

    You could provide a charming distraction with flamingo wallpaper. Everyone would be so enamored of the flamingos, they wouldn’t notice the white fixtures.

  4. Andi says

    What an adorable bathroom! I also think the white fixtures can be tied into the room smoothly, perhaps by some art with maroon on the walls over the sink and toilet.

    However, before replacing those two items—have you tried another plumber (or two)? We live in a smallish town and one plumbing firm is “expert” in repairing old fixtures. It’s by default; they’ve been around forever and their customers aren’t so much “restoring” their homes by maintaining vintage fixtures, but are unwilling to spend the money to replace, if there is any way to get them fixed.

    A friend of mine (age 82) recently had two different plumbers who told him his leaking (1960s) powder blue toilet could not be fixed. He persevered, called in plumber #3, who fixed it.
    If the sink only has leaking faucets, what about replacement hardware? There are many appropriate styles out there.

    Just a thought. I have learned that one “expert opinion” doesn’t always mean the end of the road. Ask around who works on a lot of old houses.

    And as Kate said, if they must go….I do think you can tie the white in just fine.

    The flamingo tiles are to-die-for, can’t wait to hear what Bungalow Bill says about them!

    • Janet in CT says

      I totally agree with Andi. Get some “second” opinions. If the toilet tank isn’t badly cracked, it may well be reparable. Alot of plumbers these days don’t want to fix/repair as it is much simpler to just replace it. And those old timers are usually the ones to ask! LOVE those flamingos but don’t love the shelf over the toilet. Is the light set over the mirror newer too? That just looks out of place to me. Otherwise that bathroom is just gorgeous!

    • says

      I agree to get many opinions before you take out anything. When we moved into our house, we had a plumber say that our original sink and faucet were toast. We moved on to the next plumber and he fixed not only those but the faucet in the tub that was also deemed unfixable by the first plumber. Sometimes, they honestly don’t know how to work with the older pieces. If not, you might consider pink fixtures. Since you have so many varying pinks in your bathroom, it wouldn’t be hard to find a pink that would work. They seem to come up for free or cheap often in most towns. Or light grey. I’ve seen fixtures in that color new in stock at stores. A dove grey color that might tie in with the walls if you keep them grey.

    • tammyCA says

      Definitely check out different plumbers…we recently had one (um, high rating on Angie’s list) come tell us he couldn’t fix something..blah, blah and so we called another and lickety split they fixed it with no scary story…they also named the previous plumber before we told them who it was! Apparently, he was lazy.

    • alice says

      I agree. We have found that most contractors discard and replace rather than cherish a repair. Thanks to DEA bath and their instructions and resources we have been able to keep two fixtures that we were told by professionals were unsalvagable.

      Think the white is a bit stark against the warm colors…I would suggest a pink (widely available) or a gray.

  5. Sarah g says

    Buy a white toilet and sink of your choice then have a ‘tub doctor’ (as they are called in my area, coat them burgundy. It cost me 250 for a tub so I’d imagine it would be something close for toilet and sink. Then google colored toilet seats a company called Bemis can match any color that’s been made over the years

    • Ann WesleyHardin says

      Hi Sarah G! I’m interested in getting my cast iron tub refinished. How has your experience been with yours? How long have you had it and is it holding up as well as you’d hoped? Thanks so much for any help you can offer! Ann

      • Sarah g says

        Well I will be honest with this answer… The look is great and it can be the best solution when you don’t want to rip out a perfectly good tub and risk messing up all your tile work and all that ugly business. It’s also relatively cheap, mine cost $250 to do, much cheaper than an entire bath reno! But you do have to be careful, don’t set your products on the side of it, dont drop anything, don’t use harsh abrasive cleaning products etc.. Do however wipe your tub down after each bath/shower and maintenance should be easy. I’d expect however that with time and use it may need to be coated again in the tubs lifetime but for some senarios it may be the best option

        • Ann WesleyHardin says

          Thanks Sarah G!! I’m on the fence about it because even though the glaze is gone on the bottom, the tub still cleans up nicely. The Boyfriend, however, really wants it reglazed — he’s more of a perfectionist than I. What to do. What to do…perhaps the maintenance end of it will scare him off hehehe. Thanks again!

          • Kathryn says

            We had the tub in our 1929 house reglazed when we bought the house. It needs it again, but it has been 30 years! Yes, you don’t use Comet on it, but Bon Ami works fine and we certainly don’t clean it every time we use it. Even now, there is just a little peeling around the drain and a spot where the leg of a bathing chair I used after my foot surgery wore through.

  6. Allen says

    Hello, It seems with the sink anyways that its just the hardware that is irreparable and the sink itself has no damage. surely you can find replacement hardware via deabath or some other place that specializes in vintage plumbing fixtures. Again I don’t know the full situation but unless the toilet tank itself has a crack in it, anything else that might make it leak can be replaced and be fixed. I would certainly get a second opinion before removing those beautiful fixtures.

  7. Kelly Wittenauer says

    I think the white would work, especially with it being on the opposite wall from the tub. Kate’s ideas would pull it together.

    But you might still find the maroon. Last year we had to replace a toilet in a bathroom with harvest gold fixtures, all next to each other on the same wall. I thought it would be a disaster. But my husband found online that Peerless still makes fixtures in a number of retro colors. They don’t sell directly to the public, but recommended Atlas Plumbing Supply in Detroit. We paid Atlas $329.99 for the new Peerless harvest gold toilet, matching Bemis seat/lid assembly, and shipping to our house in northern KY. The colors are not a perfect match, but very close & it all looks great.

  8. says

    wow – i am (sorry y’all) not generally a fan of pink bathrooms (though i appreciate anything original in good condition), but with the maroon accents, this is one i would absolutely have in my house!

    as for the dilemma, i would paint the walls a bright white so that the color scheme is *white*, pink and maroon, and with that, i think white fixtures would fit in perfectly.

  9. Annie B. says

    Naomi, terrific bathroom. White fixtures would definitely work, although I like Sara g.’s idea of maroon coating.

    I actually really like the light gray walls quite a bit. Wonder how gray fixtures would work? Might be less of a contrast than white ones.

  10. says

    also, bringing the tile up around the medicine cabinet/mirror is a lovely bit of detail – something i will have to keep in mind for our bathroom redo, whenever that happens.

  11. TappanTrailerTami says

    Naomi, you have a GREAT bathroom, lucky you! I vote: second opinion first (just in case)….you’d be surprised how many people will say “can’t” when it really can be repaired. Then, I’d check in with DEA bath as suggested. If you are set on having matching maroon, I’d just put in something cheap white until you find the proper replacements.

    Or, if you are going to go to white on a permanent basis – I found this way cute cabinet (storage!) and white sink on Period Bath, who seems to have some pretty outstanding prices. You could then rehab/paint the cabinet maroon to match the tub, have the sink white and get a good Art Deco white toilet to to go along with. Just another idea…….

    sink & cabinet are Column B, second one down – each picture will expand if you click on it.

    http://www.periodbath.com/antique_bathroom_sinks.html

    Best of luck, and the tiles in your bath are amazing!

  12. Jill says

    I agree with Sarah G’s suggestion to see about having the new white sink/toilet re-coated in burgundy to match through a company that does reglazing, etc. its shouldn’t cost too much….also, check Craigslist and Habitat for Humanity, etc for possible old/vintage toilets and sinks – either in burgundy or maybe pink…they do turn up! good luck, gorgeous bathroom and I definitely would not get rid of that tub!!

  13. Scott Spear says

    As Sarah G says, you can have any fixture painted to match. I had this done to my turquoise sinks because of heavy rust issues, and you cannot tell them apart. It is an epoxy coating and they will custom mix the colors. But only replace the existing stuff as a last resort, making double and triple sure they cannot be fixed.

  14. jennifer says

    I think the white/maroon is fine. They are on different walls and there is maroon-pink-white color scheme already.

  15. brad says

    rather than recoat two new fixtures in burgundy, why not re-do the tub in white? many craftsmen out there do that job in just a few hours…..it’s a spray enamel process and leaves the tub like new…..the only caveat is the tub must be carefully maintained with a non-abrasive cleanser….
    however, better to have to baby the tub, than the re-finished toilet and sink, which get much more use…

    • Sarah g says

      Yeah in fact that is what I did in my bathroom. The sink and toilet where white (non original) and the tub was peach (original) so I just did the tub white because I’m not the biggest fan of peach and the bathroom was already kinda busy with the terrazzo on the floor and in the shower. Now it looks fresh and clean!

  16. says

    Some times a worker will say they can’t when they really mean they don’t want to. Old fixtures didn’t have many moving parts and in back the day they were made to be repaired, not thrown away. I’d get a second opinion. If you replace, try to keep the old in storage and the parts to repair them will eventually turn up.

  17. cari says

    Naomi, you have the most perfect bathroom! I had the same issue with pink fixtures. I had two white sinks reglazed to match the pink tub but left the toilet white. The floor and countertops in the bath are white as well so there’s a lot of white in the room so the toilet blends in. I could not be happier with the way the sinks turned out. You can’t tell that they were reglazed and the color is a perfect match to the tub. Go with the reglazing to match the tub.

  18. Gracie Manasco says

    NOOOoooooo! Don’t go with white if you can at all help it! You have to find a plumber that will work for that fix, it can be done! Heck, I’ve fixed things that professionals told me couldn’t be fixed with the “miracle substance” called JB Weld. There is also some stuff called Paper Clay that works wonders too. Both can be painted.

    New toilets are ugly to me, because of how they make the backs… all tube looking and snakey… I really don’t need to see the trek that my flush is taking. I like how the lower backs of old toilets were just a solid column.

    • Diane in CO says

      Totally agree!! Have replaced 4 old toilets with new ones – 3 in the past 5 months. Three Toto and one Kohler — and yes, what is up with those elongated “tubey” ones? But look around. The two Toto’s I bought for our 1930’s house have a definite ’30’s vibe and are period appropriate for this house. Not snakey in the back. I will try to find a model number (but I got them at half price at a warehouse closeout).

      Have also glazed THREE tubs at two houses since April. Two get low use, one daily use. We couldn’t be more pleased, really! They look gorgeous and I got to keep my house-original cast iron tubs. The two we did here in CO were done by Miracle Method. They also “fixed” several cracked and chipped tiles in those bathrooms so they aren’t so noticeable, which was well worth the extra bit of money. I do believe each of my tubs were around $500.

  19. ellen says

    Kohler sells period fixtures in grey. looking at the photos, i think that would be much softer than white if you can’t get them glazed in maroon, which would be perfect. and please don’t paint the walls pink! or white, or grey! this bathroom is screaming for period wallpaper! and period lighting! please post pics of the final. good luck!

  20. says

    1. If the tank leaks, get a new tank and cover it. Keep the toilet. Tank covers should be available or easy to make out of a towel. I believe that matching the tank to the existing toilet by size/connection should be easy.

    2. Anything white in the room will look pink with that much color, so I’d consider going pink or white, but not both. Chrome or grey or some other color might work better.

    3. Search craigslist nationwide.

    I love the way they modified the mosaic in the floor.

  21. alyssa starelli says

    GO PINK!! why couldn’t she find pink fixtures? Yes, Maroon would be hard to find, but with a little persistence, pink wouldn’t! I see them often at the rebuilder centers and craigslist, they’ve got to have those wherever she’s from. Grab a coffee and make it your Saturday morning hobby!

    I say this because that is one of the most impressive small baths I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot.

    Aly Star
    http://www.aly-star.com

  22. Mikey says

    I used to do plumbing before I became a welder and I can say for sure that is a Crane Drexel sink. I fixed one of those awhile back. The problem with those is the valve stem goes and the rubber washer gets cracked and dry. The guy who taught me plumbing was as old school as you can get. He told me most plumbers wont fix the problem because they just want to get in and out.

    If you were in Texas Id come help you fix the toilet and sink. Everything can be fixed.

    Where is the toilet leaking from? Where is the sink leaking from?

    If the sink is dripping from the faucet then that means one of the valves is not working right. If it is leaking from around the handle, then the rubber washer or seat is worn and needs to be replaced. I personally would just replace the valve stems with new.

    As for the toilet, is it leaking from under the tank? Or is it leaking from inside the tank?

    I would love to see you keep these fixtures.

    Lets fix these pieces and not replace them!!!!!

    • Gracie Manasco says

      Mikey,

      I need to remember you for when I install my blue Kohlers. I’m replacing my new crap with vintage light blue in the next year sometime… I’ve never flushed this guy so who knows if it’s going to work when I get it installed. I might need some advice!

      Gracie

  23. Chris says

    Naomi,
    I agree with what several other posters have said, I think you need a new plumber more than new fixturers. The sink facet leaks you’ve said, but unless the sink itself is cracked and leaking, there’s no reason to replace it. Many (most) plumbers either are now unfamiliar with how to repair old fixtures or just plain don’t want to do it because they spend their lives installing new home depotish items. It’s very true you can’t pick up a replacement facet for that sink at home depot, but you can get them online (dea bath being only one starting point). Further you usually can get seats, valve stems, seals, etc for the existing one to be rebuilt. Same with the toilet.

    Finding the right plumber who knows how to do it and is willing to take the time is the hard part of your search (it took me 4 plumbers saying a similar problem was a write off before finding the 5th who told me to buy 50 bucks of parts and he solved the problem). The parts to rebuild it will probably also be cheaper in the end than replacing everything.

    Good luck.

  24. mb from CT says

    Another person here saying get another opinion, at least on the sink. Some plumbers just want to rip out what’s there. After asking around I found a plumber who was happy to repair my dripping 1948 sink and tub faucets. The plumbers were were supposed to fix it before the closing gave me wrong information and put in the wrong parts. Although the white will look great, too, your bathroom is so beautiful it would be too bad if you unnecessarily replaced what didn’t need to be replaced. It really is beautiful!

  25. Jamie D says

    I know a few people mentioned having a new white sink and toilet coated burgundy to match. This option was mentioned for us by a bathroom contractor to match our light blue tub. My only concern about it would be keeping the toilet clean – as I understand, you can’t use harsh or abrasive cleaners on the coating, and I’m wondering how a toilet would hold up to scrubbing & buildup. We have hard water and get lime scale as it is…I don’t want to think about how a re-coated toilet would look when it’s already difficult enough to keep a factory glazed toilet and tub clean.

    I think new white fixtures would look just fine if you carry the white over to the shower curtain and paint.

    Another option – if you want to go with pink fixtures, Gerber makes new toilets, their Viper model, in a couple shades of pink.

  26. tammyCA says

    Also, let me add…if the tub is in great condition then keep it as is…and if you really need to replace the toilet/sink (if it can’t be fixed) then keep searching on craig’s list, ebay, for the maroon…like it’s been said by others eventually you will find the right match. Don’t ever reglaze the tub to white if it is in great condition! We have reglazed sink/tub because the previous owners must’ve done it and when we bought it was in need of it again. With re-glazed tubs/sinks you CANNOT use anything but Softscrub to clean and you CANNOT use suction cup bath mats because it will pull the glaze up. Even dropping something on the tub could chip it…it is a PITA, especially with kids…and, I’ve had a few heart pounding scares with hair dye and tie dye! (I sure wish I knew what the original ’50s color was in our bath.)

  27. Jackie says

    Get a second opinion on fixing always! Go to recycle places to check also, because there are used appliances out there like crazy. One guy said he couldn’t fix my ’50’s oven but then did and admitted he just hates old stoves and didn’t want to fix it.

  28. Cindy says

    My grandparents had the exact same fixtures in their bathroom… although their bathroom was paneled 3/4th up with dark pine planks, but i still thought it was the grooviest bathroom ever!

  29. Lynne says

    Another thing you can do is TELL your plumber what fixtures you need, then tell him to tell his other plumber buddies. My plumber was doing work, and I said Travis, I need a pink potty and new pink sink. He said that he pulls colored fixtures out of peoples homes all the time, and just throws them into his dumpster. He said he would save me the next one he came across that would match. So, moral of the story is, TELL your favorite plumber, and they’ll watch for what you need.

  30. Hillary says

    I love your bathroom, Naomi! I hope your fixtures can be repaired, because they are just too cool!

    Your bathroom has the same color scheme as mine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29858210@N02/4320548465/ – but mine came with white fixtures (though the sink and toilet aren’t original). I think white would work just fine, naturally, but the maroon would be best if it can be repaired/replaced.

    It’s interesting how similar even your floor is to mine, but your maroon tiles are more sparse. Are they shiny ceramic and the others matte porcelain?

  31. Cathie says

    Companies that refurbish/restore/repaint bathtubs can repaint & color match the paint of your tub for your sink/toilet.

    You also can try and find matching toilet/sink on Ebay, Habitat for Humanity Stores, Architectual Salvage companies, and many websites

  32. Wendy W. says

    If you live near Portland OR, go to The Rebuilding Center in the Mississippi district. They have perfect old toilets in pink, turquoise, etc. It’s vintage heaven!

  33. Mike S says

    Just go light gray, like in my grandmother’s bathroom. The palette was purple, black, and pink, with a gray sink, tub, and commode.

    There are cool grays and warm grays. For your maroon bath, I’d go warm.

  34. Heather says

    I did this in San Diego. I moved into a house with the exact tile colors in the bath and kitchen but the tub and toilet were pink. The previous owner had already replaced the sink with a white pedestal but the pink toilet and pink tub remained. I was forced, when selling, to replace the toilet with a new white one and honestly you didn’t even notice the difference. I lived with it this way for about 6 months before it sold and wished I had done it earlier. It was so much better to have a fully functional toilet!

  35. lady of the house says

    We had an old wall-hung toilet with a broken tank which we thought was not repairable. My boyfriend, who has done a lot of work with boats, ended up fixing it with marine-grade two-part epoxy and fiberglass cloth (which is the same way you would repair a boat hull.)

    This is not a repair for the unskilled or faint-of-heart, and frankly, we don’t know how long it will last. But it can be done.

  36. Mary Elizabeth says

    Naomi,

    Someone mentioned that you can get colored toilet seats to match your fixtures from Bemis. The link is on this site. But even if you don’t get a maroon toilet, you can do what I am doing–put the toilet seat that matches your bathtub on the white toilet! They send you color chips so you can match it exactly. This is another color tie-in that helps integrate the white and the color.

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