Bathroom floor tile in production since the 1970s — 6 colors — and you can order from Home Depot

This tile has been in production since at least the 1970s,
in same Indonesia factory

Merola-tile-University-series-retro-tile

The quest for pink tile for my retro modern master bathroom remodel hasn’t been easy — but recently I stumbled upon the University tile line from Merola Tile Company. The line has six color variations in all. The four shown above are my favorites — and yes — one of them is pink.

university-pink-merola-tile-retro

John Merola from Merola Tile Somerset/SomerTile — who happens to be a fan of Retro Renovation — was kind enough to send me samples of the University tile series and provide some additional information on the line:

I’ve been in the tile business for around 25 years. I started as a stock boy at a tile store in Brooklyn, New York, and I am very familiar with many of the tiles that your team blogs about, which is one of the main reasons we are offering so many older style designs. The University Tile was called the “KOM Random” in the 70’s and 80’s.. And our product is from the same factory in Indonesia that was making the product back then.

Knowing that little tidbit of information makes it clear — this isn’t just “retro” tile — it’s the real deal if you want to remodel your bathroom in authentic vintage style.

University-pink-with-B&W-pink-tile

I want pink tile for my bathroom floor and walls, and I wanted to see the University random mosaic pink to consider for the floor. Now that it’s in my hands, I can see: The 1″x2″ pieces a light pastel pink… the darker, 1″ x 1″ pieces are pinky beige, and white… the splotches on the largest pieces, the 2″ x 2″s, are rosy Mamie pink. I think this is going to work! Not only are these tiles a nice shade of pink — they are just the right shade of pink. That’s a 4×4 pink tile from B&W Tile Company next to my sample of the floor tile. The splotches on the larger tiles are nearly the same exact shade of pink as the B&W tile — these two tiles would look fabulous in a bathroom together. In fact — when it comes to tile for my retro modern master bathroom remodel — we may have found a winning combination.

Merola-tile-university-pink-close-up

Another good to know detail — the glaze spatters make the tiles slightly bumpy — which helps with traction in wet areas like bathroom floors.  [Precautionary Pam interjects: Always check with the manufacturer to ensure a tile is specified for floor use; consult with a pro.] Another bonus — these tiles — and more information about their ratings and uses — are relatively affordable — $9.26/sq. ft. through Home Depot — and easily accessible through Home Depot’s website.

From the Home Depot website description:

The Merola University Pink 11-3/4 in. x 11-3/4 in. Porcelain Mosaic Floor & Wall Tile is reminiscent of traditional, multi-texture and multi-color porcelain mosaic floor tile. Featuring a mottled finish and muted color palette, these tiles recreate a classic look with the durability and versatility of a modern tile. Use this tile virtually anywhere, due to its frost resistance, high slip resistance, and PEI rating of 4.

Other colors of University Tile available

university-pink-merola-tile-retro

University Pink – my favorite of the available colors and a great choice to coordinate with B&W tile’s pink 4×4 wall tile.

university-blue-retro-merola-tile

University blue  — which coordinates with B&W Tile’s 20W blue color — another great choice for a retro bathroom remodel. We think there are a number of blue 4″ x 4″ wall tiles available, inexpensively — from Daltile, American Olean, and Home Depot’s special order brands — to coordinate with this tile.

The University Blue is currently only available on Overstock.com. (model number FKOUV418 on Overstock) It is the newest edition to the University collection and will be up on Home Depot and Somertile in the near future.

University-bone-merola-tile

University Bone — this is a great floor tile option to pair with beige wall tile — like Pam’s beige tile bathroom.

university-white-merola-retro-tile

University white – while not as jazzy as the other color options, this white tile still has a lot of textural charm and as an added bonus — coordinates well with nearly any color scheme.

university-beige-merola-tile-retro

University Beige – this color scheme, with its darker brown tiles — is appropriate for late 1960s to 1970s bathroom design. Note: The 2x2s look like the same rose beige as the beige set two photos up.

university-grey-retro-tile

University light grey — another neutral color that would mix well with 1950s and 1960s pastel bathroom fixtures. Lots and lots of gray 4″ x 4″ tiles today in American Olean, Daltile and big box lineups, at very low prices.

Merola Tile’s University collection might be just what the doctor ordered for a retro bathroom remodel — the authentic vintage design and color ways, easy availability through Home Depot’s website and the reasonable price per square foot makes this a terrific choice to add to our list of tile choices.

See all of our research on bathroom tile here.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m in love! We need to replace the floor in our pink bathroom at some point, and this is the best option I’ve seen by far. I’m kind of digging the idea of using the gray mosaic.

    This mosaic would also make a great kitchen backsplash.

    • pam kueber says

      Kate was checking Home Depot shipping prices for another story — and they seemed very reasonable. Like, less than $10 for multiple boxes of tile…

    • Kate says

      Shipping at Home Depot for the amount of tile I would require is $24…putting it nearly even with Overstock. ($2 difference) But a great point!

      • lynda says

        Last time I checked on the shipping, it was a lot more, maybe it has changed. Also, Overstock, I think, does not charge tax for all states.
        I just always check all sources!

        • Kate says

          yes! Always good to shop around!

          I don’t know how Home Depot determines shipping — dollar value, how far it has to travel or weight… $24 seems like a deal for that heavy tile!

          • lynda says

            I certainly does seem like a good deal. I put the tile in the cart and shipping is reasonable. And…easy to return to a Home Depot if something arrives broken or incorrectly.

  2. Robin says

    Oh wow!!! I HAVE to have the blue mosaic for my blue bathroom. It’s perfect. Now if only they made a nice buttery yellow for my Ming green bathroom . . . Still searching for the right color combo in that room. I’d love to go with the pink but I think my husband would have a stroke.

  3. Shanna (PinkTrees) says

    this tile is in my bathroom right now! originally from when the hose was built in ’65. it’s a booger to keep clean with the “nubby” surface. i’m happy to read that home depot sells it because there are some broken pieces i need to replace. (the tile you posted previously with the gold is on the countertops)

  4. Lynne says

    Grey for me! Grey and butter yellow, for a bathroom. Love that combination. I think I may just go and measure to see what we need. I would rather have it, and set it aside for later, than to find it no longer available when the time comes.

  5. Rebecca Madison WI says

    Wow, this is a great find. Well done! I have been looking for a pink tile for a bathroom make over and just love the style and look of these tiles.

  6. Heidi Swank says

    Absolutely wonderful! Just what we need for both bathrooms. We can do the guest in the pink and the master in the blue! The same pattern in two colors for the separate bathrooms will really recreate that pulled together feeling of the mid-century house. Thanks Pam!!!

  7. Jeanne says

    The blue looks like an exciting possible match for my blue toilet and sink but I don’t see that anywhere – even the Somertile site…. am I blind?

  8. says

    I really like the way these seem truly original (because they are!) I had picked out a gray patterned marmoleum for the floors in my main bath, but that gray tile could work well with its bright yellow linen pattern original Formica. Interesting that the gray, pink and beige tile combos have a mix of three color tiles, but the blue, bone and white have only two colors.

  9. Karin Jeffrey says

    Hi Everybody,
    Totally fell in love with ALL the Merola tile. Immediately phoned my local Home Depot in Toronto and was very disappointed to find out that
    Home Depot Canada doesn’t stock these particular Merolas, and wouldn’t order them. AARGH. I have also noticed differences in stock availability in Canada for the bathroom lighting from Home Depot you posted recently. I realize it’s not your fault, but it’s very frustrating for
    Canadian retro renovators . Any suggestions, comments?

  10. Victoria says

    I’ve got a sample of the pink on the way from Merola. Fingers crossed that it’s going to work with my peach/pink fixtures.

  11. Donna says

    I love all of these but am having a hard time finding coordinating wall tile. For the blue we have looked at spa, waterfall and aqua glow from Daltile, none good matches. B&W aqua and blue are a bit better but still off, and at $12 sq ft a stretch for us budget-wise. For the gray we’ve looked at Daltile ice gray and desert gray, both too earthy for this more aluminum-colored floor. B&W gray is the worst match. I agree that a light butter yellow would be nice with the gray, but can’t find it — B&W yellow is too bright and Daltile Moonbeam still a bit saturated to compliment this gray. I’ve looked for Olympia tile but nobody near me carries it and I can’t get samples. I’d love to hear any success stories or tips for what would coordinate. We may just have to use white tile but I was hoping to have more fun.

    • pam kueber says

      i don’t but be sure to send us some photos of your install when it’s done — we want to see the bone installed!!

  12. Amanda says

    Does anyone know when this tile began being used in bathrooms? We’re renovating a bathroom that was part of an addition built in 1940. The previous owner put in a new vanity, toilet, and floor in the 1990s, but the shower is original (and we are keeping it). The shower has black and white salt and pepper tile, which we found at B&W, so we’re going to do a tile countertop with the salt and pepper and the B&W 20W blue liner. For the floor, we were going to do white matte hex tile, but I feel like the university blue might be a better match for the era of the bathroom. Or was that flooring more something that started in the 1950s?

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