Decorating a bathroom with tile on all six walls — yes, ceiling, too!

Mara asks for readers’ ideas — share yours!
pink tile bathroom design pink-bathroomPink-bathrooms-saved-counter.937When Mara signed on the dotted line to buy her new house, she wasn’t quite sure about the original pink bathroom. We’ve heard this “next step” in her story many times now, and it always makes us happy: Looking for ideas on how to live with the pink, Mara hopped online and found SaveThePinkBathrooms.comone of our microsites. From that point on, she became a pink bathroom convert — deciding her pink bathroom was actually gorgeous and must be saved. Now Mara wonders — what can she do to decorate this space, which poses a special challenge: The beautiful 1″ square tiles are installed on all six walls. That is: The floor and ceiling too. She wants our ideas — read on for her letter, more photos, and then, to offer your suggestions.

pink-retro-low-toilet-and-footed-wall-sinkMara wrote:

DesignDilemmaI will be moving into my new home February 16. [She is now in.] I have an ALL PINK bathroom! I wanted to find ideas to decorate it and came upon your website.  I was not sure if I would “save the pink bathroom” and after seeing your website, I have decided to embrace it! I have attached several pictures.  Would love to hear about ways to decorate it from your readers. My style is a mix of retro-modern style… I love a little of pretty much every style. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks about the bathroom and their suggestions!

Thank you!

We asked Mara what year her house was built. We expected to hear back… 1960s. But no: The house was built in 1916, she says. Pam will guess: This bathroom was installed in the…. early 60s.

pink-mosiac-tile-retro-bathroomDecorating a bathroom with tile on all four walls, the floor and the ceiling

Take a look at all the photos. Gorgeous tile, to be sure. And lots of it. How to decorate? No paint allowed. And heck, we’d also be wary of putting any holes in to the tile, it looks to be in such terrific condition. Note, looks like there’s a screw in the tile above the toilet — we can hang something there…

pink-mosaic-tile-bathroom-with-hall-mack-toothbrush-holderThere’s a door on the shower. Tip to homeowners: Check if your old shower doors are made of tempered — or untempered — glass. Untempered glass is a safety concern, we are told: Consult with a properly licensed professional to determine what you have and how to handle.

pink-retro-recesses-bath-tupMara has mentioned that she likes many different styles including retro-modern.

pink-vintage-mosaic-tile-bathroom-with-glass-block-window pink-vintage-tiled-bathroom-1960

Dressing-area-vintageJust outside the pink bathroom in the corner of the master bedroom, Mara has a large vanity and dressing area — complete with a peachy corner sink. With all of that counter space and storage real estate available just steps from the pink bathroom, there’s no need to try and fit any more storage into the bathroom itself.

Kate’s ideas for decorating this pink bathroom:

pink retro tiled bathroom

Kate writes:

Mara’s bathroom was difficult to decorate — all walls, the floor and ceiling are tiled — and there is no need for a shower curtain because of her shower door. That means that any additional color must be brought in with the accessories. I chose to go with white and pink accessories to give the room a light and airy feel. Obviously, she doesn’t need — or have the space for — all the accessories I have listed in number 3. Possibly just the trash can, tissue holder and soap pump would be needed. I’ve chosen a mix of modern and vintage — the vintage or vintage-style art, bathroom scale and bathmat are combined with modern towels, toilet brush and accessories. If Mara prefers either a more feminine, flowery and vintage look, it would be easy to swap out the simple modern accessories with more ornate  vintage styled accessories — or vice versa.

For more contrast, another classic retro combination is pink and black, which would give the room a bolder, punchier feel. To add more color to the space, pale yellow, aqua, green, blue or purple would all work, too. It all depends on what colors appeal to Mara. Since these accessories aren’t expensive changes — Mara could start out with a pink and white color scheme and if she grows tired of it in a few years, simply change up the towels and bath mat to another color scheme. The pink is really quite versatile.

  1. Vintage metal flower wall hanging from Etsy seller MollyMcShabby
  2. Croft & Barrow quick drying pink towels (you could also do white towels) from Kohl’s
  3. Wamsutta Bath Elements accessories (available in white or pink) from Bed Bath and Beyond
  4. Vintage pale pink glitter bath scale from Ebay seller MidMod14
  5. Castile Rose Bathmat from Anthropologie
  6. Modern toilet brush holder from Urban Outfitters

Pam’s ideas for decorating this pink bathroom:

Pam's-mood-board-pink-bathroomPam writes:

Mara can use towels, rugs and a few decor items to bring just about any accent color she wants into the bathroom. The soft 1960s pink in her bathroom is actually pretty darn neutral — it would coordinate well with most any soft pastel, as well as grey or brown. Mara also can swap out the shower door, if she likes, for a shower curtain instead. This would be a great way to add some softness to the bathroom. Note, old shower doors may be made of non-tempered glass — this is a safety issue to investigate; consult with a properly licensed professional.

As you can see from my mood board, I played with a soft green as the accent color for the bathroom.

Moreover, I put my big decorating focus on the “anteroom”. Because the opportunity to introduce color into the bathroom itself is so limited, my key idea was to decorate the dressing room area as if it were an extension of the bathroom. Which it is.

You know me, I love my vintage wallpaper. The launching point for everything here was the vintage wallpaper from Hannah’s Treasures. I adore this wallpaper — it has all the right colors to put in the bedroom adjacent to the bathroom. The design of the paper seems kind of soft and glowy — which works up next to the soft and glowy bathrooom…  and, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The shower curtain I found has “swiss dots” — like the wallpaper!

I also thought that this bedroom space screamed for wall-to-wall carpeting. Sure enough, I found a design at Shaw Carpets that has a sculpted design that might work. However, “Muslin” sounds like it might be too yellow for my design concept, I’d need to see the carpet in the room and next to the wallpaper.

I then played around with accessories and lighting.

AND IMPORTANT, I *think* — That sunken bathtub scares me. ON THIS ISSUE: I advise that you consult with a properly licensed professional — a professional bathroom designer, I *think*, and/or talk to your local building inspector for guidance *maybe the answer* BUT DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH TO FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL — to assess the safety of the entry and egress of that sunken bathtub. You don’t want to fall in… you don’t want to slip when getting out.

My design is for a “girl next door” meets her “inner sex kitten” bedroom/bathroom. I named it “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies Pink” in honor of that old movie — and in honor of all those 50s and 60s girl-next-door-movie-wives who also had that little twinkle in their eyes.

  1. Vintage ceiling light from etsy seller QueenDecor
  2. Vintage wallpaper from Hannah’s Treasures
  3. Vintage vanity stool from etsy seller DavisMerc (we changed the color of the seat cushion via photoshop)
  4. Wall to wall carpet — Shaw Flooring “Fine Memory” in Muslin
  5. Vintage wicker shelf from etsy seller ShabbyNChic
  6. Vintage green bath towel set from ssmith7157
  7. Shower curtain is Swiss Dot in White from Coyuchi on Amazon (also available from other online retailers)

Readers — how would you add some decoration to this pretty pink tiled bathroom?



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  1. Gracie Manasco says

    I would get a vintage tension rod shelf thingee that goes over/behind the toilet to put colorful items on… and I love pink and gold so maybe do some gold items. Is there room for a fish tank? I love fish tanks in a bathroom! 🙂

  2. Hillary says

    I would find some towels with a bold pattern that introduces other colors if you’d like to break up the pink. I have nothing against pink, having a pink bathroom myself, but sometimes it’s fun to go in a slightly different direction. These towels – – would introduce a light turquoise (my fav color) that you could then use for accessories and rugs and the like. If you want to stay with just pinks, these Pottery Barn towels have a nice look (though crazy expensive) –

  3. Jenn Bassen says

    What a sweet bathroom! I love the sunken tub! Why not just accessorize with some complimentary colored bath towels and rugs? Perhaps seafoam, or some medium green or lightish blue? And find a sweet picture of something she loves (with lotsa color) for the nail hole?

  4. JamieAbe says

    Oh man, I love it!! I would keep all of the fixtures, they all work really well in the room. As far as colors go, I think you go many different routes. I think if you wanted to go more simple, you do like others have suggested and go with white. Maybe consider black and white accents, I think that would look really nice. Also, pink and grey are great together! You could accent with greys and chrome to play of of the fixtures in the room. If you wanted to get a little more bold, you could add in some turquoise, some yellow…..honestly, I’m not sure that you could go wrong with that great of a bathroom;) I really like the previous posters suggestion of a polar bear rug, too! I hope you post pictures of the room after you decide what to do….I’d love to see them! Good Luck!

    Oh, and I honestly wouldn’t recommend putting nails or screws into that beautiful tile. There are too many other good options.

  5. Alice says

    What a wonderful find and that dressing table area is fantastic!

    You have already received lots of great comments – but one I haven’t read is one that is sticking point for me in most bathrooms. When you are soaking in the tub (by the way, love the sunken tub!) you are either looking at the toilet or your head is next to it. I would suggest a low screen – maybe an oriental hand-painted one with pink flamingos or other birds – to place between the toilet and the tub. It will need to be something skinny as it doesn’t look like you have lots of space in between.

    Have fun with it…live it with it for a good while and it will speak to you!

  6. tammyCA says

    Cool pink bathroom…acoustics, too! I sing in the shower because its the only place I sound good.
    I actually like Pam’s choices with the greens…reminds me of Doris Day movies…maybe, it is the one called, “With Six you get Eggroll”. I also just saw an estate sale listing time capsule house with lots of those colors, pink/lime/yellow. In the ’60s there was also a big return to Victorian style…wicker chairs/headboards, metal painted floral chandeliers, velvets…so, even if the house was built in 1916 there are vintage ’60s items that would fit in. I’ll look around.

  7. says

    Hey Mara,

    I have the exact same kind of bathroom with tiles on all walls, floors and ceiling. For hanging stuff there is one particular 3M sticky hanger that is great and really works on tile for even fairly heavy pictures. If I can get your email somehow I can send you a picture of one/the box. Also, if you go to your hardware store you ask for the smallest drill bit possible, then you can drill a tiny hole in the grout only without cracking the tile. You’ll want to use a thin picture hanging nail and then cover the area around the nail where it sticks out of the wall with a little hot glue so moisture doesn’t get it. Its very easy then to remove and doesn’t damage anything. Hope it helps.


      • says

        Thank you Cullen,

        I would love to see your pictures and see what you did with your bathroom! Can you send them to Pam?. I hope she will share with me or if it ok, you or Pam can send me your email….this way it can be a little more private. Thank you for the time and advise! I REALLY appreciate it!

  8. says

    I love ALL the ideas! There are so many great suggestions!! I am now more confused! Pam, love the chair you have chosen for the vanity area. Kate, love the framed art! You both did a WONDERFUL job! I am going to re-read all of your suggestions and soon I will have a FABOLOUS bathroom! Some may have laughed about my PINK bathroom, but soon they will see how wonderful it is! Thank you!

  9. Kelley says

    Great bathroom, and lots of great suggestions to choose from here. Whatever you choose to add to your space, it seems like color is the key to adding interest and depth. Rooms usually need lowlights and highlights to look their best – just like hair! Adding black and white would be classic. White and navy or gray could be a little more chic. White and vibrant blue or green probably skews a little more retro. But really any combo of colors in the cool end of the spectrum (to balance the warmth of all that pink) could work for you depending on the vibe you want and what’s going on in the rest of your house.

  10. says

    Hi, jumping in not to add value with suggestions, but to say I COMMEND YOU for keeping the pink bathroom. What I like about it is everything including the crazy sunken tub. And it is so pink, and the tile looks so good. I am glad you are embracing its pinkness. I think because it takes pink to a total extreme, it makes it even better. Gray is pretty trendy right now. You could throw that in, then someday swap all out to black accessories. What fun!

    • pam kueber says

      Me, too! Just be sure to caulk around the toilet. I made the mistake once of thinking I could “flood” my tile floor (just a little) with water and quick-like wipe the water up. NOPE, water started pouring down into the basement via the cutout on top of which the toilet sits. duh.

      • Jamie D says

        I’ve always been told by my plumber to never caulk around the bottom of the toilet. Because if you have a leak, you want to see it ASAP, not seal it in and have it leak into your sub-floor.

  11. Lori K says

    Swans! The room is calling for swans! A swan shower curtain, soap dish, appliquéd towels. Wonderful room. You can do no wrong…well you can…so take not to do anything that can’t be undone.

  12. says

    OOOH! another fabulous bathroom!! Lucky duck indeed! So glad that Mara will not change it! It is great like it is – I agree that a few fluffy white towels and fluffy white rugs would give it warmth. Add a retro hamper and some more chrome! Maybe a mirrored storage cube or something.. But it is funtastic just as is! I do like the plant idea though, as it would carry some green/ wood from the dressing area over. And if another color added, I would add the peach, from the other sink color.

  13. says

    Hi, I love the pink, and I would have big thirsty white cotton towels, and a very pretty white shower curtain, like with white seashells or some white fish on the curtain.

    The pink is very clean looking, soothing, and peaceful to look at. I love it.

  14. Adrian says

    You can use shower curtains even though you have a shower door. It calls for shower door “window treatments”. Having all matching towels to go with the shower curtains are a must! Perhaps lots of glam by adding a brass wire plant stand and a nice plant that’s artificial. Having some brass accessories will make things sparkle!

  15. Adrian says

    Does the ceiling have a light?? I really pretty glass crystal chandelier hanging from a chain will give it bling!

  16. Joe Felice says

    I’m glad Mara doesn’t plan to do any major remodeling, i.e, “tearing out.” The bathroom is really beautiful, and the dressing vanity is the bomb. I never thought I’d say this (and didn’t think it was actually possible), but the bathroom is a little too-pink. I mean, it’s like looking at one monochromatic wall. Obviously, Pam, Kate, and most of the readers are correct in suggesting that some complementary color(s) needs to be introduced.

    A couple of weeks back, this site featured a house (in Portland, I believe), which had a pink bathroom trimmed in turquoise. It was absolutely awesome! I had not thought of those colors together, but they really do work well. When I think of MCM pink bathrooms, I usually think of black or burgundy trim, but the turquoise really makes the pink pop. Without tearing out too-much tile, it would be possible to remove a row (or more) of pink tiles & replace them with colored tiles. You can do the same with a border around the perimeter of the floor. Otherwise, you’re limited to bringing in color by way of accessories. And you want a throw rug or 2 on the cold, hard floor, anyway. I would also get rid of the soft toilet seat. Maybe that would be an opportunity to put some color there.

    We will all await the “after” pictures of what you decided to do.

  17. Angela Kukarola says

    Mara, I LOVE your bathroom! I agree with Kate and the white accents, you could always change out after a bit with a different color if you wanted! I had that mirror and light in both of my bathrooms and kept the mirror, but removed the light and had installed a chrome 3 light fixture I picked up at Home Depot. It is the square lights and I think it looks great. We had an electrician put in a switch on the wall to operate the light. Good Luck!

  18. Carol Belding says

    I think this bathroom needs fabric. I’m channeling my “Sarah Richardson” here. She says you need cream to break up bright colors, and although this bathroom does not have bright colors, I think cream would be nice. I’d do a non-cute pattern flamingo fabric.

    Or an Audubon print, also none cute, with a black frame over the toilet.


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