Midcentury bathrooms almost always featured pastel-colored 4″(ish) square ceramic tiles. Bullnose could be: Same color… white… black (early postwar)… or a contrasting or complementary secondary color that was then also picked up the floor tile. Really snazzy bathrooms may have used a line of decorative liner tile, too. Right now, we know of one place where you can still get retro style liner tile — and the colors are hand-painted on, so you can get whatever color you want.
#1 Get custom painted decorative liner tiles from B&W Tile:
Our source — you won’t be surprised — B&W Tile, which is also our #1 go-to place for 4″x4″ tile in retro pastels, including Mamie Pink.
B&W sent us the two photos above. For this story, I also asked Kate to dig through our archives and look for examples of vintage liner tile we’ve shown. We have lots of examples of color combinations you can aim for, if you are planning a retro bathroom from scratch and have the time and extra money to work with B&W to create custom decorative liner tiles to go with.
#2 Mission Tile West
Mission Tile West also has liner tiles in eight designs. You can custom order these in a variety of colors.
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Examples of decorative bathroom liner tile:
Above: From our story Vintage NOS ceramic tile border sizzle strips for sale — Mosaic Tile company, Zanesville, Ohio. We spotted this delicious stash for sale on eBay. Yes, you can occasionally find this tile New Old Stock (NOS) vintage. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath, especially because you’re going to need a lot of it to run around the entire perimeter of a bathroom (unless you take Sarah’s approach, see below.)
Of course, World of Tile had some. Ugh.
Three photos above: Roundhouse Sarah snapped up a bunch of the eBay stash and very creatively, mixed and matched it in her parents’ bathroom remodel. Fabulous! See Robert and Caroline’s mid century home with dreamy St. Charles kitchen cabinets.
Two decorative liner tile designs above: From our story 6 colorful 1950 vintage bathrooms — The Comer House in Gallatin, Tenn.
Two designs above: From our story Liner tiles add personality and quality to your retro bathroom — and where to find them. Okay, so we wrote about this before — six years ago. But we didn’t have all these photos then because the blog was only two months old!
Above: In Rachel and Brian’s 1920s bathroom. Yes — note — this look goes all the way back to the 1920s, at least.
Above: Original bathroom tiles from reader chicken301 from our uploader Vintage bathroom tile — 171 photos of readers’ bathroom designs.
Above: I spotted this flowery liner tile in a time capsule estate sale 1964 bathroom with the works.
Mike and Lindsey also have liner tile in their French Provincial to Retro Modern pink bathroom.
As you can see from these examples, back in they day they placed the decorative liner tile either (1) right under the bullnose, or (2) below the first 4″x4″ tile under the bullnose. Personally, I’d likely put it under the 4″x4″ — I think the deco tile pops better there. And if you’re gonna spend the money, well, golly, you want to see it. Either way, though — lovely! Thanks again to all the readers who have contributed photos over the years, so we can ogle — admire — and dream!