Now that World of Tile is closed, we are getting more questions than ever — many of them desperate — about where to find replacement tile in post-war pastel colors. To help, we came up with this list of 17 places where you can hunt for and, we hope, find replacement tiles for your midcentury bathroom.
Before you begin the search
Before you begin your search for replacement tiles, it is important to note that not all 4″x4″ ceramic wall tiles are created equally. Depending on the manufacturer, age of the tile, etc., tiles may vary in their actual measurements. So-called 4″x4″ tiles might actually measure 3.75″x3.75″ or 4.25″x4.25″ square. There could also be variations in the thickness of the tile. Make sure you know what size and thickness your original tile is before you start searching to avoid buying tile that will not fit in your bathroom. Also, if you will be heading out to search through piles of salvaged tile, take a small piece of your tile with you to make color matching easier, if possible.
Note regarding World of Tile: We know they said they planned to reopen. But we are not counting on it, and even if they do, it’s difficult to believe they can replicate the level of replacement possibilities that existed when they had that 100,000 s.f. neverendinggobstoper warehouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the Retro Renovation World.
New bathroom tiles in vintage colors
First, let’s review the companies that still make square ceramic wall tiles in vintage colors and where you might find a match or a close-enough-will-do.
1. B&W Tile
B&W Tile is our #1 go-to place for new 4×4 tiles made today. In business for more than 60 years, B&W Tile has authentic retro colors including pink — which I used in my retro pink bathroom remodel. B&W Tile is also available through Clay Squared in Minneapolis. (Note: B&W Tile sells their 4×4 tiles for $4.50 per square foot not including shipping, Clay Squared’s price is $12 per square foot, which includes shipping. See their sites and crunch the numbers to see which formula works best for you).
2. Classic Tile New York
Daltile — probably the largest brand name tile in the U.S. — has a wide variety of colorful 4×4 ceramic tile available, though colors change regularly. If you find a color you like, you may be able to buy it via your local big box or tile store and avoid paying shipping charges.
Daltile 4″x4″ ceramic tile color collections to check out:
- Semi-Gloss — #1 go-to collection for vintage pastel colors
- Semi-Gloss Color Trends — 1960s acid hues
- Natural Hues
4. American Olean
American Olean is owned by the same company as Daltile and we think they have the same colors, just with different names, still if you are trying to color match, it might be worth checking for yourself:
5. United States Ceramic Tile Co.
As of 4/14 it seems that US Ceramic Tile has merged with Roca Tile Group. Home Depot seems to carry this line of tile, and it is affordable, though the colors are not particularly retro.
- See the available colors and finishes on the Roca Tile Group website
6. Olympia Tile
Olympia Tile is a Canadian-based company with some distribution in the U.S. Pam used their heron blue in her blue bathroom, though that color is now discontinued. The company still offers one collection of 4x4s with a few possible retro colors that is worth checking out.
7. Florida Tile
Florida Tile — based out of Kentucky — does not have “colors” but it does have a good selection of neutrals.
8. American Universal Tile
9. Ann Sacks
Ann Sacks’ Beaded collection includes about 200 colors, though the design doesn’t appear to be “basic” since it has prominently beveled edges. This high end tile also retails for $20 per square foot and up.
10. Nemo Tile
Nemo Tile has a colorful line of Anthologhia tiles — including a pink — the same ones Rebecca used in her fabulous bathroom remodel.
11. Clayhaus Ceramics
12. Big Box Stores
Big Box Stores typically carry neutral 4×4 tiles in white, black, beige and biscuit for under 20 cents each — a good, easy to find and inexpensive option for those needing neutral replacement tiles.
Salvaged or New Old Stock vintage tiles
If you are willing to be patient and do a little bit — or more likely, a lot — of digging, you may still be able to find vintage replacement tiles.
Your local Re-Store or salvage yard is an excellent place to look for vintage replacement tile as they will often have small amounts of tile that were leftover from a job or carefully removed from a vintage bathroom. Just be sure to bring a color sample of the tile you are wanting to replace to make sure you can easily identify any matching tiles you may find.
14. Ebay or Etsy
Occasionally, you might be able to find vintage NOS or reclaimed 4″x4″ tiles in small lots or even as singles on Ebay or Etsy. Color matching will be more difficult, but you may just get lucky. Most recently we’ve noticed a seller out of Michigan — The King of Thrones — seems to have acquired a large amount of vintage ceramic tile pieces.
15. Longtime local tile stores
Don’t forget to look locally for tile stores that have been in business for many years — they just might have some deadstock vintage tile in their warehouse that would fit the bill.
16. Ask the neighbors
Check with neighbors in your area who may still have original tile bathrooms in their homes that they are planning to remodel. Many times, entire neighborhoods were built by one local “merchant builder.” This builder bought in bulk — and likely put variations on the same bathrooms in tens or scores or even hundreds of houses. Frankly: This may be your #1 best-bet for finding the tile you need. Canvas the neighborhood! With a little luck and a nice neighbor, you might just find a match.
17. If all else fails try to borrow them from your own bathroom
If you have exhausted all possible possibilities and still you can’t find that single replacement tile you need, try looking behind a sink or vanity to see if you can borrow a hidden matching tile to fix a more visible area. Beware, though: If your tiles are mud-set, though, it may be near impossible to get existing tiles out.
Finding replacement tiles for your vintage bathroom may not be an easy task, but with these resources and ideas and a little bit of luck from the retro decorating gods, you can revive your midcentury bathroom. Good luck with your hunt!