How to paint and decorate a beige bathroom? We get this question a lot from readers who may not be accustomed to the warm and sometimes pinky-beiges in midcentury bathrooms. So, continuing our series looking back at the colors of vintage bathroom tubs, sinks and toilets, let’s take a look at how beige has evolved from 1927 to 1962 — and along the way, we’ll see the colors that designers were choosing to complement and accent beige fixtures back in the day.
American Standard Beiges — St. Porchaire Brown, Persian Brown, Fawn Beige and Spice Mocha
Above: Check out this bold color combination from 1930 — St. Porchaire Brown fixtures with a dark purple wall tile, black floors and green and yellow accents — nothing boring about this beige! Images from 1930 American-Standard St. Porchaire Brown bathroom fixtures from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Above: By 1950, American Standard had modified their available brown/beige color to be lighter and have a more pink cast, renaming it Persian Brown. From 1950 American-Standard catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library showing Persian Brown as a bathroom fixture color choice.
Above: Here’s a fun green, gold and Fawn Beige combination that feels very lively. Note: When Pam remodeled her bathrooms in about 2003, one of them got Fawn Beige tiles that were available from Home Depot then. She says the color is lovely.
Above: Check out the rattan covering the vanity, cabinet and walls. Mixed with a yellowy peach tile and aqua laminate countertops, this Spice Mocha bathroom feels downright tropical.
All six images above of American Standard’s Fawn Beige and Spice Mocha fixtures are from a 1962 catalog in the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Kohler — Autumn Brown, Tuscan
A few years ago, Pam wrote about the very first year — 1927 — that Kohler offered its bathroom fixtures in colors besides white. One of those first colors offered was “Autumn Brown” a light brownish beige.
Above: Autumn Brown fixtures from a 1928 Kohler catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Above: An Autumn Brown “Mayfair” bathroom was also spotted in this 1929 Kohler catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library. Note that Mayfair sink — we’ve spotted a similar American Standard sink and others like it only a handful of time over the years — they can sell for quite a bit of money!
Above: We see Kohler’s color lineup in this 1936 catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library. The company added a new lighter beige called Tuscan that became one of their four most popular colors — along with Spring Green, Lavender and Peachblow. Autumn Brown, while still on the color line up, was less popular.
Above: This beige bathroom above mixes the lightly colored neutral with a punchy navy blue and red accents, making quite an impact. Above: In this 1948 Kohler catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library, we see the whole palette for the year, which includes two beiges: Tuscan and Autumn Brown.
Above: By 1949, Kohler had reduced its color offerings to just four: Spruce Green, Peachblow, Cerulean Blue and Tuscan. Two images above are from a 1949 Kohler catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Above: By 1950, Kohler was still producing Tuscan — but is it still beige or has it become yellow? It could be a printing anomaly, but we don’t k now for sure. Above images from: 1950 Kohler catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
To see more of the evolution of beige from Kohler, check out their extensive color timeline.
Crane — Sun Tan
Above: In 1940, Crane offered a beige called Sun Tan along with Orchid Pink, India Ivory, Citrus Yellow, Pale Jade, and Lavender as part of their lineup. Images above from a 1940 Crane catalog in the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Above: This Sun Tan bathroom fixture suite is surrounded warm sunset tones of coral, red and brown offset with a few medium blue accents. From this 1940 Crane catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Briggs — Sandstone
Above: Beige and burgundy and yellow (chartreuse maybe even?) and red! What a fun, punchy combination — the wallpaper makes it all work.
Above: For a rustic coolonial look, why not match beige with brick red and a green stained pine? Don’t forget the tree stump stool! Four images above of Briggs’ Sandstone Beige from this 1951 Briggs Beautyware catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Above: Sandstone from the 1962 Briggs Beautyware catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.
Eljer — Tuscan Tan
Above: Pam spotted this 1939 Eljer catalog on the Building Technology Heritage Library featuring Tuscan Tan.
Alliance Ware — Tan
And finally, Pam found this ad for Alliance Ware porcelain enameled bathroom fixtures that includes ‘Tan’ in a 1950s Small Homes Guide.
See our other stories about vintage bathroom colors:
- The color green in kitchens and bathrooms sinks, tubs and toilets from 1928-1962
- The color pink in bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets – from 1927-1962
- The color blue in bathroom sinks, tubs, and toilets from from 1927-1962
- The color red in bathroom fixtures through 1950