Decorating a beige bathroom: Color history and ideas from six manufacturers from 1927 to 1962

beige bathroom vintageHow 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 Mochavintage beige bathroom vintage beige bathroom

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.

vintage bathroom colors

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.

vintage Beige bathroom vintage Beige bathroom vintage Beige bathroomAbove: 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.

vintage Beige bathroomAbove: 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.

vintage Beige bathroom vintage Beige bathroom

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.

vintage beige bathroom vintage beige bathroom

Above: Autumn Brown fixtures from a 1928 Kohler catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.

vintage beige bathroom

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!

1936 Kohler bathroom colors

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.

1948 Kohler colors bathroom vintage beige bathroomAbove: 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.

vintage bathroom colors vintage beige bathroomAbove: 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. 

Kohler colors 1950svintage yellowy beige bathroomAbove: 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

vintage Crane bathroom colors 1940Above: 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.

vintage beige bathroomAbove: 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

vintage beige bathroom vintage beige bathroomAbove: Beige and burgundy and yellow (chartreuse maybe even?) and red! What a fun, punchy combination — the wallpaper makes it all work.

vintage beige bathroomvintage beige bathroomAbove: 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.

vintage beige bathroom vintage beige bathroomAbove: Sandstone from the 1962 Briggs Beautyware catalog from the Building Technology Heritage Library.

Eljer — Tuscan Tan

vintage bathroom colors
Above: Pam spotted this 1939 Eljer catalog on the Building Technology Heritage Library featuring Tuscan Tan.

Alliance Ware — Tan

alliance ware vintage bathroom fixturesAnd 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:


  1. la573 says:

    What strikes me first about most of these bathrooms is how little storage space there is. Where did people back then put all their stuff? There are almost no cabinets, no shelves, no countertop space around the sink.

    These illustrations have convinced me that purpleish-red walls and rugs are the best way to de-boringify beige bathrooms.

    1. CarolK says:

      A couple of things strike me: For one, people had less stuff to store. I’ve got three products to clean my hair, conditioner and several styling cream products and that doesn’t include my facial products. Beauty routines have gotten very complicated. Second, most of the mirrors concealed medicine cabinets where you’d store things. Third, an ad wouldn’t show all the clutter of products on the edge of the tub or lavatory.

  2. Joe Felice says:

    In the Sun-Tan bathroom, what the heck kind of toilet is that?

    There was a color that was often used in the ’50s that I called “flesh.” I never could decide if it was pink or beige.

    1. CarolK says:

      “Flesh” was peach. I never thought that anyone’s skin was actually “flesh”-colored and, in fact, there are many people whose skin is most definitely not. I can’t remember when Crayola changed the name of the crayon to Peach, but that was a good thing.

  3. Kristy Hansen says:

    We have Fawn Beige fixtures in our 1964 bathroom. Original countertops have the gold speckled laminate with a beige mosaic backsplash. Beige is NOT my favorite color so I brought some color in with some vintage vinyl backed curtains that I made into roller shades, a picture and a curtain to cover an under counter space that I have laundry baskets in. I use blue and green towels with colors from the curtains to add pops of color. You can also see the gold Maytag dryer – love my gold Maytags! They work better than any washer/dryer set I have ever had!

    1. CarolK says:

      Kristin, do we live in the same house? We have those pinky beige fixtures in our bathroom and similar laminate. We no longer have the toilet unfortunately, but the tub and sink are in pretty good shape.

      1. Kristy says:

        We have the toilet in the Fawn Beige too but the tub was removed at some point to make a shower suited for the folks who used to live here – they were here for 49 years and needed safety bars and whatnot – so sad that we don’t have the tub!

  4. Denise says:

    Just the color names for the sinks: Tuscan Beige, Jade Green, Tang Red—they show a cultural shift of Americans traveling that began with air travel becoming part of our lives.

  5. Pink, blue, green, sparkle ANYTHING but beige (no matter what you call it) That’s just for us, mind you. Anything beige that shows-up in our environs gets painted or tossed. Beige is Bad for my Brain!

  6. Bunny says:

    I grew up in Jersey with this color in our only bathroom of our 1954 brick ranch. As an only child, with a vivid imagination, I called it “flesh color”. My Mom have interpreted more as a pink beige, because the other colors were grey, pink, and black. I remember a beautiful basket weave tile in fleshy pink and grey on the floor. I’d kill for that bathroom now. Lol!

  7. CarolK says:

    I am currently watching the old film “The More the Merrier” and noticed that the bathroom in Jean Arthur’s apartment has colored fixtures. The film is black and white so I can’t tell what color they are, but they’re definitely not white!

  8. Lynn says:

    We have a beige bathroom at our shore house that was built in the early 1960’s. The toilet and tub are good. The sparkle laminate counter top around the sink is in great shape (considering the house had a rental history). The sink, however, is beyond hope. It rusted around the drain area and crumbled to the point where water then leaked from the basin. I am not sure what color beige is in our bathroom, but from the pictures shown, I want to say it is Spice Mocha. I am trying to find someone who can re-glaze a new white sink to match the beige, although from everything I am reading, I am not optimistic. Why don’t manufacturers get it, and bring back colors? White is boring! Ok, I know that you heard that a million times, but I just had to say it. I refuse to give up on my quest to find a replacement sink, but first I need to be sure of the color. Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    1. pam kueber says:

      I would think you can find one vintage, Lynn — that would likely be the easiest route. Check my posts on nomoredrama4me, she might have some…

      1. Audrey says:

        We have a Persian Brown tub and toilet and I wanted sinks to match. I was able to buy bisque sinks (unglazed) and had them glazed. B&W Tile had and exact match to our sink in their tile line. They don’t glaze sinks, but they were willing to sell me the glaze powder.

            1. Lynn says:

              Wow, that is amazing! Thanks for passing this idea along, Audrey! I ordered the color chips so I can determine the color first, but I will definitely look into this as an option. Thanks again!

              1. Kathy says:

                Pam posted an article awhile back about fiberglass sinks that could be painted with color-matched automotive paint. That could be an option.

                Audrey, how did you have your bisque sinks glazed, and where did you find a sink in bisque?

    2. Kristy Hansen says:

      I found out all my colors – I have three color fixture bathrooms by ordering color chips from: http://www.classic-colors.com/COLORS
      You can choose your manufacturer and it narrows the colors down.
      We had American Standard fixtures so I ordered color chips in their line.
      I was able to then order matching toilet seats for all my bathrooms! Fawn beige was my beige. We also have Yellow and Regency Blue.
      Good luck finding your color and a sink!

      1. Lynn says:

        Thank you, Kristy! I went to this website and I am going to order the color chips. I am glad that you had good luck with all three of your bathrooms. They sound like very nice colors! Thanks again!

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