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.
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.
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: 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
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