Vintage wallpaper — or paint? — for Laura’s 1957 bathroom

Laura wants to add color to the walls of her pattern-on-pattern-on-pattern 1957 bathroom — we looked at it here last week. But, with only brown and beige in all the patterns, what color should she choose? You know me: I always welcome a chance to promote: Wallpaper!

Above: Laura’s bathroom, walls painted a beige that looks to match one of the tiles in the mosaic wall. The wall color, and overall effect within the room, is nice. But: She is a fan of color.  

My first choice of wallpaper for the space (without spending, like, 80 hours doing research, which is what I’d do if it were my bathroom, ugh): A vintage 1970s wallpaper in a cheeky illustration design from Hannah’s Treasures that might be super fun. Mermaids! Toilets full of plants! A scuba-diving shower!

I recall that Laura said that two children, boys, use the bathroom — surely this would make them laugh and show off the bathroom to anyone and everyone who visited forevermore

Should Laura paint or wallpaper the walls in her 1957 bathroom? Her bathroom is so densely patterned, I say: Just go with the flow and add more pattern — add wallpaper. Above: A more serene —  but very atomically appealing fish under water scene wallpaper from Hannah’s Treasures.

With any wallpaper, you need to be sure to see a sample first, to ensure the hues, scale and shapes — all of it — are correct. For example, I tried some other brownish patterned wallpapers, but the browns were too red or something, they looked clashy. Laura is an artist. She doesn’t need my help choosing a harmonious pattern, if she is game for wallpaper vs. paint.

decorating a bathroomChoosing a single solid color-color (of the rainbow, not a neutral) for Laura’s bathroom is so difficult because there are no color-colors in any of her existing patterns, which are so dominant. And one of the first possible rules of pulling together a pleasing decorative palette is: Where’s your pattern? It’s from there that you pull your secondary and tertiary colors. See my guide above — it explains all.

1950s bathroomIf Laura really just wants to paint, I think what I would do is: Find large-scale artwork, or multiple pieces grouped together, that include her existing pattern colors plus one or more color-colors. Then, take your wall color from one of those additional colors in the artwork. Looks like her ceilings are pretty high. To get a color on the wall, like I said, I wouldn’t go too dinky with the art on the wall. It’s a Goldilocks situation. Not too big, not too small, with the artwork, to sneak the color color from it, in there just right. You know, the mobile is so pretty, you could do it with that if its elements were the correct colors — that is, brown, beige, black — and your extra color color. Perhaps: Minty green… a seafoam like in the first vintage wallpaper in my own beige bathroom?

That said, I’m still liking, way better, the idea of tone-on-tone-on-tone color and pattern in this bathroom. Sticking to the more narrow color palette gives the crazy pattern mashup serenity. Like: It’s very clever — decorating genius — if you can cram pattern everywhere and still have it feel — calm.

One more wallpaper idea — this one looks like it could cleverly sneak a rosy red into the room. This shade of red is sooooooo 1950s perfect. Howdy, Hannahs!

So what do you think that Laura should do with the walls, dear readers? 

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