How do I choose a wall color for vintage bathroom?

by Reblcant

Hi, just looking for ideas for a wall color, other than blue, for a 1940's vintage bathroom. it still has original black and white tiles. It has a small east facing window so it gets morning sun. It's the main bathroom for the house so looking for practical décor. undecided if I should be dramatic; like black or red, gold, or keep it lighter. just looking for something other than blue. any ideas are welcome. thinking of replacing the sink. it is an 18" depth. the shower stall is being converted to a laundry closet with a stackable washer/dryer. we had to jack hammer the floor tiles in shower due to a drain and shower pan leak. Gutting the bath or doing a complete redo is out of the question.

  22 answers
  • This is a beautiful old bathroom. I love It! Looks like black and white tiles. Black and white is a classic, I would add metallics. The flooring is to die for. Is there a reason to change the sink or just a want? While it sounds wacky, you might consider an opalescent style paint. You can go art deco and moody. Sorry the shower had to bite the bullet though. Like that you are going with the flow.

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    • Like the idea of a pedestal sink. They have many styles with the retro vibe that can also give you a place to set down a comb, brush, etc. Good choice to update, yet still keep the old world charm. Hope you will post when the renovation is complete, would love to see it. If the rest of the house is as charming as this bathroom, you have a real gem. Enjoy living in It! 🌞

  • Ellis Ellis on Jan 18, 2019

    The floor is absolutely beautiful, and the black and white wall tile is truly classic. How about a pale or pearl gray wall to go with the black and white? Then use towels and shower curtains to introduce any contrasting colors you like. If you do replace the sink, go with white or a black cabinet with a white marble top (carrara marble or quartz that looks like it?).

    Last of all, if you decide to change the faucet handles, tub spout on the bath area, stick with a vintage look that goes with the style of this bath.


  • Craft Invaders Craft Invaders on Jan 18, 2019

    I agree it's a beautiful bathroom and if it was mine I think I'd go dramatic - I like the idea of a dark grey. Whatever you decide I am sure it'll look gorgeous, please come back and show us :)

  • Barbara G Barbara G on Jan 18, 2019

    This may not be your cup of tea, but pink was huge back in the era of your bathroom. I once lived in a house with pink and grey tiles in the bathroom and I loved it.

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    • Ellis Ellis on Jan 22, 2019

      What you have is a "mud job" for your bathroom tile. The best, most solid way to install tile. I had a similar pink bathroom, and I learned to live with it, because of that mud job!

  • Luvmycrafts Luvmycrafts on Jan 18, 2019

    I'd go with a light gray. Classy, and won't take away from that beautiful bathroom.

  • Alice Alice on Jan 18, 2019

    I would do a medium gray on the walls and then put red towels and accent pieces in.

  • Kelly Denoyer Russell Kelly Denoyer Russell on Jan 18, 2019

    What about a black/white wallpaper or stencil? Then pick a color for accent in decor if you want to add more color. The sample here can be done in a stencil or the paper you see here. A silver in same pattern would be softer and more glam so whatever suits your style.

  • Taz Taz on Jan 18, 2019

    Absolutely love your bathroom!!! Gorgeous tile!! Here are some colors that inspired me when I saw your pics. Hope it inspires you too :-)

  • Taz Taz on Jan 18, 2019

    Love the black and white wallpaper

  • Susan Davia Susan Davia on Jan 18, 2019

    I would use a light gray or white paint on the walls

  • Susan QC Susan QC on Jan 18, 2019

    I love looking at those pictures. I had the same bathroom at the top of my stairs in my first house. Same floor and wall tiles and trim. Even the same arch over the tub. Any color you like will work in this bath. That's the joy of having white tile. I personally like soothing colors in a bath I spend a lot of time in. Greens or grays would be my choice. You can always add pops of color with towels and accessories. If you want drama, I'd stencil the walls with a pattern of your choice. You could do a deep background color and stencil a light pattern over it or the other way around. Play around on some poster board with paint samples until something makes you smile. I do think a bit of pattern on the walls would be nice, and you could be as dramatic or as subtle as you like.

    Would love to see pictures of whatever you decide.

  • Mom2K9 Mom2K9 on Jan 18, 2019

    Beautiful charm. I would stick with classic white and like an earlier post said, add pops of color with towels and such.

    A word of caution when replacing old plumbing fixtures. One fix may lead to another thing needing to be fixed.

    Please post after pictures. We would all love to see what you did. Good luck!

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Jan 18, 2019

    Since this is your main bath, you want to really LOVE the update. So, bear in mind that seasons change and trends come and go. The best plan for that is a tint of very neutral color - gray, cream, white - and then vibrant accent colors. And don't just think towels. You've got a fabulous window, shelf and table that can go bold on color. And don't forget bath mats or runners. You bath will look stunning in no time.

  • Liz harvey Liz harvey on Jan 18, 2019

    I would go with bright white and add black crown molding. This really gives you opportunity to easily change your look with a variety of colored accessories.

  • Annie Annie on Jan 18, 2019

    Hi! All of the ideas are great. ....but....if you want to keep in the ‘40’s style why not go with an orchid shade. I say this because as an 85-yr. old lady I well remember the 40’s. My aunt, who always had a stylish home, painted hers in that shade. She had those same tiles. I can still remember how I loved the look of her bathroom. Orchid would be something a little different than one would expect in a bathroom. Whatever, have fun redecorating it.

  • Krafty Mrs.K Krafty Mrs.K on Jan 18, 2019

    It is beautiful as is. I love blues and green and a smoky aqua or Teal would look good. A pink or mint green would be a good retro choice.

    I am not a fan of the grey trend but a pearly grey would be very versatile. Try red towels and accents in the winter and bright aqua or coral in the summer.

    For some hidden storage you could velcro a skirt around the sink. If you got two matching shower curtains, one could be cut into a sink skirt and make window curtains.

    • Bbunny42 Bbunny42 on Jan 18, 2019

      I'm seeing chintz-type or vintage curtains/sink skirt with some barn red, blue, yellow and green in the fabric and any of those colors for accessories.

  • 34354174 34354174 on Jan 18, 2019

    Ship lap and paint white.

  • Rini Rini on Jan 18, 2019

    I'm IN LOVE with this bathroom!!!! Please, DON'T replace the sink!!!! It is BEAUTIFUL!!! Those vintage sinks are a treasure!

    Just paint the blue but don't replace the sink nor the tiles! Oh, my! I would completely restore it to its original state!!

    Those baby pastel colours were so in trend back then! I remember my grandmother's home had one bathroom that was lilac, one pink, one turquoise, and the other one blue -just like yours!- I love it!

    You mention it only has a small window so I wouldn't go for the dark colours, you always want good light in a bathroom. What is your favourite colour?

    • Reblcant Reblcant on Jan 18, 2019

      My favorite color is red. If I teplace the sink I would do a pedestal. This sink is so small. That’s why I was thinking of replacing. I’m trying to keep it vintage. Everyone has given me a lot to think about.

  • Reblcant Reblcant on Jan 18, 2019

    Omg. Thank you everyone for the ideas. I got discouraged with the bathroom when I found out the shower was leaking onto kitchen ceiling. Had to tear out bottom quarter of shower and kitchen ceiling. Haven’t been able to move in yet. Finding someone to do plumbing and work is crazy. They are three to four months out.

    I feel better with with the ideas everyone has given. It’s a bright bathroom with plenty of sun. I will post photos.

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    • Reblcant Reblcant on Jan 19, 2019

      Thank you. I needed the encouragement. Bought house end of October and it's January and still not moved in. Thank you.

  • Oliva Oliva on Jan 18, 2019

    Your bath is very classic. I'd stay with white or pale grey, for a timeless look.

    The leaking shower is not surprising, giving age of plumbing. Make sure your plumber will replace all piping and sub floor as needed, and give you a written guarantee of work.

    Schlutter systems makes good product for bathroom floors, wall niches, etc.

    Carefully research pedestal sinks before purchasing. Sizes vary widely, and tops are not always flat/usable.

    Have a very good grade exhaust fan installed to preclude moisture issues.

    Have fun with this. It will be terrific, when finished!

  • Anita Anita on Jan 18, 2019

    Silvery gray. I just painted one of my bathrooms that color, and wish I had done the other (larger) one the same color. I'll have it painted soon, as I'm not crazy for the color I chose in the big bathroom.

  • Jessie Jessie on Jan 31, 2019

    I know you’ve heard it before, but I love your bathroom!! I plan to makeover my bathroom to look like yours!!!!Good luck!!