A bathroom plastered with pastel-hued tile circa the 50s and 60s is the stuff of nightmares for design lovers. It’s just so incredibly pink (or green or blue). While you’re probably itching to tear it all down, fast, there are actually a few tricks to making retro tilework palatable—perhaps even lovable. Our favorite spaces, below, use white—white paint, white towels, white shower curtains—to bring a welcome freshness to the room. From there, its all about minimalist decor. No matter what you do, old-school tile will always be over the top, so you might as well embrace its loud personality and let it be the star of the show.
Oh Happy Day blogger Jordan Ferney’s bathroom also boasts pink tile, this time with black trim. Again, white saves the day in the form of crisp walls and towels that offset the tile’s unusual hue. The finishing touch: sleek silver fixtures and accessories.
In Sheryl Crow’s Hollywood Hills, California, home, the master bath’s original 1920s pedestal sink and black tilework are brightened up with a Persian carpet from Safavieh.
The design gurus behind blog Young House Love modernized the pale yellow tile in their bath with the addition of a contrasting black mirror, an industrial light fixture, and of course, a fresh coat of white paint on the walls.
If it’s black-and-white tile you’re dealing with, consider painting the bath a refreshing shade, such as sky blue. (Just keep the accessories monochromatic to avoid overdoing it.)
By now the trend is clear: The simpler everything is surrounding the tile, the better.
A shiny Council of Fashion Designers of America award is just one of the unexpected moments in Thom Browne’s New York City bath. Bold orange Hermès boxes and elegant cologne bottles also manage to elevate the space’s old-school tilework.
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