Why hello! Another project I’m going to be working on is my bathroom. Actually, it already has some beautiful blue tile from the 1950s that I LOVE. But the rest of the room needs some updating. So today I want to show you how to update a bathroom without changing the tile.
How to Update a Bathroom Without Changing the Tile
First of all, our Florida house is a 1950’s dreamboat! Sadly, most of the original character has been stripped away with years of remodels and different owners. You can still see the classic charm in a few places. But where it really shines is in the bathroom! I’ll show you all the ‘before’ pics of it below.
The tile on the walls is original and I think it’s really sweet! I’m going to keep it- it’s in pretty good shape and I love the look.
The ’50s was a big time for bright, square tile as you can see from this vintage ad. PS, if you look closely, you can see that they were marketing it for ‘Do It Yourselfers,’ and I totally love that!
Honestly, I find this look to be so cute. If you know me, you know I love allll the color! So I’m definitely going to keep the tile, and update the rest of the bathroom.
You can see my mood board for the bathroom here!
Now I want to share with you all of the easy ways you can update your bathroom without having to change the tile. Here they are in no particular order!
Firstly, giving a bathroom a fresh paint job can make all the difference in the world! Above, you can see how they made the ’50s tile look very current with the darker walls to match it.
Obviously, there are a lot of other gorgeous details they’ve added, but it all comes together with the paint!
Another fun way to update your bathroom is with wallpaper! You can go for a bold look, like the blue on blue bathroom above.
This is the current state of my bathroom walls. And I can’t wait to add wallpaper to it! It’s definitely going to be a whole new space once I add this tropical wallpaper.
While the blue walls aren’t horrible, adding wallpaper will really be the trick to update the look of the whole room.
Next, changing out your faucet can really make a difference to your bathroom.
Currently, this is what we’re working with in my bathroom, and it just doesn’t do the pretty tile justice! Also, it’s on the smaller size and just dated.
So I found this beautiful gold faucet to replace it with and she’s so sleek! It’s all the little details that make the biggest difference, right?
Another easy way to update your bathroom is with a new mirror. As you can see above, the gorgeous gold mirror looks amazing against the pink tile! And it totally makes the whole look become fresh and modern. Honestly, slow clap for this bathroom. It’s sooo good.
Also, since it’s a taller mirror, it creates a visual illusion that makes the ceiling look higher. Isn’t that just tricky! 😉
Next, adding art is another very easy way to update your bathroom. While the bathroom above definitely renovated their sink and cabinet, they kept the tile! And the pink art contrasts really well with the blue tile, don’t you think?
Since the wallpaper I’m using has a lot of color, I’ll pull different hues from it to choose my art. It will also balance well with the blue tile.
#6 Shower Curtain
Another simple way to update your vintage bathroom is with a shower curtain! This is the shower curtain that came with the house. While it technically matches the tile, it doesn’t bring much to the look of the bathroom.
Instead, I’ll add this one. The pink stripes will be super cute against the blue tile!
Another way to switch up the look of a vintage bathroom is by getting a new rug. Even though it might seem to be a small detail, it actually makes a big impression visually.
p.s. a little trick that was also done in this bathroom is that a wood box was built to go over a towel rod that was over the toilet. In 50’s bathrooms there’s sometimes towel rods in strange places. This a great way to update it while preserving the tile!
A further option to refresh your old school bathroom is with towels. A good rule of thumb is to use neutral colors, but go for whatever you like! Just make sure it contrasts well with the tile color.
For example in this pink bathroom, the white works well because it plays off the classic black/white/pink look, and actually tones down the tile color a little.
Side note, the pink tile with black trim is a look from the 1930s!
Something super simple that will immediately refresh your bathroom is the hardware. If you switch out the old knobs and pulls for a modern look, the entire room will be noticeably more modern as well.
As you can see in this pretty bathroom, they updated with gold hardware and it looks fabulous!
#10 Flowers and Plants
Up next, one of my oh-so-favorite ways to decorate any bathroom (or room for that matter!)…plants! Since house plants are so in, they’ll make your bathroom look more updated too.
Just watch that you choose more modern looking pots and planters, like the ones in this cute vintage bathroom.
Another super simple way to update your bathroom is with accessories. Things such as trinkets, vases and stools can all be beautiful additions that will instantly modernize your powder room!
Bonus points if the accessories tie into a greater color scheme for the entire room.
#12 Light Fixture
Finally, changing out the light fixture will be one of the bigger changes you can make to update your bathroom.
I’m thinking of adding these dreamy sconces on either side of the mirror. It’s going to be so great!
Well, that wraps up all the ways you can update your vintage bathroom without changing the tile. Do you have vintage tile in your bathroom? Tell me in the comments below!
if you loved it, pin it!
Dawn Wolfe says
I rent and have the worst bathroom ever. It has the same title style as you show in these, Ashley, but it’s light green title with dark burgandy trim around the edges. It’s white walls above the tile. On top of that, I have a “Cook County” toilet, which is a local inside joke for old-school cast-iron toilets that have the plumbing that shows and the old flush handle — which is the style jails have. I also have a 1970s old rusted metal ceiling light fixture. The floor is “white” hexagon tile with a few blue tiles but all of the tiles are bad looking and the floor never looks clean. I’ve tried bleach and everything else and nothing makes it look better. It looks dirty all the time. What in the heck could I ever do with this bathroom to make it look better? I feel like it’s a lost cause.
[email protected] says
Hi Dawn! I did a post about removable products for rentals (here https://athomewithashley.com/removable-products-for-your-rental/). I actually did peel and stick tile on my bathroom floor in Utah and it held up really well. As far as the tile, you could actually paint it with specific tile paint. But it will really be all the small things that add up. Ask your landlord if you can change the light fixture. I hope this helps!
HI! I’M SO GLAD TO SEE THIS POST BECAUSE I’M POTENTIALLY BUYING A HOUSE WITH A 50S PINK TILE BATHROOM AND I’VE BEEN DOING LOTS OF RESEARCH AND LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION. RATHER THAN MODERNIZING IT THOUGH, I’M THINKING OF PRESERVING THE RETRO CHARM! SAVETHEPINKBATHROOM.COM AND RETRORENOVATION.COM ARE GREAT RESOURCES. CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THE FINAL RESULT!!
[email protected] says
Thanks Nicole! Retro charm is something you can’t buy so I say preserve it!
I grew up in south Florida and lived here for all my life. we’ve decorated and/or remodeled many and have had all those bathrooms except the sea foam green. We’ve lived with 4 pink tubs! I’ve employed each of your ideas at one time or another and they are excellent ways to update without tearing out the pretty tile. I’m glad you appreciate the tile.
[email protected] says
Wow Pamela, 4 pink tubs! How lucky 🙂 It’s nice to switch things out without doing a massive overhaul, right?