Vintage Tile Scrapbook


Pink bathroom counter top with black trim tile

Pink and black retro tile bathroom, probably from the 1940s or 1950s.

In remodeling and decorating, we try to respect the original character of our 1944 mid century home, and for our housing track, as well as most California homes from the 1920s to the 1960s, ceramic tile surfaces and counter tops were all the rage when they were first built.  It has been frustrating that there are so few sources on TV and the web for preserving or recreating retro tile designs.  Most home improvement shows and stores advocate gutting the colorful ceramic tile and contemporary designers consider it “dated.”  Well, 1940’s dated tile is what I am going for.

Almost a year has past since we first knocked down the walls in our half bath and laundry room/ mud room to completely redo both areas.  This remodel seems never ending!  Unfortunately we mainly spend vacations doing any serious work on the two room project.  Over the course of this past year or so, I have been collecting photos* of nice examples of 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950s small tiled bathrooms for inspiration.

And on the bright side, we are just about ready to start setting tile.  Well, at least all the hardibacker board is up on the tub walls and counter top.  But I have yet to buy the tile.  I am still on the fence about the colors.  I already did the floor in black and white, exactly like the kind in the first picture.  There are so many to vintage combinations choose from; it is hard to decide.  Here are many of the photos I have been using for design inspiration for our small vintage bathroom.

Do you have a vintage tiled bathroom?  Or are you lusting after one?  Please leave me a comment or suggestion if you have a favorite out of the lot.

Seafoam green and black trimmed tile walls with a black and white pin wheel mosaic floor, found in a mid century original bathroom.

Peachy pink vintage tile bathroom with lovely mosaic tile floor to match. Built in ceramic toilet paper holder and towel bars

Peachy pink vintage tile bathroom with lovely mosaic tile floor to match


Pink and Purple vintage ceramic tile from the late 1930’s.  The tub is full of stuff from the Estate sale I found it at.

Monochromatic sage green and white tile retro bathroom, probably from the late 1950s or early 1960's

Monochromatic sage green and white tile retro bathroom, probably from the late 1950s or early 1960’s

Yellow and mint green vintage tile bathroom

Green and Yellow 1930’s Art Deco Bathroom found at a vacation rental website, Homeaway listing in Santa Monica # 241772

Yellow and sea foam green vintage art deco tile bathroom shower stall

Another view of the same yellow and sea foam green tiled art deco 1930’s bathroom from above. This is a really beautiful tile shower stall.


sea foam blue-green tiled bathroom with decorative liner and border

A really cute seafoam green blue retro tile bathroom found at vacation rental webiste, homeaway listing number 346282 in San Francisco. I especially like the decorative matching liner and blue green tub.


retro tile pink and white bathroom from 1950's

Pretty pink tile and white bathroom from the mid 1950’s. Found at vacation rental VRBO listing in West Los Angeles 357935.

Vintage original bathroom tile in Brown and white

Burgundy Brown and beige tile in a vintage style bathroom. Found at Homeaway listing in Austin TX # 3473416


Mid 1940s peach or tan tile with aqua blue box cap boarder and matching sink over a built in vanity cabinet.

Soft and femine pink, black and white 1950’s bathroom with pink tile counter top.

Peachy Pink and Black vintage tile bathroom from the 1950’s

Elegant Grey, Black, and White Retro Tiled bathroom

1946 yellow and grey tile bathroom

1946 yellow and grey tile bathroom

1946 yellow and grey tile bathroom

gray and cream colored tile with built in mid century sink cabinet

Pink and grey tile in an unfinished bathroom. From in Austin

1946 yellow bathroom tile with burgundy red trim and free standing sink fixture.

Modern update or redo of mid century bathroom in rosey red tile with black accents.

Aqua blue green and teal bathroom

I actually hate this brown and pink 1950s bathroom, but I saved it anyway because of the built in sink cabinet.  I think brown paint would work, just not this shade.  But if it was me, I would have picked a very feminine shade of butter yellow to paint it.

Soft pale pink bathroom tile in 1930s bathroom with mosaic floor and white paint

Pink and black 1950s vintage bathroom with white paint

peach and orange vintage tile with cool robins egg blue paint.

Peach and sea foam green original tile bathroom with green fixtures from the 1940s. It has streamlined details that were so popular in the late 30’s to Mid 1940.

bright peachy orange retro style subway tileds in a small bathroom with black trim and liner. I am guessing this one is a modern redo probably because of the sink style and the colored subway tiles.  Most of the original 1940s and 50s tile jobs were done using 4 x 4 size tile.  Subway size was more common in the pre war era.

mint green and black retro original tile bathroom from late 1940s or early 1950s made contemporary with the dramatic grey paint and decorative stencil black accents. From

mint green and black retro original tile bathroom from late 1940s or early 1950s made contemporary with the dramatic grey paint and decorative stencil black accents.  From Design Sponge and later featured on Apartment Therapy

sage green and forest green original tile bathroom from 1930s or early 1940s with pink paint

Mint green retro tile bathroom in 1930s Deco style with

Black and blue retro/ vintage tile bathroom from the 1940s with black and white pinwheel mosaic floor

Black and blue retro/ vintage tile bathroom from the 1940s

Black and yellow retro/ vintage tile bathroom from the 1930s.


late 1950s bathroom with pink and gray original tile on built in sink vanity

Pink and burgundy tiled tub surround and built in sink vanity in a 1950s time capsule bathroom.  Found at a realestate blog called

peach and blue built in sink cabinet in vintage bathroom found at uglyhousephotos


Another peach and blue bathroom, probably 1940s since it has a small mirrored recessed medicine cabinet, typical of the era.


Yellow and blue tile small bathroom sink. My husband said our bathroom would look like “Steelers themed” because I had wanted to mix the 2 colors in our new bathroom with our black and white floor, but my hubby is a Niners fan so it was a no gol  Photo from

Light Green and teal  bathroom tiled in sink and counter top. Another 50s bathroom from Ugly House photos


As you can see, no travertine, marble, granite, or even beige or tan for me. Stop back by next week, and maybe I will have added more of the other pictures, or maybe I will have actually picked out my tile and started setting it.  I think I might be leaning toward blue. No, maybe yellow.  But that peachy pick sure is nice.  I’m to tired to decide.


Here is a link to our finished black and blue vintage tile bathroom.

*Unlike the rest of my blog, many of the photos in this post are not my original works, but were found over the course of a year and half throughout the internet and saved for design inspiration for my multiple tile projects around our home, especially our little bathroom.  A number of the pics came from MLS and real estate listings and are no longer online elsewhere to link to.  Some are from two popular vacation rental services, homeaway and VRBO and others from design blogs.  I did my best to credit and link back to the original works and their posters/creators/listings/sources.  However if at any time you would prefer not to have one of your images here, please email me and I’ll take it down right away.  Thanks.

© 2012 – 2013, .


Vintage Tile Scrapbook — 22 Comments

  1. Pingback: Choosing Vintage Tile | Hanbury House

    • Hi Kathleen,

      I am sorry; I don’t have any great advice.

      Most of my research was focused on the 1920s to 1940s. During that time, folks were worried about sanitation and cleanliness. White and light colored tile surfaces were commonly used up until the late 1930s to allow the homemaker see the dirt that needed to be cleaned and easily disinfect it. However, burgundy was popular, as well as gray.

      Most of the brown and white tiled rooms I have come across are from the 1960’s to late 1980’s. I do believe the store I bought my tile at, B & W Tile in Gardena, CA, does carry a couple of shades of brown.

  2. We have a 1927 house that has lavender 4×4 square tiles with black bull nose trip, but I was delighted to find that under all the white paint there is a 1 inch trim tile with tiny pink triangles, along with yellow with blue speckle dart shapes. I can’t wait to get the thick white paint off. Any suggestions where I could find a half dozen purple replacement tiles?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Your tile bathroom sounds lovely. I would love to see a pic!

      I wish I could find more good sources for vintage ceramic tile trim because I want to add a decorative element to the tile project I am about to start in my laundry room. I have about a 5 foot long section to do. Unfortunately I have yet to find any that are at prices I can afford. My bathroom project ended up with just plain black liners because I could not afford the hand painted ones at my local tile store, B & W.

      Most of the vintage trim liners are pretty expensive when I have come across them. They sometimes turn up on ebay and etsy, but not in the colors I need. Other than that, you will probably have to special order something. The place I buy tile from, B & W tile, charges about $13 per six inch handpainted liner, last I checked. They do carry a variety of blank unglazed liners, and I think one might have darts with squares, but I don’t think it is exactly like you are describing. Here is a link images of their liners and trim:

      There is another Southern California tile place out in Pasadena that does custom work called Mission Tile West. Maybe check out their stuff to see if any of it matches your pink triangles with yellow and blue darts. Here is a link to their sample boards:

      Is it just the purple field tile you need? If so, try Mission Tile West. They have a few different purples.

      There are probably a few other specialty places around the country, but unfortunately, I am only familiar with the ones near me. If you do find a match, I would love to hear about and see a pic. Thanks and best wishes finding it. – Lianne

      B & W Tile
      14600 South Western Avenue
      Gardena, CA 90249
      Phone: (310) 538-9579

      Mission Tile West.
      853 Mission Street
      South Pasadena, Ca 91030
      Phone: (626) 799-4595

  3. Thanks so much for the fast reply! Great resources, I so very much appreciate it! I am in the process of removing about 3 coats of white gloss paint to reveal the tiles, so once I get a good section bare, I’ll post the pics for you.

  4. There is a website that is called and they have replicas of these types of ceramic tiles. Different shades. I found them online. Need to replace seafoam green tiles.

  5. Pingback: RETRO TILE TRIM | R O C K R O S E W I N E

  6. Pingback: Ugly Tile in Your Bathroom? Here are 3 Ways You Can Make It Work! | Pure Inspiration

  7. I’m with you on keeping the retro tiled bathrooms. I have close to the exact bathroom as your 2nd picture with the peachy pink and burgundy trim that I’m currently trying to figure out a good color to paint the walls above the tile. I agree there aren’t enough resources out there regarding preservation rather than destruction so thank you for your refreshing site. As far as a pick for you…. I’m in love with the 1st pic with the turquoise, black, and white.

  8. Hi. I am looking for the 4 x 4 monochromatic sage green tiles. My tile has little black or dark brown speckles in it. However, it looks a lot like your picture of the sage green tile. Do you know where I can get it at?

    • Hi Rod,

      I am sorry I missed this comment from a while back. If it isn’t too late, I think B & W Tile in Gardena might have what you are looking for. Give them a call. I believer they will send out samples if necessary. B & W Tile 14600 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90249
      (310) 538-9579. Another place you might check is Mission Tile West in Santa Monica: 1227 5th St Santa Monica (310) 434-9697. They have a lot of older style ceramic tile too.

  9. You want a good source of info on these old bathrooms, find old bathroom catalogs from American Standard, Crane, and Kohler. They have a wealth of information and lots of really cool illustrations. They also help establish a timeline about how long a particular color or style was made.

  10. Hello,

    We have a 1956 mid-century modern home in the hills of Studio City that is 90% original with all the tile in pristine condition in three bathrooms and the kitchen.

    We’re considering doing an addition and we’d love to emulate the same style. That said, someone told me that there’s a store somewhere in southern California that has vintage tile for sale. Do you know what the name is or where it is?

    Any help you can lend would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.



    • I apologize for the long delay in my response; your comment was being held for review and i missed it. The vintage tile store I go to is in Gardena, called B & W. The also have a location in Riverside. They have an extensive selection of shapes and a large number of retro tile glazes. If they don’t have a piece, they often can make it within a few days – a few weeks. I had one really weird piece i needed and it was ready within 4 days.

      There is another tile place in Pasdena, Mission Tile West, that makes custom reproductions and they have a nice website. I haven’t used them since I am much closer to Gardena.

  11. I just purchased a home in Florida that was built in 1957. The bathroom tile in the bathrooms is in very good condition. One is the pink and grey and the other is yellow a sorta brown color. The problem is we are tall and the tile does not go all the way to the ceiling around the tubs. I am concerned that we will get water damage above the tile in the showers. Do have a suggestion on what I could put on the upper areas around the tubs that would look good with the original tile. I do not think I could ever match what we have.

    • I wish I could offer some great tip for incorporating new material with the vintage tile, but I don’t know of anything.

      Our other bathroom has similar issues of the surround being about 6 inches shorter than my husband. We didn’t want to replace it at that point due to the expense. That bathroom has some kind solid surface, kind of like Corian or manmade quartz, panels around the tub area. Its super easy to keep clean and looks good. About 15 years ago, we repaired the mildewed plaster above the shower walls and sealed with a water proof paint product (sorry i don’t remember brands) and caulked. We then painted with a premium bathroom paint with a mildewicide. And replaced the vent fan. We have had no other water issues in there since then. The two teenagers now use that shower/tub.

  12. The first peachy-pink bathroom is mine ( The house was built in 1949. It had an ugly newer cabinet-based sink when we bought it, but probably started with a wall-mount. It also had an unusual one-piece Case brand toilet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find parts that fit the toilet and so we replaced it, as well as the 60s/70s sink.

Leave a Reply