Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Retro Pink Bathroom - What To Do?

A reader posted this photo with a question on our Facebook page.  Kelli says she is house hunting, and found a house that she likes with a similar bathroom:
Kelli says: This is not our bathroom. But, is there a way to prime and paint this type of gaudy bathroom faux pas? Would Krylon spray paint work? We're house hunting, and the one we like has a similar set-up in the bath. suggestions for inexpensive quick fixes welcome! Thanks.

I showed this photo to Handy Man, and he said "OH MY!"  Some people like vintage tile and fixtures and want to keep them, but she wants to make some changes, here are some suggestions:

Handy Man says that yes, you can paint tile, but there is a specific type of paint you need to use.  We have never painted tile before, so we really can't advise the best way to go about this.  You should look up articles like this one on Do It Yourself for more information. 

You can also get an estimate for someone to come in and spray paint the tile with a special type of paint (we had this done to our bath tub in our previous home).  I can't give you an estimate for this, since prices vary so widely in different parts of the country. 

I would eventually knock out the tile, but I know that's a big, messy job.  Plus, a large amount of tile can get expensive.  I can't see the whole bathroom here, but vintage bathrooms like these usually have tile all around the whole room.  

If you don't want to mess with the tile until you save up more money, there are other simple, fairly inexpensive things you can do to spruce up this bathroom:
  • Don't underestimate the value of a good cleaning.
  • Change out the light fixture(s).  
  • Put up a nice curtain or valance in the window.
  • Install a newer medicine cabinet.
  • This may sound too simple, but new towels and a new shower curtain will do wonders.
  • I can't tell if the floor is tile or vinyl.  If the floor is vinyl, you may be able to give it a good cleaning, and cover it with peel and stick vinyl tiles as a temporary solution to brighten the space.
  • I almost forgot to write this, but: paint!  There's nothing like a bright coat of paint to freshen up a room.  You might want to stay with white to keep it as bright as possible.
  • If you know how to sew (or can bribe someone to help you), make a pretty skirt in a fabric that matches the curtain.  The skirt will hide the pipes under the sink and give you some storage space.
Another reader on our Facebook page, Jennifer, made some suggestions for painting tile.  You can click here to go to our Facebook page.

What other ideas do you have for Kelli? Have you ever dealt with a similar bathroom?

Edited to add:  Please take a look at the comments in our comment section, below.  Our readers have some great suggestions!

Linking to: Funky Junk Interiors/ The Shabby Nest/ Tidy Mom/ The Charm of Home/ A Little Knick Knack/ My Romantic Home/ The Shabby Creek Cottage/ Somewhat Simple/ Beyond the Picket Fence/ Tales from Bloggeritaville/ Sew Much Ado/ Crystal & Co/ Fabric Bows an More/ Type A Decorating/ We are That Family/ A Beach Cottage/ Reasons to Skip the Housework/ Tip Junkie/ New Nostalgia/ Keeping it Simple/ Homemaker on a Dime/ The DIY Showoff/ Dittle Dattle/ Boogieboard Cottage/ Between Naps on the Porch

35 comments:

Mimi said...

Wow - that is so our same bathroom in our house (we do have a cabinet under the sink) It's all gray and pink which I kind of like but you see it a lot here in central NC I think it's interesting that this color combination was so prevalent here. It would be fun to see why.
Can't wait to see what you do here!

Lori Strickland said...

Holy cow! Why would you want to change any of this awesome vintage-ness? :) Love it.

Pink Overalls @DIY Home Staging said...

This could almost be a photo of my late Mother-in-Law's bath. We remodeled the entire house before selling it. The pink tile went all the way up the walls, around the pink tub, covered the ceiling, and lined the stall shower entirely. The toilet and sink were also pink.

We replaced the toilet and sink, and brought in a tile refinisher to paint the walls and ceiling. This was in NJ and I believe it cost about $1,000. It took the man less than a day. Then we laid a laminate slate-like floor. It looked fabulous.

If we had left the bath as is, it would have dated the entire house as a 1950's relic. We knew that some people like the retro look, but everything else in the home was more timeless design (hardwood floors, plaster walls, big closets, full basement, acerage and outbuildings, good floorplan, etc.) and we wanted to max out the value.

If you are buying the home, it might not be worth it. You might be better to follow Handy Man and Crafty Woman's suggestions, and learn to love the pink, or keep looking.

I've painted tubs with epoxy and you don't want to do it. Smelly, and not that durable after a few years.

For sure, you should use the outdated tile style as a negotiating chip to get a price reduction, even if you keep everything as is!

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

I agree with using the dated bath as a way of negotiating the price.

and by the way, the painted tub didn't last for us either; after we moved out it started to chip up, according to the new owners. it only lasted for us about 2 years. It's really a temp. fix.

Scrappy Gal said...

Tell me that isn't carpet in there?? Gah! Carpet in bathrooms = mold infestation!!

Personally, I love the pink tiles...I think it's adorable, retro & fun! If it were a girls only bathroom, that is ;)

The DIY Show Off said...

No advice from me as we've never painted tile either. I think your advice covers what I'd say too. However, I'm not a fan of pink tiles either BUT I do love how Mike and Katrina (http://www.athomealterations.com/2010/12/easter-bunny-bathroom-updates.html) made the best of it until it's in the budget to make a more permanent change.

It's what I'd do. ;)

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, I would use this outdated bathroom to negotiate a price reduction on the house. There is a difference between vintage and old and this bathroom is old. I used to have a baby blue bathroom (tile all around the walls, baby blue tub, sink....eck!) Regardless of what color options I picked for the wall and accessories there wasn't much I could do to tone down that color. We had the floor removed and had large tiles put down in a more subdued blue and had the tub professionally painted ($500, but it was still blue. The painted tub started chipping and fading after a year. They can do the same treatment to the walls (grout lines will be covered), but it isn't cheap. When I don't see grout lines in tile, I question what is being covered. Until you can redo the bathroom properly, save whatever money you can for a complete renovation.

Elaine said...

I had "tiles" like that in my old house (circa 1952) and they turned out to be plastic. Looked like the real thing, though.

If yours are plastic, they come down in sheets, like plywood. There will be glue or adhesive on the back, so you'll have some wall scraping to do before you do anything else to the walls.

Anonymous said...

I'm here from Met Monday...those look like real ceramic tiles to me. My present rental (which I love) has the same deal, except mint green wall tiles and coordinating floor tile, instead of bubble gum pink. I readily admit pink is slightly more to deal with :). We also have basically the same vintage fixtures. I was sort of overwhelmed by it when we first moved in, but I did love its vintage-ness and have grown accustomed to it. If you HATE it, I think you have to pry it off (instead of retiling all the way up the wall, you could replace the damaged drywall and just tile the tub area, the way more modern bathrooms are done). If you are considering embracing it for what it is, here is what helped in our case. I bought all white towels (which is all I will buy for bath towels from here on out - I love them. BUT I will buy darker hand towels for when we have parties. I cannot tell you how many times I have bleached those white hand towels - they will never be white again), and because I needed more storage but it was a rental, I bought a $40 set of wicker hampers from Target. The medium wicker hamper went under the sink to store excess toiletries; it also partially hides the pipes from view. It came with a matching wastebasket and small organizing basket, and I got some more wicker to sit on the ledge over the radiator and hold more bathroom supplies. And I bought a tiny three-drawer chest at the thrift store and painted it the same beige as the top of the walls and put it against a small empty space on the wall, to hold more stuff. My goal was to stay with really light neutral colors, because nothing could fight with that tile and win. Ideally, the walls would be bright white instead of dark beige (which makes the space look dingier than it needs to), but it's a rental and we're not allowed to paint. If I owned it, and especially if I had pink tile instead of green, I would look for a really bold black and pink damask wallpaper and put that up above the tile line - make a virtue of a necessity and really turn the color scheme into a statement. (You could also do a black and taupe damask, since you have that taupe edging tile.) Based on my experience, I'd definitely put in as many pieces of white-gloss-painted wood as will fit, for much-needed storage and to amp up the style a little.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

What an adorable DIY project! Thank you so much for sharing.

Happy Monday!

FABBY'S LIVING said...

I love the vintage pink! Don't change anything, I love it! Have a nice week. Hugs, FABBY

Carmella said...

What great tips! Thanks so much for sharing at Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop, I am co-hosting this week and I was so happy to find you there!

creativecarmella.blogspot.com

fran said...

That type of tile is really thick and behind it you will find something similar to chicken wire (only more stiff). When they built them back then they didn't want them to come down. (We had this in our bath). If you hate the pink tile, it is best (in my opinion) to have it ripped out but expect high labor costs as it is extremely difficult to get out. (Also expect tons of dust). I had one contractor say I should tile over it. I suppose that is do-able but we didn't like the idea. Good luck.

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

I'm so honored that you chose to join the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop. Thank you for adding this special masterpiece to rock my party :)

Anna@Directions Not Included said...

I just want to tell her I feel her pain with bathrooms that look like that. We have three in that lovely 1950s-1960s style but none lean towards the nice retro-chic look.

Following you from Homemaker on a Dime's party.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

Scrappy Gal, I don't think it's rug in there. There's a small throw rug, and the floor looks like tile, or most likely a dated looking vinyl.

Thanks for the great ideas everyone! Keep 'em coming!

adventuresindinner said...

Wait until you can do it really well. In the meantime; a fresh coat of paint, a fifties inspired shower curtain and really funky towels. Why not play the time warp up and go aqua and chunks of black?

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

If the tile is only partway up the wall, why not install some beadboard over it until there's money in the budget for a full on remodel?

Beadboard covers a multitude of ugly tile sins.

Gypsy said...

Oh my I have the exact same bathroom but in pale blue..same checked floor tile too. I painted walls white, white ruffled shower curtain, white shelves and white sea shells everywhere. people see it and say it looks right out of a bed and breakfast ! I will never tear out the tiles...did that in the kitchen...OMG never again. There is an idea on the DIY website for installing beadboard OVER the tile. A pretty easy fix but I dont have any handy person in me home.

'Becca said...

We got a bargain on our house because of the pink-tiled KITCHEN with boomerang Formica (not retro, original) and gray steel cabinets. Over 9 years we've learned to love the pink! It's kind of cheerful, really, and unusual, and it turns out that steel cabinets are awesome!

Our bathroom, on the other hand, had mush-yellow tile, aqua bathtub, and a very ugly vanity. We ran it into the ground until we felt justified doing a total bathroom renovation. I think we appreciate it more after having lived with the old one!

YellowRose said...

Check out what Mabel's House did with pink tile using a "Mary Englebreit" style - vintage, but fresh too.
http://mabelshouse.blogspot.com/2008/07/pink-tiled-50s-bathroom-mini-makeover.html

Megan said...

I have that bathroom and before I moved in someone painted the border tile. It looks tan in this picture. It was black in my bathroom. They painted it white in mine. It peels and got brown from them being smokers. Its a mess and I have no idea how to fix it. Be careful and get professional advice when painting.

We thought about putting wainscoting over it, but it went too high on the wall to look right.

In the end we embraced it. We got a VERY colorful striped shower curtain that draws the eye to it. We went with a whimsical look and got tile stickers that look like playful fish and stuck them here and there. It's a little juvenile, but we have young kids. WHat can you do, right?

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

Yipes! What they could do in the meantime is to leave the pink alone but do everything else in crisp white and black... wowza.

Ann said...

I love the vintage tile, but hey that's me. I lived with a 1950's pink, white and black bathroom for 8 years. Cocoa brown as an accent color really neutralizes the pink. Also, I saw somewhere in blogland where they actually Covered the tile with beadboard and molding trim...yup...it worked and they didn't have to demo anything. Painitng tile? Nah, don't. Our current home had painted tile and it looks hideous..and it WILL peel if you use the bathroom on a regular basis. I say, embrace it and try the beadboard thing.

BEACH BUNGALOW said...

This is a vintage dream! I wouldn't change a thing.

Sue
xo

Anonymous said...

I painted the tiles in my bathroom with a special paint, that was pretty expensive and it smelled really bad and because of the chemicals you need special brushes/rollers to apply the paint, because normal foam rollers will break down. I've lived in my appartment for 6 years now, and the paint is coming off in a few places. If you paint tiles, you need to be really careful cleaning as well, harsh products will scratch the paint... But I actually would do it again because a) I can't retile and b) the mess would be MUCH bigger ;)

abeachcottage said...

So many great tips here :) Thanks for adding your link to Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

Man I'd sure NEVER paint over vintage tile like this!! I'd definitely just go with a retro theme -- bring in black with the pink and white; skirt the sink; do black and white stick on floor tiles for cheap . . . new lighting, (get rid of med. cabinet) . . . SO many possibilities. It would be a shame to paint the tile IMO

Megan said...

My bathroom is almost the same! Tho green and yellow. I can't wait to change it.

Heidi said...

I've seen old tile covered in beadboard panelling using panel adhesive and with a ledge on top where tile/panel ends. It looked great and really updated the bath.

Sandy said...

I took a sledge hammer to tile just like this in our house in Illinois. Was messy but was really easier than I thought.. Put up beadboard and it turned out beautiful... good luck!
Sandy

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

I would kill to have my original tile in my house. I LOVE vintage tile and this looks to be in excellent shape. I think it's a crime to rip it out there are many ways to make vintage tile look really good. Just paint the walls a great color and add curtains and accessories.

Here's an example of a vintage tile bathroom styled to look fantastic...

http://modvintagelife.blogspot.com/2010/08/vintage-bath-kitchen.html

Sherry said...

See, I also think that pink tile isn't a bad thing. For now you could do the above suggestions. I love the sink skirt idea. I know you can paint that tile. I have seen it done on a blog within the last week, I just don't know where I saw the link. Thanks for linking this up at HSH!
Sherry

Honeycombe said...

I love the pink tile in that bathroom. I'd change the sink and maybe toilet, medicine cabinet, shower curtain. Maybe put vinyl stickon tiles on floor (as solid a color as I could find). It's a pretty retro bath. But if pink just does not work in someone's color scheme, ceramic tile on walls can be professionally painted. If those are ceramic tiles on the floor, I don't know if floor tiles can be painted, or if tiles in a shower can be long-term successfully painted (if the tiles extend into the shower area). I have a similar issue with a guest bath (peach and brown combo tiles). My problem is more difficult in that the tile is everywhere - walls, frame around window, the vanity cabinet top, in tub area on sides AND on the ceiling. The bath would have to be gutted, practically, which is too costly. So I'm leaving the tiles as is, and am working on doing something to the ugly ceramic tile floor which doesn't match the other tiles. Maybe vinyl tiles? Or maybe painting the floor? Dunno.

Richard C. Lambert said...

Even after removing the cement and the drain pan, the plywood flooring underneath was drenched. It continued under the flooring and under the tub as well. At this point we decided to get the tub out. It's a jetted tub that has never even worked and we needed to get under it anyhow.bestshowerheads.reviews

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