The pink bathroom. Depending on who you ask, they are either hideous or treasured. More often than not, I run into people whose first response is to see it as a wretched hold over from a very confused period of American decor.
From its rise during the Art Deco period of the 1930’s to its demise in the 1960’s, the pink bathroom (and its other pastel colored brethren) were the height of design. They were a fun and colorful departure from the sanitary white bathrooms that swept across America during the sanitary craze of the early 20th century.
Just For Girls?
According to SaveThePinkBathrooms.com, at the height of its popularity there were over 50 million pink bathrooms installed between 1946 and 1966. Pink was not always a girl’s color. It wasn’t until the our recent history that blue was for boys and pink was for girls.
The bottom line: Real men can have a pink bathroom. It was the exuberance of it’s day that brought these bold colors into what had historically been a simple and utilitarian room. Chartruese, powder blue, vivid green, these were all an expression of the bright future America saw for itself after the end of WWII.
Bathrooms have always expressed our national mood. Is it any wonder that bathroom colors moved to browns, taupes and more muted colors beginning in the turbulent 1960’s and depressing economic times of the 1970’s. Then in the prosperous 1980’s everything was bright brass and gold to symbolize the influx of money and opportunity again.
Help for the Pink Bathroom Owner
You’re not alone! There are others. In my opinion, the only way to make a pink bathroom work today is to go full retro with your design. Commit to it and make it feel like you are stepping back into the past when you enter the room.
“Embrace your pink bathroom! You’re the only hope it has.” Click to Tweet This
There are lots of resources out there to help you design and decorate your pink bathroom but one of the best is Pam Kueber’s RetroRenovation.com. She has ton’s of ideas for mid-century houses and pink bathrooms. (Savethepinkbathrooms.com is also her site) When it comes to mid-century, Pam’s the lady in charge!
To find some of the really hard to find retro tile colors and patterns in pink bathrooms there is a little store in Springfield, NJ (don’t worry, they ship to you) called World of Tile. They have a huge selection of close-out tile left over from the 50’s and 60’s that never sold. It’s all there just waiting to patch your pink bathroom walls and floors. Update 11/29/15: World of Tile has sadly closed their doors.
I have purchased from them a few times and they are the best at helping you find what you need. Talking to them was like having my own private retro tile guru.
The pink bathroom, just like any part of an old house is a part of our history. It’s part of our story as a country. The story of a time when the only future was a bright one. In times like today, the pink bathroom and what is stands for appeals to me more than ever.
What do you love most about your pink bathroom? Tell me in the comments below!
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I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.