Elevate your bathroom with the sleek, functional aesthetic of midcentury modern design. Clean lines, bold accent colors, and organic, nature-inspired prints are all characteristics of this iconic design style that lend themselves well to bathrooms. If you’re looking for inspiration for your upcoming remodel or just need a few bathroom decorating ideas, consider incorporating a mix of natural and manufactured materials, as well as a keen focus on function and simplicity.
Ready to add a bit of retro flair to your bathroom design? We’ve rounded up our favorite midcentury bathroom ideas to help inspire your own space.
1. Use a Wood Vanity
Update a wood sideboard for a bathroom vanity that suits the era. Tapered legs, clean lines, minimal ornamentation, and brass fixtures make this a staple piece for any midcentury bathroom. The rich wood stands out against white tile on the floor and walls to make the vanity the focal point of the room. Counterbalance angular shapes with a round mirror and a soft rug that complements the warm wood tones.
2. Add a Pop of Pastel
Experiment with the powdery pastels popular in the ’50s. Bathroom tiles provide the ideal playground for whimsical colors, like the pale blue scalloped tiles (also known as fish-scale tiles) in this midcentury bathroom design. The vanity and abstract print echo the gentle aqua shade and create a serene look that’s not overpowering. The scalloped detail is cleverly repeated with the brass vanity pulls, wall sconce, and curved mirror.
3. Celebrate Bold Prints with Patterned Flooring
You’ve heard of an accent wall, but what about accent flooring? Confident patterns are a midcentury modern must. But if you think patterned walls will distract from the tranquility of the space, then a fun floor tile will do the trick. Black-and-white bathroom floor tiles make a playful addition to this neutral bathroom design without overwhelming it. If a new floor isn’t within your budget, peel-and-stick tiles are a budget-friendly alternative.
4. Give Midcentury Modern a Coastal Spin
This bathroom is the perfect example of seamlessly blending styles. The wood bathroom vanity and bold geometric floor tiles seen here are midcentury essentials, while blue and white floor tiles reminiscent of breaking waves establish a typical coastal color palette. Get creative with coastal accents, like a wall-mounted surfboard or a round rope mirror, and pair them with classic midcentury staples, like clean-lined furnishings and nature-inspired accents.
5. Go for an Understated Midcentury Modern Look
For many, the bathroom is a sanctuary of calm. To achieve a flawless, serene midcentury modern look, prioritize clean lines and little ornamentation. The muted, neutral color scheme of this bathroom exudes tranquility. At the same time, a wood vanity with hairpin legs, gold hardware, mosaic floor tiles, and wall-mounted lights inject a distinct midcentury flair.
6. Opt for a Floating Vanity in a Small Bathroom
Floating vanities are a stylish yet practical option for small bathrooms. Lifting a vanity off the floor creates the illusion of more space and makes cleaning easier. In this bathroom, the floating vanity, geometric floor tiles, and subway tile backsplash are hallmarks of midcentury modern design, while matte black accents keep it looking contemporary.
7. Use Tiles Everywhere
Modernists weren’t afraid to think beyond classic square or rectangle shapes when it came to tiles. Midcentury tiles often took the form of a triangle, pentagon, or hexagon, and they weren’t limited to the walls or floors either. Every inch of this bathroom is covered in hexagon mosaic tile for a seamless look. White tiles are a timeless classic and create a clean look. Punctuate the neutral color scheme with gold hardware to add warmth and prevent it from feeling clinical.
8. Work in Wood Paneling
Wood paneling is a key feature of midcentury modern design. As well as being practical, durable, and relatively low-cost, the exposed natural material was favored for its cozy, comforting influence. Here, wood flooring gives a gentle nod to the midcentury era, while the painted wall paneling keeps the bathroom looking fresh and up-to-date. It also adds a subtle layer of texture and visual interest. Contribute further natural elements to your bathroom design with a rattan basket and ceramic tiles in a warm brown shade.
9. Mix Tiles for a Midcentury Feel
Playful patterns are a trademark of midcentury decor, and bathrooms provide the perfect canvas to experiment with daring designs. Incorporate bold geometric shapes into the bathroom with tiles—either the real thing or stick-on varieties. And why limit yourself to one shape? Combine mosaic, subway, or bold geometric tiles for an unmissable homage to midcentury modern style.
10. Use Midcentury Lighting
If you’re not ready for a complete bathroom overhaul, turn to midcentury lighting for a nod to the retro look. Here, the brass and milk-glass globe wall sconces are an elegant feature that echoes the shape of the vessel sinks and mirror and coordinate with the faucets and hardware. Or try another iconic midcentury modern lighting design, such as a Sputnik chandelier, saucer pendant, or flowerpot light.
11. Opt for Subway Tiles
Stylish, functional, and affordable, subway tiles fit the bill for midcentury decor. Their simplicity gives them a timeless quality that easily adapts to various styles. White subway tiles are an excellent choice for a small bathroom as their shiny finish reflects light around the room, creating a crisp, airy look. Pair them with black bathroom fittings and warm brass accents for a sleek look.
12. Use Gold Finishes
You might have spotted a recurring theme of gold and brass finishes throughout these midcentury bathroom decor ideas. That’s because warm metallic finishes are ubiquitous in midcentury style for hardware, lighting, furniture, and accessories. Stay true to midcentury principles by seeking the true colors of the material itself, such as brass, bronze, copper, and gold. Polished brass bathroom fittings provide a warm, striking accent against the black subway tiles in this bathroom.