Bathrooms, Interiors

10 Gorgeous Black and White Bathrooms for a Vintage Look

I adore a simple black and white tiled vintage and/or vintage-inspired bathroom.  The Denver area has a lot of homes from the 1910’s-1930’s and I get a lot of clients who want to update their bathrooms, but keep a vintage look.  For those of you out there who want a little bit of history with your design – did you know that white bathrooms became very popular in the early 1910’s with the discovery of germs?   People thought that you could see germs better against a white background   with the idea that all white bathrooms were the sterile choice.  Typically, small white, glazed floor tiles were accented with black tiles to add some interest to the floor.  A few black subway tiles were mixed in with the white subway wall tiles to give the walls some interest.  In the 1920’s and 30’s, designers and consumers started introducing pale color into these areas (in lieu of the black) and I think we’ve all seen the pink sinks from the 1950’s!  I kind of like knowing about the  germaphobic start to the white and black “design” trend for bathrooms.

Enough with the history lesson and on to the inspiration images!  I have sources for more reading about early bathroom trends and preservation at the end of this post if you want to pursue it further, along with sources for preservation tile if you’re trying to match or replicate something in particular.

all white bathroom
Lovely, almost all-white tile with a classic pedestal sink and a vintage looking tub. (Source)
black and white bathroom
I love the generous sized shower shelves and the very thin grout lines! The intricate border on the hexagonal tile floor looks fantastic and dresses up the small shower. (Source)
black claw foot tub
Small, pre-sheeted floor tiles were the tile of choice for pre-World War II bathrooms. White grout was used as well – but I can’t remember the last time I specified white grout for anyone recently!  (Source)
black and white hex tile
This is a new bathroom renovation – but with striking black tile trim around the window. This octagon and dot style tile is readily available and quite affordable from the big retail chains. (Source)
tile pattern black and white
If your budget allows – look for more unusual patterns for the floor tiles, rather than the standard available at the box stores.  If you’re really trying to keep with the style of your home – consider the wealth of the person who lived first in your home.  If your home was for a more affluent family – look for more elaborate patterns.  (Source)
large hex tile
I like the black trim here for a graphic counterpoint to the all white. (Source)
black and white squares
This room captures the vintage look really well with the tub, pedestal sink, mirrors and wall tile. I don’t love the larger, square floor tiles, but it would be an economical alternative to a mosaic floor. (Source)
black cabinets brass hardware
If you’re not going to use the classic pedestal sink, I like painting cabinets black in these vintage style bathrooms. I love the antique brass hardware used here. (Source)
black and white bathroom san francisco
The almost all black herringbone floor gives this gorgeous bathroom a formal and dramatic look that give vintage a modern twist. (Source)
black and white historic bathroom
Besides the beautiful black and white tile and unusual cabinet – I love how the unusual ceiling height is emphasized with the skinny mirrors and long sconces! (Source)

For Historical Background:
Historical Bathroom Trends Pre-World War II
6 Historical Tile Patterns Pre-World War II
Preserving Historic Ceramic Floor Tiles with Resources

Tile Resources besides the big retail chains
American Restoration Tile
Heritage Tile
Mission Stone Tile
Sobu Tile




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