In Detail: Mid-Century Modern Bathroom Style
Written by Pooja. P., images created by Vintage Plan and More.
When it comes to remodeling a bathroom, most homeowners want the aesthetics to endure the test of time.
They also want to create the perfect sanctuary to relax and unwind.
A mid-century modern bathroom style is a top choice due to its clean lines, lighthearted feel, and hints of vintage. It certainly gets the nod of approval from charismatic Don Draper of the TV drama Mad Men.
Want to know exactly how to achieve the mid-century modern bathroom style? Check out this article for our top tips
What is Mid-Century Modern Style?
A mid-century modern space has an authentic 50s-60s vibe with a modern twist. Clean and simple lines, natural materials, vintage touches, and pops of color typically define this iconic design style.
With mid-century modern, you can have fun mixing retro and modern design elements to create a totally unique bathroom space.
Mid-Century Modern Bathroom Essentials
Coined around the mid-1980s, mid-century modern is a style that works well for bathrooms and has been at the top of the decor trend charts for quite a while.
A combination of two design types, modern and mid-century, there are many ways to interpret this style.
It is commonly considered an eclectic mix of practicality, earthiness, retro colors, and shapes from the 1960s and 70s, plus Scandinavian simplicity.
Whether you choose to go bold or muted, here are some key elements to keep in mind before starting your mid-century modern bathroom style renovation:
- Go for a retro color palette – Consider earthy tones of olive green or tangerine orange, combined with pink or teal pastels.
- Choose a vintage vanity – Find a cool vintage piece of wood furniture, or install a clean-lined wall-hung vanity. Both styles work in a mid-century modern bathroom.
- Install iconic lighting – Have fun with interesting space-age shapes.
- Use geometric patterns or wood – On the floor, or a statement wall
- Accessorize with Mid-Century Modern touches.
Go for a Retro Color Palette
The mid-century modern style’s color palette is iconic – think earthy shades such as olive green and tangerine orange, along with the occasional pastel pink or teal.
Some favorite mid-century style combinations pair brown with either teal, orange, or pink. Another great combo is lime green combined with grey.
If you are a big fan of color, you can also add that ‘modern’ look with playful uses of other bright colors and punchy contrasts. The mid-century modern design style offers quite a bit of range in terms of the color palette, with which to experiment.
If neutral is more your style, you can still get the look you want – use wood with brass fixtures and let the textures and patterns bring in the mid-century modern vibe. Or, add just a few pops of color from the mid-century modern palette.
Choose a Vintage Vanity
A wooden vanity with a granite or marble top can shout mid-century modern. Just choose one with a clean, functional design without too many decorative embellishments.
For the true mid-century modern style, they’ll often have flat fronts, minimal or no hardware, and narrow or hairpin legs.
You don’t need to invest in an original designer vanity to achieve a mid-century modern look. Take a look at vintage wooden vanities and cabinets at your local thrift market or antique store. These can often be within budget.
If your style is more light and sleek, a floating vanity also works well for a mid-century modern look. This style gives a feeling of lightness to the room and works especially well in smaller bathrooms.
You can choose wood, or a simple white floating vanity if you plan to add the wood element in another part of the room.
Install Iconic Lighting
You can have a lot of fun with mid-century modern lighting and even make your lighting one of the focal points of your bathroom interior.
Use lamps with playful colors, vintage curves, and organic shapes to create an ambiance that is inherently modern yet evokes a sense of nostalgia.
Go space-age. One of the most recognizable symbols of mid-century modern is the iconic Sputnik-style chandelier, designed to look like the original Sputnik satellite, with a round center and multiple antennas. There are now numerous variations to choose from, in-ceiling mount or wall-mounted vanity lighting styles. Most include straight lines and round bubbles or globes, to give that space-age feel.
Go retro. Old schoolhouse pendants or industrial style pendants are other popular choices to invoke mid-century modern style. Dome-shaped pendants are synonymous with the retro glam of mid-century modern bathroom style. You’ll also find these schoolhouse and industrial styles in vanity wall-mounted lighting.
Go sculptural. Choose lighting that has clean lines and interesting shapes. The hourglass shape is another that is iconic to the period. You can also look for triangle, round, oval, or square elements.
Use Geometric Patterns or Wood
There are so many exciting tile options today to bring in that mid-century modern vibe. Use tile for your bathroom floor, backsplash, or shower stall. Subway tile remains a favorite and is a great choice.
To add a little more geometric pattern, how about herringbone, hexagon, penny, square, rectangle, or rhombus? The key is not to go overboard. Too many patterns can be overwhelming. For example, if you create a statement tile wall, then go for simpler flooring.
Wood ceilings or a wood statement wall can bring in the nature-inspired element to your mid-century modern bathroom. You may also use wood (or a more durable wood-look tile) for the floor.
Wood is a good choice if you’ve chosen a wall-mounted glossy painted vanity – the wood floor can provide a nice contrast.
Top RoomSketcher Tip!
If the rest of your room is quite simple, consider finding a statement-making bathroom curtain with a bold geometric pattern. It’s a great way to add mid-century modern style on a budget.
Accessorize your Mid-Century Style Bathroom
Accessories can go a long way in creating that mid-century modern-inspired bathroom.
- Living plants – One element of mid-century modern design is bringing people closer to nature. To further complement your bathroom space, add some greenery in the form of potted plants, hanging plants, or a living wall. Jute or brass planters and wooden bath mats can also add to the natural vibe.
- Kitschy art – Choose big and bold statement canvases that can be the focus of the room. Think of a Warhol-esque painting in bright colors.
- Geometric mirrors – Channel the era with unique framed mirrors that can double as art in your bathroom and offer a pleasant focal point.
- Bathroom fittings – From chrome, brass, black, brushed nickel, feel free to experiment with the color of the fittings to match the rest of your decor. Most popular is the 60s-inspired use of brass for faucets and handles.
Remember that the idea is not to have too many accessories, instead focus on a few statement pieces.
You may choose to go entirely mid-century modern with your bathroom or add a few key pieces to bring a nod to the style. Remember the base rule is to focus on clean lines, minimal ornamentation, wood and nature, and iconic lighting.
You may also play around with colors, textures, and geometry. But, most importantly, have fun while doing so! Use a bathroom planner to try out this style in your own bathroom.