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What to Do with a 50s Pink Bathroom - On the Cheap

By Edited Dec 4, 2016 0 0

When we purchased this 1955 bungalow, we loved the neighbourhood, the yard and the size of the house, but the bathroom left us with a not so good taste.

The previous owner, was also the original owner, and I found out that this pink bathtub and vanity were original to the house.  The top on the vanity had been changed once in the 70s to a pink shell style to match the pink tub, but they also wallpapered with orange and pink flowers. (The pink of the sink doesn't show as well in the photo as it was a faded pink!)

We left this room until last, and slowly went through updating what we could with our budget.  Mostly taking down wallpaper and painting, but when we got to this room the budget was small.

We had originally thought about replacing the tub but I think the framework of the house was built around it, and it would require damaging the two rooms on either side and then of course everything would need replacing, and the dollar signs were adding up.

We then thought about refinishing the tub which was a good option as well, as you can do this yourself.  The pink tiles were very secure on the wall and the tub was in good shape (other than the nasty looking 70s glass shower doors attached to the bath). 

But this is our only bathroom and I know you have to let the finish cure and short of taking a vacation we couldn’t really afford, it was not going to happen either.  

before pink bathroom
(before picture - with pink tub, sink and tiles)

How to Work with a Pink Bathtub

I then decided, well, if you can’t get rid of it, then figure out how to work with it.  So, I did some research and talked to a few friends who loved to design, and found out that pink is actually “retro” and “in” at the moment, and that you can tone down the hue by accessorizing with the right colours.

how to work with a pink bathroom
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Use White, Black and Chrome to Tone Down Pink

After much discussion it was decided we would use beach house white paint on the walls, white ceiling paint for the ceiling, and then add chrome, black and white accessories.  Since we were not going to be spending tons of money we did decide to splurge on a new vanity top.  The wooden vanity was original to the house and solid wood, so we felt it was worth saving, but the cracked shell shaped pink top was in bad shape and the plumbing was actually beginning to leak.

This is a before and after picture of the bathroom.  I found after all the work we did that the pink of the tub and tiles was toned down and almost looked beige.  When we sold the house last year the new buyer loved what we had done.  Had we left it the way it was before, most people ran at the sight of the pink and orange flowered wall paper accenting the pink bath. 

The biggest part of our budget was for a new vanity top at 300 dollars because we chose corian, but you can get much cheaper or you can also repaint with epoxy paint.  Ours was beyond repair and we found a piece of corian with a slight pink vein!

after we finished bathroom
(after picture)

These are the Basic Steps We Took To Recreate This Room

Step 1 – Tear down the wall paper and Sand.  It can be awkward working in a small bathroom, but have your garbage bag handy.  We took the paper off the walls and almost instantly it looked better without all those orange flowers!

We filled some holes in the wall then gave the entire wall a good sanding, to make it smooth for painting.   (If your walls are in really bad shape you could consider putting up some heavy paintable wallpaper to hide damage and paint it white)  Our walls were in good shape.  We then painted using “beach house white”.  We also painted the ceiling white.

Step 2 – Take Down Shower Doors – They had glued to the tub, so my hubby carefully scrapped off the goo and we were please to find no damage from the tracks.  Huge difference already. They were dirt traps as well.

Step 3 – Sanded and Painted Window Frame – Unfortunately we have a window frame right in the shower.  You can either redo the trim with a plastic style or what we did was simply sand it and paint it with exterior grade paint that can withstand getting wet.  It is holding up fine. We also added a privacy film to window as ours was not etched.

Step 4 – Replace Vanity Top - We took the top off the vanity and took it to a local counter top depot and said “make it the same size in corian”..  (Keeping in mind this was our only bathroom and were still trying to use this while working with it)

how to work with a pink bathroom

Step 5 – Repaint Vanity - While top was being made I took the time to clean and repaint the solid wood vanity using the same exterior white paint we had used on the window frame, and changed the hardware to black door pulls and handles.  Looked new again!

Step 6 – CLR the tub and tiles or use any kind of cleaner you like for the bathroom that will bring out the shine in those tiles and the pink tub.

Step 7 – Replaced Toilet with a White One – The toilet that was in there was a pinky beige.  We decided to get a good toilet on sale for under 100 dollars and got a credit for using the new low flush ones.  This also helped to tone down the pink of the tub and tiles.

Step 8 – Put it all back together and accessorize – I fo

how to work with a pink bathroom
und all kinds of deals online.  We put up a chrome shower curtain rail and a black and white shower curtain, then chrome shelf over toilet and some towel holders.  
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The vanity top was installed and the new faucet added.  If you look online you can get some good deals on the faucets and accessories.  We then invested in some black/grey towels I found on sale and the whole room simply changed.  

how to work with a pink bathroom

How to Decorate Around a Pink Bathtub?

Work with it.  We were really happy with the result.  Instead of hiding the tub and tiles we included them in the décor.  So, if you have pink, then add lots of white, chrome and black.  If you rent your space and can’t change fixtures, then use accessories, like a portable chrome shelving unit you can put over the toilet, and purchase matching towels and a rug. 

You will be surprised what a difference just a few changes can make.  We did all this for 700 dollars, and 300 dollars of that was the vanity top.  I also painted the mirror frame black.  It was gold before and original medicine cabinet.  Being a small room we didn’t need big cans of paint so no waste.  Compared to the 12000 dollars we were quoted for a gut reno, I was happy with the result!

So, don’t create more junk.  Simply work with what you have and you will be amazed at the result, even if it is pink.  You can do a lot with paint.

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