I have a little problem with renovating our house.


It’s that I want to do a lot more of it, but my budget says one project at a time. We have a home equity line of credit (HELOC) of about $11k and that is the general amount we spend per renovation. We just completed the bulk of a garage renovation that ended up costing more than I anticipated and we’re in the boring cycle of paying down that 11k right now. But that isn’t stopping me from thinking about what’s next, and I have my eye on the bathroom.

Our little ranch-style house is a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath, with the full bath being in the hallway. It has a shower-tub combo, a toilet, and a pedestal sink, plus a linen closet. Space-wise it’s not much to write home about and there’s no way to make it larger with a bedroom on each side of it. I’m thinking about going over possibilities with my favorite contractor, Local Happiness Construction, about moving the shower to be on the short wall against the window, and then moving the toilet into the resulting nook that will be left by moving the shower 45 degrees. But that’s the boring and potentially expensive or undoable part — let’s talk shapes and colors, the things that will happen no matter what!

No matter how the layout shakes out, I want to tile up the side of the tub and have barely visible glass sliding shower doors installed. This will visually open up the space and more importantly, keep me from having to buy a new shower curtain liner two or three times a year. I’m calling this an environmental win to not waste this much plastic over the rest of our lives. Plus, I hate how they blow around and stick to me when the HVAC system is on. Who is with me on this?

Since our house is midcentury modern and the bathrooms echo that flavor more than anything, I want to try and honor that style by choosing tiles that speak to the 1950s thinking regarding bathrooms. According to Old House Online, the 1950s brought a renewed sense of fun and optimism that translated directly into funky colored bathrooms. Tile was used to excess, and as you can see in the photo of our bathroom, a 1950s pink and blue original, tile halfway up the walls was a thing.

Since tile is expensive, I am thinking we might not tile all the way up all of the walls, but I definitely want to tile the entire tub and shower surround from floor to ceiling. One, it looks luxe as hell. Two, it’s practical. We have some peeling paint from where the water from showering splashes upwards, and we aren’t that terribly tall, definitely both under six foot! So removing any place for future mold to grow and future paint to peel is tops on my list.

Subway tile is so not midcentury modern though, and I think it’s overdone. I want funky shapes and fun colors that maybe aren’t in the midcentury mod range or palette, but speak to the feel of the times. This is where the fun and indecision come in. As I see it, I need at least three tile types: floor, shower surround, and a fun little inset in the shower to store stuff, like this:


These are a few tile choices I pinned that I’m really feeling.


Can you see how I am feeling the unusual things, but they evoke that midcentury spirit with the colors and the fun-ness of the shapes? Of course, the floor and the shower surround can’t both be totally wild shapes and colors, so I’ll have to feel out something more neutral for one of them although these bathrooms pull of the double-bold tiles well with some excellent thought into the pairings. So it’s not entirely off the table but the big factor of course, is the money! These exquisite and unusual tiles don’t come with a small price tag — white subway tiles do, which is why they are so commonly used.

Luckily though, our bathroom functions perfectly well and is one of the 5 million pink bathrooms thought to have gone into these 1950s homes. Until we pay down our HELOC, this bathroom is safe! Interested in our home renovations so far? Check out all of our home updates in one spot.

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