Vintage blue tile in bathroom...what color to paint walls?!

Ashley Mobley
August 16, 2016
I'm at a total loss as to what color to paint our bathroom walls. We moved into our house a couple of months ago and the full bath has the vintage blue tiles on the floor, in the shower, and half way up the wall. The wall color is brown!! It's awful.

I don't necessarily want to do white. I really want to use yellow in our home but can't find the right kind of yellow or the appropriate space. Would a yellow with this blue look totally nuts? If not, what kind of yellow?

I was also considering a Seaglass color that we used as an accent color in our room. Just embracing the blue and doing it all in two hues. But we have a similar blue in our front room, hall way, and two bedrooms already. I don't want our house to be all the same.

Any thoughts on colors to complement or just be totally awesome with this blue tile? We're planning to redo the bathroom within 5 years (the sooner, the better), so I'm totally fine with doing something totally offbeat and different for the time being.

Please help!

Comments (107)

  • Ashley Mobley
    @home art Thanks for the tips!! I will keep an open eye out for ways to bring in the same feeling from the rest of the house.
  • Ashley Mobley
    @G L It's my own style! Haha. It has elements of farmhouse and cottage style but with a hard edge (the industrial). I wish I had photos to explain but if you look up photos of "cottage style" homes and "industrial farmhouse" homes, mash them up in your brain and that's what ours feels like. Haha
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  • Ashley Mobley
    @sddalg Thanks for the links! Neither my husband nor I like the retro look, even though it works quite well for others! I look forward to the day we can redo the bathroom to fit our vision but until then, I will embrace our retro bathroom!
  • er612

    I vote white.

  • PRO
  • Shira Reeves
    i didnt read all the above comments but noticed the grout discussion. depending how old the stain is you may not be able to get it all clean without regrouting. white walls may highlight the fact that the grout is dingy.
  • Ashley Mobley
    @Shira I was a bit worried about that... I have no idea how old the grout is but I'm sure the people before us didn't regrout in their time here so I'm guessing it's at least 14 years old. Either way, I'm not regrouting since I plan to redo the whole bathroom in the next few years. Perhaps I should go with a yellower/creamier white so it's not so stark?
  • Shira Reeves
    i am so not a designer but i have had grout struggles. had a crazy idea while looking at the shower head next to the tile... (especially since you said you're open to something a little daring) what about silver?

    we have a similar bathroom, but it's got so many colors. our wall and tub tile is gray. floor is white, pinkish-peachish and black one inch tiles. vanity is white with a gold pink "pattern" around white sink. when we moved in the floor tile was hidden by gray carpet/rug. walls were white and it just looked unfinished. i couldn't match the gray so i chose a light blue which was so dumb. i hate the bathroom but have no idea where to start because there are so many colors and the only things we can change right now are paint and shower curtain and maybe couple things on the wall.
  • anthip

    It looks like a very light room. I'd love to see dark blue/navy.

  • happyleg

    Do pink or white Shira.

  • weathy

    White walls and ceiling, black sink cabinet (or leave white) and granite with white/gray/blacks. Paint = $30, piece of granite "waste" from a larger job $75. That's hardly anything and worth it to get you to your remodel. That tile is in GREAT shape and so not an offensive vintage color. In fact it's a great color. Unless the faucet looks really cheap you wouldn't have to replace it. If you did purchase a new higher end faucet make it the one you will reuse in the remodel. Way to remove and save for remodel. Bleach works great on sanded grout (have to let it sit all day) but not sure about unsanded grout which is what's used with 1/16" tile spacing (grout lines). I think sink counter replacement would do wonders. Plan B: blue/green paint on walls/ceiling and new counter/granite. Post pictures when done with the spruce up job!

  • Shira Reeves
    @happyleg... i would love to do pink. but the pink of the vanity top is not the same as the peach/pink that is on the floor. which one do i match the paint to? tx!
  • er612

    Definitely clean and/or re-grout. Looks like you have unused space to the right of the sink? If so, I would look at a larger vanity.

  • katinparadise

    Hi Ashley. You're getting lots of great advice on colors, etc. but as far as grout, there are grout colorants you can use that get painted on directly over your existing grout. They have sealants in them as well. Here's the link from Home Depot.

  • happyleg

    That sounds good Katin, any cracks water can get behind.

  • happyleg

    @Shira, it don't have to be too matchy, choose some pinks The lightest & also try on the gray side of card sample/ pink. Bring home samples. If need more help open a thread of your own.

  • lovesredford
    We purchased a house with the classic pink bathroom and with the help of an interior decorator decided to embrace the pink. When we moved in it had brown paint much like yours! We selected a pink and white wallpaper to "embrace" the pink and have never been sorry. I like the blue and white wall paper with the tile....of course.
  • Leigh Ann Hughbanks Koksal

    Farmhouse, it should be White with the blue tile. Although I painted my tile white and then you can use any color on the walls. I love white tile with white walls.

  • PRO
    DH Design

    I would stick with crisp w[hite walls[( and let the blue tile become a vintage focal point until you can remodel. Then you can bring in any complimentary colors you want in your towels and accessories...yellow for a cottage look, navy blue for some sophistication or black for the ultimate crisp and clean look. Add some fun new hardware, perhaps some molding around the mirror, some wall sconce candle holders and the blue tile will look more like it was planned than an afterthought. Good luck and have fun!

  • happyleg

    @ Shira pick up a coal color sample to see if that will work.

  • happyleg

    Have you made up your mind? You been out looking?

  • PRO
    Ligature Studio, LLC

    These are the colors I came up with. I see that others have offered up similar. I would let the light rose be an accent wall if you are brave or a a few objects like towels. Don't shy away from the light gray, but definitely include the gold somewhere. Be bold! Keep the tile and add color.

  • Shira Reeves
    thanks happyleg! once we finish our basement project i may tackle that main bathroom.
  • Lisa
    If this was in my house, I'd use a light light sand color on the walls and use turqouise and more browns and blues for accents. Beachy feel without actual beachy items.
  • PRO
    Bella Design Interiors

    I love Ben Moore Cantaloupe. It would give contrast to your blue tiles. It's soft and has a creamy undertone. Looks great with chrome & nickel finishes for facets and towel racks. Since you know your going to redo the bath in a few year, experiment, be bold.

  • janellerae44
    I'd paint the walls white, and add back & white accents
  • Ashley Mobley
    Hey guys! Thank you ALLLLLL for the AWESOME advice!! I'm so grateful for the Internet and forums like Houzz provides!!

    I have finally gotten a good portion of this bathroom redone to make it liveable until we can afford our full renovation.

    I decided to go with white walls with a punch of color "hidden" in our shower. I think it's fun yet not kiddish. I went with the complimentary color to blue - orange - as my accent color. I've brought an orange flower that I had and a couple other small plants I've been growing to add color and warmth and will probably add a shelf or two to incorporate other decorative elements. I'm also still considering changing the top of the vanity and giving it a good scrub.

    I've still got a dead space between the vanity and wall near the door but that's sufficient for our garbage can for now.
  • Ashley Mobley
    Sorry, couldn't see what I was typing so I started a new comment.

    I added a rounded rod for the shower curtain to add more space in our old shower and tub and a nice soft rug/mat. I also finally put a mirror back up! A faux rustic one, bringing the feeling and style from the rest of the house into the bathroom.

    Here are some photos of where the bathroom is now. I know there are still elements to add but it's light years away from where it was when we moved in!!! And I have you all to thank for it. So thank you for all the advice and suggestions!!
  • Ashley Mobley
    A few photos of where the bathroom is at now...
  • Ashley Mobley
    A couple more.
  • Shira Reeves
    looks awesome!! love the white walls and all the other choices, as well.
  • baileysr
    Looks bright and clean and cheerful :-)
  • Ashley Mobley
    @shira Thanks so much!

    @baileysr That's awesome to hear! Exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you!!
  • er612

    Nice job! Your tile looks especially great now. I would be in no rush to change it. It's such a bright and fresh space.

  • katinparadise

    It looks wonderful Ashley! I love the touch of orange in the shower. Just a few changes made such a big difference!

  • decoenthusiaste

    Pull a bit of the orange across the room with pots on the window sill! That will help make it look deliberate. Great job!

  • lovekcdillas

    I agree with decoenthusiaste - or maybe a shower curtain with some orange accents (you can find lots of orange accents right now at places like Michael's or HomeGoods since we're approaching Hallowee :) ). Either way, it looks much better! Looks very clean and I love the framed mirror.

  • happyleg

    Window treatment, Bamboo roman shade?

  • Kathi Steele

    looks great!! Good job.

  • lesliesisson40

    I have just found this post (I'm new to Houzz). Your bathroom has TOTALLY inspired me!!! I knew nothing about Grout Coloring/Sealants and I've been struggling over what color to paint the walls. I wanted white but was afraid it would be too blah... Anyhow you did great and I'm ready to finish mine! Thanks everyone!

  • HU-292855138

    Okay...I have a similar color...but some type of plastic that looks like tile...It has beebeen here since the late 1950's....any ideas... shower...fake tile is this level all around the bathroom...Walls have been repainted white since this photo...

  • happyleg

    Hey HU, Set up a page for help with pics please.

  • Ashley Mobley

    @HU I feel your pain. Do you have photos? I'd love to see what you've done!

  • Ashley Mobley

    Two years go by and the bathroom looks pretty much the same still, except I've added new/more plants. Still can't wait to redo the tile, shower/tub, and vanity!! I think that is all in the works for in the next two years.

  • Zulemi Montesuma

    I love what you did with the white! You can make it colorful by replacing other details from the bathroom in a darker color to be a little more daring.

  • HU-996389822

    I just found this thread; thank you for all the ideas! I just bought a house that has a big master bath with the same tiles in the tub/shower/toilet space, new beige 18" floor tiles, and pale beige walls with awful re-done texturing that looks like drywall mud slapped on with a trowel. The adjoining vanity area is still carpeted (that's going to go), still has the original cultured marble with gold glitter veining counter top, and no wall tiles at all.

    I am trying to match the 18" beige tiles to extend them into the vanity area. I will get the awful texturing sanded off and re-done. I am thinking white walls with the blue tiles and then bringing the blue into the vanity area with a lighter tone on the walls, then trying to match the blue in some hand towels, etc.

    I welcome additional ideas. I sometimes love retro (e.g., I am fine with these blue tiles, but the avocado formica and the avocado/melon/gold striped wallpaper in the MIL suite's bathroom have to go!).

  • tartanmeup

    HU-99...feel free to start a new thread for your bathroom. Add pictures - it helps everyone visualize options.

  • Ja Le Brown
    • Thanks to everyone in helping Ashley out in determining the redesign. I too am going through a project similar to hers. I have blue 3 x 3 inch tile along the sink, floor, and shower enclosure. The house was built in 1969. And the sink itself needs fixing or replacing - its cracked at the drain opening. I have tons of grout to clean with bleach or alternative. Here's some pictures. Sorry for the mess, i'm presently removing old wallpaper double thick. I will be using putty to fill in holes/gaps and use sandpaper to smooth out the rough indentations and such. Then to decide to paint or use other materials.

    I would need advisement on how to replace the sink and drain pipe, if possible. The sink edges are sealed with 1" square tiles. The faucet will be replaced too. I like the idea to hide the edges of mirrors with picture frames and use new baseboards to update. The sink vanity is an old design with double doors (2x) and 3 small drawers in middle, knobs are old. If the sink is removed and replaced, I'd think it would be best to add a new vanity at that time. I don't think I need two sinks as it'

    s a small bathroom. Your designs and suggestions are appreciated.

  • celerygirl

    It is an old post. Start your own dilemma please, you get more ideas.

  • Ja Le Brown

    posted a new thread, thanks

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