Last Updated on February 7, 2023 by lindseymahoney
If you own a home built in the 50s or 60s, there is a good chance you have at least one retro bathroom.
Our home was built in the late ’60s and we have 3 original bathrooms! This month I am excited to tackle a budget-friendly makeover to our master bathroom! My goal is to highlight the charming aspects of our bathroom while adding more function for our family’s needs today. After living with this bathroom for the last year, I have identified a handful of quick fixes that will modernize the space and add efficiency.
We restored a retro blue bathroom in our flip house last year and it turned out so well! With a good cleaning, fresh paint, and a few modern accessories, we took this dirty bathroom into a modern sanctuary for its homeowners.
Here is what it looked like when we first purchased the flip:
And here is the bathroom after:
Plans to Update Our Retro Master Bathroom
Before we moved into our home last year, we updated all of the floors. Each bathroom has carpeting in the sink area and tile in the shower/toilet room. We updated the carpeting from baby blue to a neutral gray to match the carpet in the bedrooms. We also removed the swan shower doors for easier access in and out of the tub. Once we moved in, we updated the old showerhead for a low-flow option that is eco-friendly and lowers our water bill.
The blue toilet in the master bathroom was barely functioning and I am embarrassed to admit how long we lived with it in that state! The toilet flushed but would never stop running. For almost 1 year we would turn the water on and off every time we used the toilet!
It was a 3-gallon toilet so it used a ton of water for each use and I was so happy when we finally swapped it out with a more efficient and fully functioning toilet.
Remove Wallpaper & Paint
Cleaning the Shower Tiles
I need to clean the tiles in the shower and scrape off the remaining caulk from the old shower doors. The anchors from the door screws are also still intact and need to be roomed and filled. I plan on re-caulking the entire tub for a fresh, clean look. Finally, I will give the entire shower a major scrub to really make it shine!
*Check out more creative ways to update bathrooms with vintage tile!
The vanity is built into the room so I do not plan on replacing it. I will be updating the doorknobs and replacing the leaking faucets with chrome fixtures. Depending on how the vanity looks next to the new wall paint, I may end up painting the vanity, too.
Lighting & Electrical
The current lighting above the vanity is really not my style. The glass covers also prevent the medicine cabinet from opening fully. I plan on swapping out the current lighting for a design that allows us to use the medicine cabinet.
A common feature of older homes are outlets installed upside down. Over the years the outlets also become loose which causes plugs to dangle and fall out easily. This happens ALL THE TIME with the rectangular plugs that come on hair dryers.
I will change the outlet and install it with the two eyes at the top of the outlet. Another common feature in these retro bathrooms is humidifier vents that are super loud. I would like to update the vent for a quieter and more efficient unit.
Our bathroom is in dire need of organization! I am going to go through all of our items in the bathroom and finally get them all organized with clear bins and hopefully toss a good amount of the items. I would like to keep the vanity top as clear as possible instead of the basket of junk currently residing there.
In the shower/tub room, I am going to add more hooks for our towels and shelving above the toilet. In the shower, I would like to install a dispenser unit for our shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. All of our soaps are currently around the tub and on the floor of the tub.
The goal is to pare down the items we use in the shower to use less plastic and allow us to buy items in bulk and refill them. I would like to get a glass soap dispenser for the vanity as well that can be refilled easily.
Style & Decor
To give this master bathroom some personality and style, I want to add a few fun decor elements to the space. I will add some artwork to the walls, a few small plants, and a nice scented candle. I may even get really wild and buy some new towels and a shower curtain!
Retro Bathroom Mood Board
Here is a compilation of my plans to modernize this dated bathroom.
So many people live in homes with these retro bathrooms and with a little elbow grease they can really shine! I hope this project will inspire you to make some of the updates to your retro bathroom that has been sitting on your to-do list.
Check out our retro bathroom reveal to see how all of my grand plans came to fruition!
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