I moved into a new apartment on Friday. Most unfortunately, I was not able to scope out the place before deciding to rent it, and I was fooled by the model apartment into thinking that I would have a nice neutral-colored bathroom. The pamphlet I received upon signing my lease described all the complex’s bathrooms as being Art Deco in style.
Well, gosh, I didn’t know Art Deco was code for Ungodly Horror.
Solid black tile floor. Pink and black tiles on the walls up to my shoulder, then nursing-home-yellow paint up to the ceiling. Very high ceiling. Black sink. Pink toilet. Pink bathtub. Yellow morgue-esque lighting. No counters. NO OUTLETS.
I’m telling you, this is the kind of bathroom you die in. OK, I admit that if I saw a picture of this in a magazine, I might laugh in delight at the decorator’s zany sense of humor and campiness. But I gotta live with this, and as such I think it’s the scariest freaking bathroom I’ve ever seen.
So, help, please, I beg you. What can I do to make this room conducive to long relaxing baths, lingering tooth-brushings, and, most importantly, that general aura of sanctuary so necessary in a bathroom?
Any suggestions on color schemes? Should I fight the present image or play it up (in the spirit of fun, and all that)? Other helpful hints?
Repaint that yellow with white, replace the lighting to make it better and clearer, and play up the pink and black with a flamingo/tropical theme - there are tons of pink flamingo themed things available, and you could get some potted plants (plastic, if you lack a green thumb) to put around, and maybe strings of plastic flowers like leis… trim around the mirror, perhaps, and at the top of the shower curtain, wrapped around the rod. If you want to downplay the black and pink at the same time you could use a sheer white shower curtain and white towels to try to lighten things up.
I agree that painting over that yellow is the first thing to do. It’s also one of the cheapest and easiest ways to change the look of a room. Maybe a nice soft gray, so there isn’t so much contrast with the black?
I wanna see before and after pictures.
Except for the yellow paint, sounds like “early bordello” style. You could camp that up and play with it! Paint the wall either pink or white, have lavish white rugs/mats on the floor, etc.
Racinchikki’s idea about the pink flamingos sounds fun, too. That’s something I’d have flipped for 20 years ago!
I think I’m stuck with the lighting and the paint, but I do like the flowers and flamingoes idea…that would also go with the 1950s (Art Deco, my ass) feel to the room. I might be able to find a brightly-colored rug with flowers on it, to hide the black floor…
I wish I could post a picture of the room. Have you read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”? That’s the level of horror I’m talking about.
You misread. The phamplet obviously said “Fart Deco”.
No outlets? That’s bizarre, but you could get an adaptor that screws into a lightbulb that includes an outlet from most any hardware store.
As for the rest, copious gallons of aqua or sage paint might go well with black tile, relatively speaking.
seawitch, I have grey towels in there right now, and they don’t look too bad at all. Hmmmm…
I really do think I’m stuck with the paint, but I agree that white walls would be a vast improvement. Even the grout in the tiles matches the yellow of the walls.
c4c, you’ve nailed it – it does look like a bordello. Now that I’m thinking about it…the rest of my apartment is quite demure and innocent in its color scheme. Then you go around into the little hallway, and it’s like a secret shame – the door opens to reveal steamy (it’s unventilated) tawdriness. That’s quite tantalizing…and flamingoes would go perfectly.
There comes a point at which you have to look around at your bathroom, realize that nothing on earth is going to make it look classy, and start hunting around for ways to simply overpower the tackiness, with more tackiness.
That’s what we decided to do in our bathroom. Dark purple marbled tile, to contrast with Pepto-Bismol pink tile. Every single person to walk into our bathroom before we moved in said “Ew.”
So, we decided on the “the hell with it. Let’s have fun” approach. Mexican ceramic tropical fish now flank the mirror, part of a school of plastic fish fleeing a plastic fishing rod. A lovely tropical fish clock, hand-painted by someone obviously affected by long-term exposure to paint fumes, marks the time in there with a small tropical fish pendulum. Large foam tropical birds grace the shower rod, and a flourescent fishtank decoration serves as a toothbrush holder. Top this all off with a Lost City of Atlantis shower curtain.
Now, people who walk in there actually shriek.
Next week, we install the net over the ceiling. We’ll have to finish painting the Sculpey sea life we’ve created for it first, though. It’ll be a great place to string those undersea creatures lights we got.
Have fun. Go nuts.
You could paint the walls a color darker than black, then the sink would brighten the place up a bit.
So I was just wondering if your landlords were going to go postal if you changed the paint, when I recalled an episode of The Christopher Lowell Show.
He used some fabric to cover a painted wall, and used a thick fabric starch paste as an adhesive. The great part was when it came time to remove the stuff, it could be peeled off in one big sheet - then the wall got washed, and everything was back to the original state. Especially if your wall is painted in that slick high gloss stuff, that might save you from having to re-repaint. You could fabric the wall in any print you desire - there are probably some really loud pink flamingo Hawaiian shirt prints that would be grotesquely perfect.
Caveat: I only saw the show because I was home sick from work. Which means I may have been under the influence of NyQuil at the time. Which means I was no doubt hallucinating, and I may very well be suggesting the impossible. But we’ll never know unless somebody tries it. And by “somebody”, I mean gallows fodder.
Drawing on the “fight tacky with more tacky” idea…
A hair dryer draws a lot of current; you might not want to plug one in there… but that might be a really good spot to plug in the black light.
ARE YOU MAD?! I’d kill for those tiles!
My aunt had a lovely bungalow, built in the 1930s, with pink and maroon tiles in the bathroom and yellow and maroon in the kitchen. Some time later I lived in an apartment of the same era that had maroon and yellow trimmed with black in the bathroom; unfortunately some moron had redone the kitchen with <shudder> Formica.
Modern, neutral, “tasteful” color schemes always remind me of that commercial where a guy orders a drink: “I’ll have a bland and bland, with nothing in it.” Ye gods, life is too short to be boring!
Count us in on the weird tile colors.
Chez R, which was built in the Fifties by taste-impaired people, has one bathroom with pink and maroon plastic tiles covering every square inch (yes,ceiling, too). We decided to go with the flow; we tore out the crapola generic washstand and had my dad build a very nice cabinet/washstand combo, with a white porcelain sink and bright pink Formica countertop.
We added a glass shelf over the john and a pink-Formica-and-walnut plaque with pegs for Mrs. R’s necklaces.
Looks great, but in a different key…
The rest of the house is also “interesting”; but, y’know, I’ve gotten to like it.