The Roaring ’20s marked an era of deep social and political contrasts along with upheaval and innovation, which included women winning the right to vote, prohibition and inventions — the refrigerator, traffic lights and radio station broadcasts — that revolutionized life. The bathroom designs of the decade were just as diverse, with a mixture of rainbow-colored bathroom-plumbing fixtures in shades of pink, butter yellow, green and blue, and lavish designs inspired by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco of the Jazz Age.
Many homes of the 1920s had bathrooms with the walls and floor completely tiled. In an understated bathroom, you might find a subtle border trim near the bottom of the floor-to-ceiling tiled wall paired with elegant corner tiles on door trim. New tub styles were introduced — typically heavy-duty cast iron with a porcelain overlay — including corner-style tubs with a rounded corner that faced the room. A pedestal sink with a large, wide large basin outfitted the majority of ’20s bathroom designs.
A Rainbow of Colors
With the innovations in manufacturing during the 1920s, plumbing fixtures or tiles took on the colors of the rainbow, along with black, white and gold. An advertising flyer for the era depicts a bathroom with a black-and-white checkerboard tiled floor, with white field-tiled walls bordered in black tiles around doors, windows and along the baseboard. A black marble vanity sink supported by gold-trimmed legs and a dressing vanity to match with a gold-trimmed mirror made the bathroom a place of luxury.
Green Tile Wainscoting
An Art Deco stained glass window over the cast-iron tub sends colors dancing everywhere when the light catches it just right in a bathroom decorated with jade green tile wainscoting all around the room. Above the tile, a hand-painted floral wall mural surrounds the room with even more color in touches of burgundy and deeper greens. A built-in porcelain soap dish and toothbrush holder sit below a porcelain shelf, overlooked by a gold-trimmed arched mirror above the wainscoting and flanked by two light sconces on either side.
Butter Yellow Plumbing Fixtures
Butter yellow plumbing fixtures — a niched cast-iron tub and pedestal sink — are surrounded by mixed shades of pink flamingo wall tiles set on the diagonal. An almost navy blue tiled floor contrasts the diagonal wall tiles when laid in a standard pattern. The dark blue tiles go up the wall to create a border topped by smaller diagonal blue tiles that lead into pink. Navy tiles also border the door with a ceiling painted a tinted shade of light navy.