10 Essentials for a Mid Century Modern Bathroom

If you’re looking for a classically elegant style for your bathroom, Mid Century Modern (MCM) could be just what you’re searching for. Simple, refined, and with just the right amount of retro glamour to keep things interesting, it’s a style that’s been keeping us intrigued for more than half a century. Characterized by geometrical shapes and clean, sleek lines, Mid Century Modern places the emphasis firmly on functionality… so where better to showcase it than the bathroom, a place that was positively made for simple utility? But what exactly do you need to transform your bathroom into the height of Mid Century Modern chic? What essentials should be on your ‘must-buy’ list? Find out as we look at the top 10 essentials for a Mid Century Modern bathroom.

1. A Glass Shower Enclosure

If you’re still showering behind a curtain, it’s time to take things up a notch. Mid Century Modern is all about clean lines and sleekness, neither of which are exactly synonymous with a flouncy shower curtain. Glass is a favorite material in Mid Century Modern design, and can be utilized to great effect in the bathroom. Take signaturehardware.com’s suggestion and wrap your shower in a glass enclosure. As playing with shapes is a very MCM thing to do, add a round vanity mirror to add a little contract to the rectangular shape of the enclosure.

2. A Clean Edged Bathtub

If a bathtub features in your bathroom layout plans, forget about anything with a rolled top, ornate feet, or a fancy faucet. A freestanding, rectangular tub with crisp, clean lines and a simple, functional faucet is what you should be aiming for. If possible, try to match the style and design of the tub filler to the bathroom sink faucet – contrast is allowed (and even welcomed) in Mid Century Modern design, but some things are best matched.

3. Pendant Lighting

It’s not too big a claim to say that light fixtures can make or break a room. Forget strip lighting or fusty lampshades – the illumination in a Mid Century Modern bathroom should be as clean and sleek as the rest of the fixtures. Pendant lighting can look appealing, although if you have a spacious layout, you might want to take things to the next level of style with a modern chandelier.

4. Brass Accents

Mid Century Modern may be all about simplicity and stripped back elegance, but that’s not to say it can’t do glam in the right circumstances. If you want to add a bit of old-school charm to an otherwise simple bathroom, consider investing in some brass accents. A favorite material in the 1960s, these days brass can be used to add a touch of retro flair to lighting fixtures, door and drawer handles, and plant hangers. You could even opt for a brass mirror if you see one that takes your fancy.

5. A Mirror

Seeing as we’re talking about bathrooms, it stands to reason that the question of mirrors was going to raise its head at some point. Regardless of the bathroom’s design, a mirror is (for most people at least) a basic necessity… but what kind should you plump for? What shape is going to fit best into a Mid Century Modern interior? In a word, an asymmetrical one. A round vanity mirror also fits the brief, but asymmetric is where it’s really at. Look for a retro frame with simple lines (nothing to elaborate, please) and a glamorous, but never gaudy, style.

6. A Dark Wood Cabinet

As decoratedlife.com notes, a Mid Century Modern bathroom is nothing without a dark wood cabinet. Dark wood features heavily in the Mid Century Modern school of design and can add a heap of visual appeal when placed in an otherwise bland or boring bathroom. Providing just the right amount of retro flair to keep things interesting, it plays wonderfully against an otherwise all-white color scheme. It can also look just as fetching against the other colors typical of the style.

7. Plants

To most people, plants might seem more of an optional accessory than an ‘essential’. But as roseandgrey.co.uk notes, in the Mid Century Modern bathroom, they’re practically obligatory. A few pieces of greenery can lift an otherwise neutral color scheme and make the style ‘sing’. And don’t worry too much if you’re the type to kill a plant soon as look at it – fake plants can be very convincing these days, and are likely to stand up to your less than loving ministrations far better than the real thing.

8. A Color Scheme

The Mid Century Modern bathroom is not the place to get reckless with colors. But neither is it a place to shy away from them. Mid Century Modern encompasses a wide range of hues, from the natural and the muted to the bold and exuberant. Black and white tend to feature heavily in many MCM bathrooms, but there’s plenty of room to have fun with different accents like pastel blues, mustards, and vibrant greens.

9. Honeycomb Tiles

The Mid Century Modern bathroom loves a good tile. Subway tiles make a great choice, but if you really want to create something special, look for honeycomb tiles instead. Hexagonal shapes are huge in MCM design, combining retro inspiration with modern sensibilities to great effect. Where you introduce them is up to you: some people like to lay them on the floor, others prefer to pop them in the shower, still others prefer to limit them to a splashback. Regardless of how and where you use them, they’re guaranteed to lift your bathroom to new heights of MCM gorgeousness.

10. A Small Vanity

Mid Century Modern isn’t about huge gestures and dynamic statement pieces. Avoid bulky vanity tables and look for something small and compact instead. If it’s not quite enough to accommodate your needs, plump for two small units rather than a single huge one.

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