Mid-Century Bathroom Gets a Makeover in Mod Pink

Several third parties expressed concern when I decided my bathroom needed to be pink. They said a master bath should be gender neutral. Nonsense.

Pink is totally mid-century and Eric loves it. Plus most of my house is fairly neutral, but this bathroom was clearly begging for some mod pink.


Mid-century bathroom before updating

Imagine how cute this mid-century modern bathroom could be with a splash of pink paint. Read on for pink bathroom makeover inspiration.

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Paint Color Palette

You’ll need to start with a color palette, perhaps drawing from elsewhere in the room or nearby. I used my taupe, aqua and pink bathroom floor to pick colors.

When you find your color source, lay out some paint samples to find a matching paint color.

Mid-century bathroom paint color idea

I narrowed my color palette down to Pratt & Lambert Flushed Cheeks and Benjamin Moore Waynesboro Taupe. The aqua color would have been nice too, but I thought that might be one too many colors for such a small room, so I saved it for another room.

Take a look around your bathroom and decide which paint color should go where. For my bathroom, I planned for the shower and soffit in pink and the remaining walls in taupe. But if you go 100% pink I fully support you.

Bathroom Painting Prep

Next you’ll need to prep the room for painting.

  1. Unscrew the towel rods, electrical socket wall plates and toilet paper holder so you don’t get paint on them.
  2. Take down the light fixture covers. They can usually be carefully pulled off or unscrewed.
  3. Remove the curtains or blinds and unscrew the hardware.
  4. Wipe down the walls with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt.
  5. Fill in any wall holes with spackle, let dry and then paint over your spackle with a drywall primer. Optional: spackle your curtain hardware holes if you’re permanently removing your curtains. This is what I did to let in more light, since my bathroom window glass is frosted. Otherwise, leave those holes as they are.
  6. Cover the toilet and floor with a drop cloth or plastic. (Or just be vigilant about not dripping any paint.)
  7. Use painter’s tape to tape up anything else you want to protect from paint, like the edges of your countertop, mirror, door frame and shower tiles.

You may have to do some additional prep for your shower or bathtub. Part of my shower ceiling was stained and deeply chipped away from excessive moisture over the years.

If you’re in a similar situation, grab some Kilz. This helps to cover the stain and prevent further deterioration.

Clean up the stained area, paint it with Kilz, and then spackle it to bring it back to its original shape. Let the spackle dry and give it one more coat of Kilz to seal it.

Removing a Stubborn Handle

Before painting, I had to take care of one more thing. My bathroom had an unwanted support handle next to the toilet.

You’d think it would be easy enough to unscrew this thing, patch up the wall and be done with it, but this handle had a serious grip on my wall. Have you been in a similar situation?

I ended up with two stubborn drywall anchors and a single screw sticking out of the wall without its head. Who knows how these things happen.

At one point I tried to coax out the broken screw by attacking it with the screwdriver. Then it looks like I tried and failed to dig it out. I think I tried pliers, which would probably be the correct way to remove this? That was another fail.

Anchor wall holes
After hammering, the screw is out of the way and ready for spackling.

Finally I opted for the superior tool, the hammer. This is how we solve problems. I hammered in the screw and anchors and was left with three sizeable holes, but this was easily fixed with some spackle and primer.

Feel free to skip the angry screwdriver attack and go straight to the hammer and spackle combo solution if you come across stubborn screws. Spackle is the friend of passive aggressive hammer wielding DIY-ers.

Taupe and Mod Pink to the Rescue

Now it’s time for the taupe and pink paint transformation. I started with the pink shower and soffit.

Pink shower in mid-century modern bathroom

For the bath area, I recommend using an extra coat of paint since it will need to be especially tough and water resistant. Take an angled paint brush to paint the corners and details first, and then use a paint roller to cover the larger areas.

When your pink paint dries, tape over the borders with painter’s tape so you can add your second color. I painted my remaining walls in taupe.

Painting bathroom walls means painting behind the toilet. If you’re replacing your toilet, woohoo! Take the opportunity to paint the wall without the toilet in the way.

Otherwise, you can get a special skinny paint roller with a long handle to get to those hard-to-reach places. Unfortunately I didn’t know about these paint rollers when I painted my bathroom.

Instead I threw a sheet of plastic all around the toilet and got really intimate with it while I tried every possible angle to paint the wall behind it with little brushes. Ugh. Use the skinny roller.

I later added a new toilet…after I had already suffered through painting behind the old toilet. Oh well.

It’s all behind me now, and I was rewarded with a bathroom that was starting to look modern and new. Can I go ahead and make everything pink and taupe?

A Note About Lighting

Be aware that if your bathroom was painted a light color before and you switch to a darker shade like this taupe, you might be surprised by how dark it makes your bathroom look. You can counteract this with some lighting updates.

I replaced all of the bulbs in my bathroom with warm LEDs and added bulbs that were missing (see that sparkly little mid-century beauty?).

Pink and taupe paint in modern bathroom makeover

Also, the shower didn’t have a light before, so Eric wired a light above the shower that turns on with the fan. That made the bathroom lighter overall.

He also replaced the electrical outlets with shiny new white ones. IT guy by weekday, domestic wizard by weekend.

Cabinet Makeover

Once your paint and lighting are dialed in, it’s time for a cabinetry refresh. I added round dish knobs and star backplates from Rejuvenation Hardware. Then the drawers got some fresh contact paper because that makes everything better.

Retro star backplate cabinet hardware in mid-century modern bathroom

My cabinet had some chips but I liked the finish overall and didn’t want to sand and refinish it. A little touch-up with cherry wood putty gave it new life, filling in the chips on the drawer fronts.

Final Touches

I turned to Umbra for the trash can, soap dispenser and space-saving shower caddy—helpful since my shower is small with no built-in storage. An IKEA trip took care of the towels.

I added an extending mirror, microfiber rug, artificial plant and kitty jewelry holder (used as a cotton ball holder).

Lastly, this pink window valance with retro mermaids and mer-kitties is the newest addition. It was the perfect accessory to finish up the room.

Mid-century modern window valance pink curtain with retro mermaids and mer-kitties

Find more ideas for updating your bathroom:

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