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Bathroom ideas: New Retro part 3
Style guides

Bathroom ideas: New Retro part 3

Posted by Nicky Kingston in Style guides | 6 years ago 5 min read

Welcome to part 3 of our “Get the look” style guide, where I’ll be looking at some neat ways to accessorise your New Retro bathroom.

Before I delve into the detail, showing you how to combine different colours, tiles, textures and accessories, why not read parts 1 and 2 first?

Part 1 is an introduction to the look, featuring mood boards to get your creative juices flowing and discovering the inspiration behind the style.

In part 2, I demonstrate some of the key themes and products that can make or break the look of this room, from your bath to your basin and everything in between.

New Retro bathroom

Accessorising your New Retro bathroom

One of the most enjoyable and fun aspects of any bathroom makeover is choosing your accessories. I don’t know about you, but I just love searching for those smaller items that make your design truly unique to you.

And the great thing is, with a New Retro bathroom, you don’t even have to play by the rules! Unlike some of the more monochrome-based contemporary styles, New Retro thrives on colours, patterns, textures and accessories, allowing you to let your hair down a little when it comes putting a stamp on your style.

So, let’s take a look at the types of colours, tiles, textures and accessories that can turn your retro bathroom into one that you’ll spend plenty of happy days in.


Colour is the key to achieving the New Retro look. Coming out of the drab, austere inter-war years, bathroom designers of the 50s, 60s and 70s began to experiment with colour blocking in a big way. Modern style saw a breakthrough in the use of different colour combinations, producing interiors that were bright and cheerful, rather than monochrome and pared back.

Some would-be designers may have taken things a step too far, with the infamous avocado or salmon pink suites, but many got it just right, with large expanses of bold and cheerful colours mixing perfectly with pristine whites for a look that is very powerful.

Shower wall panels

When choosing your colours, it’s good to take a steer from history by looking at some of the shades used in those older bathrooms.

The 60-30-10 distribution principle is a common trick used by interior designers. When choosing a primary colour, a secondary colour and an accent colour, aim to use them in roughly that ratio to achieve a sense of balance. Whilst white forms the basis of our bathroom palette (the 60%), we opted for an aqua blue as our secondary colour (30%) with honey yellow as an accent (10%).

Using our swatch below, we’ve picked out a range of suitable colours, which we feel match the New Retro style. However, when it comes to personal taste, the choice is, of course, entirely yours.

New Retro colour palette

Handy hint: If you’re still stuck, why not discover more bathroom colour ideas?


Tiles can play a huge part in creating a New Retro bathroom that is buzzing with colour and character.

The easiest way to introduce pattern into your scheme is by creating a funky feature floor or wall. Look for tiles which feature geometric shapes. They will draw the eye without drowning out the rest of your décor, adding a really vibrant element to your bathroom.

[Metro tiles] are perhaps the one connection between the old and the new. So versatile, they can be used in a retro bathroom to great effect. Experiment with different colours and different coloured grout for a unique look.

[Feature floor tiles]

In our bathroom, we’ve opted for some [Geometric floor tiles] in a monochrome colour scheme, white metro wall tiles and a selected portion of honey glazed metro wall tiles, which form our accent colour.


With modern interior design came a whole host of new materials and textures including vinyl, acrylic and engineered wood. Not only did these new materials allow for greater flexibility in design, they also provided cleaner, more hygienic surfaces which could be easily wiped down.

Wood fronted vanity unit

Introduce some mid-century styling to your New Retro bathroom by using a wood finish somewhere in your design. We opted for a vanity unit with wooden drawer fronts adding just a dash of warmth.

Whilst tiles are an ever-present in bathrooms both new and old, acrylic wall panels can be used to add a genuine retro feel. The seamless surface also helps to repel soap and prevent limescale build-up. Plus, with no grout lines, there’s nowhere for mould to develop.


Retro accessories are big business these days and you’ll no doubt discover plenty of fabulous finds at car boot sales and bric-a-brac shops. However, there also plenty of ways you can use modern accessories to achieve the New Retro Look.

Pop art prints, patterned cushions and funky vases in bold colours can all be used to add a personal touch to your bathroom.

New Retro accessories

Choose simple soap dishes and towel rails with chrome fittings and drape a few towels around that match your chosen colour scheme.


If you search hard enough, there are some lights made specifically for use in the bathroom that have a genuine retro look and feel to them.

Retro lighting

Instead of a central lighting fixture, why not choose wall hung designs instead? They will provide you with task lighting right where you need it most.

New Retro products

Love New Retro? Click on the banner below to head to part 4, where we'll show you exactly which products we used, so you can shop the look.

New Retro bathroom

Author, Nicky Kingston

Posted by Nicky Kingston in Style guides | 6 years ago

Nicky is our resident Stylist and loves bringing new and exciting bathroom trends to life. Nicky’s passion for design led to a 1st class degree in Surface Design & Textiles, before earning a reputation as a home stylist in London.

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