All Luxed Up: A Glamorous Take on the Midcentury Modern Bathroom

 
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It’s safe to say that Midcentury Modern is one of the biggest influences in interior design at the moment. It has been for a while, and according to Google trends, is likely to stay.  

‘Midcentury Modern’, or MCM for short, describes an arts movement that spanned across architecture, furniture and design in the middle of the 20th century. It evolved from early 20th-century Modernism, when a surge of new technology, materials and prosperity followed World War II. The term was coined later in 1984 when writer Cara Greenberg defined it in her book on the subject.

MCM design is timeless; it looks as contemporary now as it would have then. It signifies high quality, sleek form and provides striking yet functional décor that’s well suited to everyday living. If you’re not familiar with the look, it’s likely you’ll have heard of it – retailers commonly ascribe it to products that aren’t remotely MCM in design because they know buyers will search using the term. 

Despite this, we appreciate going for a fully committed bathroom straight from the set of Mad Men isn’t for everyone - and MCM décor alone can look dated and lack homeliness. To remedy this, we’ve put together some tips on how you can adopt the best elements of Midcentury Modern decor to create a luxe, 21st century bathroom.  

Vanities

Teak wood is an iconic material from this period and second-hand teak furniture continues to be in high demand. The conversion of teak cabinets into bathroom vanity units is a rapidly emerging trend in the DIY world, as people want to expand the MCM look into other areas of the home. Whilst committed appreciators may find the up-cycling of such iconic furniture controversial, if done sympathetically can give you a beautiful, bespoke bathroom piece.

If DIY isn’t for you, some retailers now sell purpose-built vanities with MCM-inspired designs, such as this contemporary black and gold piece from Tikamoon.

Up-cycled vanity sideboard - Instagram @erinbrowndesign

Up-cycled vanity sideboard - Instagram @erinbrowndesign

Vanity cabinet - Tikamoon

Vanity cabinet - Tikamoon

Terrazzo

Terrazzo is a beautiful material, and can be bought in tile form from retailers such as Terrazzo Tiles and Mandarin Stone. Seen historically as something exclusive to the rich and royal, it gradually became more accessible and was a hit in the mid-60s. Featuring chips of marble, quartz and granite, it doesn’t get more luxe than this.

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Gold fixtures

Celebrate the artistic functionality of Midcentury Modern with taps such as these from Samuel Heath. The gold finish adds a flamboyant feel to the crafted, functional design.

Gold taps - Instagram @samuelheathofficial

Gold taps - Instagram @samuelheathofficial

Gold shower taps - Instagram @samuelheathofficial

Gold shower taps - Instagram @samuelheathofficial

Colours

In typical 1950s mid-century modern design you’ll see soft pastel shades, whereas the 1960s saw an emergence of earthier, warmer hues. There’s a wide range of colours associated with this movement, so here’s a summary of midcentury shades we think will add an air of luxury to your bathroom.

Earthy greens

Wasabi and olive green were popular colours in 1960’s décor and can richly complement natural materials such as teak and stone. 

Pinks

From peach to fuchsia, pink is a great midcentury accent colour. Combine it with one of the greens above for a plush, sophisticated effect.  

Orange

Seen frequently in décor towards the end of the MCM movement, the right shade can add a warm, cosy atmosphere to any bathroom – even more so when teamed with the gold fixtures like the ones from Samuel Heath pictured earlier.

Teal

In-keeping with some of the other nature-inspired colours of this movement, teal is a royal, jewel-like colour befitting of any sumptuous bathroom.

Lighting

Lighting can make or break the atmosphere of a room, and is often overlooked when it comes to bathroom décor. These wall lights from Homary would look chic and dramatic in a bathroom setting, and the milky white glass will give an attractive softness to the space.

Vanity light from Homary

Vanity light from Homary

Bamboo

Bamboo is a material that lends itself more to bohemian décor, and whilst it was popular during the 1970’s, is not generally associated with the Midcentury Modern movement. However, bamboo can soften and complement the streamlined, biomorphic shapes of classic MCM furniture - adding a mellow, contemporary vibe.  We recommend a bamboo towel ladder like the one below from Graham & Green, or a circular wall shelf for your bathroom plants and products.

Bamboo towel ladder from Graham & Green

Bamboo towel ladder from Graham & Green

Circular bamboo shelving unit from Accessories for the Home

Circular bamboo shelving unit from Accessories for the Home

And if you have the space, how about a bamboo chair? Perhaps featuring an impractical yet unashamedly plush sheepskin rug thrown over the top.

Bamboo chair - Instagram @k_g_curatedspace

Bamboo chair - Instagram @k_g_curatedspace