Shower Styles In The 1950s

Designers often use retro shower heads in modern decor.

Having thoughts of a 1950s bathroom usually conjures visions of pink tiles, porcelain handles and claw foot tubs, but the shower was just starting to make its household debut on the latrine scene. Around this period, many people began to incorporate common showers into the bathroom design, and they were quite similar to those of today. Does this Spark an idea?

All-in-one Tub and Shower

The 1950s claw foot tub became the base for a shower. A pipe ran from the tub faucet with a simple metal shower head — possibly in the design of a sunflower or sunburst — mounted overhead and ready for sprinkling. A shower curtain hung from an oval ring suspended off of the pipe, providing the bather with privacy and keeping water from spilling onto the floor.

Exposed Stall Showers

The shower stall of the ’50s had a metal-encased, privacy-glass door or a shower curtain, much as we install to this day. However, the walls surrounding the shower space may not have been as waterproof as we design them now. Mold-ready paint, wallpaper, wooden chair rail and wood siding often bordered the steamy enclosure. Exposed plumbing ran up one wall holding a fixed gooseneck shower head above and sometimes a hand-held shower fixture at waist height.

The Tile Shower

Four-inch-square or 2-inch-by-6-inch tiles in a pastel color, such as pink or yellow, typically engulfed the lower half of the 1950s washroom walls, full countertop and shower stall. Set evenly spaced, diagonally or offset like subway tiles, these bathroom basics were among the limited supply of ceramic decor. Bull-nose tile borders of a different pastel color may have lined the edges of the sink, shower stall and mid-wall. Floral wallpaper or colorful paint filled in the remaining bare space.

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Colorful Baths

White bathtubs lost their appeal in the 1950s, and color became the bathroom rage. A mint green, peach, mauve, baby blue, chartreuse, turquoise, gold or pink built-in tub with a matching apron may have housed the shower with its plumbing built into the wall. A plastic and, of course, colorful shower curtain hung from a straight rod and guarded against overflow.