For several decades, it has been difficult to find bathing solutions or even a bathroom itself that is not dominated by either white or a very close off-white shade such as cream, but this was far from always being the case.
Outside of particularly striking individual examples like Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace bathroom, there have been times when white has not been the dominant colour for a bathroom, but instead, a particular shade of avocado green was seen in bathrooms throughout the country.
Whilst mocked for decades along with a lot of 1970s design elements, it is making something of a comeback in a world where a growing number of bathrooms are rejecting minimalism. To understand why, we need to know why it was popular to begin with.
After the Second World War, the colour pallets of many houses had become somewhat muted, with natural textures, whites and beiges preferred mostly because they were the only options in a country where rationing only truly ended in 1954.
However, throughout the 1950s and 1960s, bright, vibrant interior design was widely embraced as a form of individual expression. At first, it was a matter of exercising freedom in a way inspired by Americana, whilst in the 1960s it was the result of a space-age optimism and increased availability of synthetic colours.
By the 1970s, the eye of design had turned inward somewhat, focusing on a design inspired by a love of nature. Very quickly, green became the colour of nature, and the smoky, relatively muted avocado green became an emblem of an era alongside mustard yellow.
This ended in part because of the rise of Memphis Milano and the trend they set for garish, iconoclastic designs and a return to even grander synthetic colours.
The strong reaction to this particularly striking era led to a rise in minimalism, which ended the trend for coloured bathrooms for nearly three decades in favour of neutral shades that emphasised space.
With a return to more maximalist design in bathrooms, avocado green is one of the biggest beneficiaries and has the potential to move from an unloved emblem of an unloved and misunderstood era of design to part of a greater trend of expression.