Black-and-White Tile Floor
Photograph: Megan Chaffin
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Retro Finishes

For walls, there are two main vintage choices: tile and beadboard. With tile, choose rectangular subway tile or 4-inch square tiles (6-inch and 8-inch square tiles have a more modern look). Handmade tiles or ones with a crackle finish add to the old-fashioned effect. White-painted beadboard is a tried-and-true favorite, whether it is installed the original way in individual planks or as panels. The best floor choices are ceramic or stone tile in a mosaic, basketweave, or checkerboard pattern (shown); an all-white or black-and-white palette is classic and keeps options open for other decorating choices. Glossy polished stone is more traditional than matte. Another bath surface to consider is the countertop; there, white or gray marble best recapture the past.
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