Bathrooms

You should never paint your bathroom this color, according to a psychologist

Your color choices are especially important in a room that promotes wellbeing – this is what science suggests

Olive green bathroom with wallpaper and white sink
(Image credit: Future)

Beyond their conventional functionality, bathrooms act as a space for rituals and serenity. However, nothing impacts their therapeutic ambiance quite like color. 

As with all rooms, bathrooms enjoy ever-changing trends and color crazes – from the vast allure of soft grey to powder blue's natural hues.

Though, according to psychology, you should some shades should be avoided when looking for bathroom ideas. And while we rush to embrace interior design trends, those in the know urge us to follow science first. 

Here, they share their bathroom color ideas – including the color you should never paint your bathroom – and what we should embrace instead. 

The color you should never paint your bathroom – according to psychology 

green bathroom with roll top bath and artwork on the walls

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

'Our bathrooms are often smaller rooms, with a focus on cleaning and grooming ourselves. Due to the size of most bathrooms, we want the room to be bright and welcoming. Two colors that go against the grain in the bathroom are olive greens and golden browns,' explains Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant Lee Chambers (opens in new tab)

But why does he urge against these bathroom paint ideas? 'Neither of these colors are bright and welcoming, and more importantly, they both represent the colors of dirt, germs, and mold that we are looking to avoid as we walk into the room to leave feeling fresh and clean,' Lee explains. 

Plus, alongside their association to uncleanliness, Lee suggests olive and golden brown will make your room feel smaller – and therefore less optimistic. 

Olive green painted bathroom with dark brown wood

(Image credit: Future)

'These colors can really dampen the mood, darken the corners, and leave you feeling invigorated and uninspired before you've started running the water. They will make the space feel smaller, create that enclosed perspective where we struggle to see the opportunities and positive things that wait around the corner,' he adds. 

Plus, Lee is not alone in his avoidance of these tones. Color consultant and therapist Suzy Chiazzari (opens in new tab) also shares her small bathroom ideas, adding that olive and 'any dark color' would have a negative effect on skin tone that will make you appear 'dull and lifeless.'

Olive green bathroom with olive painted wood

(Image credit: Future)

While you may now know what color you should never paint your bathroom, it is only natural to wonder which shades science suggests trying instead. Lick (opens in new tab)'s Head Color Specialist, Natasha Bradley, recommends turning away from olive and instead looks to a paler green and blues – to provide a fresh, calming vibe to the room.

'You want to create a space that is light and revitalizing while you shower and also invites you in for a bath at the end of the day,' she adds.

Has psychology just reshaped your bathroom for good? This is the easy paint idea that could make all the difference to your everyday routines.  

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.