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Adding color with paint is a quick and easy way to add style and personality to a bathroom, but get it wrong, and you could risk ruining this crucial room in your home.
Color (even if you’re using neutrals) should be the first thing to consider when you are looking for bathroom ideas. Ensure your chosen hues work well in your room by applying testers of paint onto sheets of white paper, then tacking them onto each wall or piece of furniture you’re thinking of using that color on.
Leave them up for a few days before making any final decisions, noticing how the light affects the color at different times of day, as well as checking they work well next to other elements, such as blinds or cabinetry.
If you’re not confident in choosing a bathroom color scheme, go with a pre-selected palette already picked out by the paint brand you’re using, or follow our advice later on working with tonal, harmonizing and contrasting colors.
5 bathroom paint colors going out of style in 2024
Here interior designers, decorators, and color psychologists reveal what bathroom paint colors are going out of style, and how to approach choosing paint ideas for rooms that truly sing, from using the color wheel to help you avoid making disastrous color mistakes to finding paint colors that will make you feel happier at home.
1. Swap white for a warm, earthy pink
Bathrooms are no longer the soulless, clinical, functional places they once were. These days, we are seeing designers and decorators experiment with more colorful bathroom ideas, and it makes a welcome change to the pure white bathrooms from yesteryear. However, one color we didn't expect to see make a comeback is pink – once a popular addition to the American bathroom during the 1950s.
First Lady Mamie Eisenhower was pivotal in popularizing the color, which is often referred to as 'Mamie Pink' or 'First Lady Pink.' It was believed that her husband President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent her pink flowers every morning. She re-decorated the private quarters in the White House in pink – so much so that reporters called it the 'Pink Palace.' But decorating with pink is back, and we welcome its return.
It's inviting, uplifting and effortless to decorate with, so it's no surprise that pink is now seen as an interiors neutral. But with choices from pastel to bubblegum, the right shade can prove a tricky quest. But what do the designers think?
‘Shades of pink are extremely versatile and have been a popular choice in interiors for centuries,' says interior designer Natalia Miyar. Pink is a truly wonderful shade to use as an accent color in a bathroom. There is such an incredible range of shades to choose from and dark pink can add depth and personality to a design scheme. It’s bold and vibrant and works so well when used with white sanitaryware.'
Interior designer, Elizabeth Hay believes that an earthy pink can lend unparalleled sophistication to a scheme. ‘This tone works perfectly in a scheme that is rather dark, or which suffers from a lack of natural light. Not only does it inject a bathroom with brightness and cheer, but it will also bring out and highlight any accent colors in the room.’
2. Switch out gray for tranquil taupe or beige
A former modern favorite, gray has surely had its time in the sun. This cool, often cold, color scheme is making way for the return of decorating with beige and taupe.
Reminiscent of velvety cocoa, a mid-brown taupe is a striking color for any bathroom. Depending on the fittings and accent colors introduced alongside, it has the flexibility to range from looking neat and tailored to soft and welcoming.
The bathroom is the perfect space to invite warmth and coziness. ‘For me, neutrals such as taupe are grounding wall colors,' says Henriette Von Stockhausen. 'It’s important to remember that sometimes a classic interior is just the ticket: calm colors, gentle schemes, traditional fixtures and fittings – no pattern clashes, no huge color pops, just comfort and a quiet space to relax in.'
Jean-Frédéric Nothomb, founder of Argile, shares the same adoration for this versatile neutral: ‘Taupe is an effective color to provide warmth to any space. It creates a reassuring atmosphere without being too strong and also pairs easily with pastel or bright colors, adding either cool or warm tones.’
Farrow & Ball is a leading producer of high-end paint and luxury wallpaper, and their design experts share their wisdom for creating harmonious interiors and beautify home décor in this inspirational book.
3. Choose pale green over darker variations
Classic, calming and synonymous with nature, pale green is a hue that keeps the peace. Color trends come and go, but this warmer tone has real longevity, thanks to its neutral nature.
Pale green can refresh any room while adding a hint of nature. 'For this bathroom, I chose Edward Bulmer's Celadon – it sits quietly with marble, keeping the space open,' says Caroline Riddel, founder of Caroline Riddell Interiors. 'Ideally, the color needs to be used in a natural light-filled bathroom. It's a lovely shade to relax in for an evening bath, too.'
4. Ditch sky blue for deep ocean blue
Sky blue is still a popular color, but we are noticing fewer designers decorating with this pale shade in favor of darker, bolder variations from the same color palette.
The sight of the sea is always an anticipated source of excitement. Whether it’s approaching the Hamptons shoreline for an old-fashioned seaside break, or as you fly to a far-off destination, there’s nothing quite like catching that first glimpse of vast blue waters stretching out to the horizon, and the crashing waves, to get you in the holiday mood.
From the alluring aquamarine hues of sandy Caribbean shores and the glistening teal tones of pebbled Mediterranean beaches, to the inky blues and midnight notes of deep Atlantic waters, the colors of the ocean are as serene as they are striking and offer a versatile spectrum for decorating a bathroom.
Choose a cool, deep blue in a bedroom for guaranteed spa-like relaxation. To add depth to a watery scheme, take inspiration from ripples and reflections and layer up different textures, including glass, and stone with marbled effects and lustrous sheens.
It is safe to say that decorating with blue will always be admired in a bathroom, but perhaps it is time that we turn our attention toward the dark side.
5. Go for red and brown instead of yellow
Where once yellow was seen as a fun way to add color to a bathroom. After all, it is a heritage hue, known for injecting cheerful warmth and sunshine to every surface it touches. But has yellow had its time in the spotlight?
This season, we are seeing more designers opting to decorate with red and brown instead. Earthy red and brown shades can transform interiors, adding a sophisticated to the playful aesthetic.
‘When using red in a color scheme, it’s best to choose shades that are rich and warm rather than loud and insistent. Maroon, burgundy and rosehip work brilliantly with shades of green, while deep pinky-reds are very adaptable and blend well with khaki or stone. Dark reds pair best with gold metallic touches and carry a degree of heritage, especially when mixed with dark wood,’ says Simon Temprell, head of interior design at Neptune.
Interior designer Georgie Wykeham, founder of Georgie Wykeham Designs loves using muted reds in the bathroom: ‘Rhubarb is my go-to color; added to a neutral scheme, it creates warmth, depth and a touch of the unexpected. Used on its own, it is a very easy color to live with and yet it also works beautifully with blues, greens, pinks and reds.’
When choosing paint colors for your bathroom, it is worth considering what colors you should never paint a small room too, as well as using colors that you love and can live with – not just the color trends that are in style.
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Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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