Brown bathrooms are trending – but what do interior designers think about decorating with chocolate hues in the bathroom?

From deep cocoa to more hushed shades of taupe, brown is seeing a resurgence in bathroom design for a cocooning, calming effect. So, will you be using it?

brown bathroom ideas trend
(Image credit: James Yarosh Associates / Jamie Haller / Photography Lauren Moore / Mosaic Factory / Côte De Folk / Photography Chris Snook)

It will come as no surprise that in 2024, we're all about decorating with warm colors. So it seems only natural that brown bathroom ideas are set to be big news, too. 

Brown isn't often the first color trend that comes to mind when considering bathroom ideas for a remodel or refresh. However, recently brown has become increasingly more popular with those looking for a grounding, earthy tone to cocoon their self-care space in. With a spectrum of delicious shades ranging from putty and taupe to rich walnut and dark chocolate, brown is actually rather versatile, offering a myriad of ways to create a calming and nurturing bathroom.

So, is it time to swap pared-back neutrals for decorating with brown? Let's see what the experts have to say about this new retro revival bathroom color idea.

6 beautiful brown bathroom ideas

Brown bathroom with prints on dada rail

(Image credit: Edward Bulmer)

The color brown, often overshadowed by more vibrant or subtle counterparts, offers a unique palette that helps foster a sense of luxury in a bathroom, big or small. And it's having a major moment. 

'A broader trend towards warmer, earthier tones in interior design has prompted a resurgence of brown bathrooms,' observes interior designer Artem Kropovinsky. 'This shift invites people to feel more at home in their personal space.'

Though chocolate brown seems to be the most popular in 2024, the best brown paint is undeniably the one that speaks to you the most. From various light tones like toasty taupes, tans, and beiges, through to mahogany or walnut, these rich tones will create a cozy ambiance whether you go all-out or simply favor accents. 

Far from boring, let's take a look into everything from color pairings to materials and accessorizing to help you embrace brown bathroom ideas.

1. Start gentle with taupe

taupe bathroom with marble vanity and accents of brown

(Image credit: Studio Duggan)

The beauty of brown is that there is a sliding scale of shades, from deep cocoa and walnut to the mellow neutrals of taupe, beige, caramels, and putty. Pale earthy shades are a gentle introduction to decorating with brown. The neutral undertones create a serene atmosphere, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a soothing experience in the bathroom.

'In terms of browns for bathrooms, we recommend sticking with soft, natural browns that lean more beige to keep your space light and airy, especially if you don’t have a ton of natural light,' suggests Ashley McCollum, GLIDDEN® paint by PPG color expert. 'The lighter browns lend to a more retreat-like space versus cave-like. Hikers Paradise from Glidden is the perfect soft interpretation of a brown for this space. You can allow the dark browns to speak for themselves through dark wood tones in cabinetry or throughout your floors,' she adds. 

'I like to pair taupe with stronger hues such as rich greens, aubergine, or deep red/rusty tones,' says Tiffany Duggan, founder of Studio Duggan. 'Without a more saturated counterpart, it can feel a little 90s, but it’s a wonderfully warm shade which can feel beautifully contemporary when used correctly.' 

In this en-suite by Studio Duggan, seen above, Tiffany chose a base of warm taupe shades to provide a calming effect. 'We opted for a stunning, heavily veined slab of purple marble for the countertop, which adds a touch of drama while being tonal and very liveable. Brass and black accents give the look a little edge – which always works well with taupe,' she adds.

Ashley McCollum
Ashley McCollum

Ashley McCollum is a Marketing Manager and color expert for PPG’s Architectural Coatings business in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining PPG in 2017, Ashley's career was heavily focused on color and visual merchandising for retail environments. Ashley earned her MBA in Marketing/Management from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

2. Embrace a subtle border of brown tiles

warm bathroom with brown border tiles

(Image credit: Mosaic Factory / Côte De Folk / Photography Chris Snook)

Brown tiles provide a subtle yet impactful way to introduce warmth. A border can be used to frame mirrors, shower enclosures, or even the entire space, adding a touch of sophistication without overwhelming the room.

Louisa Alice, creative director of Mosaic Factory, whose tiles were used in the shower room seen above, says: 'Brown, especially rich chocolatey shades, is on everyone’s radar this year. It’s not usually associated with bathrooms, however, it’s the perfect color for creating a cozy oasis to unwind and recharge. Brown bathroom tile ideas are a timeless choice in bathrooms, I prefer to incorporate them using dark wood, border tiles, or natural stone.'

This approach allows you to tailor the intensity of brown to your preference while maintaining an on-trend and refined look.

Another option for dipping your toe into brown bathroom cabinets. 'I recommend painting your cabinets with Cabin Fever and using a classic warm neutral like Dust Bunny on the walls,' adds Ashley McCollum.

3. Opt for dark, warm brown woods

brown bathroom wallpaper with dark wood

(Image credit: Jamie Haller / Photography Lauren Moore)

If you're drawn to a sense of opulence and warmth, interior designer Kathy Kuo suggests introducing dark, warm brown wood tones. Dark wood finishes, such as mahogany or walnut, can make a bathroom look more luxurious. These rich tones create a cozy ambiance, especially when used for vanity cabinets or accent pieces. 

'From fashion to interiors, brown is certainly having a moment,' says Kathy. 'I think you can certainly bring stylish shades of brown into a bathroom design by thinking carefully about your decorative elements.'

The contrast of dark wood against lighter elements will add depth and character to the space, making feel so much more inviting.

'A mahogany brown frame on your vanity mirror, walnut-hued storage baskets for towels, and wall art featuring shades of brown mixed with sepia, terracotta, and sand are all tasteful ways to use this on-trend color,' she advises.

kathy kuo home
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry. 

4. Introduce pops of complementary colors

brown bathroom with turquoise tiles and a freestanding tub

(Image credit: BC Designs)

Pops of complementary colors (bringing together colors from opposite sides of the color wheel) can help elevate the entire design. Consider incorporating accents in shades like teal, navy, or even gold to create a harmonious scheme. 

'Brown serves as a versatile foundation,' says Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands. 'Soft cream and beige shades like Honest John™ can create a warm and cohesive atmosphere, while rich burgundy or navy accents can provide a striking contrast. Similarly, earthy tones like Brompton Road™ will enhance a natural and cozy ambiance.'

These color accents not only add visual interest but also prevent the brown from feeling monotonous, infusing energy and style into the space.

'Brown bathrooms are trending as neutral bathroom color schemes evolve,' observes Barrie Cutichie, design director at BC Designs. 'It is very rich and warming and can be luxurious if styled correctly. One way to do so is to ensure you add layers of brown tones, so the space isn’t too one-dimensional. This could be through paint, tiles, light fittings, and even brassware as aged bronze fits the brown theme well,' he suggests. 

'Smatter the bathroom with pops of color such as turquoise – it is a match made in heaven with brown – as well as contemporary white ceramics such as a freestanding bathtub,' adds Barrie.

5. Go bold with a color drench effect

brown tiled shower with terazzo

(Image credit: Ca'Pietra)

For a bold and more immersive experience, dive right in and create a color-drenched effect in your bathroom. Go beyond accents and use various shades of brown on walls, tiles, and furnishings to envelop the space in warmth. This technique creates a unified look, making the bathroom appear larger and much more relaxing.

Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at Ca’ Pietra, finds that brown tiles will add character and charm to any bathroom, whether you’re decorating a tiny downstairs bathroom or have a big family bathroom. 'When it comes to brown, it doesn’t have to mean playing it safe,' she suggests. 'In fact, we think this color scheme works just as well when you pack it with personality as it does when you color drench the room in the same tile. Add in a dose of stripes to add heaps of personality into your bathroom.'

A headshot of Grazzie Wilson from Ca'Pietra
Grazzie Wilson

Grazzie Wilson is head of creative at Ca'Pietra, a luxury stone and tile brand based in the UK.

Patrick O’Donnell, color consultant at Farrow & Ball, suggests embracing the dark and the moody. 'Whilst I’m a huge advocate for using more brown in decoration, especially in living spaces and kitchens, using brown in bathrooms can be more tricky. Err on something dark and dramatic for an elevated look,' he suggests.

'London Clay with its magenta undertones will add drama and flatter the complexion, and the almost black nature of Tanner’s Brown will bring sophistication,' advises Patrick. 'Both will work beautifully with the warmer tones of brass fittings and the latter color would look heavenly with mid-denim blue tiles for a slightly retro feel,' he adds.

Image of Patrick O’Donnell
Patrick O’Donnell

Patrick O’Donnell is Farrow & Ball's color consultant & brand ambassador and has been with the brand since 2012. Patrick works with designers in the UK and North America, helping to bring their projects alive with the iconic, F&B color palette.

6. Play it safe with terracotta tones

terracotta floor bathroom with marble niche and freestanding bathtub

(Image credit: Ca'Pietra / Jennifer Rothbury / Photography Chris Snook)

To infuse an earthy and Mediterranean vibe into your bathroom, consider pairing brown with terracotta tones. Use terracotta tiles, accessories, or even paint to complement any brown tones in the space – whether light or dark.

'Brown can bring warmth to interiors, and provide a strong anchor to a rich color palette,' says Sarah Henry, managing and artistic director at La Manufacture Cogolin. 'It is calming, and gives a sense of stability or solidity - it's quite reassuring as a color. Because brown is made from a mix of complementary colors, it can be very versatile - a neutral brown can be paired with pastel and light shades of terracotta, while a reddish brown works wonders with deeper red and Bordeaux colors,' she advises. 

Artem Kropovinsky, agrees. 'Brown bathrooms can be spiced up by adding in materials like terracotta, wood, or stone to combine both modern and organic looks,' he suggests. 'This can be achieved with metallic fixtures like gold or brass that can be paired with tones of brown to create an opulent feel.'

'To make it more contemporary, lighter brown shades can be combined with bold colors or pastels, breathing life into the space while still maintaining that peacefulness everyone is striving to achieve in a bathroom,' adds Artem.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Based in New York, Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, has a decade of extensive and considerable global design experience. Prioritizing minimalism, sustainability, and authenticity, Artem, alongside his team of professionals, works on projects in the US and worldwide.

Whether you're drawn to more subtle hues of taupe or the opulence of a color-drenched, chocolate-brown space, a brown bathroom invites you to slow down and unwind. It offers a connection to nature, providing a grounding feeling that will help to enhance your daily self-care rituals with moments of comfort and calm. 

So, whether you're embarking on a 'tweakment' or a full remodel, are you going to consider brown bathroom ideas in your space? We certainly hope so.

Charlotte Olby
Style & Trends Editor

Charlotte is style and trends editor at Homes and Gardens, and has been with the team since Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she has worked at many women's glossy magazines including Grazia, Stylist, and Hello and most recently worked as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with her passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome