5 colors to avoid in a bathroom – according to designers

Thinking of painting the most intimate room of the home? You should never turn to these tones, say the experts

Green bath with red paint
(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Your bathroom is one of the most personal and practical rooms in the home – so it's important that it feels restorative, therapeutic, and always stylish. Therefore, finding the right bathroom color ideas often feel like a timely decision. 

While there is a host of bathroom paint ideas that will work effortlessly in your space, there are others that may make your room look dated – while others can be very hard to maintain. 

So, which colors should you avoid in the bathroom? These hues don't make the grade amongst those in the know. 

5 colors to avoid in a bathroom  

White, green, and red may have made headlines amongst 2022's most sought-after color trends, but they're less popular with experts in the bathroom. Here's why.  

1. White 

Double sink in a bathroom with a veined marble vanity unit and house palnt

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

'One of the worst colors to use in a bathroom is bright white,' say Lewisville designers Stefan and Maegan Bucur from Rhythm of the Home. While rejecting white bathroom ideas may come as a surprise, the designers share valid reasons why you should avoid this most neutral, brightening and enlargening of all colors.

'When the shower's steam comes into contact with the bright walls, it can cause some ugly stains in the short term and permanent damage in the long term,' Stefan and Maegan explain. 

And while bright white can cause problems in terms of your bathroom's aesthetic, real estate expert and house flipper John Maxim explains that this color could impact your house value too. 

'When remodeling a home, I almost always avoid bright whites in a bathroom. Since bathrooms are one of the smallest rooms in the house – and a place where most people are washing away dirt, walls stain easily,' he says. 

'Furthermore, cleaning agents to remedy dirt often strip white paint right off the wall.' 

So, if you're considering white painted walls in the bathroom, it may be best to let this timeless shade shine in other areas of your home. However, if you want your bathroom to adhere to the principles of Feng Shui, white and cream are said to evoke purity within bathroom Feng Shui.

2. Peach  

pink bathroom with terrazzo countertop and double basin

(Image credit: Reed Harris)

According to Aaron Lebowski, a certified Interior Designer at Juliei Salone, using peach in your bathroom will make the space feel dated and unappealing.

'Instead of welcoming a visitor, it can make them want to leave the room quickly,' Aaron says. 'It makes the room feel uninviting and decreases energy.' 

This should be particularly avoided in rooms that you frequent in the morning when you are likely to crave a more energizing and refreshing space. 

3. Black  

Black bathroom with patterned floor and plants

(Image credit: Future/Colin Poole)

While some experts urge against white, others suggest avoiding black, similarly for practical reasons. Leigh Spicher from Ashton Woods says that black is a 'poor design choice' in a bathroom, as this dark color absorbs light and makes it harder to apply makeup and accurately groom yourself – if that is a priority in your space.  

4. Red 

Painted red bathroom with white tiles and red grouting, tall sink with floor-standing tap

(Image credit: Future)

Red is one of the most controversial choices you can make when it comes to interiors – and the bathroom is no exception. 

While Leigh admits that red is a great way to 'embolden a bathroom' and bring 'empowerment and strength' to your bathing experience, you should avoid the shade if you're looking for a more relaxing space. 'It's not the best choice if you want a clean palette to help you relax,' she says.  

5. Green 

Green painted bathroom with floral curtains and free-standing grey painted bathtub

(Image credit: Future)

Designers love decorating with green in almost every room, but Stefan and Maegan suggest that green bathroom ideas can make you uneasy and uncomfortable in your space. 

'The principles of feng shui tend to disapprove [of green] in the bathroom,' they explain. So, if you want to ensure your bathroom's energy is right for your needs, these experts suggest staying clear of this fashionable hue.

Are dark colors okay for a bathroom?

'Dark colors are not ideal for a bathroom for a number of reasons,' explains Lucy Searle, Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief. 'The first is that it is a space where you usually need to look in the mirror and it can be very hard to see yourself in detail in a dark room, however efficient the bathroom lighting ideas.

'Secondly, bathrooms are often more space-challenged than other rooms in the house, so you will be more likely than in other rooms to want to enhance it rather than make it feel cozier.

'Thirdly, you need to consider natural light levels: we mostly use bathrooms early in the morning and late at night, and in the Northern Hemisphere, that can mean it's still dark. Therefore, darker colors just aren't practical.

'However, I would finish by saying that you can of course introduce dark colors in elements of the bathroom, whether through bold sanitaryware or accessories. In fact, these can create real drama.'

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. 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.