Would you use red in a bathroom? 5 spaces that will convince you this is the best room to try the on-trend color

The unexpected red theory is still gaining traction. With the help of 5 interior design experts, we consider whether the bathroom is the best place to introduce red

collage of three red bathrooms
(Image credit: Kyle Caldwell for Arditi Design/Simon Brown for Beata Heuman/Laura Stephens Interiors)

Red is set to be the color of 2024 and it might surprise you that the best place to experiment with the bold hue is the bathroom. A red bathroom creates an opulent space for unwinding in, and the fiery color brings a warmth that cuts through the clinical feel of typical restroom materials, like porcelain and stone. It has mood-enhancing benefits, but you're unlikely to tire of it in a space that you're not spending hours in each day.

The color red is one of the fastest-growing interior trends of the moment, with experts unable to stop talking about the unexpected red theory – the belief that a touch of surprising red in a decorating scheme can massively enhance its overall impact.

We hear from 5 interior experts about how they've successfully used the color to uplift bathroom design. Talking us through their stylish projects, they reveal tips and tricks that might just inspire you that the bathroom is the best place to add a touch of surprising red. 

5 design experts on how to use red in a bathroom

From an orangey tomato red to the strongest shade of poppy, this warming bathroom color can enhance the humblest of interiors. Whether introducing a touch of color in a pattern or decorating with the shade all over, it will boost your mood and add a pleasantly surprising element to your space. 

1. Use a mirror to emphasize the color

marble cabinet and floor and wall in bathroom with red walls reflected in mirror and wooden panels

Lago 75 basin, Studio Bagno. Langbourn three-hole taps in chrome, Perrin & Rowe. Walls in Jandakot, Taubmans. Project by Arent & Pyke.

(Image credit: Anson Smart)

Juliette Arent, co-founder, of Arent & Pyke chose a vivid orangey red for this bathroom. Layered with a rich patina of dark green marble and sophisticated cherry-toned wood, the red walls enhance the moody glamour of the space. Harnessing the reflective power of a mirror helps to carry the color throughout the smaller bathroom, furthering the impact.

‘In this room, we conceived of a space that was like a jewel box,’ says Juliette. ‘We utilized the mirrored bathroom cabinet to reflect the burnt vermillion on the wall opposite and offset the Guatemala stone.’ 

2. Consider using polished plaster

Orange painted walls in attic bathroom with orange coloured bath tub and wooden floorbords and wooden sink unit

Design by Beata Heuman.

(Image credit: Simon Brown)

Polished plaster can be custom-tinted in any shade; interior designer Beata Heuman has kept it cozy with rustic tomato tones. The matte and slightly marbled appearance of the plaster balances the fieriness of the color, creating a serene and light-filled space in which to unwind. 

‘All the walls and the bath are clad in Béton Ciré, which is a micro concrete paste and totally waterproof,’ explains Beata. ‘The idea was to make the space feel warm and earthy, with the wooden floor continuing in from the bedroom to connect the spaces.’

Beata Heuman
Beata Heuman

Beata Heuman is a Swedish interior designer who set up her design practice in 2013 in London. She isn't afraid of using color and has a best-selling book published on her interior design theories. Her portfolio spans projects including homes, estates, and museums. 

3. Paint the ceilings red too

red walls in bathroom with patterned blinds and rectangular sink unit

Blind in Aqua Squiggle linen, Sibyl Colefax. Walls in Russet true matt emulsion, Zoffany at Sanderson Design Group. Medina Hexagon porcelain floor tiles, Artisans of Devizes. Project by Laura Stephens Interior Design.

(Image credit: Laura Stephens Interior Design)

Interior designer Laura Stephens advocates wrapping the ceiling in saturated color, especially when that color is warm and cosseting. ‘Here, deep ruby red gives the room a ‘jewel box’ feel', she says. 

'Running the wall color over the ceiling also helps to keep things cohesive. Your eye isn’t distracted by a white ceiling and instead focuses on the details, such as the blind and tiles,’ she explains. The overall effect of this color drenching is of a sophisticated but joy-filled space. 

Laura Stephens

Laura Stephens Interiors is an award-winning interior design practice based in London that works mostly on residential projects of varying sizes. Her approach is fully individualized to the client, and she creates homes that are functional and beautiful.

4. Opt for a colorful bathtub

red freestanding bath in bathroom with grey stone floor and patterned wallpaper and curtains

Morar bath with Mull bath & shower mixer with floor-standing legs in a nickel finish, Drummonds. Bath painted in Incarnadine, Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Oli Douglas)

For James Lentaigne, creative director at Drummonds, the bathtub creates the perfect opportunity to introduce a block of bold color into your space. It can add an unexpected quality to a more traditional setting, looking both elegant and playful. 

‘Painting a freestanding bathtub in a strong, dominant color is the perfect way to make a statement and there are few colors stronger than red!’ enthuses James Lentaigne, creative director, Drummonds. ‘Red is a vibrant, stimulating, and exciting choice that works surprisingly well with a whole host of other colors including green, orange, blue, and black. Repainting is also relatively easy should you ever tire of red.’ 

5. Add a touch of red in your wallpaper

bathroom with seaweed print wallpaper in red with blue tiles and white sink unit and dark blue star pattern flooring

Seafern wallpaper in Coral, Cole & Son. Roman blind in Stars linen in Sky/Tomato, Rebecca Atwood. Project by Arditi Design.

(Image credit: Kyle Caldwell)

A soft red with peachy undertones works to contrast the hard surfaces of a bathroom. Layer the color across surfaces for maximum effect, as Rozit Arditi has in this bright and breezy space. 

‘I love bringing warmer tones like tomato red into a bathroom,’ enthuses the principal designer of Arditi Design. ‘Contrasting ceramic and tile with the warmth of tomato red brings a sense of ease and softness into this functional yet fun bathroom.’

black and white portrait of woman
Rozit Arditi

Arditi Design is an established New York-based interior design studio that was conceived in 2012 by Rozit Arditi. They work mostly on residential projects and offer a bespoke and comprehensive design service. 

We're convinced that red might just be the perfect way to add character to your bathroom. The unlikely addition of its vibrancy creates a contemporary feeling in these spaces that too often end up feeling a little dull and cold.

In its rich and glittering jewel-like depths, the color enhances a restroom's sumptuousness and spa-like feel. Choosing a more muted, terracotta shade creates a more tranquil space that's both cozy and quietly energizing. The color à la mode might just be what you need to give your bathroom a modern reset. 

Linda Clayton

Linda graduated from university with a First in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting. Her career began on a trade title for the kitchen and bathroom industry, and she has worked for Homes & Gardens, and sister-brands Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, since 2006, covering interiors topics, though kitchens and bathrooms are her specialism. 

With contributions from