Bathroom wall ideas – 19 striking finishes for washroom walls
Step up the style stakes with these bathroom wall ideas, all artfully applied for a dynamic effect
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Our bathroom wall ideas can make your space feel truly unique – whatever its size and style.
No longer perceived as a purely functional and clinical space, your bathroom should reflect the same level of character and identity as the interior design found in the rest of your home. No matter the design you’re planning for your bathroom ideas, your walls provide an inviting surface area to install both practical and creative features.
Whether you want to create a striking design through dynamic bathroom wall tile ideas, or keep things simple and subtle with the use of mirrors and artwork, our range of bathroom wall ideas can integrate into a variety of schemes and spaces.
Bathroom wall ideas – 19 inspiring designs
From murals to wallpaper, paint to paneling, we have curated a collection of original looks and beautiful wall designs to help you create your dream bathroom space.
1. Take the lead from your flooring
Matching your bathroom wall ideas with the tiles on your floor can create a bold, stand-out bathroom design.
As shown beautifully in this bathroom by Drummonds (opens in new tab), the bright green, Moroccan style patterned tiles create a luxurious, spa-like atmosphere that takes inspiration from Moroccan baths – a great example of green bathroom ideas also.
To elevate the green look even further, part of the walls and the ceiling have been finished with color-matched, Venetian polished plaster, creating an elegant, textured effect that mirrors the shapes and movement found in the geometric tiles.
2. Incorporate shelving designs
An essential for storing and organizing bathroom accessories, toiletries and towels, bathroom shelf ideas can keep your bathroom space clear and tidy, as well as add visual interest and texture to your walls.
In this bathroom, the sleek shelving from String Furniture (opens in new tab) creates a central storage and display area around the small sink, with the towels and objects perfectly coordinating with the green tiles to create a cohesive, tonal look.
Bo Hellberg, CMO at String Furniture states, ‘towels and other bathroom essentials all need their dedicated spot and with String’s unique shelves, you can find a place for all your things while giving your bathroom a contemporary design’.
3. Decorate your walls with artwork
'When decorating with art in the home, we often forget about our bathrooms, but choosing beautiful designs for your bathroom wall ideas can effortlessly elevate the look and feel of the space, adding character, color and visual interest to the walls,' says Homes & Gardens' Editorial Director Sarah Spiteri.
Whether you position a small piece of artwork that you can gaze upon when in the bath, or choose a large, wall-to-wall design to make a colorful statement, adding decorative finishing touches through bathroom art ideas can make the room feel more inviting and personal.
4. Choose colorful tile designs
The bathroom is a great place to be bold and experimental with color.
Often smaller than many other rooms in the home, planning bathroom wall ideas that embrace new color combinations or striking tile designs can create a stylish and unique space. For more inspiration and advice on color pairings, see our color wheel guide.
This bathroom uses green and blue gloss tiles from Mandarin Stone (opens in new tab) to create an statement wall tile design. An elegant contrast is formed not only between the blue and green colors, but with the terrazzo floor tiles, creating a characterful bathroom design that celebrates pattern and color.
5. Add depth with niches
A feature that is becoming increasingly popular in bathroom design, wall niches create a recessed shelving area that can be used for storing bathroom accessories and decorative pieces, ideal for bathroom storage ideas.
'Establishing a clean and uncluttered look, niches can be planned and catered to the exact needs and demands of your bathroom space, creating handy storage and display platforms,' says Jennifer Ebert, Homes & Gardens' Digital Editor.
Often found in shower areas to store toiletries, niches can also be used across the bathroom, as shown here in this bathroom by Ripples (opens in new tab), with the design creating a practical surface area beside the sink to store soap and accessories.
6. Get creative with mirrors
Decorating with mirrors can not only maximize the light available in a room, making a space feel lighter and brighter, they can also create an beautiful wall feature and decorative statement in a bathroom.
In this modern bathroom by GRAFF (opens in new tab), the large mirror creates a stunning focal point. The round shape is calming and relaxing on the eye, and adds texture and visual interest to the wall space above the sink.
With an array of different styles, shapes and sizes available, getting creative with bathroom mirror ideas can add both glamorous decoration and practicality to your bathroom walls.
7. Make each wall different
If you’re struggling to decide on what paint color or tile shape and pattern to use for your bathroom wall ideas, why not create an eclectic design where each wall is completely different.
A beautiful example of how this can be achieved, in this bathroom by Ripples, each wall uses a different tile design and paint color. With the overall design united by the pretty pastel color palette, the effect is uplifting, colorful and utterly unique.
8. Introduce 3D pattern for texture
Use 3D-patterned wall decor ideas to bring a textural dimension that softens a bathroom’s hard surfaces, like CTD Architectural Tiles (opens in new tab)’ Genesis range.
For this luxury bathroom, architects Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet of Humbert & Poyet (opens in new tab) collaborated with Atelier Tollis (opens in new tab) to create a striking backdrop.
‘Based on our vision and drawings inspired by greenery, Atelier Tollis pressed a feather print into gold-leaf aluminium panels, lending an air of romance and movement,’ explains Emil.
9. Go for a wall-to-floor tile blend
Carrying floor tiles up the walls gives the illusion of greater depth and is a popular space-boosting technique in small bathrooms.
Here, the modern grid-style installation of Barber & Osgerby (opens in new tab)’s Lane tiles lends graphic warmth to industrial cement surfaces.
When considering bathroom tile ideas, be sure to check the tiles are suitable for both floor and wall use. Keeping stronger colors below eye level will reduce impact for a more serene atmosphere.
10. Add a mural for impact
Outsized wall mural ideas trump repeat pattern for impact and drama.
‘Upscaling really makes an image pop. Wall&Deco (opens in new tab)’s incredible designs are 100% waterproof so can be used anywhere in the bathroom, including inside the shower,’ says Kirsten Wain, designer, West One Bathrooms (opens in new tab).
‘Each print is rendered to fit the wall dimensions and can be adjusted to ensure focal parts of the design take prime position.’
11. Use wallpaper to bring in pattern
As a smaller room, the bathroom is ripe for embracing wallpaper in bold patterns and prints, with an array of bathroom wallpaper ideas available,
‘People worry about durability and practicality but, with a little care, there’s nothing to fear,’ assures Jamie Watkins, co-founder, Divine Savages (opens in new tab).
‘We recommend utilizing tiling or painted paneling in areas prone to splashing. Paneling the lower half of the wall and then wallpapering above is a particularly sophisticated look.’
12. Use an interesting mix of materials
Having a mix of surface materials adds depth and interest to any bathroom design.
‘We love to mix natural stone with manmade materials,’ enthuses Hamish Smith, creative director at Ca’ Pietra (opens in new tab). ‘While one material offers a luxe feel and naturally unique patterning, the other, take a ceramic tile for example, can bring solid color and perfect uniformity to the table.'
In the master bathroom above, shared color tones allow the natural and manmade surfaces to mix and match in perfect harmony.
13. Use paint in a bathroom as a dramatic backdrop
All too often, bathroom paint ideas feature the colors white or blue, but deep tones in a well-lit room can make for a space that feels like your own home spa.
A word of caution – darker colors will show up splashes more readily than lighter ones, so it's important to ensure that the finish you choose is water-resistant in areas that are likely to get wet occasionally.
14. Play around with repeat patterns
Enliven a neutral color palette by repeating the same pattern across different materials. Here, Greg Natale Studio (opens in new tab) has also played with scale, pitching outsized chevron timber doors against miniature chevron mosaics with striking results.
Beware, the devil is in the detail when it comes to installation. Precise pattern alignment is crucial but adding a break between materials, in this case the countertop, can aid neater connections.
15. Combine wood paneling with lime plaster
Wall paneling ideas, such as wood or painted paneling isn't a new idea for bathroom walls – they are practical, and add texture and warmth to what can sometimes feel like a clinical space.
However, if traditional looking paneling isn't your thing, why not consider a more contemporary approach?
The bathroom of this London apartment by architects Chan and Earys (opens in new tab) has a combination of limed oak brushed timber planks and traditional lime plaster mixed with a natural green pigment on the walls and ceiling.
The resulting feel is soft and tactile, echoed in the curves of the avocado-green roll top bath.
16. Mix up tile styles
‘With so many gorgeous tiles out there, choosing just one is sacrilege, and don’t be afraid to mix up surface texture and formats as well,’ advises Mandarin Stone’s Louisa Morgan.
‘Here, the lime terrazzo pieces in this contemporary floor tile links to green tones in the classic zellige-inspired wall tiles, creating a harmonious connection between the modern matt and traditional glossy surfaces.’
17. Create luxury with polished plaster
One way to create the look of a luxe spa with bathroom wall ideas is to go for an uneven polished plaster finish. This bathroom trend is a wonderful contrast to the more glossy elements of a bathroom – from brassware to tiles.
Moroccan tadelackt has a natural grittiness, which is tactile and textural, and makes for a striking contrast to even and shiny surfaces.
Installing it should be left to professionals, explains Jamie Blake of Blakes London (opens in new tab). 'You’re looking to add just enough movement in the plaster to create interest but not so much that the end result looks messy.'
18. Use architectural detail to create a unique look
Taking paneling a step forwards, this bathroom wall idea is a favorite amongst fans of country bathroom ideas.
This look can be recreated quite simply – for a carpenter, anyway – with materials such as MDF, which, when painted with water-resistant paint, and assuming the room is well ventilated, will stand up to damp conditions well.
19. Paint a picture with tiles
Bathrooms can benefit from feature walls, and although the focus is usually, quite rightly, on the wall behind the bath, if you have a particularly attractive vanity unit, you can steal the attention from the bath to let it shine with a stunning bathroom wall idea behind it.
If a mural is too contemporary for your tastes, this approach is perfect – a wall of tiles that create a loose mural.
Keep the color scheming simple if you choose to do this. The tiles themselves will contribute enough detailing and texture with their shapes, material and grout lines – the mural is just the icing on the cake.
What should I put on my bathroom walls?
When considering what to put on your bathroom walls, combining decorative and practical elements will ensure you create a long-lasting, functional design.
When we think of bathroom walls we are often drawn to tile ideas, however, as we have explored in this piece, there are so many other options to choose from, looking to paint, wallpaper and paneling ideas can also create a truly stand out space.
You can also get clever with accessories; mirrors, artwork and shelving can beautifully enhance your bathroom walls with texture, color and visual interest.
Remember, not every wall in you bathroom has to be the same. You can have certain zones that use tiles, and others that use paint or wallpaper, the possibilities are endless!
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.
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