Bathroom color ideas – 17 shades to try to bring calm and character into your space

Bathroom color ideas are no longer all about the neutrals, 2024 is the year for being bolder in these spaces

Bathroom color ideas
(Image credit: Future)

For a long time bathroom color ideas have been dominated by neutrals. The fact that so many bathroom fixtures are white, or some variation on white, has meant that those colors have often been the go-to. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with an all-white bathroom, we are seeing a shift towards being more playful with color in these once very practical (often clinical) spaces. 

A good bathroom color scheme is essential for creating the look, feel and design you want in your bathroom or shower room. And you can use everything from tiles to sanitaryware to accessories to create a unique look. 

Adding a bright and beautiful hue to your bathroom will really lift your whole home, bringing this functional space into line with the rest of your decor. The good news is there are so many bathroom ideas and colors to choose from.

17 bathroom color ideas to inspire a change in scheme

Don't ignore colorful bathroom ideas when you remodel – they can utterly transform a space. Using bold wall treatments, vibrant sanitaryware, bright flooring and brilliant accessories, we show you how to use room color ideas to refresh your bathroom. 

1. Embrace a dark and dramatic color scheme

Dark bathroom wallpaper

(Image credit: Jessica Brydson Photography)

Bathrooms, although very high-traffic areas, they aren't necessarily very lived-in. By that we mean, unlike a living room or bedroom you don't spend long periods of time in these spaces. That means you can be bolder with your color choices. Bathrooms are the perfect place to be more experimental. 

In this small bathroom, going for a dark and dramatic color scheme really made sense. As McKenzy Golding, Principal Designer at Goldenbird Design explains, 'We always build our designs from an understanding of the natural environment. If your space is naturally small and dark, don't be afraid to lean into that. This powder bath really lacked natural light, and so we decided to build within that context. It also had high ceilings, so we specified a sweeping botanical paper that envelopes the space and paired it with a high gloss trim.'

2. Bring in color and texture with bathroom tiles

White bathroom with gold hardware and glossy tiled shower

(Image credit: Jessica Brydson Photography)

'Bright bathroom tiles with deep glazes – in various patterns and combinations –have such an impact on a space that feels highly elevated and highly personal,' says McKenzy. 'This Heath Ceramics jade glaze has such a depth to it that carries you throughout the day. It can feel vibrant and energizing in the morning sun, and dark and grounding into the evening.'

'We loved this glaze so much that we looked for ways to infuse the tile in more of the bathroom. We carried the tiles onto the tub apron and onto the back wall of the bathroom, creating an accent tile wall that reflected in the vanity mirror and that also infused a bit of a “wet room” vibe to the small space. It’s a surprising detail, and really creates such an enveloping feel.'

3. Choose a classic blue and white scheme

Blue and white bathroom with subtle wallpaper

(Image credit: Victoria Holly Interiors)

'I'm a big fan of keeping it classic when it comes to bathroom color schemes. You really can't go wrong with a warm white paired with a cool tone like navy blue, turquoise, Prussian blue, or sage. The cool colors, alongside a warmer neutral, pair nicely to create a serene and spa-like atmosphere,' explains designer Kathy Kuo

It might sound like a cliche pairing in a bathroom, but as Kathy points out just changing that white so it's slightly warmer takes it from a cold combination to a really inviting one that can just subtly nod to a rustic coastal feel while still feeling chic and timeless. 

4. Mix blues and grees with warmer shades

Bathroom with blue wall tiles and wooden vanity cabinet

(Image credit: Charlotte Lea)

This bathroom color scheme by Lizzie Green proves that blues and greens needn't always feel like cooler colors. Picking tiles over say paint allows for texture, so rather than a flat shade you can find designs that have different tones running through them which can really warm up the colors. See the tints of a more earthy brown shade within the blue tiles?

Pairing these colors with plenty of warm, wooden finishes helps to balance the coolers too, and ensures a blue bathroom color scheme always feels welcoming as well as calming. 

5. Use the same color on walls and ceiling

Bathroom by Beata Heuman

(Image credit: Simon Brown/Beata Heuman)

In this main ensuite by interior designer Beata Heuman, carrying the same color tones over the fifth wall and other surfaces helps to blur out awkward angles and sloped ceiling lines. 

‘All the walls and the bath are clad in Béton Ciré, which is a micro concrete paste and totally waterproof,’ explains Beata. ‘The idea here was to make the space feel warm and earthy, unlike most bathrooms. The wooden floor continues in from the bedroom, which connects the suite of rooms and also makes it feel more spacious.’ 

6. Spark joy with a modern orange

Bathroom with orange wallpaper and stone basin

(Image credit: Mark Bolton / Kelling Designs)

Decorating with orange is a joyful way to add vibrancy and optimism to a small bathroom or powder room. ‘It brings warmth and uplifting energy, whether you use it on a whole wall with paint or wallpaper, or bring in pops of orange throughout,' says Emma Deterding, founder and creative director, Kelling Designs. 'I often pair orange with teals and pinks as they work effortlessly together.’ 

‘Wallpapering is a great way to stop bathrooms from feeling too sterile and just perfect for creating truly happy spaces, which I believe every bathroom should be,’ adds Nicola Harding, owner of Nicola Harding & Co. ‘Installing half-height paneling helps protect wallpaper from the danger zone, where water is most likely to splash, while also providing another opportunity to add cheerful colors.’ 

7. Use colorful fabrics to soften the space

Powder room with blue wallpaper and gold fittings

(Image credit: Lucy Barlow)

Some great fabric on a bathroom vanity or bathroom window treatment can also be used to stop a bathroom from feeling miserable. A skirt below a basin might seem granny-ish, but the right choice of fabric, such as a block print in a joyful color that contrasts with the wall tiles, can make it fun. 

If it is a tiny bathroom with the potential for steam build-up, you might want to consider a washable or outdoor performance fabric. I also enjoy using bathroom wallpaper. Most luxury brands make lovely papers in vinyl quality, which are ideal for bathrooms as they won’t peel. Another option is to paint clear varnish over the wallpaper to prevent peeling.

8. Drench on the color

Bathroom color ideas with yellow tiles

(Image credit: Jonathan Bond)

‘We always recommend being adventurous when it comes to color in bathrooms, as secondary spaces they’re a great place to experiment,’ says Lucy Barlow, creative director, Barlow & Barlow

‘The color drenching trend is a brilliantly bold technique that can really enhance a smaller room. We went for mustard and pink in this family bathroom because it’s appropriate for a child’s space without being too sickly for any adults who use it as well.’

9. Introduce a playful spirit

bathroom color ideas with patterned wallpaper and green door frame

(Image credit: Salvesen Graham)

In this colorful bathroom in the home of Aurelia Skincare founder Claire Vero, Salvesen Graham has expertly worked color and pattern. 

‘Picking up a color tone in the bathroom wallpaper on the paneling and woodwork is a lovely way to introduce a further element of decoration to a scheme,’ says co-founder Mary Graham. ‘For practical reasons, panelling can also provide additional resistance to everyday wear without diluting the bathroom wallpaper's power to impress.’

10. Use the color wheel to pick soothing bathroom colors

colors not to paint your furniture, pale pink bathroom with matching vanity unit, white floor, navy door and matching woodwork

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Pairing colors in bathrooms can be tricky because space is often limited and so color clashes are highlighted. Take advantage of the color wheel to make things easier. The wheel lets you see at a glance how colors relate to each other visually and has been used in design for generations. 

Opposite colors – say red and green – are complementary, whilst those next to each other – like green and blue – blend. Play around till you find your perfect combination.

11. Future-proof with a tonal neutral scheme

Neutral bathroom with checkerboard marble flooring

(Image credit: Julie Soefer/Marie Flanigan Interiors)

Decorating with neutrals in a bathroom is a classic for a reason. They allow colors to inspire feelings of calm and serenity. But they do need breaking up; you can do this by mixing two different neutrals together. Go one shade darker – grey and white, or beige and brown. 

This is a great way to future-proof your bathroom too, as double-neutrals don’t really go out of style. For a balanced look, paint two-thirds of the room the lighter neutral shade and the remaining third the darker.

12. Use the 7-2-1 ratio

Retro bathroom with bold wallpaper

(Image credit: Design by Caitlin Higgins Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp)

If you want to add a splash of color to your bathroom but you’re not sure how far to go, choose three shades – one neutral, one colorful but light, and one bold. Then, divide these across the space with a ratio of 7-2-1. 

So seven-tenths of the room should be neutral, two-tenths lighter and colorful - leaving the final tenth bold. This will add color to the space in a non-domineering and balanced way.

Find three colors that conventionally go together, like white, grey and light green, and swap out one of the colors for a bolder version – lime green, to create a striking 7-2-1 bathroom color scheme.

13. Contrast dark colors with warm accents

black bathroom ideas, black bathroom with floral wallpaper above black tongue and groove, wood and marble vanity unit, mirror, terracotta style tiles

(Image credit: Maestri Studio / Jenifer McNeil Baker)

Bathrooms are traditionally seen as white, bright places, but don’t be afraid to go a little darker with bathroom color ideas. A dark color, such as charcoal or indigo, can really make a bathroom pop, especially when used in stark contrast with bright, light finishes. Matt black fittings are becoming more popular all the time, with many of us opting for black and anthracite showers, taps and fittings these days.

Adding another hue to a dark bathroom color scheme – a bright green for example – will create a modern, contemporary look.

14. Use two patterns in the same color

A bright yellow and white walk in shower with geometric tiles

(Image credit: Nick Smith)

Embracing strong color, when designed as part of the flow of the rest of a home, can produce joyful results, as shown in this walk-in shower

‘Boldly colored and patterned tiles can add such personality, dynamism and impact to bathrooms, really lifting the space,’ enthuses Caz Myers, director, Caz Myers Design

‘While the tiles may be dramatic, the overall scheme can be timeless if you choose a color that truly resonates. Pattern-wise, go for tiles in two-tone repeats, like these modern geometrics, which, even when mixed, work effectively to create a unique and surprisingly restful space.’

15. Introduce one strong shot of color

An example of bathroom color ideas showing a bathroom with a red double vanity unit

(Image credit: Adam Carter)

Color-blocking is a great technique for anyone keen to test strong paint colors without over-committing. An all-out approach, with multiple blocks of undiluted color, often clashing, is popular in modern homes. 

But for a more classical look go for one small, clearly defined block of dramatic color. Take inspiration from the Shaker-style bathroom vanity idea shown above. The orange-toned red – try Andrew Martin’s Tomato Frog No. 52 – provides a dynamic focal point against creamy natural stones. 

Restricting the rest of the paintwork to muted tones makes the statement color feels more impactful. Best of all, small injections of saturated color are easy to update.

16. Pick a warm blue bathroom color

A white freestanding bath on wooden parquet flooring in front of a blue wall

(Image credit: Future)

'Warm blue' sounds like a contradiction or oxymoron, but if you are searching for blue bathroom color ideas because you love the shade, bear in mind that those shades with a touch of yellow in them are likely to help the room feel warmer – a must in a room that you want to feel inviting.

'I would only go for a grey-blue in a bathroom that's flooded with sunlight when you're mostly likely to be using the room – or if you're remodeling a house in a warm climate,' says Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief Lucy Searle. 'Otherwise, the space is going to feel cool and somewhat unwelcoming.'

17. Don't forget you can add color with the floors

Colored bathroom trend, colored bath and vibrant tiles in a bathroom

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

If you’ve got a wooden bathroom floor, you can really make the space pop by painting the floorboards. Make sure you prime the floor and sand it before adding two coats of paint to each board. This can give your bathroom a rustic, country-farm-inspired look too.

Contrasting color combinations across each board can create a strong monochrome effect. Combine this with a white bathroom and it’s all the color you’ll need.

How do you add color to a bathroom?

To add color to a bathroom (and personality) try incorporating upscaled period furniture into the scheme, turning an essentially functional room into a more personal space. 

Try combining tile finishes too, mixing and matching both natural and man-made options to add texture and depth to a space. Gone are the days of carpet in bathrooms. Use tiles, stone or timber to bring texture, color and pattern into the room. 

Try creating a feature wall to add interest. A bathroom will also look lighter and brighter if it’s uncluttered. Fit sockets in the cupboards to charge toothbrushes and incorporate a drawer where the hairdryer can be stored and plugged in.

What is the best color for a bathroom?

If you're pondering about the best color for a bathroom, you've come to the right place. The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in any house, and careful color choices here can go a long way. Although its principal purpose is functional, a bathroom should also be a calm, relaxing and decoratively enticing space.  

Simple, white fixtures and fittings are timeless, but consider making an impact when it comes to surfaces such as walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and countertops. 

High-quality bathroom furniture adds a luxurious effect, but it is the background elements that really underpin the feel of the space and allow experimentation with color, texture and pattern.

What colors are best for a small bathroom?

Perhaps you have a cozier space, so you're wondering what colors are best for a small bathroom?

If your bathroom is big enough, consider drawing attention to one wall with a vibrant wallpaper, tile arrangement, over-sized mirror or striking bathroom art idea – making sure it is framed appropriately to avoid condensation damage.

Small bathrooms can take bold colors just as well as larger rooms. If you're looking for small en-suite or cloakroom ideas, stick to the same wall treatment throughout. In a larger area, don't be afraid to ring the changes by using dark stone or tiles in a walk-in shower to add contrast and a really stylish impact.

What is the most relaxing color for a bathroom?

In terms of the most relaxing color for a bathroom, it really depends on personal preference. Color has a huge impact on mood, and bathrooms have a tendency to sidestep polarizing hues in favor of pale neutrals and whites, which are refreshing and easy to live with. At the opposite end of the spectrum, darker shades of grey including slate, are also popular for creating a cocooning spa-like effect. 

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

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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