In the past couple of years, the nation's bathroom ideas have undergone something of a dramatic transformation. No longer simply functional rooms where we could begin and end our days, bathroom decor ideas are now much more likely to be at-home wellness centers where we unwind, escape, rejuvenate, and repair – and this has had a big effect on not just how bathrooms look but how we design them.
This means giving what space we can in our existing bathrooms to luxury features, which means good bathroom design relies on a good combination of form and function.
Whether you are planning on updating your master bathroom, or small bathroom, upgrading a shower room, or turning unused space into a luxurious ensuite, we can help you with a vast array of bathroom ideas to suit your taste, from bathroom colors and materials to finishes and shapes. Plus, we have selected the world's top bathroom and design experts to offer you unrivaled bathroom design advice.
Before you dive into bathroom decor, think about the investment you wish to make. Write down your must-have items (for instance, is a bathtub a non-negotiable?) as well as any changes that need to be made to the existing size and layout of the space that will take up a significant portion of your total spend.
'Bathrooms are much more complicated than people realize,' says luxury bathroom specialist CP Hart managing director Paul Rowland. 'There are a great many behind-the-scenes mechanics that need to be considered when creating a functional and reliable space.'
Below, we have listed our favorite bathroom pictures and top picks of the best bathroom ideas along with expert design advice, giving you inspiration and know-how to create your dream bathroom.
1. Marvel at marble
This enduringly popular material is sure to evoke a sense of luxury and elegance in a modern bathroom.
More is undoubtedly more here in this divine marble bathroom by Australian interior designer Tamsin Johnson. Decorative New York marble envelops the vanity unity, climbs the walls and wraps around the lozenge-shaped mirrors. The scheme is completed with Perrin & Rowe taps, Thirties Murano glass sconces and Venetian plaster wall finishes.
2. Add interest with patterned tiles
‘Add a little pizzazz to a space that might otherwise become a series of sharp edges and straight lines,’ says Rob Whitaker, creative director and founder of Claybrook. ‘Porcelain and marble bathroom tiles work well, often with geometric or fluid patterns.’ The marble mosaic seen here – Columbus by Haven Mosaics – is a case in point. The motif is repeated in a chic palette of green, white and black and the tiling pairs beautifully with the elegant fluted design of the vanity.
3. Play up to architectural lines
The dynamic relationship between the room’s architecture and the shapely, curvaceous sanitaryware strikes a note here. ‘Bathrooms are becoming more and more minimalistic through the use of organic shapes, refined details, and hidden features,’ says Erdem Akan, design director at Vitra. ‘We are turning to curves and rounded contours as they are more fun and playful in contrast to sharp and straight lines.’ This is the Plural Monoblock basin and Small table with ceramic countertop and oak shelf in Matt Black.
4. Blend colors seamlessly
Interior designer Nicola Harding masterminded this blue bathroom in a Regency London villa. Nicola is known for her excellent eye for bathroom color, and indeed it is this flair that drew the client to her work in the first place. This chic scheme mixes the Rockwell bath in Blue from The Water Monopoly with a soft pink on walls and floors, creating a truly romantic space. The powder blue appears again on the Rockwell crosshead taps and shower handle – a nice additional touch.
5. Enhance visual texture
Terrazzo bathrooms have seen a resurgence on the design scene. Traditionally made by exposing marble chips on the surface of concrete and then polishing until smooth, there are now myriad options that replicate this original look. The effect is arresting, bringing interest and flair to contemporary schemes.
‘Pair practical terrazzo effect porcelain tiles, in Cosmic Ivory, with the soft tones and classic brick format of Pigment Mocha gloss ceramics, to create a stylish and harmonious spa bathroom space,’ says Louisa Morgan, Mandarin Stone.
6. Invest in raw materials
Raw limestone and brushed oak make a compelling duo that champions nature’s imperfections. For this modern bespoke bathroom vanity unit by Hetherington Newman, interior designer Lisa Keates specified an unfilled Belgian limestone for the external elements of the vanity top, and the same material honed and filled for the basin interiors.
‘The idea was to enjoy the beautiful texture and practical durability without switching materials, while the brushed fumed oak cabinet featuring a bronze shadow gap adds yet more texture,’ explains Lisa, founder of Keates Interiors. ‘Stone needs resealing regularly to stop agents such as soap or toothpaste from etching the surface finish,’ she advises.
7. Emphasize soft and gentle curves
Sometimes it only takes one gentle curve to transform the entire energy of your white bathroom. Here, it comes via a simple horseshoe configuration of wardrobes. ‘We took inspiration from the egg-shape bath, with the curve echoing the radius to give a sense of connection,’ recalls interior designer Chantel Elshout.
‘Opting for standard angular wardrobes instead would have made the corner storage harder to reach and, crucially, we would have missed the opportunity to make the dressing area more interesting. The softening effect curves provide is so worth the extra effort required in their design and construction.’
8. Lay down eye-catching flooring
Busy patterns can prove too intense, especially when embraced on both walls and bathroom flooring. However, in this Parisian apartment lsl Architects painted the window frame and shutters in the tile’s base color – a calming duck egg blue – to create a tranquil moment amid the kaleidoscope pattern.
9. Add pretty details and stylish flourishes
Interior design practice Salvesen Graham was adamant that this scheme would have the feeling of a ‘room’. ‘It has all the features you’d expect of a country house interior,’ says Nicole Salvesen. ‘We used fabric wherever we could, added antiques, bathroom wallpaper (Lattice by Nile & York), a blind, and a generous fabric shower curtain. This country bathroom is practical but ultimately comfortable.’
10. Let materials take center stage
Simplicity and purity ensure that the gorgeous cloud-like pattern of the marble takes center stage in this compact bathroom. Rising star interior designer Hollie Bowden chose this striking book-matched Arabescato marble and specified Drummonds fittings in a classic nickel finish. Her restrained choices ensure that the materials sing out and that the space remains crisp and clean.
11. Introduce bathroom art to create a curated look
One element of bathroom design that is often neglected is artwork on walls. 'In any other room of our homes, artwork is always a finishing touch that we add to bring in color, personality and a unique feel,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens. 'However, it's often overlooked in bathrooms, which can leave the room feeling a little soulless.
'However, it's an easy fix. I'm not a huge fan of room-themed artwork, such as coastal images in a bathroom, food images in a kitchen, for example, however, the beauty of bathroom art ideas is that they are rarely seen by guests and can be entirely personal to you.'
12. Soften a bathroom's edges with textiles
When we decorate bathrooms, we tend to concentrate and fixate on the practicalities: bathroom fixtures, storage, flooring and walls. However, softer, more decorative finishes shouldn't be neglected, especially textiles, which can be used not just to make a bathroom feel more inviting, but to add color and layering, too, as in this bathroom above by Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors.
'Aesthetics are just as important as practical elements when it comes to creating an inviting bathroom,' says Henriette.
'We use as much fabric as we can in bathrooms because it stops them from being cold, hard and echoey,' says Emily Todhunter of Todhunter Earle.
13. Choose the most classic of bathroom color schemes
If you are not sure which way to go with your bathroom design, you can't go too far wrong with a classic: blue and white bathroom ideas. This classic combination, as seen in the bathroom above by Surface View, never dates and always looks fresh.
But there is a but. 'Blue and white can feel cold in the wrong shade or the wrong bathroom,' says Lucy Searle. 'The key to success is to analyse the temperature of the daylight in your bathroom and to choose a blue that will complement it. North- or east- facing rooms, or those with tiny windows, tend to feel cool, so need warm blues. South- and west-facing bathrooms will naturally feel warmer so can take a cooler tone.'
14. Create a spa escape
The wellness trend has seen bathroom ideas as sanctuaries, for the ultimate in hedonistic relaxation.
‘Spa bathrooms offer a place to escape to, where the very essence is to be able to relax and unwind in a luxurious setting,’ says Barrie Cutchie, Design Director at BC Designs.
‘We’re seeing customers taking luxury to the next level, with huge bathtubs, double shower heads in wet room-style showers, along with the continued trend for double vanity units with luxury marble, granite or quartz countertops and sunken under-mount sinks.’
For a standout spa style, choose an opulent tub with a chandelier above to create a focal point, as well as looking to inspire bathroom vanity ideas – adding bathroom plants will also enhance the spa-like feel.
15. Choose warm-colored bathroom decor
We tend to play it safe with rustic bathroom decor but that can make for these spaces feeling a little clinical. So why not think outside of the box?
Take this stone and olive bathroom as an example – not necessarily two shades you’d put together – but it works really well. And why? Because the two colors are the same tone, this means they have the same intensity of color, neither is brighter or darker than the other, and the white floor tiles act as a blank canvas that holds the look together.
16. Add decorative touches with wallpaper
When we think of decorating our bathrooms, paint and tiles are usually at the forefront of our minds, and bathroom wallpaper ideas tend to get neglected as an option. But it can work really well, and look how this Cavendish Stripe design from Little Greene has been hung – both vertically and horizontally – what a clever trick!
So how do you make it work if you don’t want more color added to your scheme? You opt for metallics, as Phil Etherden, Managing Director of The Albion Bath Company explains:
‘Our burnished and polished bath finishes are a popular option for anyone looking for a luxurious look. They’re ideal for creating a focal point and adding structure and glamor to a bathroom scheme. Metallic touches in the bathroom are hugely fashionable at the moment, and bronze gives a real sense of luxury.
Incorporating a freestanding bath in a bold metallic finish really does change the feel of the whole room. We’ve seen customers match a brightly colored bath to a feature wall for a really strong look, while others make a statement by making a metallic bath the star of the show in a more pared back space.’
17. Introduce texture for interest and warmth
Bathroom vanities can offer up the opportunity to add important texture to a room that is often dominated by hard, cold, shiny surfaces. This bathroom designed by Utah-based House of Jade Interiors provides the perfect combination of tranquility and on-trend design elements to the bathroom's decor. It’s light, airy and full of fabulous textures. The wood adds character and warmth whilst the vintage rug is the main source of color – which shows how subtle a bathroom decor scheme can be.
The boucle stool is so inviting with its tactile quality and contrasts with the white marble countertops. As before, brass is used to soften visually and counts as another color.
18. Install a sauna
A sauna is the ultimate wellbeing treat, with dry heat to soothe muscles and de-stress the spirit. While the typical wood box is fine in a home gym, it can overpower a bathroom at home, so look for a design with stylish paneling or even glass walls for your personal spa space.
‘With a larger variety of wooden finishes than ever before, a sauna can now fit into your desired scheme, rather than dictate it,’ agrees Yousef Mansuri, director of design at CP Hart. ‘Effegibi’s Sky Sauna is a versatile design, ideal for made-to-measure solutions, with wide floor-to-ceiling glass panels and a glazed roof that create a beautifully light and airy feel.’
Saunas like this can also be customized with different woods, colored LED lighting and audio speakers.
19. Consider a dark and moody look for drama
Although some of us may prefer bathroom ideas in light colors, they're not for us all. The drama of dark shades is appealing and certainly creates a cocoon-like feel during the evenings and winter months. This bathroom decor features three shades, all of which work well together to create a warmth – mainly from the ochre, and the smoky grey woodwork invites in the light.
It’s still worth introducing some brighter elements to create a visual balance – a marble topped pale wood washstand and cliched fluffy white towels will do the trick nicely.
20. Create a calming space
‘The bathroom is one of the only rooms in the house where you can, literally, lock yourself in for some “me” time. Rather than creating a purely utilitarian space, it makes sense to create a sanctuary where you can relax, refresh and revive,’ explains Emma Joyce, Brand Manager at House of Rohl.
‘It’s all about creating a calm sanctuary, where every item is carefully considered and designed in. Freestanding baths are synonymous with luxury bathroom design, and they create a real statement in a serene spa environment. Rainfall showers with a generously proportioned shower head are now standard in spa-style bathrooms.’
21. Use subtle visual tricks to stretch space
Note the only-just-discernable horizontal stripes of the marble tiles in this bathroom? This, together with the reflective surfaces and pale colors will make the bathroom feel larger: wider and longer. The fact that the marble is carried through to the vanity unit will ensure the space feels larger, too.
One big misconception is that if you love neutrals you don’t love color, but actually there are a myriad of stunning, neutral shades that work so well together to create a perfect bathroom decor scheme, like this sophisticated grey bathroom idea shown above.
Clara Ewart, Head of Design at Kitesgrove explains, ‘An effective way to add character to a neutral bathroom space is to introduce a rich, warm finish such as brass within the sanitary ware and detailing. This helps to create visual interest as the brass complements pared back, neutral palettes particularly well, whilst further enhancing the natural beauty of the marble.'
22. Make it twin tubs
Looking for luxury ideas? What could be more luxurious than a deep freestanding bath? Two, of course! Even if you don't have a room large enough for twin tubs, space is an essential ingredient of truly decadent bathing spaces.
'The first essential ingredient of a spa-like bathroom is having enough space to indulge and relax in luxury,' agrees James Lentaigne, Creative Director, Drummonds. Your bath should be big enough to let you really stretch out and soak and your shower should be large and powerful, preferably with several types of jet, as in our freestanding showers.
'Heated towel rails are another must, keeping warm towels always ready to hand,' continues James. 'And finally, lighting. Again, this should be from several sources and be controllable, with different settings to match your mood and good close-up lighting by the mirrors.
'The decorative aspect is, of course, a personal choice, but I would always recommend placing the emphasis on classic quality and luxury, using materials such as natural marble, mirror glass and polished metal.'
23. Opt for traditional style, with a twist
The interest in sustainability means we're seeing more reclaimed sanitaryware, such as traditional baths, being integrated into new bathroom spaces – perfect for traditional bathroom ideas that include all the contemporary luxuries.
'This look is about how you successfully combine period and contemporary styles,' explains Darren Allison, Managing Director at BC Designs. 'We find people are more informed in what they love and want and are also willing to take more risks when it comes to their bathroom decor, to create something truly unique.
'The secret to making it work is in the mix. Just remember, opposites attract! Traditional bath with modern and sleek faucet. Period faucets with a modern shaped sink.'
'Painting a traditionally shaped bath in an on-trend color will bring a 21st century look to your bathroom.'
24. Add drama with tiles
We tend to think of bathroom decor ideas as light and bright, but a cocooning deep hue can instill a sense of calm and serenity.
‘For a moody-yet-chic finish, go for a deep green hue,’ suggests Mike Head, director at Atlas Ceramics. ‘Team dark tiles with metallic accents, such as a gold mirror. If your bathroom is on the smaller side, don’t be afraid to keep some white in the room to make it feel lighter.’
Here, large format floor tiles and white walls create a crisp contrast with the deep room colors introduced in the form of green scallop tiles, without reducing their dramatic impact.
25. Set your style in stone
New materials, such as stone mixed with resin, have enabled innovative designs for baths and showers that draw on the beauty of the natural world, with a contemporary, seamless finish.
'A combination of two of the purist elements, earth and water, the use of natural stone within the bathroom can bring you closer to nature and evoke a feeling of relaxation thanks to its earthborn properties,' says Becky Dix, Head of Design at The Luxury Bath Company.
'When designing a bathroom, the positioning of your furnishings is just as important as the color and accessories you place in it,' continues Becky. 'Ensure you are maximizing the space you have with a freestanding bath, and position it in a spot that will naturally draw the eye.'
26. Use natural materials and color to create a stand-out space
Wood-panelled walls introduce a warm and tactile quality in a way that a standard painted finish can never achieve, which makes them perfect for a supremely comfortable, cossetting bathroom environment.
In this Shoreditch apartment, based on the fourth floor of a former shoe factory, the architects Chan and Earys used a blend of limed oak brushed timber planks with traditional lime plaster mixed with a natural green pigment on the walls and ceiling. The result is a soft and tactile finish, which is then carried through in the curves of the avocado-green roll top bath by Water Monopoly, a beautiful look for bathroom ceiling ideas.
'For a more decorative finish it’s all about the finer details that will make your bathroom ooze with elegance. Consider lighting in the form of beautiful pendants and wall fittings, opt for bespoke statement furniture pieces and incorporate softer furnishings, wallpapers and muted pastel colors,' says Leanne Robey, senior designer, Ripples.
27. Double up on showers for a spa space
Looking for bathroom shower ideas with impact? Uneven polished plaster finishes are a natural complement to smooth glossy elements such as brass and marble often found in luxurious bathroom schemes. The Moroccan tadelackt bathroom wall idea in particular, with its natural grittiness, strikes an interesting counter tone to the even and shiny surfaces.
Installing it is an artisanal skill, explains Jamie Blake of Blakes London who used the finish for this concealed shower and WC: 'You’re looking to add just enough movement in the plaster to create interest but not so much that the end result looks messy.'
To add a touch of wow factor, the floors are clad in Carrara marble tiles laid a herringbone pattern which is seamlessly carried up the internal walls.
28. Use unusual tile shapes to create understated drama
When it comes to adding a decorative touch to a bathroom, nothing beats the versatility of tiles ideas – for the floors, walls, alcoves, or bathroom backsplashes. For an understated look, play with the shape of the tile rather than the pattern.
Here, Joel Fry of West One Bathrooms chose Ca’Pietra’s Zen marble mosaic, a scallop-shaped design that forms a pretty backdrop for the brushed brass tap fittings (a finish that is thoughtfully carried through to the trap under the sink). The curvy border of the backsplash is echoed in the recessed mirror cabinets which add an Art Deco touch to this bathroom.
'I love to mix wallpaper and tiles as it is a fantastic way to play with scale and bring personality to what is often a small space. If I use a large patterned wallpaper, I will usually use a smaller scale tile–it’s all about finding the right balance,' says Kate Aslangui, founder, Oakley Moore Interior Design.
29. Create secret storage – imaginatively
Whenever planning bathroom ideas from scratch, calculate how much bathroom storage is required and be careful not to underestimate the amount. Items used on a daily basis will need open bathroom shelves, but others should be stored out of sight to ensure the space feels serene and uncluttered.
This is particularly true where anything visible might disrupt the impact of the design such as in this bathroom covered in colorful kismet tiles which was designed by Paris-based LSL Architects. The alcove adjacent to the shower has been turned into a unit of drawers built in from the ceiling down and painted in a sky blue to link in with the tile colours. The antique French basin was restored by Water Monopoly.
'Tiles are a good way to inject a bit of color into a bathroom and there are lots of inexpensive, pretty ones around. To save on costs only use wall tiles where you actually need them such as inside showers then get busy with your paintbrush and add colour to the vanity and bath to add warmth,' says Beth Dadswell, Imperfect Interiors.
Otherwise, if you are looking for somewhere to store fluffy towels (or even wet ones that need to dry) then be sure to go for either a freestanding towel rack or a wall-mounted rail, depending on the space at hand.
30. Embrace the new trend for patterned bathware
Across the board, bathroom decor ideas are taking bold strides away from the decades-long unwritten rule that they should only ever be white.
From the '70s favorites of avocado or dusty pink to sunny yellows and elegant navy, there’s been an explosion of color on the market recently. But why stop at plain color ideas when you can have patterns?
That’s the approach that interior decorator Irene Gunter took to this lower ground floor bathroom, with the bath wrapped in woven fabric: 'Everything about this space was about creating warmth. It had no natural focal point, so I hung the mirror behind the bath to ground the space and painted the walls in mustard yellow to tie in with the brassy tones of the tapware.'
31. Choose bold brassware for a showstopping look
Brassware is an important part of any bathroom and should be considered early on when you start thinking about how to design a bathroom.
'You can create a statement in any bathroom, even the most compact ones, with more essential elements, such as a sculptural shaped basin, a striking-coloured vanity or an unusual finish of brassware. Faucets are working parts that have continuous water flowing through them,' explains Yousef Mansuri, Head of Design at C P Hart. 'They are the most used and have the highest potential to break, so investing in high-quality fittings that stand the test of time is essential.'
32. Embrace interesting materials
Marble bathrooms add a sense of luxury and help make your space feel more expensive, too. This is why, more often than not, it's a design feature often found in hotel bathrooms and spas. High-quality slabs will be water-resistant, but due to their mineral nature, marble still requires regular maintenance.
'What I love most with marble are the activity and coloration,' comments Cara Woodhouse, who designed this bathroom above. 'I also love the fact that all stones are different and have their one-of-a-kind unique markings and colors.'
Applying an additional sealant during installation will help avoid premature wear from harsh cleaning products.
33. Highlight architectural details using bold colors
When deciding on your bathroom decor, you may want to choose art ideas as a starting point and use the colors present throughout your space. Remember that water-resistant formulas should be used if your bathroom is being painted.
'Don’t forget to paint your ceiling in the same tone or one that complements the walls – you will be amazed at how often your eyes are drawn upwards when you are relaxing in the bathtub,' suggests Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene.