Bathroom paint ideas – 11 best paint schemes for your bathroom
Repainting a bathroom is a wonderful way to upgrade your space, but it can be hard to decide which bathroom paint ideas to choose and which tones are best
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The latest bathroom paint ideas embrace rich and daring tones. In fact, gone are the days when a serene scheme was limited to neutral colors and plain finishes. From bold blue to scarlet red, you can be brave with your bathroom ideas.
However, paint ideas for bathrooms need to be chosen with care, since this is the room that is often the smallest in the house. We're here to help you make the best paint choice for your bathroom with a list of inspiring paint ideas and bathroom color ideas.
Bathroom paint ideas
Give your bathroom space a quick and easy new look with a fresh lick of paint, a great choice for bathroom wall ideas.
For inspiration, we have compiled a list of the most popular paint ideas for the bathroom, highlighting where they will work and where they wont.
1. Use color to create contrast
Opt for a daring combination in your bathroom by pairing primary colors from the opposite ends of the color wheel.
Red is often considered a brave choice for interiors, but when red bathroom ideas are used creatively it can introduce a welcome burst of energy and flamboyance.
Pale aqua makes a wonderful backdrop for vibrant accents of red that have been given a light-hearted, theatrical note using stripes and checks. And because it's a fresh shade, it will reflect lots of light, perfect in a small or light-starved room. In this bathroom, a wonderful example of ceiling paint ideas and bathroom wallpaper ideas, the use of contrasting colors feels stylish and unique, establishing a stand-out space.
2. Go dark with shades of gray
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, gray bathroom ideas in dark shades, including slate, are also popular for creating a cocooning effect. Team this shade with luxurious Carrara marble fittings for a boutique-inspired hotel look.
What to consider? A dark bathroom must be accompanied by good natural daylight or artificial lighting. Bathrooms can be made cozy with dark colors, but they also need to be practical so that you can see clearly what you're doing, working with accent colors for gray will also create and added lift to the space.
3. Paint a bathtub
This is one of the easiest bathroom paint ideas but can have the biggest impact.
'Adding wow factor to the bathroom is all about thinking outside the box,' explains Rob Whitaker, Fired Earth’s (opens in new tab) Creative Director.
Whether you choose bold colors or pattern, or move towards a more neutral shade, a painted bathtub can bring an elegant, contrasting note to a bathroom space. Here, the dark gray painted bathtub creates a beautiful contrast between the rustic, country bathroom atmosphere of florals and green painted walls.
4. Think in (pale) pink
Introduce a dash of blush pink to your bathroom for a bold or barely-there effect. If you think pink is best suited to country schemes, you'd be wrong. Used in a subtle way, pink can look equally good in a modern bathroom.
Perfect for cool-feeling, light starved bathrooms, pale pink with a hint of yellow to it will add warmth without making the space feel enclosed.
A nod to the chevron trend (above) is made with a contrasting zigzag on plain curtains, while sleek fittings ensure that the decoration remains the focus.
Below, pink has been given an Art Deco appeal.
Few colors have enjoyed a more dramatic or unexpected reinvention than pink, with a range of pink room ideas becoming more and more popular for the home. Soft, versatile and subtle, it is adding a new layer of depth to minimal interiors and modernist furniture.
A natural partner to grays and soft whites, this is a shade that looks set to stay. When decorating a pink room, pair the shade with accents of green and mirrored finishes for a modern bathroom that echoes an Art Deco chic interior.
5. Be bold with red bathroom paint
Go for a daring look in your bathroom with strong color and geometric patterns. This bathroom wall idea features a claret-red painted wall decorated with white hexagon tiles set with red grout for a striking effect.
What to avoid with red bathroom ideas? Red on all four walls will be somewhat overpowering and on a practical level will cast a red-tone on your skin when you look in the mirror. Good natural daylight and bathroom lighting ideas with natural-daylight lightbulbs are a must with this color scheme.
The stand-alone, designer basin and mixer tap give the room ultra-cool character, while quirky accessories, such as this wave hand hook and a Moorish mother-of-pearl mirror, take the look East.
6. Take inspiration from nature
On walls and cabinetry, this perennial hue can create a life-enhancing link with nature. The huge variety of eye-catching paints in verdant shades is providing opportunity for strong new looks.
In soft shades, green bathrooms evoke a natural sense of calm and harmony, while bolder and darker tones provide individuality and depth. ‘Try walls of saturated color in paint or tiles,’ says Yousef Mansuri, Director of Design at C.P. Hart. (opens in new tab)
Pale greens are a better option for light-starved bathrooms, but avoid pale greens tinged with blue tones, which can feel cold and unwelcoming.
7. Warm up with earthy bathroom paint ideas
Embrace natural pigments to turn up the heat in your bathroom scheme.
Alongside the mood for comfort comes the move towards warmer tones, including terracotta, rust, caramel and biscuit. Look out for paints in earthy colors that make the perfect antidote to cold and clinical.
Try contrasting them with brass taps and accessories to add definition. Untreated timber can also work well, this time by echoing the natural, warm mood.
8. Decorate in cool blue
Paint walls blue for a refreshing bathroom scheme. Blue bathroom ideas combined with white might be associated with classic interiors but it is increasingly being used to add a crisp feel to contemporary schemes.
An additional ensuite bathroom offers an opportunity for more adventurous decorating, as shown here with the strong wall color and chequered flooring.
Echoing the palette of the bedroom scheme ensures a unified look. When decorating with blue, brilliant azure-blue walls will create a dramatic backdrop for a fresh white bathroom suite. Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab) Brand Ambassador states, 'teal is an impactful bathroom shade against the standard white sanitary ware. Team with the blackest of greens or rich plum-tinged reds'.
9. Pick clashing tones for a dramatic effect
Break up a scheme with a stripe of color in a contrasting tone to make a striking focal point on a large wall. Go for something bright and punchy against a neutral wall to really stand out and bring your room to life.
Clashing colors can be a tricky art to perfect but when it’s done well it can totally transform your space. Choosing the colors within your décor is what gives a room character and reflects your personality, so think carefully about what you want your space to say about you.
When it comes to colorful bathroom ideas, as a general rule, avoid mixing in too many colors at once, as this can make a scheme appear cluttered or messy. At the same time, steer clear of having everything in perfectly matching shades.
It’s all about finding a balance, so play around with combinations and use the color wheel for inspiration until you find something you’re happy with.
10. Go for a tonal color scheme
Use a combination of paint and decorative bathroom tile ideas to create a truly bespoke bathroom.
Paint really comes into its own when used alongside tiles in tonal colors. Tonal colors are basically a variety of shades of one color, also known as tone-on-tone or monochromatic (not to be confused with monochrome).
Decorating with this color palette will result in a uniform scheme as it uses only different tones – both lighter and darker – of one color.
11. Evoke purity with a white on white bathroom paint scheme
Decorating with white will always be timeless and an all-white scheme can make a real statement, great for master bathroom ideas.
Glamorous yet relaxed, mix up different tones of white for a fresh and airy feel. 'White also works well with brass accessories as it will allow them to stand out against the background,' explains color expert Judy Smith.
'This is also true for colored bathroom ceramics or accessories, painting the wall a light color will help them stand-out and be the focal point of the room.'
A white bathroom is more complex than you think. As there are no distractions every choice becomes critical. Wood will warm up a white scheme as will marble, glass and ceramic accessories.
What is the best paint color for a small bathroom?
The same basic decorating rules apply here just like in any other room.
You’re likely to want to choose soothing, neutral shades for your small bathroom and inject a pop of color (a feature wall, vanity unit...) or choose a toning palette with differently weighted notes of the same color, or a harmonizing palette featuring different colors of a similar depth.
'White tends to be the main go-to color for a small bathroom,' says Judy Smith, Crown Paints (opens in new tab) Color Consultant.
'However, some people believe that all-white can be too clinical but having a lighter tone will open up the space and make it feel brighter especially if your bathroom lacks natural light.
'Bathrooms are often the smallest room in the house and a dark color can make it feel too closed in, unless you are lucky enough to have a large space with plenty of natural light.'
'When choosing the scheme for your ensuite, consider creating a sense of flow from your bedroom into the bathroom with a complementary scheme,' advises Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab) UK Director.
'This does not necessarily mean being too matchy, however picking out key colors works particularly well. Your ensuite should feel personal and have the same haven feeling as your bedroom.
'Soothing pastel shades or off-whites help to ensure the room feels relaxing while also maintaining a feeling of spaciousness due to the lightness of the colors.'
What is the best paint color for a bathroom?
With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know the best paint color for a bathroom.
We all know bathrooms should be restful sanctuaries as well as utilitarian spaces, and a well-thought out decorative scheme will reflect both practical and aesthetic elements.
Current bathroom trends, including painted bathtubs, as well as walls and ceilings in bold colors, are making a splash in this room just as much as any other in the home, so make sure that yours isn’t neglected.
Break free of a staid design and add pops of color to your room with these bold and bright bathroom paint ideas.
Adding a bright hue to your bathroom will really lift your whole home, bringing this functional space into line with the rest of your decor. Or, if you prefer a chic and modern take on interiors, you can choose muted grays to complement your otherwise neutral bathroom color scheme.
Don’t forget that part of the beauty of paint is that, unlike tiles or wallpaper, you can give your room an update at a later stage.
‘Using paint means you can adapt to changing fashions,’ says Michelle Alcock, Director of Pride & Joy.
‘There is more opportunity than ever to paint the bathroom, or part of the bathroom, in whatever takes your fancy. A great way of keeping on trend is by painting a bold feature wall, then using accent colors on freestanding units and soap dispensers.'
What paint can I use in the bathroom?
Due to the constant moisture that's often in the air, it's important to consider the type of paint used in the bathroom.
'When it comes to painting a bathroom, you need to be able to create proper ventilation in the room to avoid condensation peeling the paint and creating mold,' advises Rachel Martin, Merchandising Director at C.P. Hart (opens in new tab).
'Always opt for an appropriate finish, such as eggshell, or other water-resistant types of paint. Crown offers a specialist bathroom paint range which is specially formulated with built-in anti-mold technology, ensuring bathroom walls look fresher and cleaner for longer.'
'If you’re feeling unsure about using bold tones or want to ensure you can future-proof your bathroom, you can always incorporate pattern and color in a variety of semi-permanent ways.
'Bright colored paint is a great way of using your walls to inject some tonal variation and can be easily updated when you like. This works particularly well with small cloakroom ideas, as well as in a larger, family bathroom.'
What is the most relaxing paint color for a bathroom?
As well as being a functional room, it should also be a calm space, so what is the most relaxing color for a bathroom?
Simple, white fixtures and fittings are timeless, but consider making an impact when it comes to surfaces such as walls, ceilings, floors, windows and counter tops.
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.
‘Bathrooms can now be so much more than purely functional spaces,’ explains Yousef Mansuri, Head of Design at C.P. Hart (opens in new tab). ‘More of our customers want to create an oasis of wellbeing at the heart of their home – somewhere that they can enjoy as a private retreat to de-stress and unwind.
'We call this trend “cocooning” because it’s a way for people to wrap themselves in comfort and a quiet sense of luxury.
'As well as simple luxuries like scented candles and a warm robe, cocooning is a mood that can be created with soothing paint colors, such as a palette of warm grays, taupes and off-whites.'
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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