By Jennifer Ebert published
Breathe new life into your space with these smart grey bathroom ideas.
Grey is the new neutral and there’s a shade to suit every style of bathroom, be it contemporary or classic.
From moody dark grey to light pastel grey, here we show you how to choose and update your bathroom ideas with grey.
‘Everyone wants to paint their houses grey at the moment,’ says Karen Haller, a colour expert who teaches industry professionals the science of applied colour psychology, ‘but it’s one of the most difficult shades to get right because of the colours that lie beneath.’
'Working with a neutral palette can easily end up bland. By using symmetry and proportion, together with simple but clean-lined fittings, neutral materials will come to life.
'Any size bathroom that is beautifully proportioned and features neutral, nature-inspired materials will provide one of the most important things in today’s hectic lifestyles; calmness,' says Lisa Persse, Porter Bathroom.
Grey bathroom ideas
1. Use pale grey to create a country garden
'Grey works well in a country setting, and salvaged wood comes to life when set against it. Use pale greys on the walls when cupboards and storage cabinets are made from rustic materials, for a truly homely feel,' says Sarah Spiteri, Editorial Director.
However, you can also add grey detailing in accessories, such as blinds, to create that welcoming finish.
2. Add grey to a bathroom with wallpaper
A large, bold repeat pattern like this can work in small bathrooms. If you don't want the space to feel too busy, it is best limited to a single wall, perhaps framing a shapely, roll top bath, and complemented by smart bathroom paint ideas on the remaining walls.
3. Create a color clash for depth
Gentle grey is the most popular of modern neutrals, making it a chic choice for all kinds of interiors.
From cool, light shades to warm, dark tones with depth and drama, grey is a versatile choice that is easy to work with, offering you the freedom to create rooms stamped with your own personality and style.
One of the best ways to add individuality is to layer in highlights and pretty accents that will lift the overall scheme and make the room your own.
Here, grey is the perfect canvas for flashes of pink accessories.
4. Grand tour – with tones of grey
'Mixing different greys can be tricky if they don’t have the same base notes but it’s a look that’s easier to achieve if you mix up your materials: a wood panelled wall with marble effect paper and layers of textiles and textures,’ explains Kate Watson-Smyth, author of Shades of Grey.
When considering bathroom colour ideas, opting for a single, muted shade in an eggshell finish for walls, panelling and window frames will create a blank canvas, allowing furniture and curios to stand out.
5. Enhance space with a visual trick
Covering a wall in 3D tiles or a mural creates an eye-catching feature. Textured bathroom tile ideas are often made of real stone, so introduce a variety of color and interest in a way that's impossible to achieve with paint. The natural beauty works in any style of home.
Pale grey or black looks great in modern bathrooms, while warmer greys blended with stripped wood works well in a cottage.
Grey slate sits well with any setting, but if you’re unsure, buy single tiles to see them in situ at home before you invest in a larger quantity.
6. Match grey bathroom schemes with warm wood
A match made in heaven, cool shades of grey bring out the warmth and beauty in natural wood.
Modern neutrals are ideal for creating a timeless look. Shades of gentle grey, off-white and natural earthy tones can be used to create a simple and classic backdrop that is calm and easy to live with.
Large format tiles in neutral shades mean fewer grout lines, so they can be a great way to boost the sense of space and make a small bathroom look bigger.
Introduce layers of texture in tiles of similar tones for simple elegance, add depth and character with warm wood and natural stone finishes, or team neutrals with striking furniture and richly coloured accessories to create a balanced and sophisticated scheme.
7. Pick a dark grey for a dramatic look
Kate Watson-Smyth explains why dark grey works in any space and why you shouldn't be afraid of dark bathrooms:
'If you're only going to paint one wall, it needs to be a grey from the darker end of the spectrum. It will bring a hint of drama to the space. Starting with one wall also gives you a chance to see how you really feel about a colour.'
'I’m a huge fan of dark grey walls because I think it’s the easiest of all the grey shades to live with. It works in both daylight and electric light, and most colours look striking when set against a dark, charcoal grey.'
8. Match grey marble with classic black
Marble is a stylish and luxurious way to introduce grey into a bathroom.
The color grey is a short cut to sophistication, so ramp up the ethereal charm by teaming it with thinly-veined marble. A smart black bath with aged brass taps anchors the scheme, reinforcing the classic look.
9. Paint a roll top bath grey to match the bathroom walls
If you have chosen to make your bath centre stage, ensuring its surround – or underside if it is a roll top or freestanding bath – the same colour as the walls will create a sense of unity.
A word on using grey in a bathroom: it can feel cold, so adding plenty of woody tones to the space in flooring or even accessories will add warmth.
10. Paint contemporary panelling for a smart finish
The horizontal lines of this panelling and fuss-free detailing gives this grey bathroom a contemporary finish that is perfect for small bathrooms.
What's more, the fine horizontal lines created by the panelling conjure up a neat visual trick, making the room feel wider and longer than it is.
What colours go with a grey bathroom?
If you're wondering what colours go with a grey bathroom, the good news is that there are lots of options.
As grey is a neutral colour, you can pair it with other neutrals, such as a white bathroom, or go bolder if you prefer - the possibilities are endless. Yellow, pink, coral, navy, green and teal are just a few colours which pair nicely with grey.
How do you style a grey bathroom?
You can style a grey bathroom just like you would with any other colour. Be sure to add lots of lovely natural materials to give the room more depth and cosiness.
Also, remember that pale greys are good for creating a serene atmosphere while darker shades give a more industrial, urban feel.
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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