Gray bathroom ideas are a popular choice for a modern bathroom, and it is easy to see why. Gray is the new neutral and there’s a shade to suit every style of bathroom, be it contemporary or classic.
‘Everyone wants to paint their houses grey at the moment,’ says Karen Haller, a color expert who teaches industry professionals the science of applied color psychology, ‘but it’s one of the most difficult shades to get right because of the colors 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.
Gray bathroom ideas – 12 ways to use this popular shade
Breathe new life into your space with these smart gray bathroom ideas. From moody dark gray to light pastel grey, here we show you how to choose and update your bathroom ideas with gray.
1. Use pale grey to create a country garden
'Gray 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 bathroom 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
Patterned wallpaper ideas, such as this Wilton wallpaper design by Little Greene (opens in new tab) will add character, depth and texture to what can sometimes be a boxy space free of personality.
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 gray 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, gray 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, gray is the perfect canvas for flashes of pink accessories.
4. Decorate with varying shades of gray
'Mixing different grays 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 Gray.
When considering bathroom color ideas, opting for a single, muted shade in an eggshell finish for walls, paneling and window frames will create a blank canvas, allowing furniture and curios to stand out.
5. Match gray bathroom schemes with warm wood
A match made in heaven, cool shades of gray bring out the warmth and beauty in natural wood.
Modern neutrals are ideal for creating a timeless look. Shades of gentle gray, 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.
6. Pick a dark gray for a dramatic look
Kate Watson-Smyth explains why dark gray 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 gray 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 color.'
'I’m a huge fan of dark gray 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 colors look striking when set against a dark, charcoal gray.'
7. Match grey marble with classic black
Marble is a stylish and luxurious way to introduce grey into a bathroom. What's more, marble is naturally water-resistant and adds a luxurious spa-like feel to a bathroom whether you have a modern space or a more traditional one.
The color gray 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.
8. Choose silvery wood-effect tiles
Stylish yet practical, these porcelain wood-effect tiles bring beautiful texture and myriad subtle gray tones to this modern bathroom. Combining the beautiful appearance of silvery weathered timber with the benefits of being easy to clean and water-resistant, the tiles are a brilliant way to bring the beauty of nature indoors.
9. Add a gray vanity unit
While they are bright and spacious, white bathrooms can sometimes lack depth and interest – adding dark grey furniture can be an effective way to create a focal point within the room that will help anchor the scheme. Painted in Farrow & Ball's Downpipe, this vanity unit idea also features a dark marble top which brings added luxury to the space.
10. Consider the light in the room
'Timeless and neutral, gray bathroom schemes can offer longevity as well as being a relaxing sanctuary,' explains Helen Shaw, UK director at Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab). When deciding on the right paint tone it's important to think about the light, both in terms of natural daylight and light fittings explains Helen. 'Remember that pale grays can feel cold in north-facing bathrooms,' she says. 'Also consider the right lighting for a gray bathroom, these cool tones can make everything, and everyone, look a little pale, so the right lighting is key, especially around a mirror.'
It's also worth thinking about choosing a grey tone that complements your fittings and furniture, too. In this luxurious master bathroom designed by Finkernagel Ross, the gray wall color features a subtle hint of blue which pairs beautifully with the inky tones of the Drummonds Bute bath and the warm metallic touches.
11. Paint your bath to complement the walls
To prevent gray bathroom walls feeling cool consider painting other surfaces within the room in warmer colors which are similar in tone suggests Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs (opens in new tab).
'Make your gray paint pop by teaming it with darker tones of sea foam greens and metallic accents such as cast-iron radiators. Pick out areas such as skirting boards, windowsills and even a painted bath to contrast against the darkness of the grey walls. Avoid bold color contrasts and stick to a tone-on-tone and harmonious color palette that ‘sings’ together.'
'Choosing a warmer tone,' such as Little Greene's Livid shade, pictured here on this Omnia bath, 'will stop the gray from feeling too cold,' he says.
12. Choose textured tiles in a wetroom
As often small, sleek spaces with wall-to-wall hard surfaces, it can be tricky to know how to bring character to wet rooms; opting for gray bathroom wall tiles with a textured finish is a brilliant way to make the walls more decorative. Practical yet aesthetically pleasing, hand-poured cement tiles feature subtle variations in color and tone creating a fabulous textured effect when laid. If using cement tiles in a bathroom it's important to seal them before use to make sure that they are water-resistant.
What colors go with a gray bathroom?
If you're wondering what colors go with a gray bathroom, the good news is that there are lots of options. As grey is a neutral color, 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 colors which pair nicely with gray.
How do you style a gray bathroom?
You can style a gray bathroom just like you would with any other color. Be sure to add lots of lovely natural materials to give the room more depth and coziness.
Also, remember that pale grays 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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