Dark bathroom ideas – 10 inspiring ways to create a dramatic and atmospheric scheme

Cocooning sanctuaries to make you feel your best self, get inspired by our atmospheric dark bathroom ideas

Dark brown tiled bathroom
(Image credit: The Bradley Hare)

Evoking richness and luxury, dark bathroom ideas have a bold aesthetic and make a strong style statement. Dark saturated paints bring added depth to a space lend an atmospheric feel to your bathroom and are the perfect opportunity to try and get creative and add something different. 

Mysterious and moody, there are many ways in which you can make a dark bathroom color palette work for you. From wall and floor tiles in deep blues, blacks, greens, and greys to on-trend matt black brassware and Crittall-style shower screens and statement vanity units with a luxurious marble countertop. So pick up those deep-hued color cards and get inspired by our showstopping dark bathroom color ideas

1. Pair wine hues and burnished brassware

Dark Brown bathroom with white splashback and white sink

(Image credit: Claybrook Studios)

In a neutral white bathroom, you might not notice metal accents – but a moody bathroom is a perfect canvas to celebrate gleaming brass hardware and hints of gold, giving your dark bathroom a seriously stylish feel.

'Deep wine shades are set to be a huge color trend this year, pair it in bathrooms with burnished brassware for added character and patina.' says Rob Whitaker Creative Director Claybrook Studios (opens in new tab). 'Be bold in this room combining pale glazed tiles and bathroom furniture with a stronger paint color creates a complementary effect but one with aesthetic balance, alongside a little design drama to enjoy.'

2. Go dark and glossy with bathroom tiles

Chocolate brown tiles in a shower enclosure

(Image credit: The Bradley Hare)

Don’t be tentative about using dark colors in a small space, they can fool the eye into thinking a ceiling is higher than it is and a dark tone is a practical choice for this area of the home. As this bathroom wall tile idea proves, often darker hues can have the same space-expanding effects as a lighting color scheme.

'We wanted a feeling of enveloping comfort in the bathrooms and the shower,' says designer James Thurstan Waterworth (opens in new tab). 'So we used burgundy colored tiles as the darker colors. In a space that is relatively small, they work to create a lovely warm environment. We also wanted to exhibit historical nods by using Victorian-inspired sanitaryware with antique mirrors..'

This bathroom’s walk-in shower at The Bradley Hare (opens in new tab) in Somerset uses floor-to-ceiling chocolate brown tiles with a rustic grey slate tray and minimal glass door giving the whole space a modern rustic look. Keep the tiles high gloss to reflect maximum light and create a sense of space.

3. Take deep and dramatic colors across every surface

Bathroom with dark walls with freestanding bath and a chandelier

(Image credit: Abigail Ahern)

Interiors that are dark can be more intoxicating, mesmerizing, and beautiful than those that are light and a little beige, and in a bathroom, that sense of creating a cocooning sanctuary can be all the more appealing. Dark interiors just look and feel more interesting, and wrap you up in sophistication.

'Don’t be afraid of the dark.' says Rob Abrahams, Co-Founder of COAT paints (opens in new tab). 'Dark colors can create relaxing sanctuaries, and the trick to painting with them is to pair them with smaller accents of even darker colors to add contrast and rich depth. Consider a bathtub dressed in 'The Record Store' a true black against a deep green 'Ditch the Tie' paneled wall for a bang on trend statement bathroom.'  

4. Pair wallpaper and panelling

Small bathroom with dark panelled walls and floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Mylands)

Small bathrooms are usually dark, windowless spaces to begin with – painting them white isn't going to make them light and bright, so why not embrace the dark? This sweet powder room features a busy floral print on top and dark navy paneling below – embracing the dark and also maximalist pattern.

'Bathrooms are generally the busiest rooms in the house and because we all just get shots of this space, it’s here where you can be brave with dark rich colors.' says Dulux’s Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford. 

'All dark colors work well, especially midnight blues, forest greens, and bitter chocolate browns.  Dive in and commit to the ceiling as well as the walls and woodwork plus install warm layered lighting rather than a solitary overhead fitting if you can to make it look premium rather than gloomy.  You can balance the dark with paler colors for the towels and accessories or just go all out smoochy and sophisticated and have everything in the same shade.'

5. Create an eclectic bathroom by layering dark hues

Dark Green bathroom with green metro tiles

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

If you like the eclectic look, layer up different deep shades to create movement and draw the eye around the room.  You don’t have to dive right in and paint every wall to be daring. This characterful bathroom features different shades of green across the walls and the painted bath with black metro tiles breaking up the space. 

'While a dark bathroom may feel an overwhelming choice for some,' says Patrick O’Donnell Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab) Brand Ambassador. 'It can be ideal option for a small or poorly lit room – working with the limitations rather than fighting them. Look to the blackest of greens – Studio Green to go with aged-brass fittings or to the moodiest of greys such as Plummett for more urban sensibility. If committing to fully dark walls feels a step too far, then use as accents on elements like claw-foot baths, vanity units or tongue, and groove details.'

6. Incorporate reflective surfaces

Dark green bathroom with marbled scalloped backsplash

(Image credit: West One)

You can both have the dark chic bathroom you crave as well as a light bright space to unwind – the key is to incorporate plenty of reflective surfaces and mirror ideas to ensure light is bounced around the room – ensuring the space feels multi-layered and not flat. This pretty dark green bathroom features a marble scalloped backsplash and chunky marble sink. The mirror is framed by the delicate ribbed glass, the whole space feels elegant and light despite a dark backdrop.

'Dark, boudoir-style bathrooms are ideal for relaxing in after a busy day, says Fired Earth (opens in new tab)'s Creative Director Colin Roby-Welford. 'Inky blues, velvety blacks, and jewel-like purples and greens will look particularly dramatic bathed in candlelight. Ensure that even the darkest bathrooms have plenty of visual appeal by opting for eye-catching surfaces such as iridescent glass mosaics, shimmering metallic tiles, and vintage bronze or black brassware.'

7. Adds pops of color to a dark bathroom 

Art Deco hanging mirror lights and red vanity unit in bathroom by DelightFULL

(Image credit: DelightFULL)

Dark bathrooms does not have to be somber! Adding lighter, brighter-colored fittings and fixtures can lift a dark space and add a little flair. This playful charcoal bathroom teams a black and white patterned floor and modern art deco-inspired pendant lights with a bright red glossy vanity unit, making the space feel instantly joyous.

'Although they may seem intimidating, deep colors like brown and black can work particularly well in bathrooms for creating a cozy and comforting ambiance,' says James Greenwood, Graham & Brown’s Brand and Interiors Expert. 'Darker shades can also provide the perfect backdrop for pops of color within the space – try our Flow Black bathroom wallpaper with a pop of our coral shade Aloha for this effect.'

8. Pick out and celebrate natural materials

Black Bathroom with wooden windows

(Image credit: Duravit)

Dark hues can be used as a contrast and to celebrate natural materials and period details. This beautiful bathroom uses dark paint ideas to celebrate textures in this crafted space. With just the walls painted black, leaving the rest of the features in the space untreated, like the wooden framed windows and textured grey stone floor, celebrating and enhancing the room's original details.

'Bold, dark shades have incredible power and are able to transform any room injecting character into it,' says Justyna Korczynska, Crown Color Consultant. 'A good way to start introducing a darker shade in your home is to decorate one of the smaller rooms, that are used for a shorter period of time, like a hallway or a bathroom.'

'Dark colors work surprisingly well in small spaces, even where there is no natural light available there. A bold shade can introduce a style into a room and can help create a space you’ll truly love. If you’re feeling confident, try to envelop the whole room in this shade, together with doors or any other woodwork.' 

9. Color block with confidence

Dark green wetroom with chequered floor

(Image credit: Future)

Create richness and a sense of luxury in a small bathroom by color blocking with dark hues. Adding a bold color to a ceiling or feature wall will elevate the space by drawing the eye upwards or around the room. If you opt for something like deep, emerald green, you can pull that color out and give the illusion of a darker bathroom throughout the space, even if only one wall boasts the color.

‘Color blocking is a simple, contemporary way to introduce color pairings to a small space such as a bathroom without it being overwhelming,' says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene (opens in new tab). 'Consider experimenting with the proportions of your bathroom by painting the ceiling using a bolder shade, to draw focus to the height of the room.'

10. Paint the bath to create a seamless look

Black bathroom with painted black copper bath

(Image credit: Catchpole and Rye)

Whether you have a classic freestanding bath, or a fitted, plastic one, both can be painted and both can benefit from a lovely lick of dark paint and add extra some extra drama to your dark bathroom. Not only will it give your bathroom some extra oomph without you having to strip out any fittings or fixtures it also makes a fun DIY project and provides an opportunity to really get creative.

'Painting a freestanding bath or a bath surround is a perfect way to introduce a chosen splash of color to the bathroom without taking the plunge into using bold color throughout the scheme,' says Fired Earth's Creative Director Colin Roby-Welford. 'It's quick, easy, and inexpensive to do, and it's simple to change whenever you want to give your bathroom a completely fresh new look.'

Is a dark bathroom a good idea?

Yes! A dark bathroom can make a real style statement and works with any size and any style of space, from super modern bathrooms to more traditional luxurious bathrooms

Evoking richness and luxury, dark bathrooms have a gutsy, bold aesthetic and make a strong style statement. The darkness creates a mysterious moody vibe and lends an atmospheric, emotional feel to your bathroom. It doesn't have to be gloomy at all–just add plenty of functional light or incorporate natural light

Should small bathrooms be dark or light?

Light greys work well as small bathroom color ideas, especially with white fixtures, which will pop against the color. For the homeowner with bold tastes, dark, inky colors can totally transform a small bathroom and make the walls feel like they disappear into the background.

Most small bathrooms have a tub/shower combination. The cove that exists along the top of the bathtub or shower area is a perfect place to paint darker colors. Since the contrasting light of the tub and tile surface highlights, the darker color will create a new depth in the area.

Rohini Wahi is Content Editor for Livingetc Online. With a decade-long career in the interiors and design industry working as a journalist for premium lifestyle publications then delving deeper into the business as a trend forecaster, Rohini has amassed a wealth of global design knowledge that informs her work. She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home.