Bathroom paint ideas – 8 creative ways to decorate your space, from color drenching to limewash

Try these bathroom paint ideas to fill this room with inspiring, bold ideas and effervescence

a bathroom with painted walls, ceilings, trim and door
(Image credit: Lick)

Bathrooms don't have to be white boxes, so when it comes to bathroom paint ideas, think differently. There are so many unique ways to play with paint and create a truly dynamic space that is indulgent, refreshing, and stylish. 

Committing to color in a bathroom can be scary, with stronger colors and pops of hues relegated to accessories. But with the right paint ideas, you'll see how refreshing and fun embracing color can be, whether it is on joinery, ceiling, walls, or tiles.

So why not make a splash with these creative bathroom paint ideas and give your washroom the personality it deserves?

8 bathroom paint ideas to take your bathroom from dull to dazzling

'Paint colors can help set the foundation for a relaxing experience in the bathroom, whether it’s five minutes in the morning to get ready or an hour at the end of the day to unwind,' says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. 'Green is a calming tone. so bathrooms are the perfect space to experiment with this verdant hue because the color is a great way to break up what is often a neutral space.' 

'Clean, bright blues have a universal appearance and respond beautifully in east and south-facing rooms,' says Patrick O’Donnell, brand ambassador, Farrow & Ball. 'Lulworth Blue, like its namesake, will echo shades of the sea, so a perfect choice for bathrooms by the coast where you get that lovely translucent light.'

1. Color drench the room with paint 

A bathroom drenched in soft pink paint

(Image credit: Mary Patton)

The advantage of color drenching a room – dousing a single color throughout the space – is that paint can be applied to a variety of surfaces. Same-toned walls, surfaces and ceilings visually contract and come closer, thereby creating a more cozy feel. This way the modern bathroom feels more engaging, inviting, and contemporary.

Ideally, a light tone works best when color drenching a single room that is closed in. In larger spaces or ones with an open plan, deeper tones can be experimented with as the volume of the room is large enough to not feel too closed in with color.

Of course, painting all elements in one shade could feel overwhelming, in which case selecting a group of tonally coordinating colors across the room could work.

'I love this Farrow & Ball’s Calamine color. We used it in several spaces of the residence as it has a light and airy feel that makes for a relaxing space,' says interior designer Mary Patton. 'There’s a grey undertone to it, which makes it adapt to a variety of spaces and can complement a variety of design styles.' 

2. Go for a tactile paint finish

A bathroom with a limewash green paint

(Image credit: Studio Chelsea Hing. Photo by Rhiannon Taylor)

The choices are endless when it comes to paint finishes, from matte, high gloss enamel, plaster, and lime wash to decorative finishes. While the look of an evenly finished wall is common, what can make it immediately stand out are tactile finishes that look organic and rustic. 

Limewash paint has a textural veneer to it, thanks to the sandstone aggregate within it. The paint's romantic and storied feel has made it a popular interior finish for all kinds of spaces, including bathrooms. .

This earth tone finish looks best in ochres, greens, and terracotta tones. In this project by Studio Chelsea Hing, the tactile paint color complements the natural wood vanity and mirror frame and conjures a wonderfully restful space.

3. Zone a space with paint and tiles

A bathroom with bright yellow tiles and paint

(Image credit: Gon Architects)

In a large open space where the walls are essentially white, color can be used to help ground the space, stop it from feeling too sterile, and even increase the perceived functionality of the room.

By zoning a room with color, you can visually create two separate 'working zones' within the same space, like in this bathroom idea by Gon Architects. The sink and the sliding storage space are separated from the rest of the all-white room with colorful tile and paint.  The curving ceiling is also highlighted by the color. 

Since this particular shade of yellow packs a wallop, it is limited to a specific section so it doesn't make the space seem too overwhelming. Those seeking a mellower yellow should look at softer sandy and golden hues. 

4. Make the vanity pop with paint colors

A bathroom with bright blue vanity

(Image credit: Mary Patton)

Whether for a full bathroom remodel or just a quick update, a colorful vanity is a great way to make a dramatic statement without breaking the bank. In this image, the crisp white walls and floor tiles create a fresh, clean backdrop. The vanity’s blue hue adds a powerful punch that works well with the black lighting, fixtures, and hardware.

If you can't decide on a color to paint the vanity, look to the color wheel for inspiration. Hues that are next to each other make them a good pairing. And so, if your walls are painted green, then a blue vanity could work. Similarly, a yellow wall could do well with a light green vanity. 

5. Hand paint a bathtub

a painted bathroom with a painted tub

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Whether you have a freestanding tub or a built-in one, a plain or a worn-out one can be refinished with a splash of fun color if you learn how to paint a bathtub. Because it’s a relatively small surface area, you can go as bold and bright as you’d like.

While looking for bathroom color ideas, your local paint retailer can recommend the best paints for the tub. Choose between a matte finish, which is a good choice if the exterior of the tub has some rough or uneven areas, or a glossy finish, which is easier to clean and will make the bathroom seem brighter. 

'Whilst most bathroom sanitaryware is white - this can give carte blanche to add your personality with wall colors or even introduce an accent to a bathtub,' says Patrick of Farrow & Ball.

6. Contrast the walls and the ceiling

A bathroom with pink walls and green ceiling

(Image credit: Design by 2LG studio. Photo by Megan Taylor photographer)

To create a dramatic, enveloping feeling, paint the ceiling, and go for a striking contrast while you're at it. Most accent ceilings look best when they are complemented with a light to medium shade on the walls. For an even more powerful effect, paint the bathroom storage and doors the colors of the wall to make the room seem more evenly shaded.

In this bathroom by 2LG, the light pink tone on the walls acts as a neutral, while the green paint on the ceiling creates a striking yet sophisticated look. The green is mirrored on the tiles and even in the artwork for better color cohesion. 

7. Consider a cool monochrome look

A black and white bathroom

(Image credit: GeneralAssembly)

A black and white scheme is classic, has a yin-yang balance to it, and is the best example of color blocking. A monotone scheme also allows room for a fun color punch, either through towels, bath accessories, or fixtures. It looks great when complemented with dark wood vanities, marble latticework floors, and more. 

While choosing monochrome for walls and accessories may be easier, you can complete the dramatic black and white look with either patterned to solid-toned encaustic cement tiles. Choose a matt finish so that the floor is an anti-skid surface. 

One thing to keep in mind with black bathroom tiles is that the room can become too dark and seem closed in. Open up the windows so that the room is always airy, breezy, and bright. Also add extra lighting fixtures to maintain a well-illuminated look indoors, in the evenings.

8. Paint the wainscoting a pop hue

Green and yellow bathroom with circular mirror and industrial lighting

(Image credit: Davey Lights)

Whether stained or painted, wainscoting looks modern and gives spaces a neat look. To add a bit of flair to your traditional wainscoting installation in the bathroom, use wallpaper on the upper half of the wall, and paint the lower a colorful hue. Not only will your space have the wow factor you crave, but you will also save money on materials by only covering a portion of the wall.

'An inexpensive way to make a space feel luxurious is by painting the bathroom wall paneling or wainscoting; a practical and decorative way of updating any space in your home,' says Helen Shaw, UK Director at Benjamin Moore. 'Picking the right color to decorate them with is key; if you prefer a subtle and elegant aesthetic consider a tonal scheme by matching the wall color with the wall, or for a more impactful finish pick out a complimentary or feature color to draw the eye.'

What paint should I use in a shower?

Ideally, regular paint may not work in the wet area. Coat the walls with a degreaser like Trisodium phosphate (trisodium phosphate) so they can be painted on. If you're painting inside a wet area, like the shower, make sure you wait at least 48 hours before you start using the space, to ensure the paint has fully dried. 

Latex enamel-based paints are ideal for showers. Consider a high-gloss or semi-gloss paint instead of eggshell or flat paint, as the former is more efficient in repelling water. They are also easier to clean.

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.