Let's be honest, black bathrooms aren't for everyone. The instinct to go bright and light in a bathroom is almost hardwired in. Taking these spaces, which are often the smallest rooms in the house, and going for a bold, dark design with black requires a brave soul.
Yet, the result of using black in a bathroom can be mesmerizing, luxurious and indulgent, though getting the balance right in this space can be tricky. By choosing the right paints, finishes, accent features and more, you can make this bathroom color suit your needs. Don't shy away from the color but use it to your advantage.
We asked some top designers to give us their advice for creating a black bathroom that's dramatic, but still works for everyday use. Here's what they had to say.
10 black bathroom ideas for a one-of-a-kind space
1. Add a luxe factor with glossy black finishes
Freestanding tubs remain in vogue in modern bathrooms, and now is a time to give them a dramatic flair. If it's a black bathroom you desire, choose a bathtub in black that looks unique, elegant, and stands in like the room's crowning glory. From metal, stone to even carbon fibre, the choices are many.
However, there's something particularly spectacular about a modern gloss finish in black. 'In this black and white bathroom, white serves as the accent color,' says interior designer Jeff Andrews (opens in new tab). 'The centerpiece of this large primary bathroom is the bathtub from Waterworks (opens in new tab) which we had lacquered in black. The floor, which features a black and white pattern, is also from Waterworks. We added drama with black sheers and pair of black floor lamps.'
2. Choose a black vanity with brass handles
Going all-in on black takes a certain confidence, especially if yours is a small bathroom. Something like a bathroom vanity is a big enough block of color to make an impact, without overwhelming your space.
Even with a smaller quantity of black, however, you need to pay attention to how you balance it. Warm metallics, for example, are a natural pairing and result in elegance, as in this modern bathroom design.
'The contrast created between the black and white tiles has been balanced by the warmth of the brass fixtures and patterns in the accent tiles,' says Rati Mishra, founder of Dekorati Interiors (opens in new tab).
3. Make a small space cocooning with matte black
A moody paint job in matte paint can give a cozy boost to a small bathroom. In this tiny space, interior designer Mary Patton has painted the walls and ceiling both in a dramatic black, creating a cocooning feeling.
'Despite the minimalist accent details in this bathroom, we brought a moody black color like this one from Farrow & Ball to create a clean and crisp feel; it worked just as well as a white or neutral shade would,' says Mary.
Sometimes choosing a dark bathroom idea is the perfect remedy for a space that is struggling for natural light. Black embraces its darkness confidently, while painting it bright white may just read drab and grey.
4. Or try a paint with sheen
Matte paint is often the go-to for projects, but don't count out different paint finishes and what they can contribute, especially when using black. Whether you opt for a super shiny gloss, or a satin finish with a slight sheen as pictured, this paint reflects the light around the room, making the space seem brighter and more inviting. Plus, it can be a more practical finish to clean, too.
'We used black paint for an entirely monochrome setting in the washroom of one of our projects, which has a semi-shiny satin finish,' says Enis Karavil, creative director at SANAYI313 (opens in new tab). 'We imagined the washroom as a black box, and finished the black shell with silver wall sconces and accessories. With the angular form of the ceiling which tricks the eye into thinking it's higher than it actually is, this monochromatic scheme has made the narrow space appear larger.'
5. Introduce texture to the walls
When trying out this color drenching idea, consider introducing tiles and wall covering ideas in different textures and finishes to add interest to the space too, and avoid it looking too one-note.
Tiles are a simple way to introduce texture, whether you choose glossy styles or a more rustic, handmade aesthetic, but outside of splash zones, ideas like paint effects and bathroom wallpaper can be a great way to bring depth and richness to an all-black design.
6. Keep it classic with black and white
Monochrome is always a safe choice, even in the bathroom, and there are some amazingly on-trend ways to introduce it into your space.
The biggest black and white trend right now is checkered flooring - a pattern that can look easily elegant, rustic or even contemporary. Whether painted, linoleum, indoors or out, there's an option to bring this bathroom tile look in your home.
'This bathroom was a full gut-rehab,' says Sanda Stojakovic, founder of Stojakovic Design Studio (opens in new tab). 'It was a tiny bathroom that could barely fit two people and the layout was awkward.'
'One of my favorite design elements is the classic black and white checked floor tiles laid out diagonally,' Sanda adds. 'They not only add visual interest but also make the bathroom feel a lot bigger.'
The designer also wanted to add contrast with a bright color accent. 'I knew I wanted bold pops of lipstick red throughout the room but I wanted to pair it with something classic and this tile was an easy decision,' Sanda confesses.
7. Use black fixtures
This bold powder room uses tiles with a small, graphic print to give the space wow-factor, while also creating a perfectly balanced black and white scheme. To give the design an even more modern outlook, and to tip it into black's favor, a floating vanity basin in black completes the space.
Black is a huge bathroom trend when it comes to fittings, so you'll be able to find almost anything in this shade, from bathtubs and taps to shower screens and towel rails.
8. Bring in earthy elements for a warmer interior
A black bathroom doesn't have to be a space that only boasts of high end finishes and luxurious elements. It can be earthy and inviting - all you need to do is introduce rustic elements. Bring in rugged materials, such as rough-hewn wood beams, stone and wood.
'The black adds a contemporary look that the clients wanted while the carefully selected used antiques and rare objects pay homage to the history of the house,' says Enis from SANAYI313, who created this design.
Interesting textures have also been applied to the wall through specialist paints. 'The special effects paint gives the dark, textured walls dimension which complements the naturally carved stone sink and the artwork by Melisa Mizrakli,' Enis adds.
9. Try black marble
When it comes to a luxurious bathroom, nothing beats the look of marble. Although plain dark marble can sometimes seem severe, the intricately veined ones look stunning. You can break up the darkness with shimmering metallic accents.
A great way to complement the dark countertop and create a black bathroom is by choosing black floor tiles too. The two deep-toned elements can be offset by lighter walls and ceiling. Plus, a large chandelier will not only add drama and light, but also encourage you to look up and around the room, taking in its diverse elements as a whole.
10. Embrace 3D textures
'We recently had a client who wanted a complete remodel to create his forever home,' says says interior designer Kimberley Harrison (opens in new tab). 'He asked for a modern, masculine and sophisticated aesthetic that incorporated metal into the design. Not afraid of dark colors, our instinct was to blend textural elements to bring warmth and visual interest to the home.'
To drive home the drama of the space, an interesting ridged tile was chosen for the walls, bringing depth to the scheme. 'We selected Zephyr Nero floor to ceiling tile by Artistic Tile with its inlaid brass, curved lines over hand-carved ridges for one wall and painted the adjacent wall a deep black,' Kimberly explains. 'This black bathroom truly makes a statement.'
Is black good for a small bathroom?
When it comes to small bathroom color ideas, homeowners tend to be shy using deeper, darker hues, thinking it'll shrink the space. However, black and dark colors can also give the room depth, and a feeling of endlessness. Plus, with plenty of lighting sources in the room, the bathroom can be made to look big and bright.
Certain clever tricks too can be used while dealing with a dark paint. You could choose gloss or semi-gloss paint that reflects light and makes a room feel bigger. Consider adding other metallic elements like brass or gold fixtures that ensure a constant glimmer in the room.
If you have windows in the bathroom, make sure you open them up; perhaps adding sheer curtains or etched glass for privacy. The constant natural light too will keep the room bright and airy.
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari 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.
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