Colorful bathroom ideas to add personality and fun to your design
From statement baths to clever tiling techniques, these are our favorite ways to add color to your bathroom scheme
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Have fun with your bathroom design by experimenting with these colorful bathroom ideas. Although your bathroom is often a place of sanctuary and calm, and typically a smaller room in the home, there is no reason why you can't try going bold and dynamic with a playful color palette.
‘For years, bathroom design was minimalistic - simple lines set in neutral color palettes,’ says Anna Callis, founder and designer at London Basin Company, which specializes in bright and patterned sink designs. However, recently more and more people are interested in adding some personality to their bathroom. ‘Bathrooms have become much-needed sanctuaries while we are spending more time at home, so we should indulge ourselves in beautiful colors that will nurture and revive us,’ says Joa Studholme, color curator at Farrow & Ball.
Bathrooms are also somewhere you can really indulge in strong color without upsetting the flow of your overall interior design scheme, so embrace the opportunity to do something unexpected. Whatever you want from your bathroom, there is a bathroom color idea to match. Here are our favorite ideas and top tips.
How to decide on colorful bathroom ideas that work for you
The first thing to consider is how you use the space and how you want that to reflect in your scheme. Is the bathroom a downstairs powder room, is it a personalized ensuite, or is it a sanctuary-like spa, used to relax and unwind? Whatever the purpose, there is a colorful scheme to match.
Also think how you would like to introduce the color. Is it a bold lick of paint on the walls, is it through pops and accents of color. Decide on how much color you realistically want to introduce and go from there.
5. Try a statement basin
If you’d like to limit your color to one artistic flourish, think about colorful bathroom sink ideas, with a boldly colored basin - providing a beautiful focal point to the room. In this example, a bright pink gives this bathroom a retro look. 'We were looking for bathrooms that would play a little tongue in cheek,' explains the founder of Jeffreys Interiors (opens in new tab).
'We wanted the contemporary build to speak to the designs of the main house and its period features. We came across this gem of a sink at The Discontinued Coloured Bathroom Company. Along with the towel rail and shower fittings, the shape echoes the more traditional styles retained in the main house, however the bright pink colour paired with the more contemporary finishes, curves, clean lines and tile patterns give it a whole new lease of life. Less 80s avocado suite, more Milan Chic.'
2. Paint a feature fireplace a bright color
Make the most of the architectural features of your bathroom and use color and paint to highlight them. In this scheme by Sawyers Design (opens in new tab), the walls are painted in a bright coral, including the fireplace, adding a bit of drama and personality to the overall look.
3. Add a statement bath
If the core focus of your bathroom is all about the bathtime and you’re looking to really emphasize the bath itself, consider adding a pop of color with a statement bathtub. This will really draw the eye and highlight the room’s intention as a center for relaxation and self-indulgence. In this bathroom designed by Studio DB (opens in new tab), the jewel-like tone of the wall matched with the bright purple of the bath work to make this green bathroom idea both indulgent and luxurious.
‘The private bathing and dressing room were designed to be a destination for relaxation,’ says Britt Zunino, principal of Studio DB. ‘We chose viridian green to complement the deep purple bathtub and lilac marble baseboards. The rich jewel tones layered with a metallic, hand-painted mural created a glamorous background for our boudoir setting,’ says Zunino.
4. Don't be afraid of a clashing scheme
Clashing colors take bravery to try out in the home, but if executed well, the result can be a pleasing scheme that will give you an energetic start to your day. Red and pink in this bathroom embraces the clash, with a bold impact. The bathroom is a great place to experiment with clashing schemes, sparking individuality and transforming the space in a few simple steps.
5. Use patterned tiles to add personality
A patterned tile is a simple way of adding interest to the bathroom. In this example by San Francisco-based designer, Regan Baker (opens in new tab), the bright orange pattern cascades down the shower wall and seamlessly onto the floor. Baker's advice when picking from the multitude of bathroom tile ideas out there, is to always choose a tile for the space you have, not what is trending, and most importantly choose a tile that makes an appropriate personal statement.
'This means considering the architecture of the home, and whether the material and color work with the other architectural details. For example: how will the patterned tile be viewed, how do you start and stop the pattern, and does the pattern and color complement or emphasize the size of your room?
'Here we use a large format papaya patterned tile on the floor and walls to visually expand the space and give it a focal point under the clerestory window. The tile feels like art, which we felt appropriate given the bathroom is the focal point when coming down our main stairs. We carefully chose the layout so that it moved seamlessly from the floor to the wall.'
6. Try color drenching
If your bathroom is a smaller space, it’s tempting to try and make the space feel bigger with light and airy schemes. But equally effective is to embrace the size and go dramatic in one bold color.
In this example from Drummonds (opens in new tab), a bold and bright green has been used on the floor and extended onto the ceiling, drenching the entire room. Inspired by Moroccan hammams, this wetroom idea was designed to be one of the major wow factors of an Art Nouveau apartment in Malta's Balluta Buildings.
The client’s brief to local architectural practice, Cuschieri Architects (opens in new tab) was to restore it to its Art Nouveau glory and it certainly succeeds in this bright choice of green and strong hexagonal tiles in the same shade. ‘The brushed brass finish provides a warm counterbalance to the vibrant green, geometric tiles which adorn the walls and floor,’ says James Lentaigne, creative director at Drummonds.
7. Look to the Seventies for color creativity
Take inspiration from the latest bathroom trends in interiors and opt for a bright orange scheme like this Prospect Refuge Studio (opens in new tab)-designed home in Minneapolis. Orange is having a moment in the spotlight, from terracotta to turmeric, it’s the hottest shade of the season.
Bring it to the modern day by partnering it with a similar tone of red and the result is a scheme with real warmth and interest to a bathroom. For this project, a turn-of-the-century home, principal designer, Victoria Sass looked to the history of the house for influence.
8. Get creative with your grouting
Another clever colorful bathroom idea is to use tile and grout color combinations creatively to add personality. Think about the spacing between the tiles to really emphasize the pattern. ‘Grout is a necessity in a bathroom when using tiles, so why not consider it as another layer in bathroom design,’ says Susan Roach, designer at West One Bathrooms (opens in new tab). ‘Sometimes, we blend the tone of grout in with the tiles, making the lines almost disappear or sometimes we go bold and make it a feature. I often use a contrasting grout to highlight the tile layout, like herringbone as we want to make the pattern a feature.’
‘If the shape of the tile is particularly interesting, like a scallop or hexagon, we want this to stand out rather than blend and would choose an appropriate color. In a bright and colorful bathroom such as this, we used yellow as a strong contrast to the turquoise tiles, which also highlighted the square-shaped tiles giving a retro vibe to the room.’
9. Opt for bright colors
Cheerful, sunny and energetic, yellow is fast emerging as one of the main colors within interiors. After a gloomy couple of years, people are wanting to inject some happiness into their home, and what better color to choose for your bathroom, giving you a boost much-needed energy at the beginning of every day.
‘Warm and earthy tones such as yellow and coral will naturally bring a zest and sense of energy to a room. Yellows in particular, are known to lift a mood and evoke a feeling of warmth and joy,’ says Helen Shaw of Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab).
‘The secret to making the colour yellow work in your bathroom is to use the right shade of yellow that resonates with you, and using it in the right proportions,’ says Barrie Cutchie, Design Director at BC Designs (opens in new tab). ‘In terms of picking the correct shade of yellow, it comes down to what resonates with you otherwise you won’t get the positive qualities of happiness and optimism that yellow should bring. Being surrounded by too much yellow, the wrong yellow for you or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones within the colour scheme can easily create disharmony.’
10. Go bold with your wallpaper choice
Embrace the space with a bold, large-scale bathroom wallpaper pattern - a real design statement that can surprise guests. 'Whether you’re looking to add personality to your bathroom design scheme or create wow factor in your downstairs loo, wallpaper is a fantastic way to bring the joy of color and pattern into what is often a stark white space,’ says Kate French, creative director at Dado Atelier (opens in new tab).
‘The Mille Feuilles wallpaper in blue and red features little red dots which are perfect for picking out as a highlight color on skirting or flooring. The transient nature of a bathroom means it's an excellent room to have fun and bring in a sense of personality, style the space as you would any other room with interesting art and characterful mirrors,’ she adds.
This bold print was used in a design by Schumacher (opens in new tab), with a tropical leaf print that climbs up the walls and onto the ceiling.
11. Paint the ceiling
For an unconventional look, think outside the box when it comes to your bathroom. Experiment with the walls you paint and go bold on the ceiling. In this example, a ‘Deep Space Blue’ focuses on the height of the room and cleverly distorts the size and shape of the space.
‘If you’re someone who enjoys an indulgent bath, the ceiling is one of the most important considerations when it comes to color, opt for a shade that makes you feel calming and relaxed,’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director of Little Greene (opens in new tab).
12. Zone the space using color
Consider how you zone the space and draw the eye around the room by dividing it up with blocks of color. In this example from Pandora Taylor (opens in new tab), the shower is separated from the rest of the space and texture is also used to change the flow of the room from paint to tiling. ‘Using contrast color blocking with paint and tiles also makes your bathroom feel bigger. Here, statement tiles in your shower enclosure create an inviting, surprising enclave,’ she says.
What type of paint should I use in a bathroom?
Aside from colorful touches in the bathroom, think about the type of paint you are using on your walls. Paint in the bathroom can throw up certain challenges that you may not experience in the rest of the house due to its damp nature.
Modern paints are mould and mildew-resistant and encapsulate an advanced technology designed to fight the issues that come with wet rooms. It is important to use emulsion too, which is made specifically to cope with condensation.
Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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