Red is the Unexpected Bathroom Color Trend of the Moment — And These Designers Say It's Better Than Beige

The color red may not traditionally be associated with relaxation, but these leading designers show it can make bathrooms both beautiful and calming

A red bathroom with red walls, shower and ceiling and a wooden cabinet
(Image credit: Jack Lovel for Grotto Studio)

Blood. Passion. Rage. When we think of the color red, images of desire or danger are often the first things that spring to mind. It’s an intense, highly-strung color — not the kind that you’d typically want in a space designed to help you unwind. But increasingly, designers are proving that red bathrooms can be luxurious, comforting and even soothing. 

‘Red bathrooms, particularly ones that echo the deep, earthy tones found in Shadow House, possess a unique allure due to their ability to blend warmth, richness, and a touch of boldness,’ says Caig Nener, Director at Grotto Studio, who designed the bathroom at Shadow House above. ‘This is particularly beneficial in a bathroom, where starting the day with energy is often desired.’

‘This particular approach to red also incorporates a sense of comfort, making the bathroom not just a utilitarian space but a retreat,' Caig adds. 'It can transform an ordinary bathroom into an extraordinary, luxe experience.’ 

Creating a tranquil red bathroom requires careful thought and precision. Here designers share their tips on how to achieve this bathroom color idea, from choosing the right shade to adding contrasting elements. 

1. Go for warmer tones 

A red bathroom with beige floor tiles

(Image credit: Ruth Maria Murphy for Kingston Lafferty Design)

To design a red bathroom that feels relaxing, choose a warm and rich shade rather than decorating with primary colors and choosing a bright, pillar box red. Look for colors with brown and purple tones, such as oxblood, rust or burgundy. 

‘The most important thing with red as the color is the tone,’ says Roisin Lafferty, Creative Director at Kingston Lafferty Design, who designed the bathroom above. ‘We worked up multiple samples to get the best tone and hue for this bathroom, resulting in an impactful space but one with a mature and sophisticated tonality. Red can be too loud and given it is within a home, the warmer tones are better at creating a more inviting atmosphere.’ 

A red bathroom with red tiled walls and contrasting stone shower

(Image credit: Ruth Maria Murphy for Kingston Lafferty Design)

2. Don't be afraid to color drench

A red bathroom with red ceiling, walls and floor

(Image credit: Sam Frost for Studio Life/Style)

As these bathrooms prove, when it comes to working with red, it pays to go all in. Color drenching in red might sound daunting, but with the right shade it can have a soothing, cocooning effect that will make your space feel more like a modern bathroom. Choosing tiles with varying tones or imperfect finishes can help to soften the look, as demonstrated with the Zellige tiles in the bathroom above by Studio Life/Style. 

‘This bathroom feels striking and bold yet still soothing with the Moroccan imperfect tile,’ says Shannon Wollack, Founder and Partner at Studio Life/Style. ‘We loved pairing the red tile with the calacatta viola slab vanity… both bold, but they somehow work together!’

3. Add green

A green and red bathroom with a white sink

(Image credit: Leandro Bulzzano for Maye)

We don't always think of red as a color that goes with green, but actually it's red’s complementary color as they sit opposite each other on the color wheel. This means adding green will bring a particular kind of vibrancy to your red bathroom. Choosing natural, earthy tones (like in the example above by Maye) will prevent the look from feeling like Santa’s grotto. And if adding green tiles or cabinets feels like too bold a move, a few houseplants can achieve the same energetic effect. 

‘This project actually originated from the color green,’ says Maye Ruiz, Creative Director and Founder of Maye. ‘But as we progressed in the design process, we discovered that citrus tones added vitality to the spaces without darkening them. Additionally, they integrated perfectly with the rest of the palette, primarily composed of blush and pink tones. The introduction of red and burgundy into this palette provided a perfect frame for the space, adding a touch of sophistication that enhanced the other colors.’  

4. Keep things natural

A red tiled bathroom with a natural wood cabinet

(Image credit: Jack Lovel for Grotto Studio)

Nothing is as soothing as spending time in nature, and so a key trick to making any space feel more calming is to incorporate natural bathroom elements. Along with choosing earthy tones, prioritizing natural materials, daylight and views to the outdoors will make a red bathroom feel more tranquil. 

In the design above by Grotto Studio, Director Caig Nener incorporated jarrah wood. This, he says, ‘enhances the warmth and richness of the red tones’ thanks to its ‘natural reddish color’. 

He continues: ‘Utilize large windows to fill the space with natural light, especially in the morning,’ says Caig Nener, Director at Grotto Studio. ‘This not only makes the room feel more spacious but also accentuates the depth and vibrancy of the reds. Ensure the bathroom has a view, preferably of nature or a garden, to connect the interior space with the outside, further enhancing the tranquil sanctuary feel.’ 

5. Add contrasting elements 

A bathroom with tiles in ox blood red with a wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Ann Sacks, Kannon Collection in Canela Twist in Gloss finish)

When it comes to bathroom finishing touches, try breaking up the space with a few contrasting details. Take, for example, the white marble and metallic tapware added to the design above by Ann Sacks. Contrasting details will help to lower the intensity of a red bathroom and reinforce a sense of calm. 

‘When designing with red, choose deep, rich, timeless reds rather than bright reds that can feel jarring,’ says DeeDee Gundberg, Chief Designer at tile brand Ann Sacks. ‘Offset with contrasting elements such as wood, brass, and marble for a truly stunning space.’

Red Bathroom Accessories to Embrace the Look

Kate Hollowood is a freelance journalist who writes about a range of topics for Marie Claire UK, from current affairs to features on health, careers and relationships. She is a regular contributor to Livingetc, specializing in reporting on American designers and global interiors trends. Based in London, Kate has also written for titles like the i paper, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan and It’s Nice That.