The all-white look has long dominated bathroom trends, with gleaming tiles that feel clean and contemporary. But this is slowly changing as we bring warmer colors and bold pops into the space. 'A bathroom does not have to be all white to be timeless,' says Mindy O'Connor, principal and founder of Melinda Kelson O'Connor Architecture & Interiors.
Instead, we're seeing a move toward earthy neutrals and natural colors for a timeless, trend-proof color palette made of shades that are elegant, reliable, and relaxing. If homeowners are embracing bolder shades, these are typically dark and jewel-like, again encouraging a calming atmosphere in the space that feels indulgent. If you're redecorating the space and want a modern bathroom color that you'll love for years to come, we've done the hard work and asked the experts for their top color tips.
1. Dark earth tones
Earthy paint colors are grounded in nature, and anything that refers to nature and the outdoors surpasses trends, giving it a timeless aesthetic. I love the deep brown paint on the walls in this bathroom by direccion. It feels luxurious, indulgent, and calming.
'Opting for earthy colors for tiles, walls, and fixtures will help keep a bathroom more timeless,' says Victoria Holly, principal and founder of Victoria Holly Interiors. 'Earth tones are timeless and don’t feel attached to a specific era, like how, for example, the 1980s might be known for pastels.'
2. Pale neutrals
White is a common color for bathrooms, selected for its contemporary aesthetic that feels clean and bright. But a white bathroom can feel stark. This is why we'd recommend mixing a pure white with a warmer undertone for a neutral color scheme that feels warm and cozy. Perfect for those mornings where you need a well-lit space to run through your morning routine, but adapting to the evening for when you need your bathroom to act as a temple of relaxation.
If looking for paint, designer Emily Brown has a few neutral selections. 'To achieve a timeless look in bathrooms, consider drenching your walls, trim, and ceiling in a warm and inviting light beige like Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams or Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore.'
'One of our favorite paint colors for bathrooms is Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter HC-172,' says Jessica Stambaugh of JS Interiors. 'It’s a light-balanced grey neutral. It plays well with various light marble tones, concrete, and natural wood tones - as well as color. It is as gentle and clean as a white, but brings more depth and warmth.'
It is shown here on the walls and baseboards, complemented with a concrete sink, antique vanity, and charcoal tile floor.
3. Jewel tones
'Bold tile, wall or vanity colors and deep saturated or colorful hues can be timeless as well,' says Mindy O'Connor. Just be sure to approach with caution. A forest green or deep burgundy turns your bathroom into a sanctuary, but make sure you light the space well to keep it from feeling too gloomy.
'Treat bathrooms as a sanctuary space, richly textured with art, furniture and colors that remove any of that clinical aspect,' advises Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball. 'On that note, avoid clean whites and steer clear of sharp, cool yellows, they do nothing to flatter the complexion. Look to rich, verdant greens like Yeabridge Green or Calke Green that create just the right contrast against white sanitary ware.'
If you do want to go for a jewel-toned bathroom, Emily recommends carefully splitting the color, and not going for paint on the whole wall, but instead dividing up the wall. 'If you prefer color, introduce subtle deep hues found in historical eras,' she says. 'If your bathroom includes lower bathroom wall paneling, introduce a timeless darker color like a deep mauve, slate blue, or dusty green.
'On the upper portion of the wall, use a lighter, soft beige or off-white. When aiming for timelessness, steer clear of overly bold or stark choices, as they may lean towards a more modern or trendy aesthetic.'
4. Natural materials
For designer Corinne Mathern, a bathroom works best when the drivers of the color palette come from natural materials. In this wood bathroom, plaster walls mix with stained wood to a spa-like atmosphere, and feels warm and soothing.
'A warm plaster throughout a bathroom nods to souks and hammams from hundreds of years and still feels timeless today,' she says. 'It’s a soothing finish that makes the walls feel like cashmere.'
5. Pale pinks
Finally, pink is a perfect bathroom color, but stay clear of those bright, hot pink hues that feel trend-led. Instead, opt for an earthy pink bathroom with a dark undertone. 'Earthy pinks still rule on the decorating spectrum,' says Patrick. 'They enhance the glow of complexion when preening in the mirror.'
'Embracing youthful elegance, we chose a blush-toned quartzite with radiant red veining for our client's young daughter's bathroom,' says Adam Hunter. 'This stone captures a sense of playful sophistication, enveloping the space with enduring joy and beauty.'
'In the bathroom, we love using warmer, lighter colors to create a timeless and serene ambiance for enjoying those self-care moments,' says Adam Hunter, who designed this bathroom.'
3 timeless paints to try for a "trend-proof" bathroom
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. 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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