From walls to fixtures, people are always asking our designers which colors are "right" for the bathroom. But guess what? The answer is... there is no "right" answer! Our team weighs in.
Little known Homepolish fact… whenever a reader comments on our magazine or in our social feeds, we make sure to write back and help each person out with their interior design struggles, big or small. We also keep track of those comments to know what’s piquing your little interior design minds. And you know what we keep hearing about? Bathrooms. And color. People want to know how to choose the right colors for their bathrooms.
Bathrooms are undoubtedly an important part of any home, because they are an inescapable part of your daily routine. However, despite that fact, bathrooms are often overlooked in home décor. We focus on the statement rooms of the living room or master bedroom and forget about those smaller, private rooms. Well, our designers say NO MORE. Check out below for their color tips for bathrooms.
Bathrooms are undoubtedly an important part of any home, because they are an inescapable part of your daily routine. However, despite that fact, bathrooms are often overlooked in home décor.
Show Your True Colors
Let’s get down to the base color of the walls and flooring. Looking through many of the Homepolish projects in our archive, you can see a pattern. Our bathroom spaces lean toward whites and neutrals to create a sense of openness and serenity. Especially for the master (or largest) bathroom in a home, our designers nearly unanimously opted for light hues. Specific favorites were Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray, Gray Owl, Distant Gray, and White Dove; Behr’s Polar Bear White; Valspar’s Cinder Block; and Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White. These colors will allow natural light to flourish.
However, that isn’t to say that neutrals are the “right” answer. In fact, Homepolish’s Sara Whitehead goes so far to say, “There are no go-to colors for bathrooms for me! This is the space to blow. It. Up. This is the time to try out all those jewel tones and bold wallpapers. Designing your bathroom is a great place to gain the confidence to go bold and experiment.” Guest bathrooms and powder rooms are favorite places to try out bold colors or even kooky patterned wallpapers. The idea is to surprise your visitors by trying something daring and out of the box. A crazy powder room by designer in LA or a geometric bathroom in a therapist’s office both come to mind.
When it comes to paint finishes, our designers all said that satin or semi-gloss are best for bathrooms. This is not so much a matter of taste as it is functionality. Since bathrooms are humid spaces, paint finishes need to aid in stain and mildew resistance. Sara checked Consumer Reports, and we found that Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel is the highest rated.
Finally, when it comes to color, whether it comes through paint, tile, porcelain, or cement materials, keep the interior design mantra of BALANCE in mind. If you have a busy mint penny tile on the floor, perhaps you should chill out on the walls… you don’t wanna over do it.
There are no go-to colors for bathrooms for me! Designing your bathroom is a great place to gain the confidence to go bold and experiment.
Other Opportunities for Pop
Though the walls, floor, and vanity are the largest pieces of the bathroom, that is not to say they are the ONLY places where color play a role. Hardware finishes and linens add a layer of depth to these spaces, and it’s essential to specify them in complimentary colors.
When it comes to playing it safe, chrome and stainless steel have been go-to favorites in the bathroom for years, mainly for their water-stain resistant properties. But you shouldn’t feel limited to only those. Brass had a surge in popularity for the last couple years, and looking ahead, our designers are seeing more and more matte black fixtures as well as a return to the retro finish of gunmetal (#tbt interior design moment). These darker fixtures can look especially dramatic in all-white or gray spaces.
For towels and linens, Homepolish designers Shannon Tate and Angela Belt answered with practically the same response: Turkish towels in the spring/summer and terrycloth cotton for the fall/winter. As Shannon says, “I love Turkish towels… the style, the fringe… But, they are very thin (aka not totally appropriate for all seasons). In the colder months, I’d rather be wrapped up in a warm cotton terry.” After all, there is no better feeling after coming out of the cold environs than having a nice hot soak or shower and cuddling up in a warm towel (hopefully by a fire with hot cocoa).
Let the sunshine in
Light is a must… in EVERY part of the home. But none so much as the bathroom. While all of our designers agree that natural sunlight is preferable, most bathrooms (especially smaller bathrooms in cities) don’t have the luxury of large windows, so you have to create the sense of it.
Shannon weighs in, saying, “For overall lighting, I think it’s great to have a combo of recessed (ambient lighting) and vanity lighting (task lighting)… and everything on a dimmer.” This ties right back in to our article on functional lighting. You need to create a space that is well-lit but not clinical. Overhead lighting on dimmers will allow for that. Around the functional area of the vanity, try sconces. As Homepolish’s Taylor Edwards says, “Not only do sconces become a piece of artwork, they provide light without shadows, which is essential for things like make-up application, shaving, hair styling, etc.” Add in some candles, and you’ll be all set.
Add a touch of living color
Again, remember how we said that bathrooms are naturally humid and wet environments? Well, that also makes them great places for plants to thrive. Taylor is a major proponent for this, saying, “Plants have the ability to instantly add life to a space, and many help keep the air in your home clean… so win, win!” Orchids and ferns were favorite selections, but if you’re afraid of your black thumb, you can also opt for dried branches or sprigs. Eucalyptus, for example, not only looks beautiful, but when it is activated by shower humidity, it releases oils similar to menthol which will rejuvenate your body.