Small space living is here to stay – we are the tiny house generation, after all... But small doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on style, far from it! The latest colors for small bathrooms pack a punch of mood and scheme enhancing suave, embracing every cozy nook in a transformative and striking way.
The smallest dog barks the loudest, right? In the same sense, even the smallest bathrooms can shine the brightest and become beautiful ‘boutique spa’ retreats in their own right. Given the right choice of color, of course...
Small bathroom color ideas to enhance space
Transform your perfectly petite bathroom with a cool color hit. From zen den neutrals that shower a sense of Japandi calm, to bubble-up brights full of flair, and twilight shades that plunge a scheme into the dramatic dark side, there’s no color palette that a small bathroom can’t handle, given the right careful consideration and expert advice.
Justyna Korczynska, Crown color consultant says: ‘Color drenching, especially when using darker brave colors, works best in small spaces like a hallway, corridor or small bathroom. By enveloping a small space in a color, the focus shifts from noticing the size of that space to just appreciation of the shades that surround us.’
Treat your small bathroom to a color dipped scrub-up with the freshest bathroom paints for 2022.
1. Relax with sea to sky shades of blue
Turn your small space into a tranquil, ‘Blue therapy’ retreat inspired by nature. ‘Blue therapy’ aka the healing benefits of being near water is a lifestyle changer for the body and mind. Absorb this mindful concept into your blue bathroom decor to elevate the daily ritual of taking a bath or shower.
‘Blue is one of the most popular colors in small bathrooms. It can have a positive effect on our mood as it connects us to a blue sky or ocean found in nature, which helps us to feel relaxed. The color blue is known to help calm the mind and produce a feeling of tranquility, a perfect sensation for winding down at the end of your day,’ says Joanna Ross, general manager of product & innovation, Sheridan.
2. Embrace dark wilderness shades
Dare to do and go dark in a small bathroom. More often than not compact spaces lack natural light, so it’s easy to understand why there’s a tendency to keep things bright with a versatile white. But the thing is, like it or lump it a small space is just that, and no amount of dazzling white paint is going to miraculously change the square footage, just the illusion perhaps. So why not flip things upside-down, tweak the approach, and embrace the coziness of what IS there, instead of trying to make it something it’s not?
Delectable dark hues offer rich intensity and an association with vast wildernesses. Dark shades comfort and reassure, whilst allowing a sense of escapism, perfectly apt to a dark bathroom scheme where we seek retreat to soak away the stresses of the day.
‘Most people don't think that small bathrooms can be painted a dark color. Since dark colors create depth, it's a great idea to give it a try. The key is knowing where you can use the dark pain is the key. Most of the time, the tile around the bathtub and shower reflects the light, so if you want to use a dark color, that's the place to do it. Use a middle shade in the paint the biggest majority of the bathroom and then a light shade on the trim,’ says Marco Bizzley, interior designer, House Grail.
3. Green serene jungle paradise
Step beneath the waterfall shower and adventure into your very own small space jungle with a lush green bathroom scheme. A hot topic (and tropic) color trend for 2022, verdant shades of green are transforming every space – trad or modern, bringing the nurturing essence of the outside-in, and breathing fresh life into our homes and heads.
‘Green is a color that will never go out of style, and always seems to come back in one form or another. We know that nature is a source of peace for many people, and bringing in this natural color makes perfect sense - it’s a total mood boost,’ says Shawna Percival, Styleberry Creative Interiors.
Green goes with every color. I am not kidding! Think about the rainbow, and pair green with every color on the spectrum—its versatility is sound. It can also lean both bold or soft, depending on the shade. Varying shades can also look incredible together (not always the case for all colors,) and better yet, offer a universal appeal. Green will always feel fresh—and who doesn’t love a fresh home?!’ She continues.
4. Reflect the light with glossy tiles
Add interest, contrast and depth to small bathrooms with dynamic tile formations in different finishes. Use tonal small bathroom tiles in a united color palette for a subtle mermaid effect, or mix and match different shapes and sizes in accent hues for a jazzy, color confident twist.
On using tiles in small bathrooms, Andrew Bendall, marketing manager, Craven Dunnill Jackfield, advises: ‘Patterned tiles and decors are perfect for creating a statement shower enclosure that makes any small bathroom stand out. Matt tiles in light, muted and natural tones or highly reflective gloss tiles are also great ways of creating a sense of space.’
Interior designer, Esther Dormer comments: ‘I believe all colors of every room should complement each other so it is important to consider the color scheme of the entire house when choosing a color for any bathroom. Wallpaper or tiles definitely make more of a statement and using various colors of tile in a small bathroom can really add interest and a huge impact.’
5. Dive into a destination look with shades of coral
Evocative of sun-basked lands and ripe with exotic allure, juicy shades of orange radiate warming energy into small spaces. For a dose of peachy positivity and holiday nostalgia, incorporate a gorgeous palette of ombre sunset hues ranging from pale coral to baked terracotta, worked across mixed material surfaces including painted and tiled walls and floors. Invite a few potted plants to join the party to enhance the destination idyll.
In research conducted by Valspar, Leading applied color psychology expert, Justine Fox talks of the mood boosting effects of color, especially throughout the sun deprived months: ‘When nights get shorter and the world outside turns cold, our instinct is to draw in and conserve energy. Bringing vibrancy and energy into our spaces using uplifting color goes some way to counteract this feeling. Clean, fresh shades are optically brightening and reflective, enhancing the sense of light in any room.’
The experts at AQVA Bathrooms have revealed how earthy oranges can turn your bathroom into a relaxing sanctuary: ‘These combined with another bold color as a feature, offset by a slightly off-white and accented with a brighter relative of your feature, such as gold. This combination of earthy, bright and neutral tones can be used for many colors, especially those in the warmer orange-red spectrum. This will create not only a stylish finish but an atmosphere reminiscent of hot summer holidays and sun-drenched Sundays that is sure to help you unwind.’
6. Contrast dark shades with light
Add color to your bathroom design with striking two-tones. Color combo number one for this high contrast look has to be the divine pairing of deeply dark green and blushing pale pink. This awesome twosome might sit at opposite sides of the color wheel, but when aligned in a modern bathroom scheme, they complement one another like love's young dream team, creating a fashionable, sophisticated and truly addictive, united front.
Zac Houghton, CEO, Loftera advises: Bathrooms should not have too much color on the walls or in accessories. Otherwise, it will look cluttered and chaotic. Pick one or two dominant colors and use them throughout the room. The rest of the bathroom can be in neutral hues, like white and beige.
7. It’s playtime with primary brights
Like a game of hide and seek, it’s time to reveal your small bathroom’s cheeky side! Have fun with playful pops of primary colors: red, yellow and blue, throughout your entire decor scheme. Choose a favorite primary color as your foundation and work this across the walls, bathroom flooring, and even the ceiling if you’re feeling really brave, for a bold, maximalist look that spreads joy. Highlight the base shade with patterned tiles, decorative accessories and bathware in primary and secondary color splashes, for a spirited aesthetic that oozes personality and charm.
8. Elevate your space to a spa-like retreat with neutrals
There’s lots to consider when selecting a bathroom paint color – with so many fixed features like vanities, tile and flooring, the wall color is really what pulls the space together. Feeling overwhelmed? Fear not – reassuring, warm neutrals never fail to provide continuity and effortless flow with an everlasting, calming effect…
Ashley Banbury, senior color designer, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, advises: ‘Neutral shades with a touch of warmth like Whole Wheat (HGSW2186) from our 2022 Color Collection of the Year, Softened Refuge, is a beautiful neutral that can elevate a space to make your bathroom a spa-like retreat. The warmth of the shade embraces natural light making a small bathroom feel large, open and airy. The yellow tones in the shade makes the room uplifting, inviting - giving a room life to start your day!’
Isabel Fernandez, director, Quorn Stone, agrees: ‘When it comes to bathroom shower tiles there are plenty of ideas to gather! We often find that contradictory to following a specific trend, the main aim for client’s bathrooms is to create a calming space that will become the perfect place to unwind each evening. With this in mind, we find neutral colors work best for wall and floor tiles in small bathrooms and shower areas. Neutral, light tones will also brighten the room and give the illusion of a larger space.’
9. Stay cool as a cucumber with wabi-sabi neutrals
Japandi style marries the smooth, modern lines of Scandi design with the minimal, functional, elegance of the Japanese aesthetic. Beyond the look, this trend values slow-living, simplicity, wellbeing and comfort at its core, making it an ideal decor scheme choice for small space zen dens that seek to be cozy yet space-savvy and uncluttered. Incorporate neutral tones, natural materials and tactile textures to achieve a minimalist yet inviting scheme that benefits from clever small bathrom storage ideas also.
10. Reset with a quiet palette of chalky tones
Immerse your small space in a nature-connected palette of chalky aquas and soft grays which embrace an airy openness. This grounding scheme creates a calming space in which to pause, reflect and boost wellbeing.
‘Immersing ourselves in the big blue with all our senses can have therapeutic properties,’ says Korczynska. ‘Use this calming color palette of soothing blues and gentle warm neutrals to reset yourself back to balance,’ she continues.
In research conducted by Valspar, Leading applied color psychology expert, Justine Fox says: ‘When we’re feeling anxious and overly stressed, we need both physical and mental space to decompress and take some time for ourselves. Softly faded and cool grayed colors rooted in the natural world, create the perfect environment for us to practice mindfulness, taking a mental pause and quietly focusing on self-care.’
11. Everything will be alright with white
It’s timeless, it’s fresh, and it’s still the versatile and timeless, interiors go-to hero – mighty bright white bathrooms, we salute you!
‘White has recently made a comeback, creating a buzz with both interior designers and influencers, for its timeless freshness and classic feel,’ explains Marianne Shillingford, creative director, Dulux.
She adds: ‘White has so many variations - it can be clean and pure, but it can also have hints of yellow and green, and it’s anything but cold. Surprisingly to many, some whites can add warmth and depth to a space. Fresh new iterations of the shade offer a simplicity that many of us are craving in our spaces right now. White wall paint creates rooms for rest and reflection, focus and concentration, and acts as a backdrop to curated furniture and period detailing. Better still, white is one of the most flexible hues there is, working in any room and with any other color. No wonder we’ve come full circle and it’s firmly back in fashion.
‘White colors reflect light beautifully and provide a clean, airy, and open feeling in the area. White colors are classified into three types: pure, warm, and cool. Consider the decor, accents and accessories you will be using in your bathroom before settling on a white hue. Cool whites are ideal if you want to include blues into your design or accent walls. Warm whites pair nicely with vibrant hues like yellow and red, creating an inviting atmosphere. Bathrooms with modern elements and unique decor benefit from pure white colors,’ says Isabelle Emond, real estate broker and owner of RE/MAX Ocean Surf and Sun.
What colors will enhance a smaller bathroom?
There are lots of tricks to make a small bathroom look bigger. When it comes to color combinations, interior designer, Esther Dormer says: 'My go-to color combination for small bathrooms is cream and dark brown. The cream makes the space feel larger and adding a dark brown accent wall adds drama. Another great option is to layer whites to create a soothing spa-like bathroom. I do not recommend using dark colors on every wall as it will make the space look too small.'
What are the best colors for a small bathroom?
‘For the bathroom, paint is a great way of personalizing a traditionally clinical space. Try something a little different by using a really bright color such as an orange or leaf green on the ceiling so the color visually spills onto plain white walls below. Alternatively, play with tones to suit your palette. A dark turquoise, for example, on the ceiling would partner suitably with mid and paler tones for the walls. One handy tip is to match your towels and accessories to your wall color,’ says Korczynska.
‘The bathroom is the place to bring in soft and nurturing hues of gray to create a calming environment. Both modern and stylish, it seamlessly compliments any color with its neutral palette and creates a soothing atmosphere as you unwind at the end of a long day.’ Joanna Ross, general manager, product & innovation, Sheridan.