On the lookout for grey bathroom ideas? Decided that you want to be bolder than the classic all-white look you have been living with for decades? Well, you are in the right place, because grey bathrooms are the perfect choice if you want to add in some color to your space, but still keep things relatively neutral. Plus grey is such a classic it's never going to date and there are so many tones and shades to choose from that allow you to create different looks depending on your style.
'Often the smallest room in the home, the bathroom has for too long become the victim of the ‘all white makes it look bigger’ design philosophy. Thankfully, recent trends embrace a more creative and stylish approach to what can be one of the most exciting spaces in the home,' Judy Smith, a Crown Colour Consultant, explains.
- Find more inspiring bathroom ideas in our gallery
'Neutral tones tend to be the main color choices for the bathroom, grey in particular. If you think white looks too sterile and you’re not a fan of bolder shades, going for a light neutral tone is a safe choice to add interest while opening up the space and making it look brighter. A cool steel grey, for example, gives the room more texture than a white and is bright enough to reflect the light available and create the illusion of a bigger room.' Smith continues.
Convinced that a grey bathroom is for you? Well, keep on scrolling for loads of gorgeous rooms to get inspired...
1. Pick out statement grey tiles
An easy way to bring stylish patterns and grey tones in your bathroom is with tiles. A great thing about going for a grey color scheme is you can be bold in your tile choices without completely overwhelming your space with pattern.
Star print tiles like the Stello from Topps Tiles, are everywhere at the moment, no doubt you have seen them all over Pinterest, but they are popular for a reason! They are bold and statement, without being overly so, and they are also super versatile – you can imagine them in a very rustic, boho style space but equally so in an elegant more traditional bathroom.
2. Choose a cool-toned grey for a traditional feel
If your bathroom is on the larger side and gets lots of natural light, you can pick a cooler, more green-toned grey as it won't look too cold in your space. These kinds of lighter, cold greys have something so elegant about them – they are classic colors that work so well in traditional homes with lofty ceilings and large windows.
Our go to for this kind of, we'll call it a grown up grey, is of course Farrow & Ball. Their dusty, traditional shades are perfect for creating this sophisticated vibe. Check out Drop Cloth for a very similar shade.
3. Hang a grey mural
Wallpaper in a bathroom? Is that really a good idea? YES! We are all for adorning your walls with a gorgeous print or mural, you just have to do your prep work to make sure it stays put. This could be as simple and adding a layer of decorator's varnish once you have hung your wallpaper.
4. Be bang on trend with terrazzo
Terrazzo has made a comeback and shed its 70s hospital floor skin and become a bang-on-trend material that's perfect for use in bathrooms. You could go all out like in this bathroom and have every surface covered in grey terrazzo, but you'll also find plenty of cute accessories if you are looking for ways to get the look on a budget.
5. Mix grey and gold
Gold and grey are a combo made in heaven. The gold obviously warms up the grey but it also contrasts it too, so a gold mirror or gold hardware is always going to stand out.
Gold also just ramps up that elegance that you often get in grey rooms too. Plus it gives you an opportunity to bring in more of those warm colors – just check out that gorgeous yellow tiled floor!
6. Add depth with charcoal greys
When we were talking about grey being versatile, this is exactly what we meant. You've got those whimsical, pale, light-enhancing, barely-there greys at one end of the spectrum, and then the very dramatic deep charcoals at the other, so you can choose to go as bold as you like.
We love how in this bathroom the greys are layered, so the room looks very moody but not too dark. Note how the wall that the natural light hits is kept pale and then the alcove the deeper hue. It's just enhancing where the light and dark would be in the room so the darker colors don't shrink the room – very clever.
7. Give your walls texture for an industrial vibe
Concrete and stone walls have been a huge trend in bathrooms recently. They give the space a hip, boutique hotel-like feel that we all want in our homes. But concrete and polished stone can be a tricky material to work with and can get expensive, so why not try and recreate the look with paint?
Remember when 'rag paint' was a thing a few decades ago? Well, it's back and perfect for creating this kind of textured wall. It's really easy to achieve too because you can't really go wrong, it's meant to look messy – just check out our guide to creating a distressed paint effect.
8. Go for a classic grey all over
Don't be afraid to use grey on all four walls of your bathroom, hey, even paint the ceiling if your space is big enough to handle it. Going all over grey is a timeless look and gives a very chic vibe to a room. Just be sure to pick the best bathroom paint. Top choices can handle moisture and the odd splash.
Pick a tone that's right for the size of your room, and for how much natural light it gets. In a big light-filled room you can pretty much take your pick of the greys, but in a smaller space opt for something paler that will reflect light. If you do want to go dark, don't be deterred, just pick a warmer, deep grey, something like Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray.
9. Combine grey with warmer colors
There is a risk with grey, in any room, of it looking a bit flat, but you can counteract this by adding plenty of texture to your bathroom. If you are blessed with the potential to add an exposed-brick wall, then perfect. However, you can add texture in the form of a cute jute rug, some seagrass baskets or (our go-to) prints.
10. Split up your walls
Tiling your wall halfway up not only looks lovely, but is a really practical idea. You can wipe tiles down or let them get wet, basically, you never have to worry about them staining or peeling as you would with paint or wallpaper.
Plus the half-and-half look is great for small bathrooms as it can make your room feel taller. You could copy this grey bathroom and go lighter on the bottom with a simple grey wall up top, or if you want to add pattern, pick a grey patterned tile for the lower half and choose a matching paint for the upper half of the walls.
11. Get creative with floorboards
So you've stripped up the linoleum, or god forbid, the carpet, that the past owners of your home kindly left in your bathroom and have discovered floorboards. Now, before you go tiling over them, why not keep them bare and create a very stylish rustic look by painting your floorboards?
All you need to recreate this look is some masking tape and some grey paint. You might need to sand down your floorboards first, and it's especially important to make sure you seal it and fill in any larger gaps.
12. Create a traditional feel with paneling
Wall paneling looks gorgeous in bathrooms even in more modern homes. There are plenty of styles to choose from too – a more contemporary look with shiplap paneling or the traditional square panels you see here.
If you are after a budget-friendly update for your current bathroom with DIY wall paneling. It's really easy to do using wooden beading you just have to be patient to get the measurements right.
13. Be dramatic with dark greys
Well if this gorgeous ensuite bathroom doesn't prove that you can still use darker greys in a small space than, we don't know what does.
While we ourselves often say a smaller space needs lighter colors, dark colors can often work just as well. By keeping all the walls, and the ceiling dark, the edges of the room become less obvious and can allude to the space being bigger.
For a dark color like this is a smaller space, choose a paint that has a very slight sheen, something like eggshell, just to prevent the room looking flat.
14. Mix grey tiles with wooden walls
And of course, a grey bathroom doesn't have to mean all over grey. The simple grey tiles in this lovely bathroom bring in the perfect amount of color to the wooden-clad room.
Using natural textures and plenty of wood is bang on trend for 2021 – but since a wooden shower probably isn't the most practical, and blueish grey tile for your shower enclosure will compliment that calming, serene, rustic vibe.
15. Add glamor to a grey bathroom
It goes without saying that grey is a glamorous color and the perfect backdrop for a more luxurious bathroom. A double sink, matching statement mirrors and a pop of color to bring in some of your own personality – a stylish look that needn't cost a ton either.
Also, check out the wall-mounted plates in this bathroom! Something we would never think to do until now, very cute and a nice alternative to prints.
How do you style a grey bathroom?
Obviously, this comes down to personal style, but we do have a few rules of thumb we generally tend to follow when styling a grey bathroom. It starts by making a mood board – and we mean a physical one, very old school we know. While grey is a very versatile color there are so many different shades and not every one will work with certain combinations and look a little different depending on the light.
Have the main grey shade you have chosen to hand, whether that be in the form of a tile or a paint sample and test it out against other colors on your mood board to check they don't clash or that the tones of the colors aren't totally off.
In terms of decor, pick a main style or a few pieces and build on from there. Say you have found a jute laundry basket you love, that would lead to potentially a more boho look with plenty of texture and house plants. Maybe it's a vintage mirror that will be the starting point for your decor. Grey is a neutral backdrop that's adaptable to any style.
What colors go with grey in a bathroom?
A really easy way to work out what colors will go with your choice of grey is to check the undertones. If your paint has warmer, pinkish undertones then stick with warmer colors – coppers and rosy hues will work too.
If you have gone for something with a more blueish or green tone then you will need to look at decorating with cooler colors, like blues, greens and for these, you may want to try silver hardware.
Again, just always check what colors work by actually laying them next to each other in your bathroom since the light situation could totally change the colors and how they look together.
'Understanding how the light works in your bathroom will help to ensure you opt for the right shade of grey, it’s important to remember that pale greys can feel cold in north-facing bathrooms.' advises Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore UK Director.
'Also, consider the right lighting for a grey bathroom, these cool tones can make everything and everyone look a little pale, so the right lighting, especially round a mirror, is key to avoid reaching for more bronzer!'
What colors go with grey tiles?
For tiles, it might be more tricky because it's likely you won't have an in-depth description of your color as you would do with paint. But you can use the same rules; cooler greys = cooler color combos, warmer greys = warmer colors.
If it's paint you are looking for to match your tiles, always order a sample pot – paint it onto a piece of paper, or the wall if you are set on redecorating and place the tile next to it to ensure the colors work in your space.