25 bathroom color ideas to add character to your washroom space

These bathroom color ideas will get you inspired to be braver when it comes to decorating your space

bathroom color ideas
(Image credit: Norsu)

Tired of monochrome bathrooms? Our bathroom color ideas are here to inspire you to incorporate more rainbow hues into your space.

So, whether you're ready to go bold with a vibrant accent wall, or think you'll just stick to a few funky accessories (for now, at least), there's a colorful bathroom idea to suit every style and budget.

And if you're not quite ready to take a color-packed plunge, a grey bathroom idea with a few flecks of a different hue can heighten and brighten your scheme.

Bathroom color ideas to add character

'When choosing the scheme for your bathroom, consider creating a sense of flow from the rest of your home into the bathroom with a complementary scheme. This does not necessarily mean being too matchy, however, picking out key colors works particularly well.' Says Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore UK Director.

Plus, given that bathrooms are among the smallest spaces in the home means that they can typically handle a bolder dose of color. 'Adding a splash of color to the bathroom doesn’t need to be daunting, the bathroom is a great place to be a little more adventurous with how you use color and what color you opt for.' Perhaps using a darker shade of a tone you've chosen for other areas of the home, for example. 

1.  Contrast blues with creamy yellows

Colorful bathroom ideas

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

So maybe an aqua blue and canary yellow bathroom might be too bold a look for you – but toning down contrasting colors can create a really nice combo that's still a statement but also very workable. 

The mix of deeper blues, light blues and that creamy pale yellow work so well together. Plus the white wall tiles bring some freshness into the space. 

2. Ground pale pinks with dramatic charcoals

bathroom in Georgian home with painted floorboards

(Image credit: Julia Currie)

We love a pale pink room as much as the next person, but they do risk making rooms a bit too whimsical and almost too child's bedroom-esque. So ground those blush pinks with some darker colors. Something as small as painting the bath panel can take a room from saccharine to stylish.

3. Layer up white tones 

Colourful bathrooms from Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

If you are a bit of a colorphobe, you don't have to go for bold bathroom color ideas to make your bathroom stand out. Layering up your neutrals – greys, whites, beiges – can create a serene, calming space that's perfect for a bathroom. You can always add in a few pops of color with towels and accessories. 

'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.'  explains Judy Smith, Crown Colour Consultant

4. Split your walls to add height to your bathroom

converted coach house

(Image credit: Future / Kasia Fiszer)

This a particularly great tip for smaller bathrooms or bathrooms in loft conversions where the low ceilings can make the room feel cramped. Splitting your walls between two colors will allude to your ceiling being higher and can create the feeling of more space.

Paneling is an obvious way to break up the space, but if you don't have paneling or prefer a more modern look, you could use paint or tiles in different colors for a very similar look. 

5. Mismatch your wall and floor tiles 

bathroom with rolltop bath

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Tiles are a practical way to bring color into your bathroom and we love the contrasting, but also classic look going on in this bathroom. Not only do the deep blues, blacks and whites look very statement, the combination of the smaller floor tiles and larger wall tiles just adds loads more character.

Note how the split wall thing is going on again here, with a darker color on the bottom half and a lighter color with the same tone up top. 

6. Add peachy tones for some subtle colour 

Peachy coloured bathroom from Norsu

(Image credit: Norsu)

Want to just add a subtle hint of color to your bathroom? Peach is basically a neutral but will just add some sunny warmth to your space. Pinch this colorful bathroom idea and tile one wall in a stylish peach. You can make the color pop even more by mixing in some accessories and towels in the same hue. 

7. Create a sunset effect with floor tiles 

Small bathroom with sunset tiles

(Image credit: Meir)

We love this colorful bathroom. Despite being a pretty small space, it's been made to look larger – and lighter – with the clever choice of floor tiles. 

The fading colors draw the eye to the end of the room, giving the illusion that the room is longer than it is while running the tiles up the side of the bath only add to lengthening the room.

If you're looking to totally renovate your bathroom in a bid to inject more color into your space then be sure to read our tips and advice!

8. Draw subtle tones out of patterned tiles 

Original Style Persian tiles

(Image credit: Original Style)

If you've decided on patterned floor tiles and want to design a bathroom with a cohesive color scheme, consider opting for a bathroom paint color that draws out the more subtle tile tones. This approach ensures a stylish finish, without the room feeling overwhelmed. Add interest to the space with house plants; they will successfully break up a room and prevent it from feeling too 'matchy.'

We've got loads more inspirational ideas in our best bathroom floor tile designs

9. Combine complementary colors

Blue floral wallpaper in a bathroom

(Image credit: Little Green)

Modern printed wallpapers are a striking addition to a colorful bathroom; in particular those with high ceilings and abundant natural light. Opt for paintwork in a similar hue to ensure that a bold print or bright color fits within the space.

This Camellia wallpaper is paired with Smalt Paint, both from Little Greene, for a modern floral feel.

10. Create a focal point with a bold freestanding bath 

Bathroom with yellow freestanding bath and yellow wallpaper

(Image credit: Little Greene)

The addition of a brightly colored, freestanding bath is an effective way of injecting color and creating a striking focal point. We love this bold red tub, for a modern take on a traditional freestanding bath – and there's plenty more where this came from in our pick of traditional freestanding bath designs

11. Achieve a calming ombre paint effect 

ombre finish blue toned bathroom with roller bath

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

When it comes to bathroom color ideas, an ombre accent wall is a popular choice, and it's easy to see why. Stick to a variation of cool blue tones to create a soothing effect that encourages relaxation and an opportunity to unwind. 

Couple with calming house plants, fragrant candles and an at-hand stool that's perfect for storing fresh towels or (more likely) a glass of wine. Get ready to feel totally zen. 

We love this calming combination of Ombre Aubusson Blue Wall Paint and Provence Chalk Paint, both from Annie Sloan. If you fancy giving the ombre effect yourself, we've got a step-by-step guide for creating an ombre feature wall to help you out. 

12. Create a patchwork-effect tile wall

brightly coloured Portuguese inspired tiles in batrhoom with sink and freestanding unit

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

While patterned floor tiles are a popular choice for bathrooms, when arranged to create a patchwork effect they make an equally impactful addition to bathroom walls. Recreate this look by grouping an eclectic selection of patterned tiles or, as an easier option, opt for a tile-effect wallpaper.

13. Experiment with on-trend paint ideas

colourful bathroom with dressing room and bath

(Image credit: Huntley Hedworth)

'For something a little more trend-led in the bathroom, consider painting the lower half of walls in a bold shade. Rich blues or greens lend themselves particularly well to bathrooms in this instance, consider a tonal hue or white for the upper wall to keep the space feeling fresh and open. Alternatively, adding a pop of color to your ceiling for additional interest can warm up a white bathroom to give a cozier feel.' says Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore UK Director.

Color blocking is an on-trend technique that's ideal for creating a colorful bathroom. To achieve this look, use natural breaks, such as corners, alcoves, shelving, dado or picture rails, to start and stop different color choices.

If you don't have a picture or dado rail, try using masking tape to draw a line at the height where there would be one. Choose a different shade for either side of the tape and paint accordingly. 

If this effect has caught your eye, you may want to take a look at our bathroom paint ideas for more inspiration. 

14. You can color block with bathroom tiles, too

Bathroom with colour block tiles from Original style

(Image credit: Original style)

You can create the same stylish effect with colorful bathroom tiles, adding interest to a shower or behind a bath. We love the deep aubergine and coral pink working together here, plus those glamorous gold accents. 

15. Pair bright accent features with deeper tones

Bathroom by John Lewis


(Image credit: John Lewis)

Break up a deeper toned, moodier scheme with brightly colored accent features for added interest in your bathroom. To prevent the space from feeling overwhelmed, opt for a light wood or tiled flooring and other light colored accessories.

16. Choose deep spicy shades for a bathroom lacking natural light 

Orange painted bathroom

(Image credit: Dulux)

Don't let a lack of natural light dissuade you from using color in your bathroom. Deep spicy shades calmed by muted naturals will make the room feel instantly welcoming. 

Ensure the bolder shades have earthy rather than citrus tones, and match them with flooring in a natural material and furniture in dark, richly grained wood for a look that oozes character.  

'We’re expected to see warm neutral, earthy tones migrate into our bathrooms this year - in line with the colors of the year 2021 that include warm brown and bronze shades, keeping the interiors soft and grounded creating a sense of calm in your home. Rusty, warm and deep rich shades will be popular to achieve this look. Think welcoming comfort.' explains Kamila Chalfin, Marketing & Brand Manager at Tile Giant.

17. Inject bright colors via stylish shutters 

Shutterly-fabulous-bathroom

Shutters are a great solution for bathrooms, allowing daylight in and ensuring privacy when needed. If you have a neutral scheme, try using a bold color at the window; tying the space together with vibrant accessories. Try painting old shutters yourself for a quick, budget-friendly update. 

If shutters don't suit your style or budget, we've got your covered, with plenty more bathroom window treatment ideas

18. Paint panelling for a period feel

traditional bathroom with green panelling

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Wall paneling is a practical choice for bathrooms; you can DIY install it then paint to suit your scheme, whether period-feel or more contemporary. Want a bathroom that feels more like a living space than a bathroom? Match the paneling with bathroom-suitable wallpaper and put generous swathes of water-resistant fabric at the windows.

19. Create the most millennial bathroom ever

pink scheme bathroom with vanity by norsu interiors

(Image credit: Norsu Interiors)

Two years later and this blush pink shade is still going strong. Pink bathrooms are the object of many a Pinterest dream, but what’s holding you back from the real thing? If, down the line, you realize you have grown out of your Barbie bathroom, it’s not the end of the world. So we say do it.

Think pink tiles, pink wallpaper, pink paint, pink accessories... And make sure you check out our pink room ideas feature for more tips. 

20. Don't be afraid of reds 

Colourful bathrooms from Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Red isn't a color we see around very often, especially in bathrooms, but don't be afraid to decorate with it. It's just about picking the right tone, personally, we would avoid anything too bright or use it as a four-wall color. 

Maybe create a red feature wall with some gorgeous wallpaper, or copy this idea and use a deep burgundy and paint three-quarters of the way up, keeping above that bright and light.  

21. Keep things fresh with the palest greens

Bathroom color ideas

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Oooh, this bathroom just looks so fresh and clean and inviting. A pale green is the perfect color if your bathroom gets lots of natural light, it can look a bit cold in a darker room, so just test out some swatches in your space before you start painting. 

This bathroom is painted with Benjamin Moore's Italian Ice Green,  which works so well combined with black and dark greys to create a really contemporary contrast. 

22. Go for a classic monochrome scheme 

Colorful bathroom ideas

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

And of course, we had to include a monochrome bathroom color idea. They can be just as striking as using a ton of colors, plus have longevity, so if you know you are prone to changing up your styles all the time, a black and white backdrop would be a sensible way to go. 

What is the best color for a bathroom?

'Often, homeowners automatically opt for pure white bathrooms to give the illusion of spaciousness. However, pint sized spaces can lend themselves well to a strong color. If your bathroom doesn’t benefit from natural light, rich colors can play with artificial lighting sources to make a strong style statement. Painting bathroom furniture in the same tone can add to the dramatic effect of a dark bathroom, add accents of interest with your choice of brassware and accessories.' advises Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore UK Director.

What colors are best for a small bathroom?

We do have a tendency to play it safe in small bathrooms and go with lighter colors – and if your bathroom is small and lacks natural light, we would still recommend going down that route.

However, small doesn't always have to mean neutral. If you want to add color, try our tip of doing a half and half wall. Or go really bold and try painting all four rooms a dark color, which can actually make a small bathroom feel bigger as it will blur the edges of your space. 

'People often think that you can’t paint small spaces a dark color because it might make if feel more closed in, but it is actually the opposite! Small bathrooms are the perfect place to bring in a deep daring color, the dark shade tricks your eyes on the boundaries of the walls and hides the small size of a space.' recommends Sue Kim, Color Marketing Manager for Valspar.

'Really think about the function of the space when selecting a color, if it is a small half bath with no windows – go bold and daring with the color selection. If this is a space you spend a lot of time in and get yourself ready for the day you may want a shade that is uplifting and helps your get mentally ready to take on the day.'

What is the most relaxing color for a bathroom?

For us, creating a serene, relaxing bathroom means pale, light-enhancing colors. White, pale greens, blues and greys are perfect if you prefer cooler colors but warmer tones like blush pinks, super pale oranges and yellows can be equally relaxing.

However, don't think that you need to stick to the status quo, as one expert reveals:

'A bathroom is an excellent area to step out of your comfort zone and add a splash of color in your home,' explains Jennifer Davis, founder of Davis Interiors.

'The bathroom is disconnected from the flow of the house which means you don't have a cohesive color palette or similar design aesthetic to contend with.  Have fun with it.  Find something that brings you joy and pushes your design boundaries.' 

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.

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