Choosing a Bathroom Color Scheme

Learn how to pick a perfect color scheme for your bathroom.

There's no right or wrong way to select a bathroom color scheme. As in every other room design, the colors you choose are a matter of personal taste. But, because of their limited space and unique functions, bathrooms require special considerations when it comes to color.

First off, consider the mood you want to generate. Do you want awakening hues that stimulate your senses during your morning routine? Prefer more laid-back rhythms that encourage relaxing at the end of a workday? Want the sense of being swathed in a cozy cocoon morn and night? Think about which shades will make your bathroom appear larger, brighter, warmer, and more welcoming.

Acquire a Muse

Take your color cue from schemes employed throughout your home or in adjacent bedrooms; in the bathroom, render the palette's hues in lighter or darker tones to fashion a singular space that still flows with your home's overall design.

Or, pick brand-new color combinations inspired by exterior views, prettily patterned fabrics, geometric wallpapers, oversize artworks, or bathroom surfaces and finishes. Look through magazines, flip through paint decks, and wander home and design center aisles to find color pairings that spark your interest.

Getting Started

Begin with a foundation color that puts the spotlight on its color partners and the bathroom's fittings and finishes. White, admired for its pristine character that plays nicely with all colors, is a popular groundwork for designs ranging from contemporary to cottage style.

Pair it with tomato red or chocolate brown to create high-contrast spaces that handily showcase harvest gold, citron green, and orange rust accents. Or, create calming quarters that serenely meld white cabinets, sea green glass-tiled walls, and pastel pink and butter yellow accessories.

Introduce sweeping planes of white using subway tile, painted beaded board, or cabinetry. Here, beaded-board wainscoting connects sky blue walls with complementary colored flooring to create vintage vibes that take a modern turn, thanks to coppery tan, muted purple, and black accents.     

Although a natural companion for sand and sea hues, white also sets a more traditional tone when presented as substantial woodwork and tiled floors teamed with celadon green and camel walls, antique gold shutters, and sage green upholstery and window fabrics.

White also works nicely as a supporting player, especially in earthen bathrooms done up in coppery stone surfaces, ebony wood finishes, multicolor flooring, and sculptural fittings.

Boosting the Bright

White and monochromatic designs benefit from eye-pleasing pops of color. Lay a blue-and-yellow checkerboard floor, paint walls apple green, top sconces with vibrant fabric shades, or install a kaleidoscopic backsplash. Hang fetching floral shower curtains and throw down awning-striped area rugs. Switch out a worn countertop with a solid-surfacing, laminate, or quartz-surfacing version in orange, aqua, or periwinkle. Arrange and display harmonizing-hue collections, bath linens, and toiletry organizers in ways that further your bathroom's new color scheme.

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Explore other bathroom color schemes!

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Use these tips from designer Elaine Griffin to help you create the perfect color palette for decorating.


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