Your use of colour in your bathroom can lift a dull and uninteresting design and transform it into something inspirational. But adding too much colour can be overpowering so you need to strike a balance. Our colour guide will help you to achieve just that.
Starting From Scratch Or Updating An Existing Design?
There are several ways to add a bit of vibrancy into your design but your choice will depend on your starting point – are you working with an existing design and updating it slightly or are you starting from scratch with a complete bathroom makeover?
Obviously a full makeover will give you the most options to play around with your designs. You will have full control over the colour of the walls, floor, suite and any furniture with a full refurbishment.
But it is still possible to have a big effect with some small improvements for an existing room by choosing simple but effective little touches of colour.
So what is the best way to use colour in the bathroom?
Bathroom Flooring – Add Some Interest
Many bathroom designs will keep the suite, walls and ceiling white. This is especially important in a small bathroom design. But you can get away with a stronger colour at low level as it is simply not “in your face” when you enter the room. Coloured tiles – or at least tiles with a bit more colour than the rest of the room’s decoration – can be fitted to give a bit of a lift to a plain room.
Most laminate flooring is not suited to use in bathrooms but there are some PVC based systems that are designed for such use. Most designs tend to be pretty neutral but some of the wood-grain effects will add some warmth to the room’s spectrum.
For a cheap and easy solution add some new brightly coloured bathroom mats and pick out the same colour elsewhere with towels and roller blinds.
It’s amazing how adding just the smallest splash of colour will make a difference to your room.
Coloured Walls – Keep It Restrained
Opting for brightly coloured walls right around the room is not ideal for most bathroom settings but keeping a stronger colour to just one feature wall can work well. Another option is to have a plain design on most of the walls and then something bolder or darker in a particular area, rather than a whole wall – around the bath or inside a shower cubicle are common areas where this produces very satisfying results.
Pastel shades work well and may be suitable for use around the whole room if they are light enough. But once you have committed to a fixed colour you will have to live with it until the next time you re-decorate. So maybe consider one of the other options listed here.
Larger rooms can be a bit more forgiving when including a more vivid colour but even here it is best to break up large slabs of colour. A dado rail can be used in a period design bathroom and will work well at dividing a wall in two horizontally. Dados are most effective if the room has plenty of height but can make the space feel more enclosed in rooms with lower ceilings.
Coloured bathroom suites were a very common sight back in the 60s, 70s and 80s but these gradually fell from favour to the point where it is now difficult to find a coloured suite. People came to realise that they were difficult to keep them looking clean and so now the are virtually all made in white.
But there are still some fixtures available in the bathroom that can be used to add a bit of colour.
Bathroom furniture is an obvious choice as it enables walls to remain neutral but can provide a strong visual statement – like in this beautiful example from Utopia Bathrooms.
Notice they way they have used a frame for the mirror picked out in the same colour to tie the whole scheme together. The vanity units are in Peacock Blue from their Roseberry range.
Natural finished walls with a relatively neutral tone look great in all sizes of bathroom and introduce a softer palette into the mix. Travertine, sandstone, limestone and of course marble are all hugely popular finishes and can yield fantastic results in all designs including smaller rooms. Both ceramic tiles and bathroom wall panels are available in all of these styles if you wish to avoid the expense of real stone tiling.
Real stone can also need a bit of maintenance to keep it in pristine condition so take this into consideration when making you choice of wall covering. Both tiles and panels will give you the same look as many natural stone products, and panelling in particular will remove the need for any maintenance at all as there is no grout used in its installation.
Decorating the whole room with the same finish on all of the walls works well with natural designs and prevents the room from looking too artificial. Some tiles are suitable for use on walls and floors maintaining that natural look wherever you look – a very popular option on the continent.
What Is The Best Colour For A Small Bathroom?
White is the best colour at giving the impression of space although keeping it all white will result in a very clinical looking design. But white has another quality that can prove useful in a small space – it is very reflective.
Keeping the majority of surfaces white will enable you introduce stronger colours which will then get picked up and reflected around the whole room. You can do this using towels, mats, rugs, blinds, pictures etc. One advantage of this approach is that by changing these items every now and again you will give the room a fresh look without the cost of totally redecorating.
Very light grey marble tiles or panels will also achieve the same effect – neutral but refelctive. Bathroom wall panels with a sparkle effect work even better as there are actual reflective metal flakes under the glaze of this design.
There are a number of things to consider when implementing a small bathroom design and colour is just one part – see our article 5 Design Tips For Small Bathrooms for more detailed information.
Black, White or Black And White
There has been a noticeable shift in recent years towards designs with an almost complete lack of colour. And this trend seems to still be growing as “industrial” designs are taking hold. But these can look a little cold, and a design that includes lots of black does not work well in smaller bathrooms.
In a smaller room cut back on the black and increase the amount of white – you will achieve more or less the same “feel” but without overpowering the room. In the photo shown here our customer used black marble effect shower panels in his bathroom but utilised white around the rest of the room.
It is amazing how much just a little splash of colour can lift a bathroom design when the colour palette has been turned down to zero. A small vase of flowers, bright towels or brightly coloured bottles can all help break up the monochrome monotony.
But at the end of the day it all boils down to personal taste – you might like your design to have no colour in it and you can always add a bit at a later point using one of the techniques listed here.