How to Design a Bathroom With Color | Home Guides

Orange and blue are a good combination for a high-contrast theme.

The small size of most bathrooms makes them excellent areas to play with color. While a bright or dark color scheme might overwhelm a large room, the bathroom’s close confines keep color under control. If you prefer a tranquil, spa-like atmosphere, muted, natural tones feel calm, but don’t have enough space to become boring. The best thing about trying out new color schemes in the bathroom is that if you don’t like the finished look, you can paint the room over again in a day.

Bright Feels Right

If your bathroom is small and poorly lit, as many are, the judicious use of bright colors can give it a cheery, open appearance. To keep the look exuberant, not riotous, use bright accessories against a backdrop of white or another soft neutral. Picture walls painted a soft gray, sand, creamy white or palest sage, sparked by bright towels, a gaily patterned shower curtain, colorful small rug, happy artwork and vibrant bathroom accessories. Choose just one or two bright colors for your accents to avoid overwhelming the space.

Light Up the Dark

If your decorating preference is a formal, elegant or sophisticated style, consider painting your bathroom a deep, intense color such as navy blue, deep purple, cranberry, hunter green or chocolate brown. Hang a small chandelier or ornate ceiling fixture to keep the look cheery, and contrast the deep color with white trim, window coverings and bathroom fixtures. A rug, shower curtain and towels in white patterned with the same color gracing the walls ties it all together and maintains the formal feel.

Keep it in Neutral

Neutral doesn’t have to mean beige or boring. A neutral palette can be relaxed and tranquil or contemporary and minimalist, depending on your accessories. For a natural, serene feel, choose sandy tan, soft brown, earthy green or foggy blue for the walls, then highlight the theme with towels, shower curtain, rug and accessories in a different color at the same intensity. If you like a more modern style, look to creamy white or soft gray on the walls, then set them off with white, gray, black or medium brown fabrics throughout the space.

High Contrast

If you want a bathroom that makes visitors say, “Wow,” go with a high-contrast palette. Choose two strong, contrasting colors for the walls and most of the accessories, then set them off with a few touches of a third color. Color schemes that work well are turquoise and brown with touches of red; cranberry and sage green with touches of yellow; orange and blue accented with peach; or lavender and red with touches of cream. Paint at least one wall in the most intense color, and keep to the palette for all of your accessories.

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