Choosing Impactful Bathroom Paint Colors the Right Way

Bright blue and white bathroom

There's so much to consider when you're thinking about painting your bathroom. Do you want it to be formal or informal? Warm or cool? Soothing or energetic? Choosing the right bathroom paint colors will have a huge impact on the overall style of the room, so learn how to make that choice.

Basics of Choosing Bathroom Paint Colors

There are different schools of thought when it comes to choosing bathroom paint colors.

Light Colors

Bathrooms can benefit greatly from light color schemes and simple, sleek décor. A light color will make this small space seem larger and airier. Shades of white, watery blues, greens, and lavenders, and other such colors can work very well. They will help make the room seem lighter, which will limit the number of shadows and make it easier to do things like apply makeup.

Painting a light color will also ensure that you get the most light possible. Light paint colors will take advantage of windows and mirrors and maximize the amount of light reflected. Light, bright colors are great for a home's master bath, where most bathroom time is spent.

Dark Colors

Dramatic red bathroom

Since bathrooms tend to be small and people don't spend large quantities of time in them, they can be a great place to experiment with color. Why not try something dark and dramatic? Dark, rich colors, wild patterns and painting techniques can create an aura of romance and glamour. Add a few candles, play soft music, and you've got the ultimate dramatic getaway right in your own home.

It's less likely that you will tire of a dramatic space if you don't spend much time in it. However, keep in mind that lighting will become very important in a small room painted in a dark color. Experimenting with dark colors in bathrooms is a great idea if you have a small powder room or second bathroom in the home.

Color Combinations

You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to a single color. Here are some color combinations that can look great in bathrooms.

  • Soft yellows with green and blue accessories
  • Creams, taupes and beiges with deep, jewel-toned accessories
  • Grays and light blues (such as robin's egg) with white and lavender accessories
  • Whites with either white or other neutral accessories
  • Dark walls (navy, dark green, charcoal, dark brown) with white accessories

While these color combos can look great, there are unlimited possibilities. Choose something that is pleasing to the eye and that you will enjoy looking at every time you enter the room.

Painting Ideas for Master Baths

Neutral tone master bathroom

A master bath needs to be light and bright. The reason for this is that it's the room where people most frequently put on makeup, apply ointments and bandages, tweeze eyebrows, and do all sorts of other things that require adequate light. Dark colors can make this difficult.

Using strong colors can sometimes cause undesired reflections. For example, a master bath painted in dark red can trick the eye into thinking things are rosier than they really are. A woman applying makeup in a red room can end up putting on far too much and looking more made up than she intended.

In the master bath, it's always a good idea to keep things light and airy in order to reflect as much natural light as possible. If you really can't resist using a dark color in the bathroom, try to balance it with light accessories, flooring and tiles.

Painting Kids' Bathrooms

If there's a bathroom in the home that is used specifically by the kids, go wild and have fun with paint. It can be difficult getting kids to take a bath or brush their teeth, but it'll be a lot easier to get them in there with fun paint colors and bathroom accessories.

  • Use bright, cheerful colors such as yellow, orange, and bright pink.
  • Try using stencils to create fun pictures and patterns.
  • Add cheerful flair to the room by painting polka dots and stripes.

Experiment with Paint in Powder Rooms and Guest Baths

Elegant, sponge-painted powder room

Powder rooms tend to be smaller than master bathrooms, so people don't spend a lot of time in them. This makes them great places to experiment with bold colors and dramatic patterns. Since tasks like putting on makeup or tweezing one's eyebrows don't happen in the powder or extra bathroom, it's okay if this room is a bit darker than the main bathroom. If you've ever wanted to experiment with a dark color or wild idea, this is the place to do it.

  • A vertical stripe will lengthen the room, while a horizontal stripe can make it look wider. Stripes can look a little busy in small rooms, but they're also bold and make a dramatic statement.
  • A faux finish (such as a crackle finish or sponge technique) that might become tiresome in larger rooms can be fun in a tiny powder room.
  • A bold pattern such as a lattice design can be too much in other rooms, but a guest bath that people only visit for short periods can be a great place to try this look.

Complement the Rest of the House

A new paint color can provide a simple and cost-effective way to update a bathroom, but try to choose a color that doesn't clash with what you've already got. Think about the fixtures and accessories already in the room and choose a color that complements their style. Of course, anything goes if you're starting from scratch and remodeling your bathroom, but if you don't want to spend money redoing everything, find a color that will complement what's already in the room. Whichever color you decide to paint the bathroom, make sure that it flows with the color scheme of the rest of the house.

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Choosing Impactful Bathroom Paint Colors the Right Way