Tips on How to Choose Bathroom Colors

AAA Print

Nurture your interior design impulses, and consider giving your bathroom a new color. Leave everything else untouched, and work with the furniture and décor that you already have. For about $200 or less, you can take a weekend to reinvent your space to give your bathroom a revived look with a new shade. This is one task that's practical as a do-it-yourself project.

If you want to invest a little more to give your room an even bigger face lift, you can redesign your floors and tiling for a new look and feel. Based on your budget and time, you choose whether to keep it simple or invest a little more.

Modern Shower

Selecting Bathroom Colors

In general, you should limit yourself to three colors when decorating a small or medium bathroom. Four colors may be appropriate for larger bathrooms. If you work with gradients, try to stick within three or four shades. At most, choose one or two bright colors, and select a couple of complementary neutral shades to achieve aesthetic balance. Make sure that your colors work together to create an overall desired effect: try to avoid mixing warm shades with cool shades, and don't pick colors that clash. Pay attention to the bigger picture while you plan the smaller details.

Faux Finishes

To cover your walls with unique textures and styles, experiment with different finishing techniques. Porcelain crackling, for example, can make your walls look like old porcelain. You can even use sponge painting techniques to make your walls look like they are covered in fabric. Marbling will cover your walls with the illusion of marble.

Modern Marble Bath 

Create faux finishes in a variety of colors using painting techniques such as sponging and feathering. Blend similar colors, and incorporate traces of others.

Paint or Wallpaper?

Paint and wallpaper are two options that you may be considering. You may find a color or pattern that you love, and you may feel instantly motivated to move forward with that new design. Be careful - don't let looks be your be-all-end-all deciding factor for choosing what covers your walls. Pay equal if not more attention to the practical implications of the material that you select.

The bathroom is a moist and humid environment that is perfect for bacteria and mildew to grow. For this reason, surfaces in your bathroom should be easy to clean and to keep clean.

Wallpaper is a tough material to maintain. It dries slowly and can become damaged quickly even when coated with a protective vinyl layer. Because of these characteristics, wallpaper has a relatively short lifespan compared to tile or paint. Ideally, if you must wallpaper your bathroom, you should have a space that is medium to large sized and well ventilated. These types of spaces tend to be dryer and less conducive to mildew growth than small and humid spaces.

For bathroom walls, paint is a durable option and will last for several years. When choosing colors, you have ultimate decision-making authority, regardless of whether you're interested in choosing a neutral or vibrant shade. You can even mix and match colors to achieve your desired look and feel.


Tiles are easy to wipe down with water, sponges, and soap. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are available in a variety of colors and patterns that you can coordinate to create entirely unique designs. Choose between preconfigured designs, or create your own. Mix neutral tiles with brighter colors for subtle splashes of color, or choose bold-colored designs for a more dramatic look.

If you would like a bathroom with an artistic look and feel, design a glass tile mosaic. You can use glass tiles in small pieces to create designs and patterns in a variety of colors. Glass tiles are ideal for countertops, walls, shower walls, and floors. You can make mosaics in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Ideally, you should only tile part of your wall up to a certain height and then paint the remainder. Don't tile for functionality alone; instead, use tiles to work with the colors that you have by creating a contrast trim or complementary shade.


Even if you leave the other parts of your bathroom untouched, color can control the aesthetic effects of your bathroom, whether you are looking to create a warm, comfortable, spacious, or cozy look and feel.

You can experiment with natural and electric lighting to influence your color's variability. Overhead lights are ideal for large bathrooms, while sconces, vanity lights, and table lamps provide enough lighting for smaller spaces. Your light can help your color go from vibrant and bold to comfortable and dim.

You can use color to enhance your color's theme, or you can think of your colors as your theme. No matter what you think, be sure to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Accent Walls

If you are hesitant to cover every inch of your wall with bright colors, consider painting an accent wall in the shade of your choice. By painting an accent wall, you limit your color to only one wall instead of all four. Colors that are otherwise chaotic or overwhelming will look streamlined and elegant if you select one wall instead of four. Your accent wall will be your bathroom's dominant wall, so make sure that you choose to paint the one with the décor that you plan to highlight.

Bold colors such as maroon, black, purple, pink, deal, bright green, and blue are ideal for accent walls. Make sure that the color of your accent wall contrasts heavily with your bathroom's surrounding atmosphere.

Last Updated: April 1, 2013
AAA Print

About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

Note: The information provided on this site may be provided by third parties. The owners and operators of this site do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, and compliance of the content on this site. Such content is not and shall not be deemed tax, legal, financial, or other advice, and we encourage you to confirm the accuracy of the content. Use is at your own risk, and use of this site shall be deemed acceptance of the above.