An all-white bathroom is a safe choice, but let’s be real: It can also be totally boring. These smaller rooms offer ample opportunity to infuse a home with personality—and they won’t have as big an impact on your home’s resale value should you decide not to paint everything greige before putting it on the market. So why not have a little fun? We polled several interior designers and color experts to uncover 12 bathroom color ideas that might not be on your radar…but absolutely should be.
1. EARTHY GREENS
“We’re seeing a push toward colors that are grounding, and deep blues and greens are a beautiful example,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. A deep green, like the accent wall in the bathroom above (painted Ripe Olive 6209, in case you’re curious), helps create a “restful, retreat-like atmosphere” while still “creating a big impact.”
The look aligns with an overall trend paint startup Clare is also noticing, says founder Nicole Gibbons: “We’re seeing our customers becoming a lot more adventurous when it comes to color, opting for darker, moodier colors like Blackest, Current Mood and Deep Dive.” They’re enveloping shades that you can really sink into—and make a statement as soon as you swing open the door.
Jewel tones, like a vibrant emerald, can be an elegant way to make a statement in such a confined space. “Any crazy color can work as long as you support, guide and frame it with other thoughtful choices,” says Black Lacquer Design founder Caitlin Murray. Here, she tempered the look with a reclaimed-wood vanity and modern hex tiles. That way the shade looks less Wizard of Oz and more mid-century modern dream.
3. ALMOND BROWN
If you live in a Tudor-style house, it can be really easy for the interiors to skew dark and dreary. That’s why color and pattern can be crucial. “Here, the trim is a more traditional Tudor color, but we paired it with an unexpected herringbone wall covering to create depth and texture and emphasize the architectural details of the room,” explains Gideon Mendelson, founder and creative director of Mendelson Group. “This mix of the expected and unexpected makes the room feel youthful, fresh and unique.”
4. BERRY-INSPIRED SHADES
A color with warm undertones—like the above shade, Cinnamon Diamonds by PPG—can keep a bathroom from looking stark. Rich berry tones can add a sophisticated touch to even the simplest spaces, says Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager for PPG.
5. PURE PINK
You either love this shade or you hate it. And if you fall into the former camp, you might as well make it a focal point of the room. There are two key ways to approach a color this unabashedly bubblegum, Murray says: “Anytime I’m going super bold with the main piece like a vanity, I either go maximalist with color and pattern all around or tone the room down with white walls and at least one element of black. Because this is a really modern home and it belongs to a young family, I chose the latter.”
6. PALE AMETHYST
Reminder: Your kids’ bathroom doesn’t have to be covered in Paw Patrol vinyl clings. When Houston-based designer Mary Patton started working on this room for a family with a little girl, she asked her a few questions about what she wanted and then interpreted that appropriately. “She was really interested in having a purple bathroom, so I selected a sophisticated yet fun color,” she says. “I chose light neutral tile and white quartz countertops and painted every inch of the bathroom in Valspar’s Fancy Pansy. Doing this tricks the eye into making the room look larger and achieves a lightened version of a monochromatic look.”
7. BRIGHT CORAL
Location is a major factor to consider. For example, a powder room that leads to a pool or outdoor space should be brighter and more playful than a master bathroom. “It’s a transition space—people come here to change before and after the pool—so the color is a departure from the rest of the house,” says Mendelson, adding that this cabana bath is actually part of the same Tudor that features the almond brown bathroom. “The brighter coral color aligns with the poolside energy, versus the earthy, autumnal tones throughout the other rooms of the house.”
8. FLAMINGO PINK
If the coral is just a little too quiet for your taste, maybe you need bold flamingo pink. Or better yet, the actual animal. “In this small bathroom, the fun flamingo wallpaper made the room bright and cheerful, while the soft gray of the floors, door and countertops, and the wood paneling create a sense of balance,” says Kristen Chuber, a certified color consultant at Paintzen, a service that connects people with pro painters and wallpaper installers. The neutral door and ceiling help mellow out the look, so it’s not too over the top.
9. LIME GREEN
Like your guac at Chipotle, this shade is extra—but it can be a playful accent for a kids’ bathroom. “Too much green may have been overwhelming, so we incorporated a white stripe to balance out the color and keep the bathroom looking and feeling a bit more refined,” explains interior designer Alexandra Rae.
10. YELLOW ACCENTS
If you’re going to play with pattern and contrast, a small nook—like this powder room—is the ideal place to do it. (In a compact space, it can be energizing; in large doses, downright jarring.) Studio Ten 25 founder and designer Abbe Fenimore played up the eclectic, happy vibe of one client’s home with black and yellow Osborne & Little wallpaper. Sure, the room is largely black and white, but the yellow accents make it feel fresh and lively.
11. SLATE GRAY
Anyone who’s into the modern or industrial aesthetic should consider washing their walls in a concrete texture, or going all Leanne Ford and covering them in SureCrete. It adds instant texture and character, and it’s an edgier take on the gray-is-the-new-neutral trend that’s been going on for years.
12. CLASSIC BLACK
Don’t shy away from an inky shade. Choosing a high-gloss black paint helped Black Lacquer Design highlight the architectural details and woodwork in this craftsman-style home. But black isn’t only for accenting traditional styles. Murray explains: “I believe almost any bathroom can benefit from black!”
It’s especially useful if you want to create a moodier tone. “A rich, sophisticated color is the perfect way to bring drama to a room,” Gibbons says. Proof that just because you’re working with neutrals doesn’t mean they have to be dull.