Beyond White: 11 Alternative Hues to Color Your Bath

The all-white bathroom is a familiar design icon: crisp white walls, marble vanity top, gleaming porcelain, plush white towels. But after years of being considered a classic, this minimalist palette can leave many people wanting more. A dash of color can enrich the space with energy, and—depending on the shades you choose—your bathroom paint colors can help invigorate you in the morning, relax you in the evening, or simply make you smile at any time of day. Use the power of paint color in the bathroom to set a tone. A blue bathroom that pulls from hues of the sea and sky will feel tranquil, while a stately navy blue or a steel gray bathroom promotes a sense of stability. Or, choose something altogether refreshing: A sunny yellow bathroom is sure to help wake you up in the morning, and a green bathroom in nature-inspired tones will feel grounded in cool earthiness. No matter your color choice, a paint with a semi-gloss finish will be your best bet to lay down the color; as a matter of practicality, these work best in the high-moisture environment of the bathroom. They'll be easy to clean and aren’t blighted by the occasional splash of water. While you're at it, use an especially durable paint on trim work, as windows and doors in the small space of a bathroom take extra abuse. A good paint job is at the foundation of nearly all bathroom decor ideas; whatever your style, there’s a palette to suit it. To inspire you, we’ve gathered images of 11 bathroom color schemes that range in hues from pale and ethereal to dark and dramatic—and really make their mark.

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  1. Straw


    The peaceful quality of pale straw combined with white is undeniable. Elegant details in this serene setting include thick ceiling molding, glass knobs on the vanity, and a corner cabinet. The valance, upholstered ottoman, and bath towel carry the straw color around the room.

  2. Brown


    Brown walls create a cozy feeling in a bathroom but can run the risk of feeling too dark. To find the right balance, choose a light-to-medium shade like this one and balance it with white on floors and woodwork. The crystal chandelier adds a playful touch to the space.

  3. Periwinkle


    A cheerful blue-purple as fresh as the flower itself, periwinkle is a fun color to use in the bath. The beadboard and clawfoot tub underscore this room's cottage charm. A single, bold work of art looks stunning against the colorful backdrop.

  4. Navy Blue


    At once traditional and a bit unexpected, navy blue makes a strong statement in the bath. Ample use of white keeps the dark color from overpowering the small space. The striated marble vanity top and tiny tile pattern on the floor add texture to the scene.

  5. Caramel


    Delicate details like an etched glass mirror and a crystal chandelier reflect the easy elegance of this powder room's caramel-and-white palette. A pedestal sink and brass accessories keep the look simple, allowing the walls to command full attention.

  6. Sage Green


    The soft sage chosen for this bath recalls the beauty of the great outdoors. White tiles and warm wooden floors complement the color of the walls. The narrow band of green tiles around the room adds a pleasing accent.

  7. Gray


    Shades of gray from pale fog to deep charcoal are widely used in American homes today. The sophisticated appeal of this color family is apparent in this master bath, where light-gray walls set the tone.

  8. Peach


    Not only does the color peach look beautiful when it's combined with white, the hue also casts a warm glow over the skin, enhancing one's complexion in the mirror. Fresh flowers—especially an arrangement that coordinates with the colors in the room—are always a pretty touch in a bath.

  9. Sky Blue


    The inspiration for the tranquil blue walls of this master bath came from the view outside the window. The color also complements the old-fashioned details of the room, including the fixtures, subway tile, and marble-topped wooden vanity.

  10. Beige


    A few shades darker than traditional white, a warm beige on walls and woodwork creates an enveloping sense of calm in this luxurious bath. Choosing a pale tan marble pattern for the vanity and tub surround continues the room's monochromatic look.

  11. Lavender


    There are endless choices for nearly white paint colors that have a hint of another hue—like this ethereal lavender—making them a good option for anyone who just wants to turn up the volume of a white bath ever so slightly. A playful pattern on the Roman shade and towels in a deeper shade of purple add a bit of whimsy to the room.

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