The Ultimate Guide to Using Color Strategically Inbathroom Design

The Ultimate Guide to Using Color Strategically Inbathroom Design

Today’s bathrooms are no long just utilitarian. On the contrary, they have become spaces for relaxation, rejuvenation and self-expression. Thoughtful design has entered the field of bathroom design!
Bule bathroom vanity

Design & Manufacture: PA Kitchens

Many design elements contribute to a well-designed bathroom. One of these is color. Color is a powerful tool for ambiance transformation and aesthetic enhancement.

The strategic use of color, from soothing pastels to bold statements, can breathe life into any bathroom, even the smallest one! It can create sanctuaries that reflect personality and style.
Here are principles, trends, and techniques that will help design a bathroom space that inspires and invigorates.

The Psychology of Color

It is a well-known fact to professional designers that colors can have a profound impact on people’s emotions, behaviors and overall well-being. Certain hues can stimulate specific moods and sensations. Others relax and subdue. A professional can harness the power of color to create harmonious bathrooms that rejuvenate the body, mind and soul, while at the same time look stunning, serene or cozy.

The Influence of Color on Mood and Perception

Simply put: as a silent communicator color can bring up emotions and thus change the way we deal with information.
Take warm colors like reds and oranges for example; these tend to stimulate and energize people, perhaps bringing them to action. Cooler hues, such as blues and greens, are perceived to be more calming.
The saturation or brightness of a color also impacts our emotional response. A bright, vibrant red can make our blood pump faster. It’s also the color associated with danger in our Western culture. In contrast, muted colors provide more a sense of tranquility.
Add to these cultural and personal associations, and you can understand how the perception of color shapes our emotions and potentially our actions. Each hue carries its own unique symbolism and significance!

How Different Colors Affect a Bathroom’s Ambience

Your clients will all be different. However, there are some color principles that can be generalized for a variety of clients.
For people who want to unwind after long days and who want to experience a sense of calm, soft muted tones like pale blues, beiges, and greens can provide that spa-like tranquility your client is seeking. On the other hand, others want to start their day with a burst of vitality and optimism. For these clients a bathroom with sunny yellow or energetic oranges could well awaken their senses and invigorate their grooming spaces.
Bathroom design

Source: PA Home

While not for everyone, this bathroom has a certain European charm. It is well coordinated with attractived, albeit feminine colors.

Source: Pinterest

Clients looking for sophistication and intimacy may well be attracted to richer shades like navy blue or even charcoal grey. These hues provide a cocoon-like atmosphere which is perfect for indulgent self-care rituals.

Whites and neutral colors offer a more timeless elegance and versatility. These spaces will serve more as a canvas for personal style expression, and at the same time give the feeling of cleanliness and purity.

Choosing the Right Colors for your Bathroom Design

Here are some recommended steps in selecting the right colors:
  • Assess the size and layout: lighter colors visually expand a space, whereas darker hues add depth and intimacy
  • Determine the mood you want to establish
  • Review existing or must-have elements for the space to create a harmonizing environment
  • Review selected colors and other elements both in natural and artificial lighting throughout the day
  • Experiment with different color combinations and samples
  • Choose a color palette that reflects your client’s personal style and the space’s functionality resulting in an inviting and harmonious retreat.
Light up a family bathroom with this fun and colorful chandelier .

Light up a family bathroom with this fun and colorful chandelier .

PopArt Molecular Chandelier – Inspire Lifestyles.

Exploring Current Popular Color Trends for Bathrooms

Bathroom color trends are not only dependent on what is popular at any given time, but they also depend on personal preferences, current design styles, and regional influences. For this year we will see a shift in bathroom colors.

Sustainability & Nature-Inspired

There is a growing interest in sustainability and biophilic design. As you know, biophilic design promotes positive interactions between people and nature. It promotes relationships and responsibility for humans and natural communities.

As a result we can expect the use of natural, earthy colors like warm brown, soft green and muted blues. While these tones provide a soothing ambience, they also allow us to sense a connection to nature.







Groupings of interesting plants giving an architectural vibe to the space.

Source: Edward George london

Infusing Warmth and Elegance with Warm Neutrals

Colors like white, beige and grey are no longer as popular as they used to be, particularly grey is out. Instead warmer neutrals such as creamy off-whites, sandy tones, and blush pinks are the colors of choice when warmth and softness is required. These tones are just as timeless and they too form a versatile backdrop for other design elements.
modern bathroom vanity

Source: PA Home

Soft & Tranquil Hues

Soft muted tones in green and blush are cekebrated in this simple bathroom.
Considering our busy lifestyles the focus will be on wellness and self-care in the form of soothing colors that promote relaxation. Think soft pastels like pale blues, gentle greens, lavender tones, or blush. These colors promote a serene environment that will help to unwind and de-compress.

Tonal Variations & Layering

Stark contrasts can stimulate and are on their way out. Tonal variations and layering involve different shades of the same color family to create depth and visual interest; they too contribute to a soothing atmosphere, while at the same time maintaining a cohesive look.




Soft muted tones in green and blush are cekebrated in this simple bathroom.

Source: Pinterest

Bold Accent & Statement Colors

A dominance of neutral, warm tones does not mean that some clients won’t want to add personality and visual impact to their sanctuary! There will always be those who are looking for rich and vibrant jewel tones. Deep emerald green, rich teal blue, vibrant plum and orange are all colors that can be used strategically by focussing on interesting architectural features.

Materials & Finishes Mixes

Combining various natural materials, finishes, and colors will play an important role in bathroom design. We will see a mix of glossy and matt surfaces, as well as natural materials such as wood, stone, and terrazzo to add texture and visual interest.

A sensuaslly shaped wooden tub reflects the beautiful wood vanities captured in the two alcoves. The round shapes of this design work together with the natural materials to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Source: Edward George London

Customization & Personalization

As you are aware, clients are look for individuality and self-expression in the design of their homes. Unique colors in customized palettes and patterns can help create one-of-a- kind spaces with the help of paint, cabinet finishes, tiles, and accessories.
bathroom design

Two similarly decorated power rooms. The feeling of both spaces is opulent, botanical and even tropical. Rich wallpaper in lifelike size, deep teal blue-green walls and a vanity in the same tone, as well as brass details, lend layers of mystery and sophistication. Note how the vanity on the left is captured within a brass frame, giving it some serious elegance. The vanity on the right is more traditional, but again the brass coloured details on the doors and basin panel give it additional interest.

Source: Pinterest

Cultural influences, technological advancements, and societal shifts contribute greatly to the development of design movements, trends and consumer preferences. Staying up-to- date then becomes a must for the professional.
Remember that trends can evolve over time, so it’s essential to choose colors that you personally, as well as your clients, enjoy and that complement your overall design vision for bathroom designs. Additionally, consider factors such as the size of the space, lighting conditions, and existing fixtures when selecting colors.

Practical Tips for Using Color in Bathroom Ddesign

1. Maximize Space with Light and Fresh Colors

To create a sense of space in a smaller bathroom use light and fresh colors strategically. Soft, neutral tones like creams and pastels, can instantly make a space feel larger and airy. As you know, light colors reflect natural and artifical lighting, creating a sense of expansiveness. Glossy finishes for countertops and tiles, as well as mirrors, further give that feeling of space through the reflection of light on these surfaces.

Another way to visually enlarge a space is by keeping the color scheme consistent across all finishes. This will also help to eliminate visual clutter and in turn give that feeling of space.

Bathroom design
Textures and patterns also enhance visual interest. They add color, character, and dimension to a bathroom. Wood elements live with porcelain tiles. Glass elements are enhanced by grasses and wicker. Adding a rug can pull all elements together and add warmth.

2. Highlighting Architectural Features and Fixtures

Interesting architectural details are worth highlighting at any time, even in small spaces. Color can serve as a powerful tool in this regard. Attention can be drawn to these features by applying color to them. For instance, moldings and trim, built-in shelving, alcoves or archways can be brought to the user’s attention by strategically applying an accent color in a tone that complements the overall palette.
Even elements like vanity cabinets or a freestanding tub can contribute to architectural details by using interesting colors; or, in the case of a wood vanity or tub, by choosing a species with a beautiful grain or pattern.

3. Experimenting with Color in Small Bathrooms and Powder Rooms

Experimenting with color in a client’s most intimate spaces can lead to great surprises. Clients may find some colors and color combinations unattractive at first, but once they are applied in innovative ways, they may well start to appreciate the results. It can be a transformative design journey not only for the professional but for the client as well.
Powder rooms are the perfect space for experimenting: drama and depth can be added by using vibrant colors, like jewel tones. Accentuating key features like the vanity, or a vanity wall, with a pop of color or fabulous wallpaper, creates a focal point and visual interest. Powder rooms are small and the outlay of time and money to create such effects is on a much smaller scale than if a client were to tackle a family bathroom or ensuite.

Innovative Ways to Integeate Color Into Bathroom Design

Let’s take a look at some additional ways to introduce color into those intimate spaces.

Customizing Family Bathrooms and Ensuites

Cabinetry with Paints or Stains

A two-tone paint finish on a vanity and cabinet is one way of using multiple colors that complement each other. These colours are to be coordinated with other ones used in the space, such as plumbing fixtures, wall and floor tile, as well as accessories.

A distressed finish will achieve a more vintage or traditional look. This look is often utterly charming providing a lived-in aesthetic, perfect for a farmhouse environment or “shabby-chic” inspired bathroom. A similar effect can be reached by transforming cabinets into weathered wood pieces by applying a special weathering solution or using a combination of paint and stain technique.
Applying an interesting pattern of molding to a cabinet door or panel is another way to add visual interest. Such pattern can be painted in the same tone as the rest of the cabinet or in an accent color.
Elegant bathroom cabinet
Whitewashed finishes were once really popular, but haven’t been seen for some time. This finish is, however, making a hesitant come-back. The use of diluted paint or stain allows the natural grain to show while at the same time giving a subtle, washed-out effect.
Lastly, bold pops of color and/or metallic accents are used to make an often unexpected statement. Metallic accents in cabinet hardware or trim – think gold, silver or copper – provide a luxurious finish.
modern bathroom vanity

Tile and Mosaic Designs

Since the investment in designing a bathroom is larger than a powder room, tile and plumbing fixtures are more often than not selected in fairly neutral tones. As we know, it’s easier and less costly to repaint a room than to replace a tub or shower tile surround, or a tile floor for that matter.
That said, there is no reason why a neutral tile cannot achieve a dramatic or elegant look! By combining light and darker tile colors and adding a warm wood vanity and cabinet a santuary is created that invites relaxation.
Alternatively, a cohesive look can be created by pulling out one color in the selected tiles and paint the vanity and cabinetry in this tone. Today, the terrazzo effect has become appealing to many people. Many terrazzo tiles have a multitude of soft or more expressive colors. Coordinating with one or two of the terrazzo colours will create an inviting feeling to a bathroom space. Terrazzo by itself can feel busy; however, by choosing colours to coordinate other elements this effect is calmed own considerably.
Typically this achieves a more contemporary look as shown in the image below where sand and gold tones were pulled out and repeated in the vanity and accessories.

Accessories and Textiles

A bathroom with neutral finishes can be elevated to a new level by coordinating plumbing fixtures, shower panel frames, accessories and textiles. A charcoal grey and cream look is complete with black plumbing fixtures and accessories. A soft marble look with fairly busy veining is calmed with fixtures in a color found in its veining.

Living Plants

The addition of greenery gives any bathroom the feeling of a relaxing sanctuary. Not only are living plants pleasing to the eye, they can also clear the air and add fragrance. Typically the moist environment of a bathroom or ensuite ensures healthy growth and lovely green tones.
Clusters of interesting plants, such as a banana leaf or fig plant, not only add to the green and sustainable feeling, but they create a terrific architectural look.
Plants near bathroom
And, if the space allows, a living wall is the ultimate for a healthy rejuvenating space, second to having a bathroom open up to the outdoors; or for that matter an outdoor bathroom – if the climate allows.

Inspirational Examples of Colorful Bathroom Design

Coastal Retreat
coastal retreat

Modern Minimalism

Timeless Elegance

timeless elegance

Bohemian Chic

Pacific Northwest

Pacific northwest bathroom vanity

Scandinavian Simplicity

Scandinavian Simplicity bathroom vanity

Japandi Style

Japandi Style bathroom vanity
There are many ways to design an ensuite, family bathroom or powder room. Colors can transform any one of these spaces into a personalized sanctuary that reflects your clients’ unique taste and personality. Such a space enhances a person’s daily rituals to more meaningful and intimate ones.

Explore PA Kitchen’s bathroom designs and vanity options here

Add Your Heading Text Here

Explore how light, neutral colors can make small bathrooms feel larger and more open, and discover which shades work best for different lighting conditions.

Learn about the psychology of color and how different hues can influence the atmosphere of your bathroom, from relaxing blues and greens to energizing yellows.

Stay updated with the latest color trends for bathrooms, including popular palettes for this year and tips on how to incorporate them into your space.

Get tips on selecting a cohesive color scheme that reflects your personal style and the functional aspects of your bathroom.

Understand how to effectively use dark colors in a bathroom without making the space feel smaller or more cramped.

Find out about the best types of waterproof paint for bathrooms, including considerations for durability, finish, and mold resistance.

Author: Jessica Eken

After a couple of decades as an accomplished interior architect, Jessica turned to writing for the B2B and B2C home industries. She can be reached at

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