So it’s time to paint the bathroom and you’re not sure where to begin? You’ve come to the right place. First of all, before you start perusing those paint samples, you should take some time to consider what you want from your bathroom. Yes, all bathrooms are utilitarian in nature, but one bathroom can feel vastly different from another. It all comes down to mood which in turn is defined by the overall design which starts with painting and color definition. Color is a key element when it comes to creating the desired mood. For example, do you want a bathroom that wakes you up and energizes you like a visual cup of coffee? Maybe you’d prefer something more serene for an evening bubble bath that feels like a visit to a spa. Consider your lifestyle, including the time of day when you will spend the most time in the bathroom.
Learn more about the psychology of color.
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Next, consider the colors that you have to work around. Plumbing fixtures and ceramic tiles bring their own style and character to a room. The bathroom flooring is also a consideration in this process,find out more on flooring here. Choosing a color that is harmonious with the existing elements will ensure an outcome that you’ll be proud of.
Need more ideas on bathroom makeovers on a budget, check out our related article here.
Whatever the scale of the project you can get great advice on products, designs and decor from your local building material retailer.
A Word About Painting and Powder Rooms
A powder room is a small secondary bathroom that simply has a toilet and sink. There is no bathtub or shower in a powder room so people tend to only visit this room for a few minutes at a time. There might be a vanity in the powder room that you would like to upgrade,check out some ideas on that topic here. Consider this an opportunity to experiment with a bold color that you love. Powder rooms are also ideal for a strong color statement due to the fact that the neutral color (most often white) of the plumbing fixtures and the presence of a mirror over the sink provide balance to the room. If you’ve never tried a bold color before, the powder room is the perfect place to start. Check out our related article on powder room make overs here.
Now, let’s begin with the “wake up” bathroom.
YELLOW is considered the world over to be cheerful and uplifting. It can be bright as a lemon or soft as butter. The degree of impact can easily be dialed up or down to suit your preference.
ORANGE is bold and undoubtedly energetic. It can be like Vitamin C for your mood. From the more subdued peach shades to vibrant tangerine, if orange makes you happy, there’s no need to shy away from it.
RED is sure to infuse excitement, energy and intensity to any room. If you love the drama that red brings, you have only to select your favorite shade. Burgundy (blue-red) is luxurious and sophisticated, while a more yellow-red tone is homey and upbeat.
BLACK provides glamour. The contrast with lighter colors is eye-catching and authoritative. Black also gives a feeling of power and strength. I once decorated my own powder room in black and EVERYONE who visited highly complementary of my strong, and beautiful, style choice.
Next, let’s examine colors that will help you create a restful spa retreat.
BLUE has traditionally been a favorite color for bathrooms. This is due, largely, to the fact that the bathroom is the “water room.” In addition to its obvious relationship with the sea and sky, blues are also associated with cleanliness and serenity. Light blues create a light mood. Think of the cornflower blue of a country cottage. Sea tones in the medium range are soothing, while navy blue hits a decidedly nautical note.
PURPLE is associated with wealth and passion. It is a historical favorite of royalty and can evoke feelings of spirituality and the exotic.
LAVENDER is purple’s softer sister. It sets a calm, yet happy tone.
PINK has been widely utilized in bathrooms when a feminine note is desired. Forget the dated pink bathrooms of the 70’s. Today hues can evoke the calm, soft whisper of the beach (as with Sarasota Sand) or, when a medium pink is combined with ivory and gold, surround you in luxury reminiscent of Marie Antoinette.
Painting with Earth Tones
Earth tones are a staple of the spa atmosphere. They infuse peace, harmony and balance into any space. The calming effects of earth tones are cross-cultural, making them an excellent choice for anyone who is preparing their home for sale.
GREEN brings a feeling of freshness and tranquility. Think of how you feel when you see a photo of a lush green field in Ireland, or a rugged Canadian forest. You can bring that very mood to your bathroom simply by selecting the corresponding shade of green.
BROWN exudes warmth, comfort and stability. It makes us feel calm and grounded. Think of rich dark wood and the natural feeling that you get from brown leather and suede. Traditionally considered masculine, brown has been the go-to color in settings such as a gentleman’s study, smoking room or hunting lodge. Today brown is used for a wider array of applications. When combined with blue or green accents, a brown color scheme can create a mood that is appealing and comforting to the whole family.
BEIGE is a more neutral version of brown. It is easy to work with since it blends easily with almost all colors. Beige tones tend to soothe the mind and calm the soul, making it the runaway favorite of commercial spas.
GREY is also considered neutral. It can bring a very modern flavor (think concrete, chrome and glass) or it can work its magic in a more traditional way (grey stone or flannel.) Grey partners easily with other colors and is considered gender neutral due to its ability to look soft and feminine, as when combined with pink, or firmly masculine when mixed with navy or royal blue.
WHITE (sorry… can’t print white on white…) is associated with purity and cleanliness making it a natural for bathrooms. It pairs easily with every color thus being the simplest color to work with. But how much is too much? If your bathroom already has white plumbing fixtures and white tile (perhaps even white countertops) then tread carefully. Adding white walls and a white ceiling to those white hard surfaces can drain the life from a room. Too much white can feel cold and clinical as a laboratory. Luckily it’s easy to play off of white to get just the right balance to suit your style.
And this brings me to another important feature of the room – THE CEILING.
The CEILING represents 1/6th of the surface area of a room. Sometimes referred to as the 5th wall, ceilings can be a standout feature. All it takes is a little planning before start painting.
White is a favorite color for ceilings since it makes the ceiling appear higher, thereby making the room feel open and airy. It is the most common way to finish a room, but there are other options.
For example, one of my favorite design choices is to paint the ceiling with a beautiful rich color in an otherwise all white (or neutral) room. This is a somewhat different take on the “feature wall” concept, but it is much more balanced and pleasing to the eye than having one wall done in a contrasting color. This method visually expands the room while still providing a pop of color.
Another approach is to wrap the room in color by painting the ceiling the same color as the walls. This can be done with contrasting trim, providing a crisp look that delineates the edges of the room. Alternately it can be done with matching trim to create a cozy cocoon-like environment.
Ceilings can also be painted a complementary color to provide a contrast to the wall color. This can be an appealing choice, particularly when the ceilings are high and windows are large.
As you can see, your bathroom does not have to be bland, boring or predictable. It can have high style and lasting impact. Just take a little time to consider which options suit your personal preferences and lifestyle. A bit of planning and a lick of paint are all you need to go ahead and create the bathroom retreat of your dreams. Happy painting!