The Wow Factor: How to Use Bold Colors in the Bathroom

Vintage-inspired mauves, blue tap fixtures and emerald green walls — these are just a few of the bold color ideas taking over the bathroom in recent months. Colors are a great way to add whimsy and fun to a space usually clad in neutrals.

If you’re ready to make a bold statement in your bathroom, these colors and design ideas can make it feel less like a utilitarian space and more like a party.

Bold Hues, Simple Designs

The traditional home color palette of the past decade is characterized by safe, neutral colors that don’t make much of an impact. But before that, in the 60’s and 70’s in particular, bright colors in the home were all the rage. These bolder hues are coming back into style in a major way today, says interior designer Ginny MacDonald. A surge of jewel tones and earthy rustic pops are being seen across all rooms in the home, including master bathrooms and powder rooms.

While there are many different color schemes that make bold statements, certain shades might work better for a bathroom depending on its size. You’ll also want to keep the rest of the house in mind. Interior designer SuzAnn Kletzien says it’s important to consider the use of space — plus how these rooms fit together to create a seamless experience in the home.

Your comfort level should also play a role in how bold you go with color. If you’re nervous about using too much, consider using strong hues in a small way, suggests designer Patrick Mele. He’s a fan of using key accessories to add pops of color in a room. Towels and art, for example, are elements that would work well in bold bathroom colors, especially in an otherwise neutral space.

Painting your door a bright shade can also incorporate vivid color in a modest, yet impactful way. To see how it might transform your bathroom, consider Elba Valverde’s post at Live Colorful. Valverde painted the sliding door to the bathroom in her master bedroom blue, and even matched a partial wall inside the bathroom. If you decide to paint a door, she has a few tips to help avoid drips and other imperfections.

“Drain the brush and foam roller before each layer. I like to carefully sand the door with a fine grit sandpaper in between paint layers, to remove hair, dust and any other imperfections and to get a smooth finish,” she writes.

bold bathroom colors

Keep it Cool with Greens and Blues

While blue is a fairly traditional bathroom color, using it in an expected way can add visual interest.

This is showcased by designer Beth Haley. In a bathroom with an unusually shaped alcove, she painted the outside wall blue and left the inside walls white. This draws attention to the window by framing the alcove in an interesting way. Then the natural light streams through and it is reflected by the white around it.

Another unexpected way to incorporate blue into the bathroom is to opt for navy blue, as it’s a far departure from the coastal baby blues we so often expect. Sydney-based designer Greg Natale says navy blue is where he heads when he wants to create a bold and daring look. “Dark walls can be very dramatic, and people often shy away from them, but with the right consideration for lighting, they can be wonderful, evocative rooms—bathrooms and powder rooms being no exception,” he explains.

Natale stresses that he only opts for this approach if the space can handle it. Size and natural light sources should be considered before hopping on the dark blue train.

Unlike blue, green has never sustained popularity as a bathroom color. But as jewel tones become more of a trend across the home, greens are getting their rightful attention as a go-to bathroom shade. Annie Bayer Goldberg of AG Designs explains how she used green in a small bathroom to balance accents and patterns: “This emerald-green powder bathroom breaks out of the beige box not only with the color of the walls, but also with the magnificent metallic and emerald abstract wallcovering on the ceiling.”  

The space also features a brass light fixture set into a bold green backdrop. Pairing cooler colors with gold accents can offer a touch of class and glam while also balancing a monochromatic scheme. This works just as well with blue shades as it does with green.

Cassity Kmetzsch of the Remodelaholic blog shows two bathrooms with vanities in turquoise shades. Both elements are paired with a number of gold and copper accents, including tapware, fixtures and mirrors. The warm undertones of the gold balance the turquoise without overpowering it, so both colors have a place to shine.

For a different shade of green, consider a darker hue like hunter. A gorgeous bathroom makeover by blogger Mandi Gubler at Vintage Revivals shows how just a touch of this color can have a massive impact. In this makeover, Gubler painted the back wall of the bathroom a dark hunter green and kept the other walls crisp white. A vintage map with diluted hues of green, blue and pink helps break up the bold wall color so that it doesn’t feel too dark or overwhelming.

bold bathroom colors

Add Warmth with Yellow and Coral

Bright yellows, oranges and other warm colors are making their way into the bathroom too, mainly due to their uplifting nature. Sunny yellow is a particularly popular color for the bathroom, according to HGTV’s Shannon Petrie.

She shows how vibrant yellow can be used as an accent wall to make a small bathroom appear larger. Using a bright color like yellow in an unexpected pattern, such as on bricks, can also add visual intrigue that draws attention away from the smallness of the space.

Yellow can also be added to the bathroom walls as a pattern, like stripes. Interior designer Ghislaine Viñas explains how she adorned the alcove of a small bathroom with neon yellow stripes. The wide strips of color add brightness to a space without direct natural sunlight. And, since these fluorescent strips pack a big punch visually, the rest of the powder room was left white to maintain balance and prevent the area from getting too busy.

Living coral is another way to add brightness to your bathroom, all while staying on trend. As Pantone’s 2019 color of the year, living coral is equal parts beachy and modern. “Pair Coral with another bold color, like blue, to really make the cool-tones pop,” writes Kayla Haas at Flooringinc.com. This tasteful contrast looks great with seafoam walls and white flooring and cabinetry, as seen in Haas’ sample photo.

Warm metallic shades can also be employed in the bathroom to create a dramatic atmosphere. House Beautiful’s Sienna Fantozzi highlights a powder room by Veneer Designs adorned with brown metallic walls. The textured wallpaper adds a pop of brightness to the space, making up for the lack of natural light in the space. Gold accents, white fixtures and ceiling plus a light wood floor keep the light/dark balance perfect.

Images by: Benoit Daoust/©123RF.com, Nick Collins, Raw Pixel