Choosing wall colors for a bathroom can be difficult because that decision tends to influence every other design choice, including fixture colors, styles and finishes. To make sure the process goes smoothly, it’s important to stay knowledgeable about the best color and fixture pairings. This helps guide your clients in the right direction, ensuring they’re happy with the end result.
Here’s an overview of today’s most popular metal finishes — and the colors that compliment them.
Before jumping into the world of color schemes, there are a few fixture pairing principles and trends to keep in mind.
According to supply.com, a resource for homebuilders, it’s important to think about a person’s line of sight. In other words, when someone glances at an area of the bathroom, that view should be pleasing to the eye. This means that the bathroom faucet, for instance, should match its surrounding cabinetry and fixtures. When someone looks at this area of the room, they’ll be met with a pleasant, cohesive experience.
Sticking to consistent fixture finishes also helps update an older bathroom, according to Villa Real Estate. Sometimes a fresh fixture set and a new bathroom color can update a bathroom without any major changes to toilets and sinks. If a client is on a budget or wants to keep changes to a minimum, consider how a new fixture and color pairing can work with an existing space.
Keep in mind the intention of the bathroom remodel. If a homeowner wants a bathroom to last for many years, Mari-Jane Williams at the Washington Post writes that it’s a good idea to choose classic fixtures. Polished nickel and silver, for example, remain sophisticated over time and work well with most colors and styles. This helps a remodel stay relevant for a long period of time without going out of style. However, these looks also mean settling on something more traditional.
If a customer isn’t sure what feeling they’d like to evoke, don’t be afraid to pull out the color wheel and use it to your advantage. Explaining how colors evoke certain moods and feelings — and discussing what they pair well with, can help guide a customer in the right direction.
Now that we’ve covered the basic principles of colors and fixtures, here are a few pairings that are proven to work well together.
Oil Rubbed Bronze
Oil rubbed bronze is an increasingly popular fixture finish option. Michelle Fee, who owns the bathroom remodeling service Change Your Bathroom, Inc., says that since oil-rubbed bronze can be more expensive, homeowners should consider mixing and matching it with different fixture finishes. She adds that it works well with most other silver and gold finishes, since its tone is muted.
When matching the right colors to your oil rubbed bronze fixtures, Fee suggests opting for Tuscan or Mediterranean styles. Often defined by warm colors, these color palettes are filled with golden yellows and fiery reds. Yellow is another strong color option. As explained by home style writers Chelsea Faulkner and Allie Holcomb King, butter yellow walls pair well with rustic fixtures and elements, such as oil rubbed bronze.
Terra cotta is yet another bathroom trend that helps oil rubbed bronze pop. Patterned tiles and earth-toned stone elements also help amp up the Tuscan vibe.
Brass has made a comeback in modern styles, and today’s fixtures offer a warm and regal look to any bathroom. Interior designer Jenna Burger writes that modern brass fixtures work well with a black and white color palette. This is especially true for creating a vintage bathroom design that feels both classic and contemporary. To go beyond black and white, consider natural colors like greens and beige tones.
Jenny Komenda, an interior designer and owner of the Little Green Notebook blog, says a vintage olive green also works well with bronze fixtures. The bronze helps give the green a subtle glow, while a white marble floor keeps things bright and inviting.
A green and brass bathroom color combination was featured on the Centsational Style blog by interior designer Kate Riley. This bathroom showcases a green wallpapered bathroom with a mirror, towel rack and drawer pulls in a brass finish. These brass fixtures are complimented with a darker faucet and doorknob in oil rubbed bronze.
Polished Nickel and Chrome
If a client is seeking a spa-like vibe or decorating a beach house bathroom, polished nickel is a solid choice. Decorator, stylist and author Maria Killam shows how robin egg blue can pair nicely with marble flooring and polished chrome features. In addition to a chrome faucet and towel racks, the plumbing supply lines and sink pedestal also feature this chrome color. This example demonstrates how a consistent fixture color scheme works well with a two-toned bathroom wall.
Fixtures don’t always have to be cohesive (as we’ve previously discussed), but they should be when your wall colors are varied. If you have a cohesive wall color, like beige or tan, interior decorating and design firm Kylie M. Interiors suggests polished nickel and chrome fixtures. These are a strong complement to almond and bone colored bathroom elements.
Brushed nickel offers a more muted approach to bathroom fixtures.
Progress Lighting writes that brushed nickel is a cool metal with a hint of underlying warmth, allowing it more versatility than its shiny silver counterparts. Neutrals such as ivory, light brown and slate all work well with brushed nickel. Additionally, purple, lavender, plum and other cool colors help the nickel create a calm and relaxing environment. Kaminsky Design and Remodeling also likes blue and green shades, saying those colors suit a brushed nickel set because they are cool and calming.
Some clients want to create a layered, dynamic vibe by mixing fixture finishes. This look is entirely achievable, but works best with neutral tones like whites and beiges.
Interior design blog Kathy Kuo Home offers a few tips for mixing metals in the bathroom. Kuo explains that it’s best to choose the dominant metal first, then follow with warm and complimentary tones. Kuo adds that brass and chrome can work well together when they’re combined in a balanced way, with an equal amount of fixtures in both finishes.
For a universal color palette, interior design firm Studio McGee suggests opting for black fixtures. Black pairs well with practically every color, but modern trends are leaning towards black and gold combinations for a more glamorous look. For other mixed metal combinations proven to work well, interior designer Marianne Brown has a few combinations she likes, saying that oil rubbed bronze, polished nickel and aged brass are a solid trio. For a more modern look, she suggests black, polished chrome and Lucite.
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