Beauty and the Bath
When it comes to creating the ultimate bathroom retreat, we'd all wish for a healthy budget, a spacious floor plan and maybe a designer to consult with. Perhaps we'd also add in the luxury of starting from scratch. Sadly, that's rarely the case. Even minor bathroom makeovers can be quite the challenge when your dream vision comes up against space constraints, fixtures that are not ideal yet too costly to replace, and plumbing codes. But . . . here comes color, a powerful ally that will inject personal style, mood, and beauty into the plainest bath. So, what are good bathroom colors? Here are five great palettes to get you thinking outside of the plain white box!
design by Vicki Kornrumpf, Timeless Interiors, Pompano Beach, FL
Jayne Mills, financial advisor and registered yoga teacher, waited ten years before taking the plunge into a total master bath renovation, and when she went for it, she did not hold back. Her elegant spa bathroom is big, luxurious, and just the way she wanted. The pale ethereal colors feel peaceful. The fine natural materials verge on decadence. The heirloom oak chest adds strength, warmth, and personality.
Inspired by a 2004 Traditional Home story, Jayne's master bath renovation relied on a mineral palette dominated by cool blue gray, soft sea green, creamy white, and silvery accents played out in silk fabrics, travertine marble, and onyx countertops. Jayne describes this bathroom color scheme as "delicate in a way, but very livable, timeless, and relaxing."--in essence . . . perfection!
CREATE REFRESHMENT WITH WATER COLORS
top: design by Alison Spear (photo by Jane Dagmi)
bottom: Bridget Conway, Lighthouse Interiors Inc., Lighthouse Point, FL
Refreshing water and air hues are practically a no brainer in the bath. Aqua, turquoise and teal--colors reminders of your favorite relaxing vacation--naturally suit this wet, purifying bath environment. Playing off white and other light naturals these shades feel crisp and clean and lend themselves to modern or cottage style bathrooms. Paired with rich brown cabinetry or steely gray tile, they provide a glamorous lift and a pretty vintage vibe, plus you also get that healing air/earth connection.
Idea: Follow Lighthouse Interior's lead--add dimension to your stripes by alternating finishes. Here the turquoise stripe is flat and cream is gloss. Try Benjamin Moore's Aura Bath & Spa Paint, available in matte and gloss.
CREATE A GLOW WITH WARM NEUTRALS
photos courtesy of D’Aquino Monaco
Pale, soft neutrals are restful in the bath, and easy to live with when space or lack of light is an issue, as it so often is. In a large loft, D'Aquino Monaco created a "texturally quiet haven" for their client using honed stone and a warm cream on the walls. While keeping a monotone palette, slight variations provide just enough contrast for the sculptural elements in the room, notably a travertine urn and footed tub. Francine Monaco and Carl D'Aquino worked around the cast iron structural column by incorporating it into the shower.
Idea: In small spaces keep to a monochromatic scheme.
CREATE A MOOD WITH DARK COLORS
brown bathroom: image from Marie Claire Maison
I would have thought that really dark colors would hinder bathroom activities such as tweezing and shaving, but not so, especially if you have good task lighting around mirrors. Whether enveloping an entire space or just accenting a wall, deep saturated hues are dramatic, elegant, and seductive. They can give off an old world feel or a modern one depending on the style of fixtures and other décor. Metallic hardware glows, shapely objects pop, plus any bit of pure happy color announces itself joyfully.
Tip: Dark paint has more pigment, so mix very well and keep stirring as you work.
CREATE A GRAPHIC CONTRAST WITH BLACK & WHITE
A black and white color scheme coordinates effortlessly with white or off white fixtures and tile. Snappy and elegant, retro and modern, used sparingly or with gusto, this punchy combo is a dependable good looker. White always feels fresh and black is a powerful companion. Use them in equal doses or use one dominantly and bring the other in as an accent. Introduce another neutral or color along the way.
Tip: A less sterile white, such as White Dove, has oomph and is not as stark.
Lastly I leave you with a virtual crayon box palette bath by Jamie Drake, recently described by Elle Décor as "famously fearless" with color. In this, the smallest of rooms, he edited the color palette down to just 40 shades!