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5 Colorful Bathroom Designs That Might Just Convince You To Go All-In On Green (Or Red, Or Yellow Or…)

Rooms in the house like bathrooms and kitchens feel like scary places to take chances with color. I totally get it. Tiles, cabinetry, fixtures…it’s fairly permanent stuff that you can’t just easily swap over when you tire of it. But just like I’ll always gravitate towards the jewel tones and pastels and boho prints in my closet, I can’t imagine a gorgeous burgundy vanity or gorgeous stretch of mustard yellow tile would ever be something I regret. Not everyone is as welcoming to color as I am, sure, but if your en suites and powder baths and jack-and-jills are in need of something new and neutrals aren’t cutting it for you anymore, then you’ve found the right post!

Just like I did with white kitchens, cherry kitchens, honey oak and espresso, I dreamed up five color palettes (with a little inspirational help from some drop-dead stunning rooms) and built real, usable moodboards around them to help you see how to pair shades and build a thrilling space. You deserve to wash your face and your frame somewhere you can’t wait to see in the morning.

Moodboard Rules

When I did this for kitchens, I always tried to explain a few things from the get-go. Here are a few things to remember or know going into this post:

  1. The moodboards are representative of a color scheme and vibe. The bath faucet I picked on each is mostly just to showcase a metal finish that can be pulled for lighting, hardware, and other fixtures. Maybe I picked a yellow tile for the wall but your budget only allows for paint or wallpaper…that’s fine! Just find a similar paint color instead. That’s the gist!
  2. I’m not presenting an entire bathroom suite on my boards. You won’t find tubs or shower faucets or toilets or toilet paper holders. I mostly just wanted to tell a visual story that you could pull inspiration from.
  3. This post might be about bathrooms but, please, don’t forget any of these color stories would work in ANY room. Color is color is color. The same palette that works in your powder bath could work in a guest bedroom or even your kitchen. Don’t take my boards super literally, and dream a little!

Colorful Bathroom Tips & Tricks

After studying colorful bathroom after colorful bathroom, I realized that the most successful spaces that felt colorful but not suffocating had 1-2 key colors (usually in the form of tile on the walls or floors), 1-2 accessory colors (in other tile, wallpaper or paint) and some tone of wood furniture via a stool, chair, or table. While I saw so many bathrooms that were predominantly white, even the addition of just one color through the vanity or a singular tile choice wasn’t enough to warrant me calling it “colorful.” One blue vanity does not a colorful bathroom make. And while these aren’t for everyone, I think they all do a good job of presenting color in a way that feels enticing, exciting, and not scary. Neutral is fine, but emerald green is better. 😉

Let’s get into some color palettes, shall we?

Sky Blue, Brick Red & Mustard

The Inspiration:

This will not be the last time you see a version of blue/yellow/red in this post, but this is the first iteration in the specific hues of sky blue, brick and…what color is that towel exactly? Brown mustard? Sure, let’s go with that. I mean what can I say? Primary colors work together for a reason, but we slide them around the spectrum just a bit to work for us and be more approachable. The sharp blue tile paired with the small-scale wallpaper caught my eye, and I love how they’re both given a bit of gravitas with the brick floor. Almost as if a tub doesn’t even belong here. Perhaps this used to be a study or…well, I suppose brick floors aren’t normally found in studies either. It’s a surprising element that works and feels oddly satisfying.

The Moodboard:

I wasn’t about to suggest brick for your bathroom floor so a terracotta-hued hex took the silver medal here. I wanted to find a tile in a brighter blue but then I found this more subdued grayish blue and it just looked so nice with everything else that I let it go. You can find the color you like best; it’ll likely still work with the other colors here just as well. This wallpaper print can be customized with whatever colors you want, this is the combo I picked. A black wood stool feels modern and fresh paired with the wavy mango wood wall shelf and the rattan front of the vanity. Throw in a vintage-inspired portrait, and you’ve got yourself a pulled-together, absolutely lovely space.

1. Connor Porcelain Lever Handle Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Polished Nickel | 2. Sausalito 36″ Single Sink Vanity | 3. New Country Powder Blue 5.9 in. x 5.9 in. Polished Ceramic Wall Tile | 4. Little Lillies Wallpaper | 5. Terra Rosa Hex Zellige | 6. Sinnappu Vintage Distressed Rug | 7. Albern Stool | 8. Natural Mango Wood Scalloped Floating Wall Shelf | 9. Slowtide Clive Bath Towel Collection | 10. Eleanor

Emerald, Sage, Moss & Cream

The Inspiration:

I’m sorry but how chic is this space? I don’t know if it’s the unique dotting of white tile in a sea of emerald (with that great border!), the cream and sage walls, the thin black border around said walls—I LOVE this look— or that gorgeous robe that brings everything together. Giancarlo Valle is the master of interesting, storied yet modern yet layered yet not stuffy designs. It’s old-world but very “now” all at once…I don’t know how he does it.

The Moodboard:

While I could never replicate the effortless eclectic elegance of the original (architecture also plays a big role here), I think no matter the style of your home, you could make an emerald, sage, and cream palette work for you. A classic marble subway tile in the shower is timeless, as is a white porcelain pedestal sink. The floor is “the” moment here with a hex and diamond dark green and white pattern. I brought the sage in via this pretty paint color from Clare—try it on the walls, ceiling, or both! Moss towels cut through the cooler emerald with some yellow undertones to balance the brass and the warm wood stain of the etagere (for storage!). I had to try to bring in some blue like the robe in the original bathroom inspiration, and as it only needs a touch, I opted for this pretty soap pump which I own myself and love.

1. Metropolitan KS4463BX Two-Handle 3-Hole Deck Mount Widespread Bathroom Faucet | 2. Kenton 20″ Pedestal Sink | 3. White Carrara 3 in. x 6 in. x 9mm Polished Marble Subway Tile | 4. All The Sage | 5. Floor Tiles – Octagon 15 x 15 cm (5.91 x 5.91 in.) – Green/Black | 6. Chase Organic Cotton Warm White Bath Mat | 7. Classic Round Polished Chrome Bathroom Towel Hook | 8. 14″ Large Layered Art Deco Style White Glass Schoolhouse Flush Mount | 9. Wood & Cane Console Table | 10. Luxurious Cotton Diamond Textured Towel Set | 11. Smokey Glass Soap Pump Blue

Dusty Rose, Burgundy, Black & White

The Inspiration:

Red, red, wiiinnneeee baaatthhrroooom. And okay, maybe not “red” per see. But “dusty pink, dusty pink, wine” isn’t a song. Both the examples above are so fun and impactful in their own ways: the first photo is a little bit less heavy-handed with a tadelakt treatment on the walls (it’s waterproof!) while the second goes all-in. The trick here is mixing a deep berry-like burgundy and a mauve, dusty rose. The black and white, whether on the floor or via soft goods like curtains keeps things from reading overly kiddish. I love the richness some brass fixtures add to the tableau as well as the pop of green via a fresh little plant friend.

The Moodboard:

Both the inspiration shots employ trimwork/shiplap rather than tile to bring in the pinks, so I suggested a white panel and a pretty mauve to paint it, whether it goes on the walls or on a tub surround. A predominantly black floor felt a little too heavy for me, so I picked a floor tile that’s mainly white with charcoal stars. That same black and white is echoed in the shower curtain and in the rug (with a bit of red running through it), and I decided to break from the pinky pairing with some rust and taupe towels and a terra cotta planter to bring in some greenery.

1. Linden Lever Handle Widespread Bathroom Sink Faucet | 2. 24″ Simple Style Bathroom Vanity with Sink, Modern Bathroom Cabinet with Two Doors and Adjustable Shelves | 3. White Nickel Gap Shiplap Panel | 4. Mauve Mist | 5. Tau Blanco 9×9 Matte Porcelain Tile | 6. Ashmont Ticking Stripe Shower Curtain | 7. Fluted Planter | 8. Reagan Milk Double Globe Sconce | 9. 20″x32″ Modern Reversible Colorblock Striped Bath Rug | 10. Organic Cotton Mosaic Towels

Just All the Blues

The Inspiration:

Give me a room where one color is used in numerous tones literally EVERYWHERE, and I’ll never forsake it. I LOVE this technique. I always call it “Ode to ____” so this bathroom design is henceforth named “Ode to blue.” Honestly, this method is the best way to go about working with a space that already had tile, especially if you didn’t love it to begin with. It kicks it up 10 notches and makes it all feel (here’s my favorite word…) intentional. So many people have vintage bathrooms out there, and they’re just ripped out left and right. I’d KILL for a chance to work around a beautiful blue tile like this as long as it was in good shape. This homeowner color matched the vanity paint to the tile and then took it a handful of shades darker on the wall which feels so rich. (P.S. This beautiful home was shot by our very own Sara Ligorria-Tramp for the blog; check out the whole tour here.) Blue appears elsewhere in the stripe of the towel, the print of the shower curtain, and in—surprise!—a little turquoise in the rug. Round it out with a red-toned vintage chair and you’ve got yourself a bathroom with some quiet personality.

The Moodboard:

To start things off, I picked the same tile for the wall and floor, just varied the pattern. Herringbone below, subway tile above. Because this tile was already a deeper shade of blue, I went with a slightly brighter blue for the walls which gives it a colorblock feel. You could paint your own existing vanity or anything you had in mind (maybe a gorgeous vintage dresser???) the same color as the wall or match the tile. Some marble and brass throughout keeps the space feeling luxe rather than lackluster (you want contrast here and there since the blues have very little contrast). And OMG THAT CHAIR! It’s nearly identical to the one from the inspiration photo and I wish it were mine. Wait…maybe by the time you read this, it will be. #sorrynotsorry From there, just the finishing touches in a variety of patterns bring to life the one-note palette.

1. Nicoli 8 in. Widespread Double Handle Bathroom Faucet in Champagne Bronze | 2. Allen + Roth Lancashire 36-in Chambray Blue Undermount Single Sink Bathroom Vanity | | 3. Park Hill Blue 4×12 Polished Porcelain Tile | 4. Cornwall | 5. Park Hill Blue 4×12 Polished Porcelain Tile | 6. Sorrel Toile Shower Curtain | 7. Super-Plush Bath Towels in Striped Midnight Navy | 8. Luxury Bathroom Marble Shelf with Gold Brush Bracket | 9. Modern Overhang Swivel Vanity Mirror | 10. Victorian Caned Walnut Spindle Back Side Chair, ca 1870 | 11. Blue Ria Geometric Washable 4′ x 6′ Area Rug

Ochre, Blush & Denim

The Inspiration:

For my final color combo, I knew I wanted to try something with more warmth, specifically yellow. I’ve had this room by Barlow and Barlow bookmarked for a bit in my personal archive not necessarily because the design is something I’m drawn to, but because of the depth of hues that still feels light and friendly. If you recall, mustard and peachy pink were the main colors in my old bedroom and I loved them together so much. It felt happy and glowy in all the best ways. I also had a navy velvet glider chair, and all of those colors are essentially primary colors just shifted to make them feel less Mondrian/preschool. Red = blush, ochre = yellow, chambray = blue. Adding wicker, rattan and natural-toned wood is fresh and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The Moodboard:

Okay, so like I mentioned, I didn’t attempt to recreate the vibes from the inspo photo, but rather pulled out the colors and textures and made something more playful but classic. I think a design like this would be so wonderful in a smaller kids’ bath or even a powder bath (pedestal sinks are pretty but uh…where do you store things?). I opted for polished nickel for the fixtures to stand out against the mustard tile for the wall, though brass would certainly also look great. I brought in the wicker and rattan via the mirror (love that wavy detail, don’t you?) and the tiny footstool which would be great next to a tub to hold a towel or two. You could certainly just pick a warm white for the walls, but this Dashes wallpaper from Chasing Paper really brought the palette together IMHO.

1. Gunther Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Polished Nickel | 2. Signature Hardware Olney 40″ Vitreous China Console Sink | 3. Mustard Seed Tile | 4. Dashes | 5. Twinkle Series | 8” x 8” Encaustic Cement Tiles | 6. Scalloped Linden Mirror | 7. Mediterranean Organic Towel | 8. Aiden Ribbed Glass Light Pewter Wall Sconce Light | 9. Moroccan Wicker Step Stool | 10. Sculpted Marble Vanity Box | 11. La Mirada Navy Handwoven Cotton Rug

You know…every time I set out to put one of these color palette posts together, I think…I’ve got nothing left. There are no other color combinations, and every time, the world of color surprises me. I find myself falling in love with every single one of the moodboards, truthfully able to see them come to life in my own home in one way or another (if I weren’t a renter or needed to renovate).

As always, I hope you enjoyed this post and hearing my thought process for each scheme and moodboard. Turns out, I guess I have plenty more up my sleeve. 🙂

Your friend in (colorful) design, Arlyn

Opening Image Credits: Design by Max Humphrey and Beebe Skidmore | Photo by Kaitlin Green

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JenPNW
2 months ago

Love this post and the inspiration photos. We’re in the throes of a bathroom renovation. Our house is a very cool 1970s ranch. Bathroom is a typical 5′ x 10′ and we’re not moving any plumbing except for small things like raising the showerhead height a few inches. The color palette I designed is mustard-yellow tiles for the tub surround with glossy magenta-plum for the shower niche. The overhead Cedar&Moss light fixture (I live in the Portland area) is a dark forest green. The floor tile is a copper-y penny tile with a super subtle sheen of purple, depending on the light angle. Fixtures are brass. The walls will be a neutral BM Simply White because I have a lot of colorful art I want to hang. And the vanity is white oak with a creamy white quartz countertop. We just started demo and I’m so excited to see how it turns out!

Stephanie
2 months ago
Reply to  JenPNW

This sounds so fun, Jen!

Paula
2 months ago
Reply to  JenPNW

Sounds gorgeous.

Susan
2 months ago

These are hands down the BEST posts on this site. Every single time you knock it out of the park, give me a TON of ideas that I can actually implement and show us how we can work with what we have without tearing everything out. Seriously I hope you find a way to continue this series. I am learning so much about how to work with color and texture. And now I can see why our blue bathroom doesn’t quite work and how we can make it better! Thank you for all the time and thought you put into these. So so good

Anon
2 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Couldn’t agree more. These posts are useful for anyone wanting to refresh almost any space.

Deborah
2 months ago
Reply to  Susan

So good and inspiring Arlyn! I agree with Susan and Anon and hope you continue to share ideas like this occasionally.

One way to do that would be to ask readers to submit photos of their bathroom or kitchen color “problem” and create mood boards from you and perhaps some other EHD contributors (if they are inspired to do so giving another design POV) to make up a mood board or two using the photos as inspiration. I think they would be fun, helpful and inspiring.

I wasn’t sure about how well I would like seeing “colorful” bathrooms, but these are wonderful! They kind of give me hope with my late 40’s bathroom with pale greenish yellow (or maybe it’s pale yellow green?) sink, tub and toilet which I have always wished were white – thank you Arlyn!

Pamela T
2 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Agree, agree and agree! Your series on color palettes could be a book. Love these.

Mari
2 months ago

Arlyn, this was so inspiring! Love the dusty pink and sage boards especially. Thanks for always sparking a wide range of ideas. If you continue a bathroom series, I would love to see your thoughts on how a renter could brighten up a rental bathroom with no windows, what attractive over toilet storage is out there (including storage that doesn’t require drilling holes), and perhaps most selfishly, how to complement existing 70s tile like the university porcelain mosaic tile that is a sad mish-mosh of browns and tans. I would also be curious about people’s experiences with peel and stick tile on floors -does it actually work for renters?

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago

Love the blues n greens; the earthy terracotta ochres and creams; but I cannot deal with mustard in a bathroom!
I rented a house when I was in university and the landlords were lovely. A couple of times I got behind in rent and they went on date nights so I babysat their ankle-biters (aka: cute little kids) to catch up.
They also let me paint the kitchen/diner…MUSTARD! Well, it was actually called “pumpkin”, but it was mustard. They even paid for the paint. What a nightmare!!!
So, after that shock-horror and gasping failure, I will never again venture to mustard in a wet area like kitchen or bathroom. Nope, nit, nine, nix, never.🤣🤣

Aimee
2 months ago

This is such an interesting post! I love to see spaces with such an artistic point of view.
Great job breaking down the elements and sourcing these spaces, Arlyn!
It’s a nice take on a “trend” post while representing unique and storied points of view. Love it!

J
2 months ago

Love, love colors, particularly in bathrooms. As a partially color blind person with little color confidence I am curious, is there a designer rule of thumb about flattering bathroom colors? I once heard no green in bathrooms for instance.

Sally
2 months ago

Oh my God. I have been staring at that Nickey Kehoe bathroom all week! How spooky that it’s the first image when I open this page.
On another note, these articles are okay but they are very theoretical and tbh, feel very much like advertorials.
I get that this blog is a commercial enterprise but could we please have some more actual rooms/makeovers etc to look at? Doesn’t have to be the farmhouse, in fact I often prefer the teams’ reveals, like Mal’s the other day (first in ages). What happened to your cherry kitchen? Are you going to show us or have I somehow missed – doesn’t look like you keep the indexing and links under each heading up to date.
Really miss seeing reveals and real life rooms other than the farmhouse, and even those are a long time between drinks. Just putting forward my two cents – I can see that not all agree.

Stephanie
2 months ago
Reply to  Sally

Hi Sally, I’m a long-time reader of the blog, and I certainly understand the desire to see actual spaces and makeovers. It’s total eye candy for us design nerds and can generate a lot of ideas for our own spaces. But I want to jump in here and defend these types of posts because so many of us find them to be incredibly helpful, especially since they inspire us to work with what we already have rather than making us feel like we have to totally gut reno a place to get it to look like what we see in the magazines (or blogs). In particular, I love the links to the products. So often when I see a room I like I have no idea where to even begin sourcing the materials, let alone ones within my budget. Here, what Arlyn is providing us with is akin to something you’d only get if you paid a design firm–beautiful inspiration boards with the products already sourced and linked. It’s amazing!! Plus, these color stories are meant to be a jumping off point for us, not something we have to follow exactly. Maybe if you’ve been struggling to incorporate your blue… Read more »

MBJ
2 months ago
Reply to  Sally

I see what you mean, it would be nice to see these in real spaces, but that would take SO much longer and be incredibly expensive to implement. I also think doing it like this, as a palette with actual paint colors and specific product recs is actually so helpful to regular home owners who can apply this directly to any room in their own homes. Yes, EHD gets money when we buy the things they link to, but a lot of people want this specific product recommendation rather than just “real life” inspiration photos. I feel like a lot of people see something they like on Pinterest but then don’t know how to translate it into their homes, and Arlyn breaks down the color theory and makes it super approachable. So kudos, Arlyn!! Love these posts!

Monica
2 months ago
Reply to  Sally

Emily used to have more before and after posts on her blog years ago. This was when she designing spaces for clients was a larger part of her portfolio of work. However, she mentioned that it was difficult in part because not everyone wants their homes posted on the internet. And the EHD business evolved so that designing for others is not as common for them these days (at least that is my understanding of their current situation). I am very happy they are taking time between farm house reveals because I don’t want those to end! I think the suggestion of featuring before and after images of spaces that have implemented suggestions from this blog is a good one, though…

L
2 months ago
Reply to  Sally

Real makeovers take time! Arlyn just introduced her kitchen in June, keeps a baby alive every day, and has been contributing to the blog weekly since then. I think we can trust her to share the kitchen update when it’s ready, and it makes 100% sense to me that it would take more than a couple months to get there!

Crissy Perham
2 months ago

Really love when you do these mood boards, Arlyn!!! 10/10 no notes!

Stephanie
2 months ago

So fun!!! I love these.

Lisa
2 months ago

I love this! Why make the one room of the house that we get naked in sterile and cold feeling? The color instantly adds warmth and personality! I especially love the wine and the brick with muted blue.

Denise
2 months ago

Fun!

Paula
2 months ago

Love all of these…but especially the Nicky Kehoe one.

Annie
2 months ago

great post – thank you

Aimee
2 months ago

Holy God! What an adorable chair you’ve posted in “Just All The Blues”! Thank you so much, Arlyn. I’ve been looking for the perfect little chair and you just delivered it to me! Mwah!

Monica
2 months ago

This is probably my favorite Arlyn post yet! I love the opening photo and all of the featured images. Though the bathroom in my NYC rental apartment has white subway tile on the walls and large light grey squares on the floor, it’s fun to dream! While “Just all the Blues” describes my fantasy color palette for any room (love this title!), surprisingly I was drawn to almost of them (rose upon rose not quite as much). I would happily read more posts exploring color combinations like these.

Sarah
2 months ago

Love.

all about that dusty rose bathroom. Love it!

Emie
2 months ago

Arlyn, I’ve always thought of bathrooms as utilitarian spaces but some of these ideas just might change my mind. Thanks for the inspiration but the BEST thing of all is reading your articles and hearing your voice.

Sarah
2 months ago

Has anyone come across a vanity either made of solid wood or painted MDF that doesn’t peel upon contact with water? Mine is painted MDF and my contractor tells me that if I repaint, the same thing will just happen again over time. Is the only solution a solid, “real” wood vanity or are there other materials out there that won’t involve peeling paint?

Bea
2 months ago

Love your ideas! Suggestions how to
bring color into a cabin bathroom
with knotty pine walls? Trying to bring modern, yet rustic in…

Anita
2 months ago

You are so GOOD with color!! THANK YOU for all these inspiring ideas!!!!

Emma
2 months ago

Arlyn, these are PERFECT. I’ve never looked at a moodboard and thought “yep, I love every single thing” but you nailed it for me on the first one. Now to save the money I need to redo my bathroom. 😉

1 month ago

Love these! While I’m more of an all white/Leann Ford-like quiet style in most of our small home, the white is just not working for me in our only bathroom. It gets decent natural light thanks to a West facing window, but with the circa 2009 grey tile on the floors and shower surround, it is the one room in our house where I’ve really struggled with the white (though it was a definite upgrade to the really bad blue it was painted when we bought it). I was literally just this morning looking at some greenish grey swatches as a way to bring in some neutral, slightly warmer color and compliment, rather than highlight the grey tile. Since I’m sure sooo many of us are living with the grey materials that were all the rage 10-15 years ago, would love to see a similar post on how to work with instead of against unchangeable grey materials!