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Bathroom colour ideas


With the right design and the right choice of colours, bathrooms can be a real sanctuary in the home. A place to relax and unwind, with a calming spa-like atmosphere. Bring on the candles, bath soaks, and essential oils.

This bathroom design has its colour palette totally on point. © Dulux Australia / Lisa Cohen, Styling: Bree Leech

When it comes to creating your dream bathroom, what are the best bathroom colours to choose? And how do you match the style of the house, achieve the right atmosphere, and tick off all the practicalities?

To bring you the best bathroom colour ideas, tips and tricks, we’ve called in the pros — Dulux colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr and Jordan Prainito from Canningvale. These two know bathrooms, and they know colour.

Why bathroom colours matter

According to Jordan, the greenery trend is sticking around, and we should expect to see more bold colours in bathrooms. © Canningvale

Ever heard about colour psychology? It’s the study of how colours affect moods, feelings and behaviours. And it’s a bit more involved than red means angry and blue means calm. Actually, red is a colour that evokes a sense of passion, love and excitement; and blue is all about calmness but also sadness. While green symbolises nature and is often used in decorating for its calming effect.

Jordan sees a future trend for green: “Greenery will be another trend that continues to become a hallmark of many renovated bathrooms and palms are a great way to introduce a unique decorative aesthetic.”

Bathroom colour trends 

The most important thing about bathroom colours is ensuring the overall appearance is cohesive. “When it comes to paint colour ideas for bathrooms, the choice of paint colour tends to directly involve the undertones found in the vanity stone, cabinetry, tiles and other major elements of the design”, says Andrea.

The yellow tiles in this bathroom totally pop. © Dulux Australia / Lisa Cohen, Styling: Bree Leech

Here are some top colours that you can choose for your bathroom:

Dusty yellows

We’re talking mustardy tones that have earthy, natural vibes for a contemporary neutral option.

Deep greens

Rich, moody greens that are a nod to deep lakes and abundant rainforests.

Earthy neutrals

You don’t have to have white walls to have a neutral bathroom. Earthy neutrals are a great option for a calm but contemporary bathroom.

Moody greys

Create a sense of calm with moody greys and purples; greyed-off mauve complements natural stone and granite.

Creamy clay

Another earthy option that’s a tad more vibrant is a creamy orange hue that works perfectly with moody greys.

Soothing neutrals

Create warmth in minimalist interiors with a creamy neutral.

Vibrant oranges

Live life on the wild side with a vibrant orange that is perfectly complemented by navy towels.

Regal blues

For a contemporary bathroom try a bright royal blue which is sure to wake you up in the morning.

Cool neutrals

A cool neutral hue is a timeless option for bathrooms.

Moody greys never looked so good as this chic bathroom shows. © Dulux Australia / Lisa Cohen, Styling: Bree Leech

And when it comes to colour trends for timeless bathrooms, Jordan says: “Colour-wise, neutrals and whites were, of course, the most common choice. However, we have seen in some renovations people becoming much bolder in their choices and wanting to shake up their space with a blush pink or denim blue mosaic-tiled feature wall. These walls are then usually coupled with a towel rail complete with fresh white towels to contrast the otherwise imposing feature wall”.

Neutral colours are a timeless (and popular) option for bathrooms, making it easy to add pops of colour through styling — like with towels. © Canningvale

What type of paint is best for bathrooms

The most important thing you need to know about paint for bathrooms is that it’s not just about looking good. Bathroom paint also needs to provide protection from humidity and moisture that would otherwise lead to mould and wall damage. Opt for a bathroom paint that’s water, mould and mildew resistant.

Looking for bathroom paint with warmer undertones? Try a natural white, or, if you want a gorgeous colour that will reflect and have a beautiful glow try a paint that has porcelain undertones.

How colours can affect small bathrooms

When it comes to choosing colours for small bathrooms, it’s important to plan out the design, hardware and fittings, then choose a colour that complements them. © Canningvale

Most bathrooms tend to be painted in whites and neutrals to work with the other fittings and fixtures. To ensure these colours work, you really need to select your colour with the accurate samples or in an existing bathroom.

Andrea says: “Often bathrooms are small and some are limited in natural light, so this can impact how the colour could appear. Once you have finalised your hardware and fittings and so on, then you can choose your colour to ensure the undertones work well together”.

Read more: 5 decorating tips for small bathroom

Jordan says regardless of size, precious metals really dominate the fixtures and fittings area: “brushed rose gold, polished brass and chrome, are becoming the standouts in most contemporary bathrooms”.

10 colours to use in small bathrooms

The vivid orange feature wall in this bathroom pops against the mosaic tiles. © Dulux Australia / Lisa Cohen, Styling: Bree Leech

Whites and neutrals are the most popular choices in bathrooms. And when it comes to bathrooms with a smaller footprint, it can really help to keep the wall colour light and fresh.

For whites and neutrals with warmer undertones, Andrea suggests:

  • Natural White
  • Whisper White
  • Casper White Quarter

And for whites and neutrals with cool undertones she suggests:

  • Lexicon Half
  • White on White
  • Vivid White
  • Terrace White
  • Tranquil Retreat

Checklist for painting your bathroom

If you’re thinking about changing your bathroom colours and considering DIY, then this is for you. Painting your bathroom can seem daunting, but with the right colours and the correct technique, you’ll have your bathroom sanctuary sorted in no time. The painting experts at Dulux have shared their step-by-step guide to painting your bathroom:

  1. Remove all furniture from the room, and lay down a proper drop sheet to protect your floors.
  2. Wash down the walls using Selleys Original Sugar Soap. If your walls or ceiling have mould, you will need to remove the mould with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 3 parts water).
  3. If the surface has been previously painted and is sound without any cracks or holes, lightly sand down the surface to a smooth level then wipe off the walls.
  4. Mask skirting boards, window trim and electrical switches with painter’s tape. And, if painting the ceiling, tape around light fittings and any vents.
  5. Stir a product like Dulux Wash & Wear +PLUS Kitchen & Bathroom thoroughly with a flat paddle using an up-and-down scooping action
  6. Start by cutting in around the edges of the wall with a brush — these are areas the roller cannot easily reach.
  7. While the edges are still wet, load the roller in the tray with a reasonable amount of paint.
  8. Start by rolling the wall in an ‘M’ pattern and continue across the wall until the section is evenly covered.
  9. Using an unloaded roller, begin in the top left corner of your wall and gently let the roller roll down to the baseboards in a straight line with no pressure. Repeat this action, only this time, slightly overlap your last movement so your roller rubs away the line created by the previous stroke. Continue this across the area you have painted. This is called laying off and ensures an even finish.
  10. Reload your roller and repeat on the next wall until the room is complete. Allow the first coat 2 hours to dry then repeat steps 6-9 again with a second coat.

This article was originally published as Bathroom colour ideas by written by Erin Morris

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