Using colour in your bathroom

Using colour in your bathroom


Deciphering a rainbow of options to complement your bathroom. 

Although we love colour in our lives and in our homes, many of us tend to overlook colour when it comes to the bathroom. However, with bathroom design moving ahead in leaps and bounds, the typical clinical white interiors are now being replaced in favour of a more colourful approach to bathroom design.

Here is Complete Home’s step-by-step guide for bringing your bathroom to life through your colour scheme.

Tried and True
Using a colour wheel is an easy-to-use way to find what colours and colour schemes will best suit your bathroom. The colour wheel is a good starting point and can assist you in choosing between the three basic schemes:

A Tonal Scheme uses only one colour but in various tones. For instance, you may choose green but you will choose a green with 50 per cent more black for the floor and 50 per cent more white for the walls. A tonal scheme can also be more than one colour with the same depth of tone. For example, you may choose red and green, both with 50 per cent more white.

A Harmonious Scheme uses colours next to each other or near each other on the wheel, such as green and blue. Harmonious colour schemes can be an ideal choice for the bathroom as it creates a look that’s easy to live with and is serene and relaxing.

A Complementary Scheme uses contrasting colours that lie opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as blue and orange. These schemes are idea for the more adventurous. They tend to be a trifle bit trickier, but when done well produce spectacular results.

Find your inspiration
If you are looking for a different approach, remember, inspiration is everywhere. Use anything and everything to inspire you, although be mindful of scale and proportion. Inspiring colour combinations might be found in a single rock or a flowering tree, even a favourite meal! If there is a combination you think you’d like, you can then choose variations of those colours to tone the scheme down and make it more appropriate for an interior.

Working with your materials

When considering your colour scheme it’s also important to be mindful of the other elements that will go into the final bathroom design. Be guided by your own tastes and by the practical requirements of your bathroom. Ensure the materials (building materials included) you are using in the bathroom are appropriate for your colour choice. All of which will affect the overall look of your design so remember to consider even these minor elements before work begins on the new colour scheme.

Creating mood through colour
Colour can have a significant effect on how we use a space or feel when we are in it. Here is a basic guide to the generally accepted views on the affect an interior colour scheme has on those who inhabit the space.

Red is the colour that we pay the most attention to. It is the most vibrant and energetic colour in the spectrum and is commonly associated with love, passion, danger, desire, violence and anger. On one hand, red would probably not suit a therapist’s waiting room for patients. However, a red bathroom with a large mirror, gleaming stainless-steel fixtures and stark white towels and bathmats can be enlivening, invigorating and sexy.


Blue is often a common choice when it comes to bathrooms. It is generally a safe colour that pleases most people. It helps to create an atmosphere of peace, tranquillity, calm, and cleanliness. For something out of the ordinary, try contemporary slate blues or aquas in the bathroom.

Green is associated with positive elements such as nature, spring, the environment and fertility. However, it is also linked to envy and jealousy. Green is a good choice for colour schemes due the soothing and healing effect it creates. When it comes to the bathroom opt for a lighter green tone. Greens that have a lot of black can be oppressive and need an abundance of natural light.

White is a colour we associate with cleanliness and purity, making it a great choice for the bathroom. For something a bit different, try combining white with black or a vibrant red. Alternatively, go for an all-white colour scheme and let your accessories do the talking. But remember, a white bathroom is a constant cleaning chore!

Black can form a significant part of a colour scheme for your bathroom. Black is a bold choice, but be careful. It can be disastrous if not executed properly. Try combining black and white for an elegant look. A black bathroom will be dark all day long if natural lighting isn’t adequate so be aware of this.

Using colour successfully
1) When using vibrant reds, oranges or pinks in your bathroom, be aware you will need appropriate lighting around your mirror to counteract the effect the reflected colour will have on the appearance of your skin tone. Vibrant colour can be misleading and create make-up disasters.

2) Unsure about your colour choice? Paint a few sheets butcher’s paper in your colour of choice and pin them to the bathroom wall. This will give you a good idea of how natural light will affect the colour throughout the day.

3) Start with a colour you love. Don’t be influenced by the latest trends or a friend’s advice. If you don’t love the colour to begin with, things will only get worse from there.

4) Generally speaking, the darker or deeper colours can make a room feel smaller. On the other hand, the lighter a colour or the higher percentage of white in that colour, the larger a room will appear. Try to use darker hues on the floor and lighter hues on walls and ceilings.

5) Remember to include your fixtures and fittings in your colour scheme. They can be used as design features in their own right.

6) It’s completely normal to walk into your new bathroom and feel a bit unsure. Just give yourself time to get used to it.