Colours for my bathroom: sensible vs mental

I’ve spoken about my bathroom dilemmas before. I think that inheriting a room that’s ‘fine’ but not quite to your particular taste makes decorating a real challenge, especially in bathrooms because changing the main components of the room is expensive and hard to justify if not strictly necessary. When I first viewed the flat the puffed-up estate agent proudly threw open the door and announced I was about to step into a “dream bathroom”. Needless to say, I do not agree!

At the moment the room is a lichen green colour with white/grey/black mosaic tiles, grey floor tiles, a plastic (?!) roll-top bath, corner shower cubicle and a vanity unit with built-in basin and loo.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

As this is my first flat I need to keep my property developer head on in relation to any changes so it’s only really the paint and accessories I’ve got to play with as I’m unlikely to make my money back when I sell if I spend a lot on it. I have a bit of a head/heart dilemma going on…

Head: white walls and outside of the bath painted dark grey

{via Photobucket / Holly Jolliffe / Interior Alchemy / Pinterest / West Elm}

Heart: dark grey walls and outside of bath painted bright coral

{via The Pursuit Aesthetic / Shelter / The Inspired Room / Decor Chick}

So, what do you think? Which of these colour schemes do you think I should go for or do you think something else might work better? Do you think the more adventurous colours would put people off when I come to sell my flat? As you can see from the photos it’s not a particularly light room so I don’t know whether to fight it by painting it white or embrace it with dark walls.

I’m in a quandary so I’d love your help!

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  1. says

    I swear we have the same plastic bathtub. Which is totally possible as the previous owner of our house was British and hauled a lot of stuff from the UK to Germany for whatever reason. Also, a built in vanity unit with a loo? Huh.

    I adore the white bathroom with the mirrors… but for your room I think I´d go the dark walls/coral bath route. I feel that in small-ish dark rooms, white walls can look blah. One of our bathrooms is quite dark and I recently wallpapered it with a black wallpaper. It looks amazing! Will share pictures on the blog soon….

  2. says

    Why do the walls have to be white if you paint your bath grey? Why not go with different shades of grey therefore matching your shower tiles which also appear around the sink. I can’t quite tell if the tiles look like a slightly greeny-grey or whether that’s just the reflection of the walls. If they were a ‘pure’ grey there’s more scope for the pink. Mightn’t the coral pink be a bit much with those tiles- it’ll make it a little busy, no?

    • says

      You’re probably right Emily about the coral being ‘a bit much’! It’s hard to tell even close up but I think some of the mosaics do have a greenish tinge (hence the choice of the lichen walls by the previous owner). Another option I toyed with was a very, very pale green on the walls and painting the outside of the bathtub a darker shade. Think Little Greene Pearl Colour in Pale and Dark versions…

  3. says

    I see exactly what you mean. I like the green wall colour but the fixtures make it all a bit anti-septic, most bathrooms are but I hate that! I would actually leave it all as it is but add stuff, plants, a cotton rag rug, some pictures, objets d’arts, nice old chair with pile of magazines to read in bath etc, because in your first batch of pics, it’s the nice objects that make it. Basically I think the units won’t be so glaring if there are other eye catching things in there – but I don’t mean cluttered, just a few things would do it.

    • says

      Yes, I think it does need softening up – the black/white/grey mosaics look very harsh. I have lots more of those frameless mirrors to hang on the wall above the bath too which I think will look nice. Bit of a styling cliche I know but I like them!

      I also have to confess that I have only used the bath once in two years so need for magazines for wallowing!

  4. says

    I reckon dark walls in a bathroom might be depressing. Also, maybe your bath isn’t plastic, I have one which isn’t enamel but not plastic either (but helpfully, not sure what, some resin thing maybe?) Also, if you don’t like the tiles and vanity unit, I think you could change them at not huge expense. When I had my bathroom done, it was the plumbing and moving pipes around which cost a lot, the actual bathroom itself wasn’t massively expensive (although I might have blanked that out…) It’s not that bad…

  5. Michelle says

    I think I’d go with the white & grey thing. Not for reasons of being sensible just because I prefer it to the coral. Let us see the end result whatever you choose?

  6. Mandy says

    My bathroom is a similar grey-green colour, which I love, and I have a white tongue-and-groove boarding on the lower half of the walls.

    I have chosen FUSCHIA ! towels, a spray of fuschia flowers (silk ones stuck in a large and leafy real green plant), and splashes of fuschia in the (mainly white) shower curtain. It gives me joy every morning!

    Go with your heart – get joy every morning! It’s only paint!

    Unless you have a striking colour in there, the mosaic tiles are rather too harsh. (And in my book, white is not a striking colour).

    It needs warming up a bit – cosying up – which is why coral would look wonderful. Also to cosy it up the shelves need to be lower and less isolated. Assorted mirrors would look great – again, keep them low. I have some glass shelves (which tie in nicely to the grey-green) and pile my fuschia and white (and emerald) towels and face-cloths on them.

    For cosy or romantic bathtimes, I found a dimmer switch version of the pull-cord for the lights on the internet.

  7. says

    I think go with your heart, not least because I don’t think the colours are that bonkers. You have to live with it and it is your home for as long as you live there so you should go with what you’d like best. You may want to have a final check of the light situation in your bathroom with the dark walls – if there’s not that much light, it may look at bit dark, which you may be happy about of course! However, the floor tiles are pale and will reflect the light so perhaps won’t be too much of an issue. And, when you come to sell, talk to the estate agent about the colours – if they think it will be an issue, you can always paint the bath and/or the walls (I’m not sure I could be bothered with doing the walls again but I’m pretty lazy…).

    In my bathroom, I have slate tiles on the floor and on the walls around the shower – all of the short wall, and about a metre on another two walls ie the three sides of a rectangular shower. I took my bath out as I’d used it once in three years and all it did was fill up the room and collect dust and make me annoyed. The other walls are painted a light grey. To make it more interesting, I have bright red towels and a huge ‘gilt’ mirror above the basin. I don’t mind that it’s a bit dark.

    Good luck with your choice, and I look forward to seeing your pictures.


    • says

      Thanks for your comment Stephanie – I am still in such a quandary about which look to go for… or perhaps an entirely different one altogether! I am totally with you on bath dust – I now vacuum mine it gets used so infrequently!

  8. Fiona says

    Hello… I’m with Emily on the ‘shades of grey’ route. I’m a sucker for all those gorgeous Farrow & Ball greys (like Cornforth White and Lamp Room Gray) as the hues layer so well together and feel warm and soft. I think using a darker grey on the walls would offset the mosaic tiles while softening their impact within the space. I wouldn’t worry too much about light as a very rich and moody-toned bathroom can feel really cool and slightly decadent – and it’s not as if it’s a space you’re living in all the time….
    I also like your suggestion of the Little Greene Pearl colours (gorgeous) if those mosaics have that greenish tinge to them, as long as the tone is right with the floor (likewise, some of F&B’s greys – thinking of Blue Gray, for eg – have a subtle greenish undertone). I wouldn’t opt for white walls though – I sense it might feel cold, and the mosaics will then dominate the space – if that makes sense?
    As for the coral, I reckon if you added a bright tone in here, alongside the mosaics and floor tiles, it might be one feature too many. BUT, I’d always say go with your heart. If you love coral, go for coral. I don’t agree with the selling maxim that ‘safe’ is always right – I see it all the time with properties, and actually it’s the properties that don’t feel like they’ve simply been decorated to sell that make a memorable impact with viewers. And, as Stephanie points out, it’s your home until you sell it, so whatever makes you happy about the space….

    • says

      Thanks Fiona… yes, I think greys are the way to go. Basically my whole flat is grey which sounds a bit boring but that’s the way I like it!!! I think I sort of knew I’d go for that for the bathroom too in the end :-)
      I’m thinking of a mid-grey (eg Farrow and Ball’s Plummet)on the walls to help make the mosaics recede a bit, as you suggest. I think the frameless mirrors will look nice against a slightly darker tone.

      • Fiona says

        Hi again. And ‘being grey’ doesn’t sound boring! It’s my favourite colour palette too – I can’t get enough. Plummet will look beautiful, and GREAT with those frameless mirrors. Cool and timeless. I’ve been wanting to paint my bathroom grey for ages (it’s currently a very, very dark blue, which was here when I moved in, and I grew to like it) but grey would be so much warmer… So, nice choice!


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