Paint color ideas for bathrooms: expert advice for choosing the best shades

Paint color ideas for bathrooms: expert advice for choosing the best shades

Looking for paint color ideas for bathrooms? We’ve consulted interior designers and paint experts to discover the best shades guaranteed to elevate any bathroom color scheme. 

Paint color ideas for bathrooms come in all hues, from calm and relaxing to bright and bold, so there’s something for everyone. 

Bathrooms can often be neglected when it comes to color, with white being the default 'safe' shade chosen by many. However, things have moved on somewhat and instead of just being a functional room, bathrooms are becoming places to relax in style. With that movement, we're seeing bolder bathroom trends where color is used more liberally to express personality.  

“We’re seeing a demand for people injecting their own style and personality into their bathrooms, and there’s no sign of this slowing down for 2023,” says Emma Bestley, co-founder of YesColours.

"When deciding on colors, it's important to consider the fittings and fixtures already in place in your bathroom," advises Paula Taylor, head stylist of paint specialists Graham & Brown. "Rich navy and green are a good choice for complementing metallics, such as silver tap faucets, to accentuate the overall look of your bathroom."

With that in mind, here are the expert-recommended paint colors that will bring your bathroom up to date. 


(Annie Sloan)
1. Bold Blue

After the rise of calming neutrals and the Japandi interiors trend, bold colors are making a comeback. “2023 is going to be the year for bold, charismatic paint choices,” says Helen Shaw, director of marketing (International) at Benjamin Moore. They’re a great choice for bathrooms.“

"The bathroom, which is often a smaller space with less natural light, is a perfect space to try a richer hue to make a real feature of the space and inject such color. Starry Night Blue is much like the dark indigo of dusk and will offer a playful twist on the soft blues often seen in bathrooms, whilst still creating a serene oasis.”

 If you like the idea of bolder colors but are a bit scared to try them on all walls, Helen suggests instead introducing accents into your bathroom: “Try a classic bright white and use blue accents on cabinetry and accessories. This works particularly well when paired with natural materials and soft flowers.”

(Benjamin Moore)
2. Restful Lilac

If you’re looking for a fashionable shade that’s also relaxing, lilac is a great choice. Chosen by trend forecasters WGSN as their color of the year for 2023, it’s a shade that’s becoming more popular when it comes to interior design – with Danish pastels being one of the biggest interior design trends of 2023.

“Lilac is rising through the ranks of popularity,” explains Emma. “A once underappreciated color, lilac is now working its way from the catwalks into our homes, and even the bathroom.”

While it might seem a very feminine choice, Emma says it’s actually a truly versatile shade, making it one of the top paint color ideas for bathrooms in 2023. “The cool blue tones mixed with subtle red offers up an inspiring space, which pairs very well with brass, chrome, or matt black detailing,” she explains.

Just like the best bedroom paint colors, lilac is not only stylish but also relaxing, which is perfect for those calming bathroom moments. To keep that gentle feel, team it with soft pink or grey tiles or accessories. Alternatively, it also works really well with bright shades such as orange or yellow for a bathroom with a fresh, contemporary vibe.

3. Dark dramatic shades

Black might not be an obvious choice when it comes to paint color ideas for bathrooms, however, used correctly it not only looks luxurious but also makes a powerful statement.

Rikki Fothergill, style expert at Big Bathroom Shop advises using it in a measured way so the room errs more on the side of dramatic, rather than dingy.

“Although black can look truly striking in a bathroom, be sure to use just enough to ensure that the space still feels open,” she says. “Matt black is definitely still having a moment so why not install some statement taps or even a shower fitting against a neutral backdrop for an industrial and contemporary feel?”

If you still want some drama, but black is too gothic for you, go for a dark bronze or dark green shade instead. Aaron Markwell, color consultant at COAT, suggests their shade 'Hardback' for a touch of bathroom drama.

“This dark bronze is a bit green, a bit beige, and a bit brown but is really undefinable,” he explains. “A sure-fire way to create a beautiful bathroom that feels effortless when combined with woods, brass finishes, and some greenery.”

4. Warm neutrals

One of the major bathroom trends of 2023 is the use of natural elements and this gels nicely with warm neutral shades. Forget boring beige though, these neutral paint colors are anything but dull.

“Neutrals have taken on a whole new meaning,” says Erin Lichy, founder & president of renovation & design firm, Homegirl. “They are no longer just beiges and grays, they have morphed into soft and muted versions of the colors we know and love.”

Two of Erin’s favorite new neutrals are Reiticent from Sherwin-Williams and Cord by Farrow & Ball, both of which ooze warmth, to help create a relaxing sanctuary.

Aaron also recommends looking at plaster tones for inspiration. “Similar to the more neutral tones, plaster tones are going to get knocked back a bit this year,” he explains. “Dulling down the saturation, by using a beigey, gray-pink-like Pudding will make a bathroom feel both soft and moody.”

Shades like this work best with natural materials such as wooden bathroom furniture or granite and marble fixtures and fittings.

5. Tropical brights

For a place where you go first thing in the morning, bright shades can help lift your mood and get you fired up for the day.

“Bathrooms can still be a place for fun and pops of color like an olive green, zesty orange, bright pink, or deep aqua,” suggests Emma. “All are colors, which are reminiscent of the tropics and inject that energetic holiday spirit.”

Color expert Annie Sloan agrees, saying the bathroom is a place to experiment with bold colors. Annie recommends looking at your wardrobe to find the best shades to suit you. 

"I'd look to your wardrobe for colors that flatter you and base your color choices around that,” she suggests. “We spend a lot of time in bathrooms looking at our reflections so choose a color that suits you!"

Choose a feature wall in one super bright shade to add a bang without being too in-your-face. White or neutral accessories also help tone down this look, so you won’t need your sunglasses to shower in each morning.

(Annie Sloan)
6. Serene green

Soft sage greens were one of the most popular paint color ideas for bathrooms in 2022 and they show no signs of disappearing this year. One of the best living room paint colors, the shade also works well for bathrooms, thanks to its restorative and restful properties.

“Some of the most popular greens we can expect to see in 2023 are mint, olive, and sage,” says Rachel Jones at DIY specialists Home How. If you want to mix it up a bit Rachel says there are other shades that pair well with greens, but it all depends on the exact shade.

“Greens go well when darker shades are mixed with lighter shades or when natural greens and mixed with earthy tones,” Rachel explains. “Greens also work very well when paired with blues. This creates a relaxing and calming atmosphere which is perfect for the bathroom.”

7. Earthy shades

If you like the natural look but green isn’t for you, warm, earthy shades are becoming more popular, especially in the bathroom. 

Jack Gibson from Hovia says: “For a crisp and fashionable look, try abandoning the idea of a white and dull bathroom, try instead using warm, welcoming colors such sandy beiges, ochres, and browns.”

These are the colors reminiscent of holidays abroad says Sophie Smith of Zhoosh Paints – and they’ll help create a joyful, cozy feel in the bathroom.

“We are expecting lighter colors to lead the way in bathrooms in 2023: earthy beiges and soft yellows that evoke warm, sunny climates and create a calm atmosphere,” she says. “Our Rhythmic Yellow is reminiscent of beaches, summer grasses, and lazy hay - perfect for relaxing and unwinding.”

Sophie recommends accessorizing these shades with complementing natural materials and plenty of greenery, saying: “Lots of plants and natural materials like wood will complement these colors, which work equally well in classically designed or contemporary styled rooms.”

(Annie Sloan)
8. Pale (but interesting)

When it comes to paint color ideas for bathrooms, taupes, and beiges might not seem revolutionary, but they work because they create a chilled-out, restful vibe, perfect if you're attempting to create a spa-like feeling.

“Pale taupes aren't going anywhere when it comes to bathrooms this year,” says Aaron. “These calm neutrals are perfect for a chilled evening in the bath, and work in most lighting conditions.” 

To keep the look fully relaxing, team with neutral tiling for a luxe monochromatic feel. Alternatively, beige and taupe walls allow you to have more fun with other elements. Think about adding a patterned floor tile in a similar shade to the wall or a contrasting shade of wall tile. Green or even a jazzy terrazzo tile would look bring a splash of color and look very contemporary.  

These shades are also great if you’re renting or thinking of moving, however, one of the common interior design mistakes to avoid is making everything too beige, so jazz it up with bathroom accessories such as towels or bath mats in ochre, orange or green.

(Benjamin Moore)
9. Soft pinks

If you’re after a relaxing and feminine look, you’re in luck, as one of the big paint color ideas for bathrooms this year is soft pink.

“Soft shades of pink are increasing in popularity when it comes to decorating the bathroom,” says Rachel. “Think mauve, blush pink, and light peach shades. These shades provide a softness to the room with an element of sophistication.”

One of the top paint color ideas for hallways as well, soft pink paint colors are so versatile because they are not only relaxing but also complementary to so many other shades.

“These softer colors work well with this year's popular finishing colors such as brass, copper, and rose gold,” explains Rachel. “Soft pinks also work well with earthy tones and natural elements. With a shift in home design in general to include natural elements, soft pinks work well in lending a hand to this trend. Consider adding some plants to the room to bring some life to the room.”

(Erin Lichy)

From calming neutrals to uplifting brights, these bathroom paint color ideas will help inspire your space