With coral pink and avocado bathroom suites a distant – and hopefully blurry - memory, all-white suites and muted colour schemes have ruled British bathrooms for years. So how to bring a splash of colour into your bathroom? Follow our 10 golden rules to get it right…
1. Choose a bold paint colour for walls
A white suite is still the best buy because it’s easy to colour scheme around, won’t put off future buyers and will never go out of fashion. And, if you paint the wall behind the bath – or the whole room if there’s lots of natural daylight – the contrast will really show off the suite. Which colour to choose? Deep dramatic blues are on trend for 2016 and are perfect for a bathroom, but choose paler shades if the room is small or light-starved.
2. Pick pattern for the floor
We love patterned tiles on a bathroom floor – especially Moroccan-look designs which create an instant Mediterranean feel that’s enduringly stylish. The other upside of patterned tiles? They won’t show up dirt like high gloss plain tiles do, so they help keep the bathroom looking spick and span, too. Bonus tip? If you’re picking out wall tiles, too, go for a plain design in a colour that complements one of the accent shades in your patterned tile.
3. Revamp floorboards with paint
If you love contemporary country style, you’ll know that painted floorboards are key to the look. And, whether you’re renovating original floorboards or installing a new ones to paint, it’s the perfect way to bring colour into the room. Ensure you choose a suitable water-resistant floor paint for best results, and choose a pale colour if you want the room to feel bigger and brighter (we love muted greys and blues).
4. Get an on trend tile colour for the walls
Shopping for wall tiles? Unlike paint, they’re not so easy to change once up, so it’s worth ensuring you’ll love the colour before you buy. Our tip would be to colour match a paint tester pot to the tiles you’re considering, brush the colour on to some pieces of paper and tack them on to the bathroom wall to see how it looks. What works well? Turquoise and warm greens, muted greys and monotones all look wonderful on walls. Want brighter, bolder shades, such as orange or red in your bathroom? Limit them to towels.
5. Add colour at the windows
Shutters are the perfect buy for a bathroom, whether it’s contemporary or traditional in style. Why? They provide privacy while letting in light, look wonderful, and some can be colour-matched to suit your scheme. Why not paint your window frame the same colour as the shutters to create a focal point?
6. Create a stained glass effect
Whether you’ve got a beautiful window to show off, a view you’d like to hide or you need more privacy in your bathroom, window film is the perfect solution. Easy to apply, it creates an incredibly realistic finish that’s perfect for period properties. A stained glass effect like this won’t just brighten the window – it will cast beautiful coloured light into the bathroom during the day, too.
7. Add panelling to the walls
Want an easy to live with finish for your walls that will never go out of fashion and that you can update quickly whenever it takes your fancy? Panelling, coated in a water-resistant paint, is the answer. You can buy panels in kits – or a competent carpenter can make them up for you. Fit narrow panels up to dado level for a traditional look, or install wide panels up to the ceiling for a contemporary feel.
8. Hang wallpaper to add character
Is your bathroom a boring, boxy space? Do you love vintage style? Wallpaper will transform it into a room that’s full of personality. Choose a splash-proof design with a white background and a subtle, pale motif to keep the room light and bright; pick a large motif for a contemporary space or a small one for a more traditional finish.
9. Display artwork
Bathrooms shouldn’t just be functional spaces – if you add personal touches, such as paintings on the wall, yours will look more interesting and feel more like a room where you can unwind. A large picture hung over the bath is ideal for creating a feature wall – and all you’ll have to do is wield a hammer.
10. Choose new accessories for a quick fix
If you’ve spent your budget on top of the range sanitaryware or want to update a monotone colour scheme, the easiest way to add colour is with bright accessories, whether a new blind, a smart shower curtain or fluffy new towels. A display of colourful glassware on a shelf or windowsill can be really effective, too, as can a good-looking bathmat or even well-kept houseplants.
Lucy is an editor, journalist, web and copywriter, specialising in interiors and design. She was Editor of www.channel4.com/4homes. Lucy was also founding Editor of Channel 4’s 4Homes magazine, was Associate Editor at Ideal Home and has written for Country Homes & Interiors, UKTV, Ideal Home, MSN, 25 Beautiful Kitchens, House Beautiful, Good Homes, and many women’s titles.