One person's sophisticated urban gray is another person's bland, passé color. But let's begin with the premise that bathrooms need light, cheer, bounce, and hope. This scotches black, eggplant, and battleship gray as potential color ideas. Let's further that premise with the fact that most bathrooms are small relative to the size of other rooms in the house. Even a child's small bedroom rivals the size of an average master bathroom. So you cannot have anything so vivid and in-your-face that you'll run screaming from the bathroom, still wet from the bath. It's about balance: warmth and light without too much shouting about it.
Here are our picks for the best paint colors for bathrooms.
01 of 06
Warm Brown Earth Is Neutral in Action
This is a neutral color. If you don't believe it, look at a color chart showing how warm neutral influences range from reds up through oranges to yellows.
It's no mistake that Benjamin Moore's wall field color is called Cognac (Crisp Khaki on the ceiling). Ever tasted cognac? It warms as it slides down the gullet. And from watching movies, you probably know that you're supposed to warm the cognac in your hand before drinking.
02 of 06
Muted Mustard Is a Yellow You Can Like
A good match for the shown color would be Benjamin Moore's August Yellow. One thing you cannot deny about yellow is that it's bright and sunny.
If mustard yellow turns you off, try a Tuscan yellow. With that, you'll be pulling in more of the oranges found in a fading Tuscan sunset. To match, try Dutch Boy Gold Coast, Carved Pumpkin, Hit the Jackpot, or Orange Pushup.
03 of 06
Cool Minty Green Is Fresh, Not Funky
While darker greens that tend toward blue hues might not be on your list, consider any kind of green that incorporates even a bit of yellow.
04 of 06
Is Blue Soothing or Sad?
Concerning blue as a bathroom color, designer Linda Castle says, "Blue in and of itself indicates kind of a clean, fresh feeling, a soothing feeling...very appropriate for seaside."
Opinions are divided into blue in bathrooms. For adults' bathrooms, it can be more dreary than soothing. But for kids' bathrooms, it works well, because you can zip it up with flashier blues than you could ever apply to a grown-ups' bathroom ("Let's just be honest, we can afford to be a little more creative" with kids' bathrooms, Castle says).
Shown in this image is Benjamin Moore Blue Stream on the upper part of the walls and Benjamin Moore Buckland Blue on the wainscot lower section.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Red is not a universal bathroom paint color. Whereas you can apply something like the warm browns seen above in multiple styles of house, red doesn't go everywhere.
It's a very outstanding, chest-beating, regal color, well-suited for small bathrooms (do you want this color blaring at you in larger sizes?), and requiring trim and ceiling colors in crisp, cool white.
Shown here: Walls are Behr Caliente with Behr Simply White on the ceiling and trim.
06 of 06
Bright Electric Yellow-Green
This is a gimmick color. It's a color you paint your bathroom when you want to decorate with fake zebra heads (see it there in the upper-left?). It's a disposable color, one you lay down knowing full well you'll be changing it out next March. It's the color your mother-in-law sees and says, "Oh my. How...vibrant."
And for that very reason, if you're still hanging onto the last scraps of your rebellious nature even in your early 20s—that's the color you paint the wall of your Brooklyn apartment bathroom.