Use Gray for a Classy and Elegant Bathroom

gray contemporary bathroom
Maydan Architects/

As far as bathroom colors are concerned, gray is not everyone's first choice. Gray is, well, gray. It's the epitome of neutral, without the flashing brilliance of white or the depths of black. Different undertones make it warm or cool, but at its heart gray is the passe-partout color for those who want dignified yet understated style.

Gray can be used in any style, from traditional to modern, from industrial to eclectic. It's a versatile shade that will do wonders for making your bathroom inviting. And because it looks so neutral, using gray can improve your home's resale value.

But it doesn't have to be boring, either: gray is an extraordinary backdrop to all sorts of color schemes. It suits any style, whether you want something flashy and popping, or something more elegant. 

Here's how to make gray work for you in all kinds of different styles and situations.

Gray as a Main Color

Gray can certainly serve as your main color. It gives your bathroom an elegant, classy look.

Remember that gray can come in many different depths and undertones; some are cooler, some are warmer, and some are paler or darker. If you want to use different shades, try to stick to undertones that work together: cool blues and purples together, or warmer yellows and oranges together as well. Play with the intensity of the shade for movement and interest. This bathroom uses a variety of grays, accented by gold and white, to produce a calming and elegant effect.

A classic powder room will look really amazing in a soft, neutral gray. A traditional space, for example, uses a single shade of gray on the walls, with white and black furniture/hardware and a few golden/yellow accents. For smaller spaces, a single gray is the perfect choice. It adds texture to the room without being too dark. 

Using Tile for Gray Inspiration

If paint isn't your thing, maybe you can use tile instead. Natural stone tile like marble, granite and slate add an interesting, textured dimension to classic gray bathrooms.

A beautiful traditional bathroom, for example, makes an excellent use of marble tile as its main decor focus, along with classic lines on the hardware and accessories. Silver and platinum accessories are perfect, if you're looking for a monochromatic style.

The tile's brick style is excellent if you want something a little more structured and traditional. Hexagonal tiles are a little more playful, and perfect for the "subway" look

For a darker, more modern edge, consider using slate. Although it can come in colorful combinations, it also exists in more monochromatic dark grays. What you get with slate is a rougher yet modern look that suits more masculine tastes. 

Granite is best known for its use in kitchens, but it can have a striking effect in a bathroom. Using granite for a walk-in shower as well results in really interesting textures, lots of movement, and a contemporary edge.

Gray as Accent

But gray doesn't have to be your main color. You can use it in small, subtle touches to enhance whatever other decor choices you're making in your bathroom.

Gray is perfect for adding traditional class to a space. For example, use a pale grey cabinet and a darker slate gray tile for the shower, in an otherwise neutral/warm decor. The choice of accessories (keep an eye out for the hand towel and washcloth in the photo) also bring some gray into the space.

Gray is a nice and subtle way to break up an otherwise clean white bathroom. The gray tile band, flooring, and paint on the upper part of the wall of a beautiful contemporary bathroom make all the difference between just another boring white space and an elegant place to relax and take a long soaking bath.

White and gray work together to make a master bath appealing yet edgy and modern.

Gray Doesn't Mean Boring

No matter the style you like, gray can be a great color asset to your bathroom. It's a classic, traditional shade that works well for more minimalist bathrooms, whether you like a more traditional look or something more edgy and contemporary.