Color in the Bathroom: Current Trends

A bathroom’s color palette has a huge impact on how customers feel about an intimate space in their home, and can even affect that home’s market value. While blues and purples may create a more relaxing, spa-like atmosphere, greens and yellows evoke a fresh and bright look. But what shades are in style now, and which ones will remain trendy in a decade? These questions are both valid and essential when helping customers style a bathroom.

To sort through the many popular palettes of today, here’s a list of current color trends that’ll make a bathroom pop.

Pantone Colors in the Bathroom

Pantone is a definitive color source that helps determine yearly trends for everything from brand graphics to interior design. Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute, created the 2017 Pantone colors around the idea of calmness and romance. Many of these palettes are suitable for bathrooms, and one that works especially well is called Forest Bathing. This color combination includes shades of green, blue green, and lime to evoke the Japanese art of “Shinrin-yoku.”

Another popular color of the year is Niagra, a soothing blue that can be paired with almost any other color. According to Roomscapes Cabinetry and Design Center, “Niagra has an easygoing air, reminiscent of classic denim and the ultimate casual vibes.” This color is perfect for a bathroom in a farmhouse or any older remodel that wants to keep a touch of its past.

And with such an approachable and laid back vibe, it’s no surprise that many designers are using this color in bathroom design. In fact, many designers are taking this trend beyond the walls and incorporating it into furniture. Luxury Bathrooms gives the example of opting for a velvet armchair in Niagra. Adding a chair or small sofa to a large bathroom can make it feel both luxurious and inviting.

Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone’s color of the year, Greenery, has a fresh and light approach that suits bathrooms perfectly. Specifically, green represents nature, tranquility and health. Big Bathroom Blog says it also has a calming effect and has been proven to reduce stress. These benefits aside, Greenery is also a zesty color that should be used strategically and in moderation.

So instead of painting all four walls with the yellow-green shade, there are a few expert tips for using it in a bathroom the right way. According to Reece Bathrooms, Greenery can be incorporated into the shower wall and complemented with plants and other verdant elements. This helps keep Greenery an accent color, rather than coming off as overwhelming. QC Design School adds that Greenery also looks inviting in the form of hand towels or a tiled backsplash behind the bathroom sink. Both of these elements can be paired with lighter hues, which help Greenery maintain its peaceful and balanced feel.

If you’re not sure about re-doing a backsplash but still want to display Greenery on the walls, Cherie Barber suggests embracing botanical patterns. Greenery looks sophisticated and bright on a wallpapered accent wall, and can add life to any bathroom when used as a color pop.

Dark and Cool Shades

Most of us are used to seeing whites and pastels in the bathroom. Most recently, however, color designers have shifted away from these light shades and opted for something much darker. As Crystal Kitchen + Bath points out, Benjamin Moore’s color of the year was Shadow — a rich jewel tone that can create a luxurious and cozy feel in the bathroom.

Strong greys are also popular in the bathroom as they help create a timeless look that stays in style. Owen Barnes of Bubbles Bathrooms says that greige, a mixture of beige and gray, is popular in bathrooms. If this color doesn’t sound appealing just yet, consider what it may do to a home’s market value. Business Insider lifestyle editor Madeline Stone explains that according to a recent study, homes painted greige sell for nearly $3,500 more than those in tan or brown. The same study by Zillow found that bathrooms in blue or purple shades increased the value of a house by more than $5,000.

Mineral Colors

Paint brands and manufacturers are also looked to for their color predictions each year. According to Elle Decor writer Devin Alessio, home paint brand Behr predicted that dusky blues would be popular this year. Dark mineral gray is another popular dark color that Behr suggested would become popular, and it can easily be softened by a textured wall.

In addition to painting walls in dark mineral colors, the shades can be used as accents across cabinets, sinks and other elements. MasterBrand Cabinets suggests colorblocking across different cabinets to create contrast. This can help make a larger bathroom look cozier and more inviting, and it can also add interest if paired with a dull or uninteresting floor design.

Another deep mineral shade is emerald blue. Los Angeles-based interior designer Nicole Sassaman suggests pairing metallic blues with white fixtures, metallic hooks and vibrant accessories. This creates a clean, but comfortable look that’s fresh and in style. You can also create a deeper more historical feel by choosing a navy blue to grace bathroom walls. As seen in an interior by Godrich Design, navy blue was paired with white fixtures and a light wood floor, then balanced with a gold mirror and accents.

Powder blue is another popular color being seen in bathrooms this year. Justine Sterling Design incorporates this fresh color into the bathroom by using a powder blue vanity to pair with marble countertops and cotton linens for an ethereal and airy atmosphere.

Warm Colors

Another contrast to whites and neutrals — colors that have dominated bathroom design for the past few decades — is warmer, earth-inspired colors. Melbourne-based studio Sisalla Interior Design says that terracotta is an increasingly popular element and color used in bathrooms.

By choosing tiles that are equal parts rustic and sophisticated, bathrooms will become more inviting and have more character. Another way to add a warmer and more natural element in a bathroom is to use stone and river rocks. Creative Concepts says that these types of earthy materials add a distinctive and natural look that balances even the most austere color schemes.

Red and crimson are also becoming popular choices for the bathroom. Decoration Y says that red can be balanced with white to create a minimalist, modern look. It can also be used to create a focal point in the bathroom when used correctly.


White can be plain on its own, but it can add depth and intrigue when paired with other colors. For example, Stefanie Schiada of Brooklyn Limestone explains the power of black and white. While this is the most classic combination, it’s also the most timeless. Schiada says that the contrast of black makes white look even brighter, which is ideal for keeping a bathroom looking sparkling and clean.

While stark contrast can have a major impact on any bathroom, making it look cleaner, multimedia journalist Liz Zabel suggests keeping colors balanced. By using light, medium and dark tones in the bathroom, you avoid going monochromatic but still achieve an interesting pop of contrast.

Images by: Polski, Jarrett Tilford, PD Image