White, grey and taupe are some of the most popular colours for bathrooms. Could this versatile hue be competition?
Houzz UK editorial staff. I’m an interiors journalist and editor, previously for… More
Depending on the shade you pick, green can be calming, rich and luxurious, or – hello acid lime – invigorating. And it’s a surprisingly perfect colour for the bathroom. Find out why as you explore these beautiful ways to add a whole host of different versions of green to your washspace.
If you want some colour, but aren’t really sold on anything too bold, consider a gentle sage green like this one, and accent with white to keep the scheme feeling crisp and bright. Don’t be afraid of covering plenty of wall space with the colour – glossy tiles like these will bounce light around (and a bevelled rather than a flat design will amplify the effect). Shiny chrome accessories and polished wooden furniture do the same job.
On the whole, in a two-tone space like this, it works better to have the darker shade lower down the wall and the paler colour at the top, to swerve the feeling that the room is top-heavy and looming over you – the same principle works with kitchen base and wall units in different colours.
Give grey a twist
Along with white or beige, grey has become a bathroom colour stalwart.
For some variation, an olive green comes close but will steer your bathroom away from a monochrome scheme if you fancy something a smidge softer.
Compare this space to the first bathroom, and see how different the effect is with flat metro tiles. This design is less about boosting light and more about creating a classic but contemporary feel. If you’re pairing this olive colour with patterned tiles, choose something that has a little of this shade in them (as here) to ensure a cohesive effect.
Pimp with panelling
Tiles, of course, aren’t the only medium via which you can introduce some of this colour. Tongue-and-groove panelling, fixed either horizontally, as here, or vertically, is another bathroom-friendly wallcovering, and the bonus is that you can change the colour with a new coat of paint.
This super-pale blue-green works well in this small attic space because, even though it continues up to the ceiling, it doesn’t feel heavy or overbearing. In fact, wrapping colour from wall to ceiling when there are slopes like this is a trick that can open up the space, rather than chopping it up with dividing lines.
Paint a cupboard
There’s no need for your chosen green to be part of a permanent fixture. In this pale, wood-clad, Scandi-style bathroom, a vintage kitchen cupboard has been painted (or found) in a pleasing light mint green, and blends in perfectly.
Incidentally, this kind of 1950s or 1960s cabinet is perfect for bathrooms where there’s no built in shelf space and you want to hide clutter. The middle section opens up into a workspace, then closes to keep everything out of sight. A bureau would do a similar job and secondhand ones are not difficult to paint.
Let nature do the work…
Alternatively, you could skip tiles and paint entirely: the joy of green is that you can grow it, too.
A living wall like this, just outside your bathroom window, is the dream for incorporating lush foliage into your washspace vista (even if it’s a window of more humble proportions than this one). Few of us will have that option, however. An alternative you might be able to work is to grow trailing plants in hanging containers or from wall pockets above or close to your window, or ferns, which are happy in moist conditions. A small shelf fixed above your window frame may also work – or fit a pole horizontally half-way down the window and hang pots from it, so that the trailing plants form a privacy screen.
Not green fingered or dedicated enough to grow your own greenery? A leafy wallpaper will give you a similar aesthetic. Consider your favourite green plants and seek out a design that reflects these, whether that’s big, jungle-y leaves like these or a simple blossom print. If it’s a replacement living wall you have your heart set on, steer clear of anything too stylised in design.
Bright, light bathrooms may be the conventional choice but this room shows how stylish a deeper hue can look, especially painted all over without white woodwork to break up the lines (even the ceiling is green).
A gleaming copper bath reflects light as well as boosting the rich, enveloping atmosphere, and black, rather than white accents – the chair, the cast-iron radiator – are an important part of the overall mood.
It’s a look that takes confidence to pull off, and yet is very simple to achieve as there are not many elements involved, especially if you are lucky enough to have a period house with original features. Be sure to fit lighting with dimmer switches, or choose bare filament bulbs so as not to break the spell (do check that all lighting in any bathroom conforms with regulations).
Discover more ideas for blending your woodwork paint with your walls
Just add a dash
Love green but still want a white bathroom overall? Choose a discreet feature and make that the focus of your colouring in. The inside of a cupboard, seen here, is one great idea if you have something suitable. You could alternatively add a green-tiled splashback over the basin – something as simple as a trio of encaustic tiles in a suitable shade. Or simply accessorise with a plant, green towels, even toiletries.
As they’re less of a commitment, temporary or tiny touches like these also make it easier to opt for a strong or statement green.
Favour a feature wall
One wall might be enough to green up your bathing space. Here, a mix of tiles in slightly different shades of teal and turquoise lend a jewel-like richness to this bathroom. Again, see how a glossy surface can amplify the available light.
A wall niche built in to provide storage for bottles and other shower or bath paraphernalia is a great idea. With square tiles like these it’s relatively simple to make it look right. However, if you’re having unusually shaped tiles, a herringbone configuration or even just large tiles, take your time to think about how these will cover the niche. Tile trim – strips designed to tidy up corners and edges – can be used. You can get it in different colours, metals and finishes – or swerve it entirely with the help of a skilled tiler (some people go for this option as tile trim can create the look of a ‘frame’, almost making a feature of an area you may not want to highlight in this way). Either way, make sure you browse lots of relevant photos and have a clear idea of what you do/don’t like before asking your contractor to go ahead.
10 more ways to work in a feature wall (without coming over all 1990s)
Layer soft shades
Chalky pastel green works like a dream paired with grey and white – and, as seen here, a nice slab of marble – to create a serene, classic look.
Test lots of different paint combinations by painting sheets of paper that you can stick to the walls with masking tape and moving them around the room to see how each shade looks in different light. The trick to picking such complementary colours is to choose two with the same depth of colour and tone.
Section off your shower
Containing your green within a shower enclosure is another good way to add this shade to your washspace. And if you have a big shower, you can make a real feature of it.
Consider strategic lighting to highlight your chosen green – these tiles are matt and the space is shielded from the windows so won’t get much natural light. This trio lights is a good way to ramp up the area’s impact.
This eucalyptus hue works really well in matt, as it echoes the green-grey flatness of the tree’s leaves. If you can’t stretch to retiling, hang eucalyptus branches under your shower so they get wet each time you shower. The smell will be wonderful, and they’ll last a few weeks before the scent dissipates.
What’s your favourite shade for a bathroom – and what colour is yours? Tell (and show!) us in the Comments below.