Choosing paint colors for a small bathroom can be tricky. The wrong colors can make an already cramped space feel even smaller. But the right hues can create the illusion of a more spacious bathroom.
When selecting paint colors for a small bathroom, it’s important to consider factors like lighting, existing fixtures and decor, personal color preferences, and visual tricks that can make the space appear larger. Arm yourself with color theory knowledge, expert tips, and a bit of bravery to take design risks. With the right approach, you can create a beautiful, soothing oasis in even the tiniest of bathrooms.
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Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
The type and amount of natural and artificial lighting in a bathroom significantly impacts how paint colors will look. Be sure to test swatches at different times of day. Cool northern light often distorts paint colors, making them appear muted or grayish. Warm southern light can intensify some hues.
If the bathroom has no windows, opt for paint colors with warm undertones to counteract the cool cast from artificial lighting. For north-facing rooms with minimal natural light, slightly brighter or deeper shades can make up for the lack of sunlight.
Existing Features & Decor
Take stock of existing bathroom features like tile, cabinets, countertops, and fixtures. Neutral colored features give you more freedom to be bold. But if the bathroom contains lots of colorful features, be strategic with your paint choices.
Match paint to existing tones for a cohesive look. Contrasting paint can help certain elements pop. Just be sure not to go overboard on clashing colors in a compact space.
Personal Color Preferences
Consider personal color likes, dislikes and moods you want to evoke. Cool blues and greens evoke a relaxing spa-like feel. Warm reds, oranges and yellows provide energizing brightness. Neutral shades like beige, gray and taupe offer flexibility and soothing tranquility.
Think about how much color saturation and contrast makes you comfortable. Pastels can provide color without overwhelming. But if you gravitate toward bold hues, a small bathroom is a great place to take color risks since less paint is required.
Illusion of Space
For a small bathroom, strategic use of color can help create the perception of a larger space. To make walls visually recede, choose lighter, cooler hues like pale grays, blues and greens. Using the same color on walls, ceilings and trim minimizes contrast for a seamless, spacious effect.
Inject color through furnishings and accessories that are less static. Bold paint choices often work best on accent walls rather than all four walls in tight quarters. Minimize busy patterns that undermine the illusion of space. Strategic use of gloss and matte finishes also impacts perception.
Best Paint Color Choices for Small Bathrooms
Now let’s explore some of the best tried and true paint colors to make a small bathroom feel open, airy and tranquil.
Crisp whites like Swiss Coffee (OC-45) or White Heron (OC-57) from Benjamin Moore can make small bathrooms feel bright and expansive. Especially when used on ceilings and trim in addition to walls, bright whites reflect light around and make the space feel larger.
White also provides a neutral background for adding pops of color through accessories like towels, rugs, shower curtains and flowers. Just be aware that vivid whites show every smudge and water spot. Whites with a subtle cream or gray undertone hide imperfections better.
For a soothing, spa-like vibe, consider pale, cool grays like Benjamin Moore Silver Lake (OC-22) or Classic Gray (OC-23). Gray evokes a sense of tranquility and works with any style from modern to traditional. Pair soft gray walls with crisp white trim and ceiling for brightness.
Medium tones like Revere Pewter (HC-172) add subtle dimension while still feeling light and airy. For drama, charcoal grays like Kendall Charcoal (HC-166) make a bold statement. Use multiple shades of gray on accent walls or cabinets for visual interest. Gray beautifully complements tiles, stone and natural wood accents.
From pale sky blue to dramatic navy, blue is intrinsically linked with restfulness, relaxation and tranquility. Robin’s Egg Blue is a traditional cottage favorite.
Deeper shades like Hale Navy (HC-154) add drama on accent walls. But stick to powder blue on ceilings and use sparingly to avoid overwhelming a compact space. Blue works well with white, beige and green accents.
Like blue, green inherently induces feelings of relaxation and renewal, making it wonderful for bathrooms. Pastel seafoams and sages provide a pleasant, spa-like ambiance. Deeper forest greens and emerald tones add drama when used judiciously on accent walls or vanities.
Try Overbrook Nature Green (N290-4) by Behr which is bright but restful. Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter also beautifully complements sage greens. For a contemporary look, pair bolder Kelly greens or citron yellows with crisp gray and white.
Beiges & Browns
Warm beige, taupe, sand and brown hues provide a relaxing, welcoming feel. Soft greige colors like Gray Cashmere (2138-60) from Benjamin Moore work with any style. Try pairing with white trim for brightness.
Rich chocolate browns feel cozy and rustic but can overwhelm a petite space. Stick to small accent walls or use below chair rail height. Sophisticated greige-browns like Kendall Charcoal (HC-166) offer a neutral backdrop that allows texture and furnishings to shine.
Bright Accent Colors
While it’s best to avoid bright hues from floor to ceiling in a tiny bathroom, a splash of lemon, tangerine or teal can liven up neutral walls. Use vivid shades sparingly on one accent wall, as tile surrounds in the shower, or smaller surfaces like cabinets and vanities.
Pair with plenty of white or neutral shades and metallics to keep the look feeling fresh, not overwhelming. Vivid paints work best for those who want an energetic, fun vibe. Pastels and less saturated versions of the same hues create a cheerier, calmer mood.
Tips for Using Paint to Visually Enlarge Small Bathrooms
Beyond choosing the right hues, proper paint application can also help expand a petite powder room’s feel and dimensions through visual tricks. Here are some tips:
- Use high-gloss, semi-gloss or satin paint finishes which reflect more light for brightening.
- Paint interior doors, trim, ceilings and walls the same color to streamline space.
- Opt for lighter shades on ceilings to draw the eye up and create height.
- Paint horizontal and vertical stripes to exaggerate lines and add the illusion of space.
- Use deeper colors below chair rail or picture frame moldings to visually anchor and ground the bottom portion of walls.
- Add mirrors and reflective metallic fixtures and accessories to bounce light around and add depth.
- Use paint to camouflage or highlight architectural features like recesses and niches.
7 Step Guide to Choosing the Best Paint Colors
Follow this process to zero in on paint colors tailored to your unique small bathroom:
1. Gather Inspiration
Look at bathroom images online or in magazines and take note of hues and color schemes that appeal to you. Are you drawn to serene spa colors or bright contemporary hues? Cool tones or warm? Make a vision board to see your preferences emerge.
2. Take Stock of Existing Elements
Thoroughly evaluate your current bathroom features and determine what is or isn’t changeable. Work within existing tile, cabinetry, countertops and fixtures or develop a plan to alter them.
3. Understand the Lighting
Study how natural and artificial light hits your bathroom at different times of day. Cool northern light vs warm southern exposure makes a big difference. When possible, test swatches on site.
4. Select 1-3 Colors
Based on inspiration and lighting, choose a main wall color that has the mood you want. For variety, pick a secondary color for accent walls or vanities. Limit to 3 colors max for a cohesive look.
5. Sample on Walls
Paint large 2×2 foot swatches on walls so you can view colors accurately. Check at different times and next to tiles, wood, etc. Use your shortlist but try bolder and softer versions too.
6. View Painted Samples Over Time
Live with the large samples for a few days to see how you feel at all hours. Does the color look different in morning light versus evening? Did your mood toward it change?
7. Finalize Paint Selection
After living with samples and noting reactions over time, choose the best color(s) for your goals. Purchase paint and get ready to give your small bath a whole new look!
Paint Sheen for Bathrooms
Sheen or paint finish impacts color effects. Here are some guidelines for bathroom use:
- Flat paint absorbs light for muted colors but shows flaws. Not ideal for bathrooms.
- Eggshell has soft glow with reasonable durability. Good balance for walls.
- Satin offers minor sheen for depth. Durable and cleaned easily. Great choice for bathrooms.
- Semi-Gloss has high light reflection. Very wipeable but shows imperfections. Use for trim and cabinets.
- High-Gloss provides a smooth mirror-like effect. Use sparingly on accent trim pieces only.
In general, satin is a versatile sheen for bathroom walls and semi-gloss works well on cabinets and trim.
28 Best Paint Color Ideas for Small Bathrooms
Best White Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
White and off-white tones are a popular choice for small bathrooms. Crisp white has a clean, brightening effect which can make a space feel larger and airier. For a small bath, stick with soft whites that have a hint of warmth. Here are some of our favorite white and off-white paint colors for small bathrooms:
1. Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore is a soft, creamy white that provides warmth without starkness. It opens up a small space while still feeling cozy.
2. Sherwin Williams Pure White
Sherwin Williams’ Pure White is a true bright white that makes small bathrooms appear crisp and clean. Its hint of coolness gives it a fresh, contemporary vibe.
3. Benjamin Moore Simply White
Simply White from Benjamin Moore is an adaptable neutral white with the faintest warmth. It creates a clean backdrop for any style of small bathroom.
4. Sherwin Williams Alabaster
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is a welcoming off-white with subtle beige undertones. It lends a refined yet approachable aura to petite bathrooms.
5. Benjamin Moore Navajo White
Navajo White by Benjamin Moore infuses a subtle warmth into small bathrooms. Its light tan tint provides an elegant neutral backdrop.
Best Light Blue Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
Light and airy blue is a calming color scheme for a small bathroom. Soft blue hues add an inviting touch to a small bath. Check out these recommended light blue paint colors:
6. Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air
Breath of Fresh Air by Benjamin Moore is a soft pastel blue with a hint of purple that evokes spa-like serenity. It provides a soothing backdrop without being too icy.
7. Sherwin Williams Icelandic
Icelandic by Sherwin Williams is a pale robin’s egg blue reminiscent of peaceful spring skies. Its faint green undertone gives it an airy, relaxing vibe.
8. Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments
Quiet Moments from Benjamin Moore is a hushed blue-gray that envelops a small bathroom in tranquility. Its understated tone creates a comforting retreat.
9. Sherwin Williams Watery
Watery by Sherwin Williams is a refreshing medium blue with aquatic associations. It conjures sensations of soothing waterbodies within small bathrooms.
10. Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue
Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore fuses green and blue for a serene, coastal-inspired hue. It imparts the calming essence of beach cottages to petite bathrooms.
Best Green Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
Green symbolizes renewal, freshness, and nature. Opt for lighter, invigorating green shades that energize rather than overwhelm in small bathroom settings. Explore these exceptional green paint options:
11. Benjamin Moore Pale Oak
Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore is a soft, muted green with versatility. It provides a refreshing yet gentle ambiance in small bathrooms.
12. Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
Sea Salt from Sherwin Williams is a quiet sage green with hints of blue. It crafts a peaceful, spa-like environment even in petite bathrooms.
13. Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore is an elegant, organic green-gray. Its natural sophistication makes a small bathroom feel welcoming.
14. Sherwin Williams Oyster Bay
Oyster Bay by Sherwin Williams is a calming gray-green with coastal associations. It cultivates a sense of tranquility in compact bathrooms.
15. Benjamin Moore Saybrook Sage
Saybrook Sage from Benjamin Moore is a warm, earthy sage green with gray notes. It brings the essence of nature indoors to soothe and relax.
Best Yellow Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
Yellow brings warmth, joy and energy to a small bathroom. Radiant yellow tones create the illusion of sunlight and space. Consider these cheerful shades:
16. Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow
Hawthorne Yellow by Benjamin Moore is a warming yellow reminiscent of sunny days. It makes a small bathroom feel bright and welcoming.
17. Sherwin Williams Honey Bees
Honey Bees from Sherwin Williams is a vivid yellow with golden undertones. It infuses small bathrooms with happy, uplifting energy.
18. Benjamin Moore Lemon Sorbet
Lemon Sorbet by Benjamin Moore is a delicate pastel yellow that adds warmth without overwhelming. It uplifts a petite bathroom’s ambiance.
19. Sherwin Williams Solaria
Solaria by Sherwin Williams is a bold, radiant yellow that conjures sunshine. It packs small bathrooms with vibrancy and light.
20. Benjamin Moore Bright Yellow
Bright Yellow from Benjamin Moore is a cheery, energetic yellow. It amplifies liveliness and spirit within tight bathroom spaces.
Best Black Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
While black may seem counterintuitive for a small bathroom, the right deep shades can be striking and sophisticated. Black grounds a space and contrasts beautifully with metallic finishes. Consider:
21. Sherwin Williams Iron Ore
Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams is an intense black that adds a bold, dramatic effect with glamour. When used thoughtfully, it creates a luxe small bathroom.
22. Benjamin Moore Black Satin
Black Satin from Benjamin Moore is a sleek, glossy black that offers contemporary elegance. It brings stylish depth and moodiness to petite bathrooms.
23. Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black
Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams is a classic true black that makes a dramatic design statement. It enables small bathrooms to feel rich and sophisticated.
Whichever direction you choose for your small bathroom’s paint colors – be it light or dark, warm or cool – select shades that enhance the space and resonate with your desired ambiance.
Best Gray Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
Gray lends an elegant, soothing touch to small bathrooms. Cool grays promote relaxation, while warm grays imbue a cozy spa-like aura. Delve into these gray paint color selections:
24. Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray
Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore is a versatile warm gray with subtle tan influences. It crafts a soothing, inviting backdrop for any petite bathroom.
25. Sherwin Williams Passive
Passive by Sherwin Williams is a cool, tranquil gray with hints of blue. It blankets small bathrooms in relaxing, spa-inspired colors.
26. Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore is a soft, elegant gray with subtle cool undertones. It transforms small bathrooms into serene personal sanctuaries.
27. Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray
Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams is a beautifully balanced, neutral gray that promotes harmony. Its versatility suits any design style.
28. Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray
Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore is a sophisticated gray with blue influences. It introduces an aura of refined elegance to compact bathrooms.
Tips for Choosing the Best Paint Colors
- Test paint swatches on walls to see colors in natural light
- Pick lighter hues for top halves of walls, deeper shades below
- Add contrast with trim, ceiling and accent colors
- Incorporate colors from artwork, towels, rugs etc.
- Use semi-gloss or high-gloss sheen for durability & easy cleaning
With the right color scheme, you can make a small bathroom feel fresh, stylish and spacious. Consider the mood you want to create, the existing elements in the room, and select soft, airy paint colors to open up the space. Play with contrasting hues on trim, tiles and accessories to add visual interest. Be adventurous with your color combinations, and you can give your small bathroom a big boost of color and personality.
Frequently Asked Questions about Paint Colors for Small Bathrooms
What are the best paint colors to make a small bathroom look bigger?
Light, airy colors like soft blues, greens, grays and neutrals are ideal for making a small bathroom feel more spacious and open. Stay away from dark colors that can close in the space. Painting the ceiling white can also optically enlarge a small bathroom.
How do I choose a paint color for a bathroom with no windows?
For a windowless bathroom, opt for light neutrals like almond, khaki or linen white to keep the space bright. Try painting one wall an accent color like pale blue or sage green to add some life. Add plenty of lighting and mirrors to combat the lack of natural light.
What wall color goes well with white bathroom tiles?
White bathroom tiles pair beautifully with light gray, pale blue or mint green walls. Periwinkle walls also complement white tile nicely. For contrast, try navy blue vanity with crisp white tiles.
Should you paint a small bathroom dark colors?
Dark paint colors are generally not recommended for small bathrooms as they tend to make the space feel closed in and cramped. However, one dark accent wall in a charcoal or navy tone can look striking. Keep other walls light to offset the dark wall.
What sheen of paint is best for bathrooms?
Semi-gloss or high-gloss paints are best for bathrooms as they are most durable and moisture-resistant. The reflective qualities also make small bathrooms look brighter. Use satin or eggshell paints for walls, and semi-gloss for trim and ceilings.