How to add bathroom colour on a budget – updates under £50 using paint, fabric, tiles and more

Whether you're loving a dark luxe look, rainbow brights or pale and interesting, these are some cheap and easy ways to add colour

If you're wondering how to add bathroom colour on a budget, you'll be pleased to hear there are plenty!

During the winter, the bathroom becomes a place of comfort and solace for many of us. A long bath on a dark evening provides a time to destress and take a break from the chaos around us.

To create the perfect environment, colour is all important. But switching up the atmosphere with deep, dark shades or pops of bright colour needn't be as expensive as you might think.

We've pulled together some top tips to achieve the hottest colourful looks on a budget. And if you're looking for more inspiration, pop over and see our ideas for bathroom colour schemes.

How to add bathroom colour on a budget

1. Upcycle old furniture with paint

towel with mirror in bathroom

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'You don’t need to buy new to achieve a brand new look in your space,' says George Holland. 'For a more subtle aesthetic, try painting your wooden furniture a bolder colour. Wooden stools, chairs and even mirror frames look great with a splash of dark colour, especially against neutral backdrops.'

2. Add a colourful decal

Bathroom with pink cabinet and bathtub

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Tile stickers – or decals – that can be easily adhered to the walls and will cope with splashes of water for a shower or sink – are an instant way to add both colour and pattern. Why not paint your vanity unit to match? And use the stickers on storage baskets and more to create a more united theme.

Love this bathroom's wealth of storage? Check out these bathroom storage ideas.

3. Paint the bathroom ceiling

bathtub in bathroom

(Image credit: Future PLC//Colin Poole)

'A great tip for smaller bathrooms, adding a bold colour to a ceiling will elevate the space by drawing the eye upwards,' George Holland tells us. 'Black, or dark shades of navy and emerald green are a safe option for a classy look that work with many different colour schemes.'

4. Tile a basin splashback

spout in bathroom with mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

While tiling the whole bathroom could set you back hundreds of pounds, picking your favourite design and covering a small area above the sink is much more cost effective.

Doing it yourself? Read our guide on how to tile a splashback, and learn how to grout tiles yourself to save on installation costs.

5. Pop in more plants

plant pot on the ground

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'Plants are an effective way to add emerald tones into your bathroom without having to make any permanent changes,' says George. 'Aloe vera, Monstera and Boston ferns all thrive in humid conditions, perfect for the bathroom.'

6. Switch your shower curtain

bathtub and wall painting in bathroom

(Image credit: Future PLC/Olly Gordon)

Aside from using leftover paint, switching your boring old shower curtain for something more snazzy has to be the least expensive way to add colour we can think of. We love how this owner has matched the curtain to an upcycled storage unit, plant pots and even towels for a chic and deliberate look.

7. Change your towels

towel rail with towel and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

This oh-so-simple switch can have a big impact on a bathroom. Contrast soothing blue walls with towels in  hot orange or pink for impact, or pick a colour that complements existing features.

On-trend colour combos include pink or mint in a grey space, orange with cobalt, fuchsia and duck egg, and teal and brick red.

Oh, and if you are wondering where to buy from, our guide to the best bathroom towels out there should help.

8. Paint in a dado line

round door lock with blue and white color door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Create the look of a smart dado for next to nothing with paint. Simply measure and tape off a 5cm strip, pain the wall below the strip a dar tone, and the strip itself in a lighter, brighter shade of the same colour, as this homeowner has done.

You will need to be precise with your measuring to get a good finish, and use quality masking tape – as always, we recommend Frog Tape, as it's less prone to 'paint bleed'.

Another feature wall idea worth trying in a bathroom is an ombre, which we think creates a soothing feel. 'Picking different shades of the same colour can give your bathroom a sophisticated look,' says design expert George Holland from Victorian Plumbing.

'Use the lighter shade closer to the floor and the dark shade near your ceiling. This is a great idea for those who want to try something a bit more experimental looking to get creative.'

9. Lay bright vinyl flooring

bathroom area with bathtub and wash basin

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Lawrence)

One of the most affordable flooring types money can buy, vinyl flooring is easy to lay yourself and comes in tile or sheet format. Many designs mimic the look of encaustic tiles and at a fraction of the cost. Try B&M or The Range for some smart budget options.

10. Use wallpaper

wallpaper on the bathroom wall

(Image credit: Future PLC//Claire Lloyd Davies)

Contrary to popular belief, you can use wallpaper in a bathroom. However, due to the moist and humid conditions, you should either buy specialist bathroom wallpaper, or treat standard wallpaper to a layer of decorator's varnish for protection.

Related: Bathroom wallpaper ideas that will elevate your space to stylish new heights

11. Paint a feature wall... or two

toilet seat in bathroom

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Gunn)

It's perhaps an obvious solution, but if you're still wondering how to add bathroom colour on a budget, you can always reach for the paint brush and paint non-tiled walls in a deep shade of blue or green.

To stop condensation from staining your handiwork, use a paint formulated for bathrooms.

What are the best colours to use in a bathroom?

According to psychologist and wellbeing consultant Lee Chambers MSc MBPsS, reds, oranges, and yellows are best for a morning energy boost, and bright blue, green and purple will encourage you to relax and find serenity.

'If you want to start the day with a stimulating boost, bold shades of warm colours like reds, oranges and
yellows can really get you energised, and this can be incorporated through accessories and decoration on
a more muted colour,' says Lee.

plant in pot with toilet paper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

'When it comes to helping us find a calmer moment of serenity in the evening or as you rush around in the morning, cooler colours that still have a bright element, such as brighter blue, purples and greens can help us feel assured in ourselves and convey a message that we can handle the day's challenges,' he adds.

towel with towel rail

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alistair Nicholls)

Related: Bathroom tile ideas – stylish wall and floor tiling solutions for baths, showers and sinks

However, like the Ideal Home team, Lee ultimately feels that any colour can – and should – go in a bathroom. 'If there's a particular shade that you feel expresses you, you have a personal connection, and that is powerful when deciding what colour to use,' he says.

'Just ensure that the colours you choose let you have that moment of peace in a place that feels like home.'

We couldn't agree more.

Amy Cutmore
Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.