The best colour to paint a bathroom, according to those in the know

Should you choose a trending hue, a timeless classic, or just follow your heart?

Blue bathroom with white sink and tiled wall
(Image credit: Dulux)

Whether you’re after a relaxing sanctuary to retreat to, or an invigorating space for busy mornings, deciding on the best colour to paint a bathroom is paramount to giving your space the right atmosphere. So how do you make a decision? We’ve got some top advice from the experts to make deciding on your bathroom colour scheme a little easier.

Perhaps you love the idea of a clean white bathroom, or a serene blue scheme. Or maybe you’re lusting after on-trend green bathroom ideas or classic grey bathroom ideas. Whatever your choice, check out these top tips and paint ideas before splashing any colour on the walls… 

Blue bathroom with white sink and tiled wall

(Image credit: Future PLC)

What is the best colour to paint a bathroom?

According to bathroom specialist Big Bathroom Shop, who have been exploring Instagram hashtag data, white bathroom ideas are the colour everyone is talking about, followed by pink and black bathroom ideas, while green and blue are trending as well. But what is the best colour to paint a bathroom when it comes to making us happy, rather than following trends?

‘From a colour psychology perspective turquoise is a great colour to incorporate into your scheme if you are needing a morning pick-me-up as it can aid in waking up the body and the mind,’ suggests Karen Haller, colour psychology expert and author of The Little Book of Colour. ‘If you are looking to create a sanctuary, spa-like feel for your bathroom, one that you can relax in and soak away the day, then consider using a palette that includes soft and dark greens and browns as well as natural materials such as stone, wood and plants.’

So it seems that those blue and green hues are on the right track when it comes to the best colour to paint a bathroom, but Karen also emphasises the importance of picking a hue that’s going to create the right feel for you. ‘Think about how you want to feel in the space. The atmosphere you want to create. Do you want to create a bathroom that stimulates or soothes? Lighter, softer colours are more soothing and darker, richer colours are more stimulating,’ explains Karen. And her top tip? ‘Don’t worry what anyone else thinks. Create a home that you love and loves you back.’

Blue bathroom with silver mirrors

Mineral Springs Aura Bath & Spa matte, £37 for 0.94l, Benjamin Moore at Brewers

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

 What is the most relaxing colour for a bathroom? 

Blue and green, while currently on-trend, have stood the test of time when it comes to choosing the best colour to paint a bathroom. And it’s little wonder given their soothing qualities and connections to nature.

‘Rich blues and greens lend themselves particularly well to bathrooms, mirroring the calmness and tranquillity of water and making the entire room feel peaceful. If you don’t want an entirely blue or green room though, you could consider painting the upper half of the walls in a tonal hue or white to keep the space feeling fresh and open,’ says Helen Shaw, UK Director at Benjamin Moore.

 What is the best colour to paint a small bathroom? 

Bathrooms generally have a small footprint, so choosing a colour that’s going to make a small bathroom look bigger can be a priority for many.

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux agrees: ‘Small bathrooms generally benefit from being made to look bigger, so choose receding shades of blue and green which will make your walls look further away than they really are. Try Willow Tree and Mineral Mist in Dulux Easycare Bathroom paint.’ 

Green bathroom with circular mirror

Dulux Willow Tree Easycare Bathroom soft sheen, £26 for 2.5l, B&Q

(Image credit: Dulux)

What is the best paint colour for a north facing bathroom? 

The cooler light in north facing rooms can leave colours looking a little lifeless, so make sure you choose a colour with a warm undertone. Yellow-based colours are a great choice for helping a room feel sunnier and warmer, helping to bounce light around the room.

Or if a moody look is what you’re after, you could choose a dark blue or grey to create a cocooning effect. 

Helen Shaw agrees: ‘If your bathroom doesn’t benefit from natural light, rich, warm colours can play with artificial lighting sources to make a strong style statement. You could also consider painting bathroom furniture in the same tone to add to the dramatic effect of a dark bathroom and incorporate accents of interest with your choice of brassware and accessories.’

White bathroom with orange wall

Golden Vista Aura Bath & Spa matte, £37 for 0.94l, Benjamin Moore 

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

What is the best paint colour for a south-facing bathroom? 

Thanks to its warming sunlight, south-facing rooms are easier to pick a colour for, and according to Marianne this means you can opt for those cooler shades:

‘South-facing bathrooms benefit from much warmer natural light in the daytime and so balancing with cooler colours like blues and greens work beautifully. For just a touch of gentle energy, try Dewy Lawn or Mineral Mist and for something a little more visually calming, try Coastal Grey or Tranquil Dawn,’ says Marianne.

Blue bathroom with white bath and window

(Image credit: Dulux)

What is the best colour for a windowless bathroom? 

Pale pastels and light neutrals will help to prevent a windowless room from feeling cramped and will reflect artificial light to make the room feel brighter. Although Marianne suggests you can use any colour you like ‘as long as the lighting is good.’ So invest in warm LED bathroom lighting ideas to bring your colour to life. 

Colour will always be a matter of preference so remember that our tips should serve as guidance. If there is a colour you're desperate to try don't let us stop you. 

Laura Higgins

Laura Higgins is a freelance journalist who has had a career within the magazine industry for twenty years. Laura worked for over a decade on Your Home magazine where she was Lifestyle Editor, writing about everything from interiors and decorating to household advice, kitchen appliances and recipes. Since launching her freelance career in 2020 she has written for a variety of titles and brands, including Future titles Style at Home and Ideal Home. As well as writing about homes, Laura also works as a food stylist and has styled photoshoots for several well-known brands.