5 ways to elevate a small bathroom with a black and white colour scheme - a classic combo that will never date

Simple doesn't mean boring - a monochrome scheme will transform a small bathroom

Black and white bathroom with patterned floor tiles and white bath
(Image credit: Future)

If you're looking for a timeless design for your bathroom (a must when it's a big investment) a black and white scheme is perfect. Add on the difficulty of working with a small bathroom where certain colours and design features might not enhance the space and a black and white colour scheme really steps into its own.

A bathroom is more than just a practical room - it's somewhere to start your day brightly and find solace in slow evening wind-down routines, so the design has to be both functional for daily life and inspiring to spend time in. Small black and white bathroom ideas will not only make a room feel larger and brighter but also create a chic scheme that looks great to guests.

Understandably you might be concerned about this colour combo looking flat, so the key is to add plenty of interest and dimension through patterns, texture and accessories, especially in a small bathroom.

Small black and white bathroom ideas

'The combination of black and white can make a space feel quite spacious, which is especially useful for smaller bathrooms,' explains Jorge Hernandez, head of design at Crosswater. 'Pairing the two colours together creates a high contrast that allows for maximum visual impact, with the black elements introducing depth.'

In a compact room where space comes at a premium, using colour as an optical illusion is essential to making a bathroom feel bigger. But you don't want a blank, uninspiring design so punctuating with bold black accents will transform a minimal bathroom. While black and white is simple, it's anything but boring.

1. Turn your attention to flooring

Black and white bathroom with freestanding bath

(Image credit: Future)

To enhance the sense of space in a small bathroom, consider keeping walls and anything at eye-level as simple as possible. When entering your bathroom you won't be confronted by a busy look, rather a bright and spacious feel.

But if you still want to add pattern to your black and white scheme, bathroom flooring ideas are your next best bet.

'Matt black just never goes out of fashion so will always be a timeless choice. It can be introduced through monochrome floor tiles - chequerboard tiles are hugely popular right now - or through matt black brassware and accessories such as Crittal style shower doors,' adds Jo Sangster, senior designer at Ripples.

2. Create an all-over pattern

Black and white tiled bathroom with abstract pattern

(Image credit: Future)

If a subtle black and white scheme doesn't do it for you, the next best thing is to go all out. Making a huge design statement, like with these patterned wall, floor and bath tiles, will create a bold and interesting look.

Bathroom tile ideas are one of the most effective way to add pattern to a small bathroom. Whether you opt for handpainted tiles or plain tiles that are then laid in a creative format, it will make a small bathroom look all the more inspiring without overwhelming with colour.

3. Go for a minimal scheme

Black and white bathroom with modern shower glass panel

(Image credit: Future/Lizzie Orme)

Working in a shower, bath, toilet and basin in a small bathroom is no mean feat. When playing Tetris with sanitary ware, turning to a simple black and white palette will create a more calming environment.

For a chic shower room idea, keep the screen as sleek as possible by opting for a slimline Crittall-style door (we love this option from Victoria Plum). The black accents against a white base punctuate the design but won't overtake it.

4. Add in a softer tone

Black and white bathroom with patterned floor tiles and white bath

(Image credit: Future)

A bathroom isn't just a practical room, it's also somewhere to switch off at the end of the day and enjoy a relaxing soak - so your bathroom colour scheme must work for this purpose.

While a black and white palette is minimal and clutter-free, adding a third colour to soften the look will make it feel like even more of a sanctuary. Sage green is a perfect choice - nature-inspired tones are ideal for relaxing and it doesn't take away from the modern aesthetic.

5. Choose statement hardware

Bathroom with geometric black and white tiles behind sink

(Image credit: Future)

A black and white bathroom isn't just created with paint and tiles, the look can extend all the way into your washbasin and hardware for a premium-looking space. In fact, in a small bathroom this is a great way to make an impact without crowding walls and floors with colour and pattern.

To keep the room light and airy, maintain a white base on walls and accent with a black sink, tap and toilet flush. This ceramic option from B&Q will sit atop a work surface and help you get the look for less.

'Incorporating black fixtures such as brassware or handles against a backdrop of white provides a modern touch, whilst reflective surfaces and strategically placed mirrors can amplify light, and make a smaller space feel larger and more open,' reinforces Jorge Hernandez, head of design at Crosswater.

FAQs

How to soften up a black and white bathroom

While a black and white bathroom is undoubtedly chic, the opposing colours might have the tendency to make a washroom feel a little bit stark and clinical. A tidy and clutter-free bathroom is top of many wishlists but if this veers into cold and dull, it won't be somewhere you want to relax.

Adding texture to a black and white scheme is essential. Whether this is through handcrafted tiles that reflect line or a ceramic matt washbasin that adds a contemporary touch.

'Light can do wonders in small bathrooms: by installing several spotlights instead of a central ceiling light, you can illuminate dark corners. With modern LED technology, you can create an affordable atmospheric bathroom using coloured lights,' adds Fabrizia D’Autilia, from Villeroy & Boch.

When designing a small black and white bathroom, make sure you think outside of the box when it comes to adding the final touches. Accessories, lighting and creative design features will go a long way in a monochrome scheme.

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).