Crisp, clean and classic. White bathroom ideas are a foolproof way of creating a serene sanctuary in your home. While it may be one of the more traditional ways to outfit a bathroom, it's certainly not old-fashioned.
Using clever combinations of materials, textures and other bathroom colour ideas will add extra dimensions into your white scheme, taking it from standard to standout.
'White bathrooms are easy to get wrong, and end up feeling cold and clinical,' notes Graeme Borchard, MD, UK Bathrooms. 'However get a white bathroom right and it will feel classically elegant, light-reflective and timeless.'
From white bathroom tile ideas to adding in the perfect amount of another colour, there are so many ways to add interest and excitement to your space. Additionally, always keep the details in mind. 'Add luxurious fluffy towels, consider shower wall panelling and bring your bathroom to life with some plants – they love the humidity,' suggests Ruth Foster, interior designer, Victoria Plum. 'Plus, don’t forget lighting, add a wall mounted mirror with a light can add a softer ambience whilst still being function-friendly.'
White bathroom ideas
'Pristine white bathroom suites are one of the most sought after looks when it comes to redesigning a bathroom,' says Victoria Plum's Ruth. 'However, it can come with a serious lack of inspiration when adding those accent colours.' Make sure your space has impact and inspiration by using these white bathroom ideas.
1. Contrast with black details
One of the most contemporary ways to add impact to white bathroom ideas is through the use of linear black details. Use this style of black and white bathroom ideas across hardware, external plumbing and accessories like mirrors and lighting
'Matte Black is always a good option to choose to create a monochrome look in a plain white bathroom,' agrees Nicholas Cunild, Managing Director, Matki and Swadling Brassware. 'This can be achieved with accessories such as Crittall shower screen or taps and also with flooring and wall panelling.'
2. Add a touch of nature
To prevent white bathrooms from feeling too cold it's imperative to introduce warmth and texture. One way of achieving this is by bringing in nature. The refreshing pops of greenery will add a fresh and relaxed feel into the space. 'Move from the bland to the uber cool by teaming gloss white with wood and plenty of green foliage,' suggests Ruth from Victoria Plum.
House plants that thrive in humid and low-light conditions will love the bathroom. Living walls are another modern way of using greenery, plus you can easily create one using faux foliage so upkeep can be as minimal as you like.
'A living wall of greenery is a great way to bring your space to life and for the ultimate in laid-back, cool chic,' agrees Graeme from UK Bathrooms.
3. Choose brass hardware
Add a hint of glamour to white bathroom ideas by upgrading your brassware from standard chromes to luxe metallics.
'Warm metallic brassware and shower frames such as brass, gold and copper will catch the light and add glimmers of interest to a white bathroom,' says Nicholas from Matki and Swadling Brassware.
4. Paint a section of the walls
It's possible to introduce colour to your white bathroom ideas without taking away from the cool and crisp nature of the monochrome.
'Adding colour contrasts can really add character to your space, but first you must decide on the vibe you want for your bathroom,' advises Ruth from Victoria Plum. 'If your bathroom is your place to relax and find calm, then opt for paler colours such as dusky pink or a light mink. Or, if your bathroom is the place get yourself feeling invigorated and energised then add dashes of bright marigold and raspberry.'
Keep white in the majority by only using bathroom paint ideas on only the top half or third or the wall in your statement colour, allowing the rest of the room to remain shining bright and white.
5. Opt for a dark floor
Offer your white bathroom a need dimension by grounding the space with dark floor tiles. A contrasting dark floor will only highlight how white the rest of the room is, and won't distract the eye.
For cohesion, grout the black tiles with white and vice-versa.
6. Relax with natural materials
Natural materials are a must for softening and warming white bathrooms. 'A quieter approach in colour palettes will help to soften the room and allows room for incorporating warmer materials such as natural woods and soft fabrics,' says Patrick Speck, Leader LIXIL Global Design, GROHE. 'These support and emphasise the notion of cocooning and safety, creating the ultimate cosseting space.'
'The neutral tone of white allows room for materiality to be incorporated through textures and accent colour details to be support in creating a stylish, inviting finish.'
7. Add patterns with shapely tiles
Use white bathroom tile ideas to create subtle pattern and interest in your space. Even plain white tiles, chosen in an interesting geometric shape, will add texture and depth to your walls.
Go a step further by selecting tiles in a material with natural colour variations, like gentle veining on white marble.
8. Create depth by tiling the bath
When tiling a white bathroom, don't just stop with the walls. Cover the bath in identical tiling to your walls to create more interest and give more depth to the space. This will give a comfortingly cosseting effect to the room.
9. Use patterned tiles sparingly
'White bathrooms are bright and they make the space seem wider, it is key for small bathrooms,' notes Juan Luna, Design Manager, Acquabella. 'The brilliant white colour spreads optimism, filling the space with tranquillity. In addition, it is a timeless colour, which makes the test of time much more bearable.'
In these small spaces, integrate extra colour and pattern with a petite splashback made up of a couple of pretty tiles.
10. Embrace natural stone
11. Highlight with grouting
Simplistic white tiles can be elevated with clever use of grouting.
'You can add colour with grout which can create a bold or subtle contrast depending on which you choose,' says Colin Lincoln-Evans, Buyer, Tile Mountain. 'If you’re really looking for something different then take a look at glitter grout options.'
12. Soften with pink
Contemporary white bathroom ideas and pretty pinks are a match made in heaven. Introduce a hint of colour by leaving a section of your walls untiled and painting it in a soft, feminine shade of pink.
As a bonus, these pinks marry stylishly with black detailing and fresh foliage.
13. Include touches of other neutrals
If you want to add another dimension to your otherwise white bathroom but aren't naturally drawn to bold colours and patterns, they look to other neutrals. Include vanity units in pale grey bathroom ideas, warm creams or soft sandy shades.
If you want an easy update without buying anything then use these colours to paint a swathe of the wall or learn how to paint a bath.
14. Use coloured tiles in the shower
Zone your white bathroom by using a bold colour in only one space. The inside of the shower is a natural choice as there is an in built delineation between with this area and the rest of the room. Carefully placement if mirrors or mirrored surfaces will help bounce the colour around the room.
The shade can be whatever you prefer, but trends, like green bathroom ideas, can be helpful starting point. 'Green is the hue of 2022,' says Graeme from UK Bathrooms. 'Biophilia in the bathroom is still very popular and a trend that continues to grow.'
15. Add colour to the floor
If tiling the whole inside of the shower is a step too far, then take a look down. Tile your shower tray area in a brightly coloured and patterned design.
As this is a small space and not something that will catch your eye from everywhere in the room. This means that you're less likely to get tired of the colours or pattern choice, so go wild!
16. Go for a classic metro look
You can't go wrong with plumping for the metro style of white bathroom tile ideas. A classic for a reason, this design won't date and adds just enough extra interest to your simple space.
How do you make a white bathroom interesting?
'White is the perfect canvas for both minimalism and maximalism,' says Patrick from GROHE. With this in mind, it's not hard to add interest to white bathroom ideas.
'A white bathroom is like a blank canvas, you can use texture, patterns and warm wood to make it interesting,' suggests Graeme from UK Bathrooms.
'Mix design styles together, for example combine a roll top bath with contemporary styled floor standing taps or add in some natural elements such as wooden shelving or a bamboo towel rail,' says Colin from Tile Mountain. 'Tiles with a relief pattern will add some textural interest, or if you prefer a plain tile then lay them in a pattern such as herringbone or basketweave, additionally more unusually shaped tiles such as hexagons or scallops will work equally well. Another option worth considering particularly for floors are white marble effect tiles, their veining adds visual interest without dominating the room.'
'Mirrors placed opposite windows in dead spaces and lost corners will bounce the light and create depth and perspectives that will light up smaller white bathrooms,' adds Nicholas from Matki. 'Also, adding a pop of colour to the furnishing and fittings such as vanity area adds an element of interest to the room as well a bringing the whole look together.'
What colours go with a white bathroom?
'As a blank canvas, a bathroom with white decoration matches any colour,' sys Juan from Acquabella. 'We can apply much more creative contrasts or use neutral tones that maintain a relaxed, spa-like look. One of the biggest trends involves playing with soft, earthy, neutral tones like beige, cream and light brown.'
Graeme from UK Bathroom agrees that pretty much any colour can be added to white bathroom ideas. 'But blue and white works perfectly – think of Wedgewood China – for a breezy seaside aesthetic.'
If you really want to make impact with colour then turn your head to the dark side. 'We suggest greys, blues or contrasting darker greens for a statement look,' says Ruth from Victoria Plum.
How do you soften a white bathroom?
Besides colour, there are a number of ways to soften white bathroom ideas.
'Ensure you have a lighting plan,' suggests Graeme from UK Bathrooms. 'Strategically placed lighting will ensure your bathroom space is warm and inviting and a place you want to spend time and relax in.'
'Lighting is a good place to start, especially if you don’t have any that is natural,' agrees Colin from Tile Mountain. 'Dimmable bulbs are a good option, but always ensure that whatever lighting you choose has an appropriate IP rating. Accessories such as big fluffy towels and bath mats are an obvious, but if you have a window consider adding a patterned etched window film, shutters, or a textured blind. Tile finishes can also play a part, a gloss or polished finish will help reflect light whilst a matt finish offers a more subtle effect.'
Additionally, the shapes you use can help soften your white bathrooms. 'In addition to varying finishes, materials and textures, think about using a variety of shapes when choosing vanity units, shower screens and accessories,' advises Nicholas from Matki. 'Curvy furniture and shower panels balance and soften a boxy room. Mixing curves, shapes and organic shapes create a sculptural quality and brings a white bathroom to life.'
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Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years.
She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.
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