Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bathroom paint advice, please

OK, so, we have just made the impromptu decision to paint our main floor half-bathroom. This was unplanned because we only just finally got our handyman in to repair all the paint and drywall damage caused by the window installation, and luckily the guy who fixed and flipped our house before we bought it left all the paint he used, and it turned out that we had every paint we needed except the one for this bathroom, BUT we didn't realize that until our guy had already used a slightly off shade of beige around the window, so right now the bathroom has a two-tone look going on.

We have made no changes to this bathroom whatsoever since moving in (unless you count hanging up the ceramic lizard--eventually we will hang more stuff on the walls, when we get around to it). It has a beige paint color that we never would have selected ourselves, and the same goes for the mirror and fixtures, but we don't hate them or anything and aren't interested in spending money to replace them. But, I'm also not interested in bothering to try to paint-match the beige, which wouldn't be a sure thing anyway since we don't know anything about the paint that was used in there, and would rather spend a little more time and money (and it's not much more, since it's such a small bathroom) to make it a much nicer color.

So! Here's the bathroom in its current state. As you can see, beige paint with white trim and chair rail, white marble-ish counter top (with gray streaks) over dark brown cabinetry, weird frosted/etched mirror that is ostensibly neutral in color but has always seemed to me to have a mint green undertone, gray window blind. I had some trouble with the lighting in these so the paint color doesn't look the same in all of them, but I think the current color is most accurately represented in the close-up of the lizard.

As far as parameters, we are leaning toward a non-neutral color in the bathroom, something not overwhelming but a little bit bright and fun. Torsten in particular is a big fan of bright colored paint, and we aren't willing to do that in any of our actual big house rooms, so a bathroom seems like a good spot for something a little more fun and less neutral than the light gray that we will probably end up painting most of the rest of the house someday that is probably much further in the future than I care to consider. (Edited to add, thanks to Diane: you know how I feel about purple, but actually I think we'll do our master bath in pale purple someday, so I'm very open to non-purple colors for this bathroom.)

Also, like I said, we don't want to pay to replace fixtures or anything else in the bathroom, though I'd be willing to consider swapping out the mirror if the new color deeply exacerbated its green undertones in an ugly way. The gray blind is definitely not going anywhere since it's brand new, and ideally we'd like to keep the lizard in there as decor as well, though if it clashes horribly it can be relocated, and like I said, we'll add a few other things to the walls eventually too.

So! Please tell me your bathroom paint color opinions. What color? Bright? Dark? What colors are your own bathrooms painted, and what do you like or not like about it?


  1. I am very anti-bright colors! My guest bathroom is Sea Salt, by Sherwin Williams, and is a very nice, calm bathroom color. What about picking your favorite bright color, then going to the top of that paint chip strip and choosing the lighter, more subtle version of that color? I get twitchy thinking about a cobalt blue bathroom (or something equally bright...)

  2. I've seen very bold dark colors in smallish bathrooms like yours, and it works, though it's definitely outside my comfort level. Also, if this is bathroom is often used by the kids, maybe go with something lighter when you have to wipe down the walls AGAIN.

    My half-bath is a cheery buttery yellow...sort of a pastel Big Bird. It's surprisingly neutral - I've had both blue and gray rugs in there, and it's a nice fit.

  3. Oooooh fun! Small rooms are perfect for interesting paint experiments!

    I redid our bathroom in a dark (for me!) grey a few years ago and I loooooove it (mainly because it's different than the neutrals in the rest of the house!). This is an OK-ish pic of the color:

    But since you're already using grey as your neutral elsewhere, I would TOTALLY say go for something more exciting and bold in here. Are there any colors you've always wanted to use? Maybe a bold teal/aqua color? Ooh, maybe 2 versions of the same color: slightly darker under the chair rail; 2 shades lighter of the same above the chair rail?

    1. I was going to suggest an aqua colour too.


  4. We went with orange, I am PRETTY SURE it was Behr Orange Spice ( I love it. I wouldn't want it in the bathroom where I do my hair/make-up, but this is the kid/spare/laundry bathroom and it's great.

  5. We did a bright red half bath in our first house. Like bright, bright red. It took two cans of paint, and still looked streaky. Never again would I do a red room! We have a bright turquoise bathroom now, and the kids bathroom is a really bright yellow. Both colors went on a lot easier than red.

  6. I don't know what paint they used, but the previous owners of our house painted the kitchen red and I LOVE it. Big fan, especially with the white trim. I don't know if that's what you're looking for in your bathroom, but apparently it can be done.

    I've been trying to figure out what color to paint our bathroom for years (it's a sand color currently). I still haven't thought of anything I want to commit to.

  7. Bottom half a BOLD/saturated but not birthday color. Navy blue, grey or stone. White upper half. White towels.

  8. I LOVE paint colors - my friends tell me that picking paint colors is my secret party trick. So if you want to talk about more specifics in detail, you know how to find me :) Bold is tricky, because it can be a hard color to get full coverage on. With that said, if you do it and are planning on a neutral gray everywhere else, I think you can go bold and have fun with it. I would say don't do the bottom half of the chair rail the color - if you're going to use the chair rail, the bottom should be white and the color on top. I'm imagining a peacock blue, dark indigo or charcoal (if you want to stick with a safe bold), or, my pick for you would be a really great eggplant (not pale, dark!). My favorites in the navy/indigo and charcoal categories are Benjamin Moore Hale Navy and Kendall Charcoal or Sherwin Williams Iron Ore (very dark). For eggplant/plum (I haven't seen this in person) I am drawn to Sherwin Williams Mature Grape and my favorite teal is sadly discontinued (Martha Stewart Plummage via home depot) but you could maybe have it color matched. Also, here's a link to a teal bathroom with white under the chair rail - I think it could work really well, but I also think it would be good to paint the whole room the one color. (Second image in that slide show if it defaults to the first image). Also, I think you should ditch the mirror if you don't love it. Life's too short and mirrors are pretty inexpensive (I'm looking at one for our bathroom remodel that's $78 and really pretty, simple but glamorous...glamorous comes to mind when I think of a deep, saturated powder bath wounds like to me). End Novel.

  9. On second thought, I might prefer Benjamin Moore Velvet Cloak (or something on that swatch) over the Mature Grape.

  10. Yellow or teal. Keep the lizard. Replace the mirror. Paint the cabinet white. Have fun!

  11. Do you have the Houzz app? It's a great way to peruse bathrooms/paint colors.

    Our downstairs bath is a light blue, our upstairs bath is a beige (we just slapped something on because it needs to get rehabbed at some point). I am personally a fan of fun colors- love the orange idea- especially if a lot of your house is neutral.

  12. I have a house with similar tan-beige in every room, I have successful painted most of the downstairs light gray, and the half-bath was painted a beautiful turquoise blue. Honestly, I love it SO much! I'll have to track down the exact color and send it along.


  13. There was a great egg shell color that I saw recently. It is very clearly not white. It has a grey blue tone to it and it is very calming. I feel like when you go to a spa, that is usually they color that they have painted everything. I hope you find a perfect color that works for you.

    Essie Reed @ Valley Home Improvement

  14. Personally I think you should go wild. Perhaps have a Mexican theme that would fit nicely with your lizard? Terracotta walls and a faux-wood floor (stick on laminate will do the trick) would give you that holiday sensation every time you walk into your bathroom. Good luck with this, the bathroom is pretty much last on my to do list for my home.

    Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

  15. This looks like a blast! I personally am against super bright colors, but that’s just my opinion. I enjoy more “neutral” colors, and then utilize some non-neutral colors for accents. Since you do not want to pay to replace any fixtures, I’d recommend what others have said – utilizing a bold dark color. However, it ultimately depends on how comfortable you feel with it. Either way, I’m sure it’s going to look terrific. Good luck!

    Nathaniel Norman @ Sterling Works