These Seven Paint Colors Can Make Small Bathrooms Feel Bigger
A great bathroom should feel like an oasis. It's the place where you can escape and tune out the world for a few blissful minutes—or an hour, if you're lucky—in the tub or shower. And these days, we need a haven more than ever. The only downside to these spaces? Bathrooms often feel cramped and small, but by painting your walls the right color, even a tiny bathroom can feel much bigger. Plus, a fresh coat of paint is an easy way to refresh this important space without sinking a lot of money into renovations.
So, what are the best paint colors to make small bathrooms feel larger? We asked Kathryn Emery, a home improvement expert, and Meg Piercy, the founder and owner of MegMade, to share their top recommendations. But before we get to the colors, there are a few general tips to consider before you dive into painting your bathroom. "Moisture is the culprit when you see peeling paint in the bathroom, so don't skimp on quality," says Emery. "Choose a high or semi-gloss finish. High gloss is excellent at repelling moisture and is easily wiped. And one coat of a moisture and mildew-resistant primer ($19.84, amazon.com) is a great option." It's also important to note that wall color can affect how you look in the mirror. "Neutral tones don't recast light in a way that will alter your complexion in a mirror, so take that into consideration when choosing a bathroom paint color," explains Emery.
"Lighter colors reflect light easily, which gives the room a bigger appearance," says Piercy. Unsurprisingly, a classic white paint is the perfect choice when it comes to creating the illusion of a bigger bathroom. As for the best hues to consider? "I love White Dove by Benjamin Moore ($44.99, store.benjaminmoore.com), because you can do so much with it," says Piercy. But if you don't want the starkness of an entirely white room, Piercy suggests adding statement accents like "a fun pop of color on the vanity."
If you want something warmer but still bright and open, consider off-white. "My favorite off-white is Swiss Coffee ($31.98, homedepot.com)," says Emery. "Many different brands (Behr, Dunn Edwards, Benjamin Moore) have this same color swatch, which speaks to how popular it is. It has a hint of smoke that gives it texture so the color doesn't appear dull or flat on the walls."
"I absolutely love Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball (from $8, farrow-ball.com)," says Piercy. "It's a great muted pink that reflects light. I like to call it a 'colorful neutral,' because it's so versatile that you can pair it with essentially any other color, as you would with a true neutral."
If you're worried about gray feeling too cold, don't be: It can actually be a very warm and inviting hue. "Light French Gray by Sherwin-Williams (price upon request, sherwin-williams.com) is a soothing gray that will give the room a rich look," says Emery. "But it's neutral enough to create the illusion of light and not make the bathroom feel smaller."
If you want a true neutral that will make a cramped space feel bigger, consider beige. "Beige gets a bad rap, but it isn't dull," explains Emery. "It just matches everything. Benjamin Moore makes a color called Shaker Beige ($44.99, store.benjaminmore.com) that they launched in 1976, and clearly it's a crowd-pleaser given its longevity."
"I love Borrowed Light by Farrow & Ball (from $8, farrow-ball.com)," says Piercy. The brand's website describes it as a "pale and illuminating blue meant to evoke the color of summer skies," making it perfect for a bathroom paint color. "It's another 'colorful neutral,' that's still light enough to reflect light," explains Piercy.
Deep Forest Green
"This one might be controversial," says Piercy. "But I think darker, moody colors can make a bathroom feel spacious if you do them right." She recommends Salamander by Benjamin Moore, ($44.99, store.benjaminmoore.com) a saturated green that works in a bathroom as long as you get a decent amount of natural light. "For this color I would paint the walls, trim and ceiling in the same color because it blurs the line of where the walls end and the ceilings begin."