News & Politics

Wake Up the Bathroom Walls With Color

Emerald Vapor. Gray Cashmere. Million Dollar Red. Interior designers share their favorite colors for bathrooms.

What color do you want to wake up to every morning? A watery blue? A tan as cozy as a blanket? A red so shocking it’s sure to open sleepy eyes?

Choosing a color to paint a bathroom can be fun—and tricky, because you have to pick a color that works with existing fixtures and in a small space.

We asked local interior designers their favorite paint colors for bathrooms. Almost all are by Benjamin Moore.

For baths with a white sink, tub, and tile, designer Skip Sroka prefers pale shades like Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue (HC-144) or Hancock Green (HC-117). The effect? “It always feels like spring,” he says.

If tiles are not as white as they once were, he suggests a color such as Wilmington Tan (HC-34) or Putnam Ivory (HC-39) to make the tiles look brighter. Sroka used bold Dorset Gold (HC-8) in his own vintage black-and-white-tile bathroom to balance the opposing colors and brighten the white tiles.

Designer Barbara Hawthorn also recommends soft, warm tones such as Benjamin Moore Roasted Sesame Seed (2160-40) or Farrow & Ball’s Hound Lemon (#2). She says to be careful when painting a bath green or yellow because it can make a person’s skin appear sallow.

That doesn’t mean you should shy away from vibrant shades. One of Hawthorn’s favorite bold colors is Benjamin Moore Million Dollar Red (2003-10). A powder room painted in this, she says, is “like a jewel box.” Several designers recommended balancing bold colors with trim done in a neutral like Benjamin Moore White Dove.

If you don’t dare paint your bathroom red, designer Michael Roberson suggests the soothing shade of Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere (2138-60). She used it in a bathroom with glass tile and says the color reminds her of shimmering water.

Want a calming, versatile color? Designer Nancy Colbert suggests Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (HC-172), which blends easily with other colors.

Designer Sue Burgess created a spalike space for her own bathroom using Benjamin Moore Emerald Vapor (845) and Winter Ice (866). “It’s just so clean and fresh,” she says. “It’s where I want to start my day.”