​Stylish inspiration: Tips for making a dark bathroom work

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Rock Star Bathroom Lisa Melvin Design Modern bathroom
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Once upon a time, avocado green was the trendiest colour to bring into a bathroom, becoming quite big in the 70s. Thankfully, that trend has faded, yet it also seemed to make people scared of bringing anything other than light neutrals into a bathroom. And although we do love a beautiful off-white wall or beige-hued tiles, we can’t help but wonder if it isn’t time to go a bit darker.

It would seem that professional bathroom designers were wondering the same thing, as bathrooms everywhere have started embracing a darker, moodier look with greys. But don’t confuse ‘dark’ with ‘gloomy’ – with the right greys/blacks in your colour palette, your bathroom can look quite elegant and welcoming. 

But what are our options in styling up a dark bathroom with greys and blacks? Well, let’s take a look at these ideas that have been approved by design experts…

1. Dark bathroom ideas: Start with the walls

First of all, decide which type of material will create a grey backdrop for your dark bathroom. Aside from painting the walls, other well-known alternatives include dark marble, porcelain- or ceramic tiles, or grey sheets of glass. 

But why should you aim for the walls? Aside from taking up the most visual space in a bathroom, walls provide a terrific backdrop for other colour to pop off of.

Just keep in mind that, when you’re using a very dark colour, it’s imperative to introduce great texture, such as wood walls or textured paint, to create shadows within that dark colour.

2. Dark bathroom ideas: Don’t go too dark

In some cases, a dark-grey bathroom can make a space seem less elegant and dated (like, for example, a bar bathroom) than grey blended with another colour. 

Think about the colour palette in the rest of your house. Is it warm or cold? If the colour palette is cooler, choose a grey that has softer hues; and if it's warmer, choose a grey with a warm/brownish tint. 

homify hint: The surfaces other than your walls should showcase an intentionally different grey. Choose another grey for, say, the floating shelves, in order to bring in more character and interest.

3. Dark bathroom ideas: Incorporate contrast

​House in Notting Hill by Recent Spaces Recent Spaces Modern bathroom Slate Grey
Recent Spaces

​House in Notting Hill by Recent Spaces

Recent Spaces

Part of what makes a black bathroom so dramatic is the contrast of dark surfaces with other hues. Thus, incorporate a few highlights of colours (such as a sleek white) that are strikingly noticeable against the black. 

Remember than an all-black bathroom can look quite gloomy and claustrophobic.  

homify hint: A black bathroom is all about mastering reflection and light in a dark space. Keep the fixtures, sinks, and tub white for contrast. As the walls are absorbing light, you need to use white for almost a reverse mascara effect.

4. Dark bathroom ideas: Add some shine

Douro Street, London GPAD Modern bathroom

Douro Street, London


Most dark bathrooms have one thing in common: shiny surfaces and fittings. Whether these are made from metal or glass, they are quite adept at adding reflectivity to the otherwise light-absorbing space.

For optimum effect, use a metal that’s highly reflective and shiny to bounce the light.

5. Dark bathroom ideas: Using reclaimed wood

Penthouse interior by SMB Interior Design SMB Interior Design Ltd Modern bathroom
SMB Interior Design Ltd

Penthouse interior by SMB Interior Design

SMB Interior Design Ltd

Who says those dark hues are only reserved for contemporary- and modern designs? With a country scheme, a decent dose of restfulness and elegance can be added into the bathroom with soothing shades of grey and white. And as one of the hottest home design trends is using natural wood accents and textures, why not incorporate these into your dark bathroom?

When paired with dark walls, that rustic timber can really come to life. So, don’t be discouraged when sourcing salvaged wood – even when damaged, wood can often be restored to its former glory, with those leftover scratches and marks simply adding to the wood’s character.

6. Dark bathroom ideas: Stunning in stone

Refurbishment of late Victorian Property Corebuild Classic style bathroom

Refurbishment of late Victorian Property


Hard-wearing and available in a wide choice of styles, tiles are one of the most popular materials for bathroom walls and floors. And if it’s enduring beauty and individual character you’re after, look no further than stone. 

All natural stone is porous, meaning it must be sealed and may require further treatment on a regular basis. However, when properly installed and cared for, a stone surface should last a lifetime. 

And if you’re on a budget, simple slate is a great alternative.

7. Dark bathroom ideas: Marvellous in marble

Marble has the gift of transforming any space into a timeless design. And seeing as boutique-style schemes are on trend right now, we advise to go with the polished marble route for your dark bathroom. 

Polished marble is the ideal choice for creating a glamorous grey bathroom. But if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to natural stone, opt for stone veneers for surfaces and walls.

8. Dark bathroom ideas: Creative with concrete

Home Renovation, Kempe Road Gr8 Interiors BathroomBathtubs & showers White
Gr8 Interiors

Home Renovation, Kempe Road

Gr8 Interiors

Concrete in a moody colour can definitely transform a bathroom, as it forms a single, seamless surface and can be modelled into any shape. 

But concrete can also be luxurious, tactile and timeless, ensuring it’s a perfect choice for a seamless finish from wall to floor. 

We recommend making your concrete even more stunning with the addition of an accent colour like shocking pink, lime green, etc.

9. Dark bathroom ideas: Floor-to-ceiling tiles

Floor-to-ceiling tiling is not only practical (it makes for easy cleaning), but can also transform a bathroom space into something appealing. 

For a dark bathroom, just make sure to choose a hue that can stand the test of time, and one that all the family can live with. 

For a stone-grey scheme, put it on all four walls, but stop the colour from looking flat by positioning white fittings and fixtures against it. It might not be a bad idea to bring in some glistening chrome accessories for striking contrast.

10. Dark bathroom ideas: Pretty in paint

Lastly, a simple paint job can definitely do the trick (and don’t forget that it’s also one of the easier, quicker ways to change a room). 

Choose a dramatic charcoal grey shade for the wall, then decorate with pale and interesting accessories. 

Dark colours in small rooms really can work. Don’t believe us? See for yourself…

Are you in love with our dark bathroom ideas, or do you prefer something lighter?

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