4 Creative White Bathroom Ideas

Once upon a time, nearly all bathroom ideas were white. White was thought to be hygienic and sanitary. Now an all-white bathroom is not nearly as common, but as a color theme, all white can be quite sophisticated and contemporary. It might be helpful to think of shades of white as an artist does. For example, a cloud on a sunny day is mostly white with gray and muddy brown hues, a porcelain white tea pot has a tint of yellow, and while freshly fallen snow appears to be glistening white, it actually has a lot of blue in it.

You get the idea. Think in terms of hue. Do want your bathroom to be a warm white or on the cool side? White with yellow undertones might be more inviting if you have youngsters who will be using the space, and cooler tones can prevail in a bathroom largely used by adults. Here are a handful of ways to transform your all-white bathroom ideas into a reality:

1. Add One Accent Wall

When you're using different shades of white, it's ideal to go boldest on one wall so that the overall bathroom design is harmonious, not jarring. For example, think about using just Catwalk in Smoky Stiletto, Timeless Collection in Emperador Mocha, or Fontanella in Monza for a striking walk-in shower wall. Then use plain white tiles for the rest of the room—on the vanity backsplash, countertops, and floor. You could tie the room together visually by adding a thin strip of the accent tile around the room.

A mix of two similar whites from the SistemA line, such as Avorio and Blanco, on the floor and walls would give enough depth and texture to the bathroom without overwhelming it. Consider exposed copper plumbing and rough textured wood cabinetry to give your bathroom even more visual interest. By mixing the bold and subtle tiles, you'll get a white bathroom that's not overpowering. Take a cue from the latest automobiles in white—interiors are usually gray or cream.

2. Opt for a Monochromatic Design

If you study old vintage photos of bathrooms past, you'll see that most are white from top to bottom—the walls, tub, shower, toilet, and vanity all match, and there is a lot of glossy subway tile. You can pay homage to that all-white theme without being held hostage to it. Just keep texture top of mind. For example, you could use 13 x 13 Midpark Mosaics in Cloud in order to visually lengthen your shower stall, and then the same tile in a 13 x 12 size on the walls and backsplash, and in 12 x 12 on the floor. All work together harmoniously and keep the eye moving.

Photo features Oxford 10 x 15 in Bianco on the wall.

For a different monochromatic approach, consider marble. Start with Perseo, which is a classic option that can help bring all your bathroom ideas to life. Its highly polished surface and veining looks like marble, even though it is actually glazed porcelain. Try adding the vertical lines of the Zebrino option to your shower stall, and then use Caldia throughout the rest of the bathroom for a more muted, but contemporary look.

3. Frame Your White Bathtub

It's not often that a bathtub can take a starring role, but a good-looking clawfoot tub can absolutely serve as a focal point. Choose a traditional tub, and then frame it with white tile. For example, opt for clean white subway tile around the tub and light gray tile on the floor underneath. Match your window frames with the tile by opting for a high-gloss white paint. Keep the rest of the walls warm by going with a white paint that has a hint of beige. This will keep the room from looking too sterile.

Another way to frame an old porcelain tub is to use large wood-look tile planks underneath it. Preservation in Aged Walnut, for example, will help to draw the eye up. Then paint the walls ivory white to match your tub and porcelain white basin sink. Finish off the space with an old-style fir vanity, a simple modern mirror with a white frame, and pewter faucets. And to draw the eye to the tub and above, hang a vintage chandelier overhead.

If you go with an all-white bathroom that has a claw-foot tub, consider adding vintage finds to make the space interesting. A statement throw rug or old paint-by-number paintings will soften up the room and make it more inviting. Another way to keep the space interesting is to create an eclectic montage of black-and-white artwork and photos in gold frames on a wall opposite from the tub. Rotate the artwork often to minimize water damage. Use Monolith tiles underneath the tub and a white faux fur rug for texture.

4. Mix in Some Earth Tones

It might seem counterintuitive, but you can use a shower curtain, terry towels, and wall paint to create a white bathroom design, and then go with earth-toned tile for a beachy, outdoorsy look. Adding off-white tumbled stone tiles on the floor and shower stall can really add oomph to your bathroom design. For example, Evolutionstone in Luserna or Malaga are two choices that resemble sand. Reinforce the natural theme by incorporating starfish and seashells into the decor.

Some of the best white bathrooms today also mix white and wood, which is a soothing, powerful, earthy combination. For example, install planks of Harmony tile in Tone or Middleton Square in Oxford White in a shower stall to suggest old-time subway tiles. Harmony resembles wood, and the porcelain is impervious and withstands water. Shift the mood dramatically with wide planks on the bathroom floor, and then keep the space cozy with an old-fashioned pedestal sink that has a copper faucet, exposed plumbing, and gray beadboard panels on the walls. Make the space welcoming with an off-white rug, and a matching arm chair and towels.

As you start to design your white bathroom, consider these tips, tricks, and ideas. Whether you pay homage to vintage all-white bathroom ideas with a monochromatic approach or by making an old tub the center of attention, you'll be creating a classic bathroom design you'll enjoy for years to come.