4 Creative White Bathroom Ideas
Once thought of as the hygienic and sanitary color, nearly all bathrooms of the past were designed in white. These days, all-white palates are not nearly as common as color-themed bathrooms, but now an all-white bathroom can be quite sophisticated and contemporary.
When designing a white bathroom, it’s helpful to think of shades of white as an artist would. For example, a cloud on a sunny day is mostly white with gray and brown hues, a porcelain white teapot has a tint of yellow, and while freshly fallen snow appears to be glistening white, with a blue cast.
You get the idea, so think in terms of hue when designing with white. Do you want your bathroom to be a warm white or on the cool side? White with yellow undertones might be more inviting if you have children who will be using the space, but cooler tones prevail in a bathroom largely used by adults. Here are a few ways to transform your all-white bathroom ideas into reality.
1. Add One Accent Wall
When using different shades of white, go bold on one wall so that the overall bathroom design is harmonious. Consider using Catwalk in Smoky Stiletto, Hawthorne in Refined White, or Costa Clara in Cloud 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.
Consider incorporating exposed copper plumbing and rough-textured wood cabinetry into your design to give your bathroom even more visual interest. By mixing the bold and subtle tiles, you'll get a white bathroom that's not sterile and overpowering.
2. Opt for a Monochromatic Design
When flipping through old vintage photos of bathrooms past, you'll notice that there is a lot of glossy subway tile and most are white from top to bottom—the walls, tub, shower, toilet, and vanity – everything matches! Pay homage to that all-white theme without being held hostage by mixing in some texture. For example, use 13 x 13 Midpark Mosaics in Cloud to visually lengthen your shower stall. Use the same tile in a 13 x 12 size on the walls and for the backsplash then do a 12 x 12 on the floor. They all work together harmoniously to add texture and keep the eye moving.
For a different monochromatic approach, consider marble. Start with Historia 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 Colorbody™ porcelain.
3. Frame Your White Bathtub
It's not often that a bathtub takes the starring role, but a glamorous clawfoot tub can absolutely serve as a dazzling focal point. Choose a traditional tub, then frame it with white tile. For example, use a clean white subway tile around the tub and light gray tile on the floor under it. Match your window frames with the tile by using a high-gloss white paint. Keep the rest of the walls warm by going with white paint that has a hint of beige. This combination will keep the room from looking too sterile.
Another way to frame an old porcelain tub is to use large wood look tile planks beneath it. Preservation in Aged Walnut, for example, helps to draw the eye up. 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 upward, 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 Classentino Marble under the tub and a white faux fur rug for texture.
4. Mix in Some Earth Tones
It might seem counter-intuitive, but you can use a shower curtain, terry towels, and wall paint to create a white bathroom design, then go with earth-toned tile for a beachy, outdoorsy look. Adding off-white tumbled stone tiles on the floor and shower stall can add life to your bathroom design.
Some of the best white bathrooms today also mix white and wood, which is a soothing, powerful, earthy combination. Install planks of Harmony tile in Tone or Middleton Square in Oxford White in a shower stall to suggest traditional subway tiles. Harmony, a porcelain tile, resembles wood and it is water-resistant, so it works well in wet spaces.
If that doesn’t reflect your personal style, shift the mood dramatically by installing wide planks on the bathroom floor. To make the space cozier add gray beadboard panels on the walls and an old-fashioned pedestal sink that has a copper faucet and exposed plumbing. Make the space even more welcoming with an off-white rug, and a matching armchair and towels.
Whether you pay homage to the vintage all-white bathroom through a monochromatic approach or by making an old tub the focal point, you can easily create a classic bathroom design you'll enjoy for years to come when you consider these tips and ideas.