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Choosing Bathroom Colors

Learning to Choose Colors in the Bathroom That Make A Statement and Make Sense
(ARA) - Listen closely ... do you hear what your walls are saying? They might not actually talk, but the colors you choose for your bathroom do say something about the space and how it "feels." Are they lively and stimulating, quietly neutral or calming and relaxing? The colors you choose play a large part in the overall statement your room conveys.

In addition, color can have a functional role in the bath, making a small room look larger, a low ceiling look higher, bringing cohesiveness with an adjoining room such as the master bedroom or quickly adding a touch of class to the showpiece powder room. With a minimal investment and a few quick color changes, a bath with a case of the "blahs" can become your favorite retreat. And, with color doing so much to affect the feel of a room, the key is learning to use color correctly.

"Because there are so many home magazines and decorating guideBooks on the market today, people are more comfortable with using color," said Jay de Sibour, president of the Color Marketing Group and a sales and marketing executive at Material ConneXion in New York. "Television and computers have further empowered consumers to make color decisions. In addition, traveling has exposed consumers to other influences and provided a wider color palette. Hence we are seeing a broader and more confident use of color."

Great Bathroom Colors

What colors in particular are well suited to the bathroom? There is a wealth of information dealing with color from the Color Marketing Group, a nonprofit Virginia-based association that identifies and forecasts color trends, and from many Internet sites dealing with home decorating.

Because of its calming effect and ties to water, blue is a top color to consider for the bathroom. Blue emphasizes the bath as the room of relaxation and retreat. And blue comes in so many shades, consumers can create a whole different look depending on whether they choose a pastel or a more dramatic hue.

According to the Color Marketing Group, blue is also the dominant color for 2003, including new tones such as "cinder blue" (a gray or silver-type blue), "blue aire" (a retro '60s turquoise blue), "deep arctic" (dusty navy) and "ocean cruise" (a tropical pastel blue).

"Colors produce both physical and emotional responses," said de Sibour. "Blue is associated with the sky and sea, so it evokes thoughts of the environment. Psychologically, it has a calming effect. Because of these attributes, it will continue to be the most universally popular color, though you will start seeing many mixtures of blue and green becoming popular." In addition, blue is a color to use if your goal is to make a bath appear larger.

According to information compiled on the Better Homes & Gardens web site at, peach is also a great color for the bath because it provides good reflection for the skin -- which is important in a room where applying makeup and shaving are everyday occurrences. Peach and other warm colors such as yellows, creams and apricots also provide comfort. These colors invite a person into the room with warmth and coziness. The only caution: the cozy feelings these colors create can make a small room look even smaller. When using warm colors, be sure to intersperse whites and neutrals to tone down some of their intensity.

For a quiet, restful space, the experts at suggest green as a soothing background color. Also found in the "cool" family of colors, today's greens are available in neutral tones that are understated and can be used as a colorful alternative to more traditional neutrals.

"Neutrals today are no longer the off-whites and beiges of just a few years ago. Today consumers are flocking to tinted neutrals that have casts of rose, blue or green," explained de Sibour. "It is not an elimination of neutrals, but using toned neutrals."

The Color Marketing Group predicts that natural colors such as yellows, greens and browns will dominate home décor in upcoming months. "We see a trend toward nature with less bright, more sophisticated colors coming into play as well as an overall softening of the palette," noted de Sibour. "Also, people are looking for ways to make color more interesting by incorporating pearlescences, metallics, and translucences that add a sense of space and dimension."

The group also forecasts the return of violet and mauve, the latter taking on a dusty rose appearance. Other colors that we will be seeing in the home in coming months include berry tones like raspberry, pink-reds and "currant" (a brown violet). Accent colors include peach, orange and lemon-golds.

How to Add Color

Once you've decided on the colors that you want to add to your bath, consumers must know how to add these most effectively.

What mood do you want to set? All neutrals in a room provide for a calm, quiet environment, while related colors make for a relaxing effect. On the opposite end of the spectrum, strong contrasting colors create a lively, stimulating mood.

When decorating, use a minimum of three and a maximum of six colors. According to the web site,, it is best to choose a light color, a medium color and an accent. The accent color should be the darkest or brightest of the colors chosen and should be used in at least three places within the room. Two to three colors when blended in a room properly can really bring out a dramatic look, but adding too many colors can be overwhelming and change the otherwise positive use of color.

But where do you place these colors in the room? Here are some suggestions:


To "ground" the room, you will want to choose a flooring color that is a bit darker than walls and ceiling.

Cabinets and Vanity

Just like cool colors can make a small room appear larger, white cabinets can have this same effect. Dark cabinets should only be used in bathrooms that have plenty of light.


Avoid using dark colored countertops in the bath since they tend to show marks. Lighter countertops including neutral colors usually work best.


Once only available in chrome and polished brass, today's faucets are offering homeowners a dramatic break from the ordinary and a definite way to add a colorful statement in the bath. Moen's new Asceri Accents line is composed of 10 designs infused with color, including blues, greens, purples, a black and white combination as well as neutrals. In addition to color, these faucets offer interesting designs such as an animal print (Safari), florals (Hawaii and Watercolor), the popular look of blue glass (Chinois), a colorful mosaic (Terrazzo), plus many others.

> "These Accents were inspired by a variety of style trends, natural materials and international influences," said Linda Mayer, Moen senior vice president marketing and product development. "These unique and very different patterns allow consumers to truly express themselves. We consider them jewelry for the bath and another area to apply color."


Paint is the perfect place to start experimenting with color. It's easy to apply, inexpensive and can easily be repainted if the color is not what you envisioned. Bathroom re-modelers shouldn't let the fear factor stop them from using a color they really like. Start by painting a small strip of a wall and a piece of trim. Live with those colors in your bath for a few days to see if you really like them in the different lights before painting the entire room.

Other Places to Add Color

Use the secondary (or medium) color chosen for your palette for areas such as sink skirts, window treatments, and shower curtains. Then, choose the darkest and most dramatic color for towels, rugs and small accessories to spice up the room. "A good rule of thumb is to decorate large surfaces with softer, neutral colors and use brighter, stronger colors for accents. You can also more easily change the look of the room by just changing the accent colors, plus neutrals are usually easier to live with," said de Sibour.

Final Tips

Make sure as you shop for different elements of the room you bring fabric samples and color swatches home. A color under the fluorescent lighting in a store may look very different in your home's incandescent lights.

Although it requires some work, one tip that may help you in the design process is to create a swatch board of all the fabrics for the room and coordinate it with your paint colors. This will help you to see all the colors in the room at a glance and be able to decide whether or not they work together.

By following these tips and color suggestions, you should be able to use color to make a style statement in your bath. So if your walls can talk … they will convey the message that you want!

For more information about remodeling projects or Moen products, contact Moen Incorporated at 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-8022, call toll free (800) BUY MOEN (800) 289-6636 or visit its web site at

Courtesy of ARA Content

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