Bathrooms are special places. They’re where we go to get spruced up for a big event, to unwind after a long day, and just about everything in between. These are some of our most vulnerable moments. So it makes sense that we’d want to put immense thought and care into the room where they happen. But we don’t want to go so over-the-top with our decor scheme that we feel distracted every time we step into the space. This balance can be hard to strike, but gray and white bathrooms tend to pull it off time and time again.
Gray and white is a subtle palette—one that welcomes without demanding much attention. It’s present enough to make your space feel whole, but not so present that you’ll feel distracted. Plus, there are tons of ways to do a gray and white bathroom—enough that you can reliably find one that suits your aesthetic.
So spend a little time combing through the myriad gray and white bathroom ideas that exist in this world. And get ready to curate a space that’s exactly as cozy and calming as you want it to be.
Mix and Match
When decorating a bathroom, the opportunities to use tiles are endless. So why not mix and match a few of your favorites? Use one set of tiles to line your walls, and another set to cover your floors. And if you want to keep things seriously eye-catching, use the same set of tiles to cover your shower floors and your bathroom floors, instead of creating a separation between the two.
Shades of Gray
It feels a little hackneyed to tell you to embrace many different shades of gray. But the advice is too good to pass up. When your palette is so neutral, switching up your tones is a great way to keep things interesting. (And no, you don’t need to go for 50 different shades of gray—two or three should get the job done.)
Pops of Marble
When you’re curating a gray and white bathroom, marble will quickly become your best friend. Why? For starters, the material is very bath- and shower-friendly. And it’s also available in a variety of gray and white options. Add a few marble accents to your space, and let them hold your palette together.
Big, Bold Tiles
Most of us use smaller tiles to decorate our bathrooms. But why not opt for bigger, bolder ones, instead? Large tiles will make a statement the moment you lay them down. And you can use them to set the tone for the rest of your space.
Bathrooms may be small, but options for accent walls abound. Use paint to set one wall apart from the rest, or use eye-catching tiles to add an accent wall to your shower. To keep things feeling cohesive, match your wall tiles with the ones lining your floor. Or take a more maximalist approach, and use different tiles for each.
Bathroom floors can get cold and slick, so a rug can go a really long way. Opt for a printed, in-palette option and let it cozy up your space. (Your toes will thank you the next time you step out of the tub.)
Many of us use color to keep our spaces feeling dynamic. But when you’re working from a really restrained palette, other elements—like texture—become a lot more important. Fill your bathroom with textured materials, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Terrazzo might seem like a strange choice for a bathroom floor, but it’ll look great next to the textured tiles covering your bathroom wall—and the sleek marble lining your shower.
When gray and white are the only colors on offer, it may seem impossible to create contrast. But pair your crispest white with a darker gray—like a charcoal—and you may be surprised at how bold your space can get.
Tiles and Textiles
Match your softest materials to your hardest ones to keep your space feeling cohesive. Pair a gray rug with gray shower tiles, and use a white towel to echo the white marble on your bathroom counters. Because you’re organizing your space around two colors—instead of one—your bathroom won’t end up feeling too matchy-matchy.
If your bathroom is spacious enough to accommodate a few accent pieces, add them—but make sure they stick to your palette. A chair can make a cozy addition to a bathroom, so long as it fits with the rest of the decor. (If you’ve worked hard to curate a consistent color scheme, why give up now?)
When tiling your shower, consider lining your walls from floor to ceiling—and tiling your floor to match. Yes, committing to a single tile can be intimidating. But since you’re working with such a subdued palette, it’s hard to go awry. And if you’d prefer to keep things a little dynamic, you can always choose two sets of tile that look similar enough to match.
Let printed wallpaper add visual texture to your space—without disrupting your pared-down palette. Light gray pineapples on a plain white background will add just enough personality to your space to keep things fun (but not so much that your aesthetic feels totally derailed). And if you’d prefer a sleeker option, a more graphic pattern would work just as well.
Putting a chandelier in your bathroom is an undeniably bold move. But in the right space, it can look absolutely incredible. So don’t be afraid to introduce your bathroom to a few statement-making fixtures. (Yes, that includes massive chandeliers—but smaller ones could look just as good.)
Once you’ve coordinated your walls, your floors, and your shower tiles, it’s time to let your cabinets in on the fun. White is an obvious pick for cabinetry, but gray can look really great too. Opt for a shade that gives your bathroom exactly what it needs—whether that’s contrast or congruence.
Having a hard time committing to a single tile set, because you have so many favorites? Consider using them all. Since your palette is so restrained, you can get away with playing with different prints and textures. And you can even combine your tiles to look like patchwork.
Patterns on Patterns
Pair mod circle-laden tiles with a sleek striped shower curtain. Why? Because you can. Combinations that might look overwhelming in a vibrant color scheme will look totally balanced in your pared-down palette. So push yourself to take some risks with your prints—you space can almost definitely pull them off.
Cement may seem like a strange choice for a bathroom. But when done right, it can look absolutely incredible. If your home feels contemporary, industrial, or even a little bohemian, cement might make an excellent addition to your bathroom.
Accent pieces don’t have to be last-minute adds. Instead, you can build them into your space. Use shower benches, shelves, and storage areas as opportunities to shake things up. Opt for a slightly darker tile color, or throw in a different material—and rest assured knowing your palette will keep everything looking sleek.
Many of us associate shower curtains with college dorm rooms or small apartments. But the piece can make a striking addition to any space. If your palette could use a little cohesion, use a shower curtain to bring your bathroom together. (And even if you don’t need a shower curtain, consider hanging one over your tub—it’ll make bath time even cozier than it already is.)
Most of us try to keep our walls lighter than our floors. Why? We’re merely following a rule of thumb. And while that rule often makes a ton of sense, inverting it can make your space look really statement-making. So consider pairing pewter wall tiles with off-white floor tiles. Or blur the lines by using a range of different tiles on your floor.
Don’t be afraid to go a little off-book. A light brown rug won’t ruin your palette—and a wooden bath stool won’t, either. If your gray-and-white color scheme is clearly defined, you can get away with throwing a few neutral accent pieces into the mix—without disrupting all your hard work.
Bathrooms call for a lot of hardware—faucets, towel racks, shower heads, and more. Swapping out these fixtures can be a little tedious, but investing in sleek hardware can really bring your space together. Once you’ve done everything else, consider this final upgrade. It will act as the cherry on top of a carefully (and beautifully) curated space.