Bathrooms are best when kept clean and organized, which means space should be maximized and clutter should be minimal. That being said, you want the primary bathroom to be conducive to relaxation and the powder room to make a good impression on guests. The best way to satisfy both of these priorities is by honing in on an anchor color that's neutral and full of range yet slightly offbeat: gray.
The term "Primary Bathroom" is now widely used to describe the largest bathroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term "Master." Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
"While the color gray has had a major moment over this last decade, it can also be considered a staple in timeless design," says designer Julie Kantrowitz. A gray bathroom lends itself beautifully to a variety of styles—including everything from industrial to traditional, modern, bohemian, shabby chic, and minimalism.
Meet the Expert
Julie Kantrowitz is an interior designer and founder of design firm JK Interior Living.
Gray hits the monochrome sweet spot between light and dark, and even though it's neutral, there are endless tones to choose from, making it the perfect backdrop as you swap out towels, floor mats, or fixtures throughout the years.
Ready to see in grayscale? Get inspired by these lovely yet edgy gray bathroom ideas.
Industrial meets rustic in this nature-inspired bathroom. The floating wood shelf not only adds some extra storage space but also brings in a nice contrast in materials. Since everything is built into the walls and customized to suit the style of the space, there's also a very organic, seamless, and authentic sense of personality.
Try Pale Gray
A pale gray hue adds the perfect soft and romantic touch to a bathroom. "In this bath, under a neutral territory of creams, I felt adding a touch of pale gray would layer the space in a very subtle but meaningful way," Kantrowitz says. "This vanity began as a white Bungalow 5 dresser which we painted a custom gray and converted the piece to accommodate plumbing."
We love the way the hexagon floor tiles soften up the bright white subway wall tiles, and the casual step stools are a nice way to bring in some warmth. It's the perfect backdrop for pretty much any design trend, so if you want to add some color and play with your personal style, do so with towels and textiles.
This bathroom is a lovely mix of traditional design with just enough contemporary touches to keep it current, like the clean-lined vanity with light wood drawers. And while this space would look beautiful with some color, we love that the designer opted for inky-hued wallpaper since the intricate scenes painted on it add enough drama in grayscale.
Mix Gray and Black
If your wardrobe is completely black and you want to carry that over to your bathroom aesthetic, take note from the powder room above. Matte black and cement combine to look edgy, sleek, and thoroughly posh. The small vase with colorful flowers makes it inviting without throwing off the Posh Spice vibes.
With perfect proportion and shape, this is the wall-mounted sink of our dreams. And even though the contrast of the black sink immediately catches the eye, it doesn't look at all out of place. This is because it picks up on other small features throughout the space, like the small black canister and door handle. The pendant light is another standout, which really pops against the texture-rich glossy tiles in 50 shades of gray.
Consider Cement Floors
Though the cement floors, black statement wall, and sleek floating shelves have a decidedly edgy look, this bathroom still feels totally approachable and livable. The classic Persian rug adds a touch of color and a lot of warmth, while the woven storage basket and containers have a more bohemian vibe.
Glam It Up
Gray doesn't have to be all doom and gloom, as evidenced in this airy and light bathroom. The repeating motif of the tiles and long angular sconces are reminiscent of Art Deco design while the marble floors and surfaces sprinkle in some contemporary glamor. The gold details really pop when set against the cool gray tones.
More offbeat than the standard white porcelain option, yet softer than an inky black one, you can't go wrong with a gray clawfoot tub. The white walls are a great way to brighten up this small space while the hexagonal floor tiles, and plush towels create cohesion by picking up on the bathtub. Since there isn't a ton of natural light, the indoor plant is a nice way to bring the bathroom to life.
We have to hand it to this bathroom for staying so on theme. If you love minimal, sleek, and monochrome interiors, don't be afraid of committing to all-gray everything. Opt for materials like cement, glass, and marble, and then use silver finishes for a bit of shine.
Though there are very few frills in this bathroom, it's bursting with personality. This is thanks to the fun print-mixing happening on the floors. The modern floor tiles complement the diamond motif runner, which also proves how rich a color a neutral color scheme can be. Together, they're an unexpected but dazzling duo.