Bathrooms may be some of the smallest spaces in our homes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t decorate them to the nines. In fact, designers say to think of powder rooms and even full baths like little jewel boxes—they’re relatively tiny and not a place where you spend a ton of time, so you shouldn’t be afraid to have fun with bold colors, patterns, and finishes.
Your shower curtain and vanity are maybe the two most obvious places to inject some of your personality into in the bath, but don’t forget the walls. Whether it’s through artwork or tile laid to look like stripes, shelving units or potted plants, there are plenty of stylish ways to work your bathroom walls.
What you choose is up to you, but here’s a whole lot of inspiration to get you going.
Sinks and mirrors certainly go hand-in-hand in a bathroom. But why not add a few extra mirrors just for flair, as seen in this colorful bath? Circles are pleasing to the eye, but you could also use rectangles or even starburst shapes to add a little more interest to your walls.
Ombré All Day
This funky, dark-to-light paint treatment is an anything but basic way to dress up your bathroom walls. It works best with a low freestanding tub, so you have an uninterrupted stretch of wall to really see the ombré effect. And bonus points if you paint your old clawfoot to match.
One of the most popular wall accents for the bathroom right now are plants. They bring a little life and color to a space, and the humidity of the bathroom makes it the perfect place to set up a little vertical garden.
You buy a wall-mount pocket or planter, or if you’re remodeling, factor a wall niche into your design to create the perfect spot for a little potted plant.
Bring your shelfie style to your bathroom walls with an étagère shelving unit. These open, airy pieces will turn your toiletries and even towels into a decorative display.
If you have a stunning feature on your wall like an arch, niche, or nook, you can paint it with an accent color to highlight it. And if you don’t, trace your desired shape, fill it with paint, and fake it until you make it.
Think blank walls are blah? Take a cue out of Joanna Gaines’ playbook and add some shiplap paneling to the mix. Even if you stick with white paint for the wood finish, you’ll still be perking up your space with a little bit of architectural interest.
The easiest way to show your bathroom walls some love? An oversized, one-and-done framed piece of art, of course. Pick a seascape or something else nature-inspired, like this bird print. Or if you want to go a little glam, you can always go for a big abstract canvas.
Go graphic on a wall with tile: pop out a few pieces and substitute a different color, as shown in this modern bathroom with an organic, hexagonal tile treatment. The bigger the tiles you use, the easier this design scheme is to pull off.
Who knew shallow baskets and bowls could be such great decorative objects, especially when mounted on a wall? If you’re going for a more neutral look in your bathroom, these are great for bringing a touch of texture to a space without overwhelming it with too much color.
Think about it—the bath is the perfect place to accessorize with sketches of people and nude figural studies. Cluster a couple of smaller framed pieces on a wall, or choose one big bold portrait as an accent.
Three’s (Not) a Crowd
Don’t underestimate the decorative power of lighting, especially wall sconces. If your fixtures are small enough and you have two vanity mirrors, add a third sconce right between that set. The orb shaped metal sconce shown here would definitely add a trending element to your space.
Black-and-white photographs will give your bathroom walls artsy gallery vibes. Go abstract or frame a favorite family photo—it’s totally up to you. Either way, you’ll be adding some style to the space.
Today’s wallpapers can take the heat in a steamy bathroom, so go ahead and hang a paper that makes your heart sing. If you don’t want to commit to the whole room, you can figure out an accent wall plan.
Think tiling your floors and walls is too expensive? You just might be surprised by how affordable—and high impact—penny rounds can be. If subtle is more your thing, pair white glossy pennies with dark grout. The effect will be graphic enough to not seem boring, but overall still look calming and bright.
Stained wood is another solid option as a wall covering, especially if you gravitate towards naturalistic, understated spaces. A whole bathroom done in wood paneling might be a little dark, but you could certainly try this on the sink wall to make it stand out.
On a Roll
Another way to work wallspace in a bathroom? Roll a bar cart right up against a wall. Now you have a place for fun decorative goodies, from vases and candles to plants and perfume bottles.
One of the easiest ways to add style to your bathroom walls is by painting window trim in a contrast color. Instead of receding into space, like window frames that match the wall color, they’ll pop. Black is always chic, but blues and turquoises can be fun in a bath as well, riffing off the theme of water.
If beadboard and tile seem too busy for your taste, try half-wall box paneling instead. When made of wood, this treatment can be pricey. But you can fake the charming look of paneling on the cheap with stock trim from the home center, a miter saw, a nail gun, and a rich paint color.
Turn one bathroom wall into a show-stopping feature by covering it with a painted, wallpaper, or wall decal mural. It's best to leave the other walls blank so this feature can really shine.
Stripes on Stripes
Solid colored tile doesn’t have to be plain—you can use it to create bands and stripes right on your walls. Black-and-white is a classic color combo for the bath and will never go out of style, but you could also choose a colored options if you think you won’t tire of it.