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Light Or Dark Paint: What Is Best For A Small Bathroom?

Generally, bathrooms are the smallest rooms in every household that require sufficient lighting. But a particular design myth claims that white paint can make small bathrooms feel more prominent, which is right in most cases, but it’s not the only option, so I am sure you’re wondering “Light Or Dark Paint: What Is Best For A Small Bathroom?” Therefore, after thorough research, this is what we discovered.

Generally speaking, light colored paint can make a small bathroom seem more extensive, while a darker one can do the opposite. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the best method for making your bathroom feel spacious is mixing bright and dark colors.

The color of your bathroom should always do more than create a unique décor; it should help enhance the room. So in this article, we’ll help you decide between light and dark colors for your small bathroom. We’ll also help you determine if you can mix dark and light paint to create a unique décor.  

What Is the Best Paint for a Small Bathroom?

There are numerous ways paint can enhance a small room. Other than brightening up any room, it can also make a smaller room seem larger or smaller. Therefore, the type of paint you select for your bathroom matters a lot.

Darker tones tend to absorb light and make a small room seem even more minor. On the other hand, light paint reflects the light making your small bathroom feel like an airy open space. Therefore, the best paint for a small bathroom is any shade of light color. (1)

However, this doesn’t mean that you must use crispy white paint in your bathroom to create an illusion of a well-lit room. Plus, crispy white can seem quite monotonous; therefore, you can experiment with other darker tones to create a perfect combination. You can also strategically paint lighter paint near the lighting to help reflect the light all over the bathroom.  

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Despite their size, any homeowner can experiment with a wide range of decors and colors in his/her bathroom. After all, even the smallest bathrooms can get away with bold, bright colors if painted correctly. Darker colors can also work well if combined correctly.

There the answer to the above question varies with each homeowner. Some may prefer crisp white to lighten up the bathroom, while others love mixing different shades of colors in their bathroom to create a unique design. But despite the type of color you choose, make sure it enhances the room’s lighting instead of making it even darker, which is why most homeowners believe that lighter paints are the best option.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t play with different tones of dark and light paints to create your dream bathroom!

Can You MIX Darker and Lighter Paints?

Light is a confusing thing that easily draws and highlights your focus on a particular object, while darkness creates dimension and deepens the space. Luckily, if you’re not a fan of a light-colored bathroom, you can mix different tones of light and dark colors. So instead of a single dull-looking tone, you can improve the overall atmosphere of the bathroom.  

You can use monochromatic colors (shades from the same family) to create an immersive and subdued effect. But make sure the dark paint is not as black as a shadow, and you will see some light reflected on its surface. (2) As you monitor how light plays with an object and how the shadow creates dimension and depth, use that concept when mixing darker and lighter paints in your bathroom.

How to Paint the Bathroom Using a Darker & Lighter Color

  1. Select the Color Scheme

The first thing you should do is select a few shades of colors from the same family. Look for the colors you love, and then pick a color that is two shades darker and a third one that is two shades lighter. The lighter version can be from the same family of colors or a complementary option.  

To create the dimension in the bathroom, you can use different shades of color.

  1. Create the Room’s Dimension Using Darker Colors

Most small bathrooms come with a shower/tub combination with a lot of light reflecting off its tiles. So you can paint darker shades on the cove along the top part of the shower area. And since the lights reflect off the surface of the tiles and tub, you can highlight this region using a darker shade.

The darker shade can help create a new depth in the region.

  1. Paint the Molding and Trim Using the Lightest Color

Instead of the standard darker stain on the molding and trim work, you can highlight these regions using lighter colors. The light paint will create a reflective surface that attracts attention, while the darker and medium colors create a dimensional effect.

  1. Paint the Majority of Your Bathroom Using the Darker Shade of Paints

You can paint the other parts of the bathroom using the third darker color that you selected. The middle shade will create the bathroom’s background making it stand out.

When Is Light Paint Not the Right Option?

When a bathroom has a small or no window blocked by some trees, it receives little to no natural light. Therefore, painting light colors in such a bathroom can make it look dingy and dull. After all, natural light works perfectly with light paints.

Therefore, in this scenario, you should avoid the white-on-white or pastel walls. Instead, you should use mineral-dense colors or rich jewel tones. (3)

What Are the Best Colors for Small Bathrooms?

When it comes to selecting the right colors for a small bathroom, homeowners are spoilt for choice. There are numerous options available, but a wrong combination can mess up the entire bathroom, making it challenging for claustrophobic folks. So here are some of the best colors for your small bathroom:

  • Bright and light colors: bright colors reflect light, which can create a vast space. (4) This is why most people recommend white color as the best option for small spaces.
  • White colors: Luckily, there are hundreds of white tones for you to choose from for your home. Cool white is ideal for bathrooms with blue undertones and cool hues. Warm white features with red or yellow bases work perfectly with white to give a room an eclectic, modern, or rustic décor.
  • Neutral and light colors: Light neutral colors like a soft tan and light gray are perfect for bathrooms. On the other hand, light green or pale blue colors can help you create a spa-like bathroom.


Why Do Most People Prefer to Paint Their Bathroom With Light Colors?

Light paints reflect light; therefore, they can make the room seem brighter than usual. And in the case of the bathroom, more brightness means less likelihood of getting an accident while bathing or grooming. It is why most homeowners prefer white or tinted colors for their homes.

Should I Paint My Bathroom Dark or Light?

Light colors don’t always lighten a dull bathroom, and that is because they don’t create light. so when starved of light, you should go for stronger colors to help create depth. And then decorate it with lighter elements to make the bathroom welcoming.

What Is the Most Relaxing Color for Bathrooms?

Some neutral colors like ash gray can give bathrooms a soothing sentiment. And pairing it with brown and white can offer a welcomed contrast.

Final Thoughts

Numerous color combinations can make your small bathroom stand out. But before you select the right paint, you must decide if you need a relaxing room or just a functional space. After all, most colors can have different effects on your bathroom, with light paints making it brighter.