How to Pick Bathroom Paint Colors and Finishes 

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Painting a bathroom means thinking about more than color choices. Bathroom walls and surfaces need to withstand moisture, fend off mildew, and still look good. Keep these tips in mind when you and your Bath Tune-Up experts are planning your bathroom upgrades.

Choosing Colors

When you pick colors for bathroom walls, there’s a special consideration you don’t have to think about when you’re selecting colors for the rest of your home. In the bathroom, the wall color will reflect in the mirror—and onto you. Yellows can make you look sallow, or greens could give you that less-than-healthy “green around the gills” vibe.

Neutrals like creams, whites, taupes, and some pastels tend to be easier on your appearance in the mirror. If you think those neutrals will be boring, never fear. You’re not locked into neutrals everywhere. Neutral walls benefit from pops of bolder colors on an accent wall, or in rugs, towels, and accessories. A bathroom with neutral walls—think, a sandy taupe shade, or cream—isn’t dull if you paint the sink cabinet a warm, deep pink, or a weighty, rich navy blue, for instance.

Consider whether you want the bathroom to pick up on other colors in your home. If a bathroom is attached to a bedroom, you could:

  • Repeat the bedroom wall color in the bathroom, to unify the two spaces.
  • Use a different, lighter shade of the bedroom color.
  • Use a neutral color, especially if the bedroom walls are a bold color or a green or yellow shade.

While color choices can seem infinite, finish choices for bathroom paints are much clearer-cut.

Moisture is the enemy. Condensation from showers and baths, plus splashes from sinks, cling to your bathroom walls. Moisture breeds mildew. Pick paints with anti-microbial properties, to inhibit mildew.

Go with a satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss finish, to repel moisture. Matte or eggshell paints aren’t recommended for bathrooms. A satin finish can work in a low-moisture bathroom like a powder room, while semi-gloss is fine for all bathrooms.

High gloss paint repels moisture well, but the look can be overwhelmingly shiny and old-fashioned. Some paint companies now make paints that are moisture-resistant but also low-sheen, so homeowners have more options. Your Bath Tune-Up experts can help you select just the right finish for your bathroom.

When you’re planning to remodel or just repaint a bathroom, remember: Painting requires the right preparation. Clean away mildew. Be sure to use a moisture-resistant, mildew-killing primer before painting. Plan ahead so you can give the freshly painted bathroom ample time to dry. If you take steamy showers right away, you’ll prolong the drying time. Try to use another bathroom for bathing, especially if the repainted bathroom doesn’t have a window you can open for extra ventilation.

Whatever look you want on your bathroom walls, Bath Tune-Up can advise you and show you how your choices will look before a brush ever swipes on a drop of paint.

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