The Best White Bathrooms

I believe all bathrooms should be white or cream.

And I have three bathrooms to renovate sometime very soon. And they will be white as that will flow with the rest of my house.

Here are some of my favourite white bathrooms:

The Best White Bathrooms

 

Via Pinterest

Pretty, free standing tub. Very on-trend and something I want to incorporate into my master bathroom.

The Best White Bathrooms

Via Pinterest

Love the idea of two shower curtains to duplicate the look of drapery.

The Best White Bathrooms

Love this vanity. Do not love the light fixture but bar lighting is mostly not that great. Incorporate wall sconce lighting if you can. When I found the bar light I could live with, I bought three for each of my bathrooms since the lighting in my dated bathrooms could not wait for the reno.

The Best White Bathrooms

Via Pinterest

Last year when I was in New York, the bathroom in my hotel room was entirely covered in Carrara. It was hard to tell whether it had been there 5, or 10 or 15 years.

The Best White Bathrooms

Via Pinterest

And the reason why I think white bathrooms are so great is because you can paint them a different colour every year if you get bored.

The Best White Bathrooms

Via Pinterest

Wood flooring in a master bathroom or powder room is always lovely.

Years ago, when I was faced with the task of choosing tiles for clients bathrooms, I would feel overwhelmed with the amount of tile available. Now that I’ve seen thousands of bathrooms, it’s easy for me to curate a selection that I like the best because when you look at the world of design through the lens of classic and timeless, it’s much easier to choose.

And there’s epoxy grout now which doesn’t stain so if you love the look of white tile in a bathroom but don’t want to be on your knees with bleach and a toothbrush, that’s the way to go.

Has anyone used epoxy grout in your bathroom? What do you think? Please share!

Related posts:

Is your Bath Perfect or Perfectly Nice?

The Rule of More (when sourcing product)

One more Reason you Should Skip Accent Tiles Altogether

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Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

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  1. My home is filled with creamy, earthy tones, so I selected crema marfil marble when I renovated my master bath two years ago. It was more difficult to find just the right paint color, but Maria helped me with that, and I now have the bathroom of my dreams!

  2. Wow…ladies you are brutal…did Maria say all bathrooms should be white or I believe all bathrooms should be white. Really… I have been reading Maria’s blog for a few months now and find her post very informative..Maria has an opinion she shares it with us. So if you’re a color expert , designer whatever if you’re reading Maria’s blogs then she must be doing something right. By the way I’ve been designing since 1989 and I am also a certified Color Expert.

  3. I think we all know by now that Maria is into white kitchens and bathrooms, and why. No surprise. But I also hear the comments from folks wanting more color! I agree with the white or creamy tiles, but I like to see more colorful walls in conjunction with them. I too have seen too many homes with pinky beige or dark slate tiles. I’m very nearsighted, and when I step into a shower I can barely see. I’m glad my shower has white tiles and lots of light. The dark slate showers look dark and creepy to me.

  4. It is interesting to note that not one of the pictured bathrooms is all white. I believe that Maria’s message is that white elements will withstand the test of time better than some of the more exotic finishes available today. Reminds me of a condo I bought about 15 years ago. One of the selling features was that the previous owner “spent more than $100,000 in upgrades”. I never changed but always hated the black, gray and tan fixtures in the three bathrooms. The new owner has dealt with them and replaced everything with white.

  5. What about what you have been telling us about
    white in a dark room………that a light color will never
    come to life in a dark room that it will look grey and
    dingy?? Wouldn’t the same principal apply if you had
    a dark bathroom with a small window and very little
    light??
    Just wondering?

  6. I agree with you Maria, I think the bathroom should be especially white tones…
    I explained this to one of my friends when she asked for my opinion…
    and also whites can match any season of the year with just changes the color of the towels….

  7. Nothing says clean and fresh like a bathroom with white fixtures and white towels that you can bleach and not worry about. Who else loves the faint smell of Clorox on a bath towel after stepping out of the shower??

    • Are you serious, Beth? If you can smell Clorox on your towels after they are washed, you are using too much of it. Bleach is toxic. From Oprah’s website “We’ve been somewhat indoctrinated to think that the acrid smell of bleach is the smell of “clean,” but the chemical found in bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and other household products, including mildew remover and toilet cleaner, can burn our skin, cause a host of respiratory and gastrointestinal problems and may even be fatal.”

      Read more: http://www.oprah.com/home/How-to-Clean-House-Without-Toxic-Bleach/1#ixzz2c4cDYBco

      • There’s a little “trick” you can emply if you really have to use bleach for something in the wash—use 1/2 to 1 full cup of baking soda along with your detergent and just 1/4 cup or LESS of bleach. The baking soda activates the bleach so it doesn’t eat through your towels or you!

  8. The double shower curtain is great…at Textile Trimmings we have noticed that clients are either moving away from a glass shower wall because of the cleaning or are trying to enclose tubs. Our 30mm Channel rod does the trick. We can bend it into right angles or tub surrounds and bracket it from the ceiling, and have the carriers easily move past the brackets. Also the track/rod is aluminum so it won’t rust. I just thought I would tell you that ladies, because I see that some of the pintrest tracks are ours, but others have rings, and that is not the way to go!
    PS White is the way to go in the bathrooms. Accent colours can change easily! But that is just my opinion.

    • I would love to get rid of the glass shower walls. They are a pain to clean, they are see through (some privacy please!), the rubber thing under the door gets yucky mildew, and I hate the frame color. How do you get rid of the wall when the glass is on two sides? I have an approx 3 x 4 shower with glass on 2 sides and tile/wall on the other (the tile then leads to the garden tub). Honestly, I miss the look of a shower curtain.
      Thanks.

  9. I too have heard good things about epoxy grout and have wanted to use it on my projects. However, the installers do not like working with it and it cannot be used with all types of tile. There are other grout products out there that can function well when it comes to mold and mildew.

    These bathrooms are beautiful but, the last one is my favorite. The wood floor, rustic wood counter & legs, and the cream color really warm up the space. And, the double shower curtain really makes the room feel less like a bathroom and more like a regular room.

  10. Oh, how I wish I had white bathrooms. I have one with a mauve toilet, sink, and shower that was “to die for” in 1990. You better believe the new one will be white. Maria, you are my favorite designer/blogger.

  11. I wish I’d gotten help before we redid our bathroom a couple years ago. Now it has to be partially done over, so I will have to contact you soon for that. I *love* the look of that last bathroom. Is mixing whites/creams ok to do, or only on certain occasions? I tried to do it in our bathroom, and maybe it would’ve worked if we’d painted the wood pieces (vanity, trim, door etc) instead of staining them–they were varnished afterward even tho I didn’t want them to be, and now they’ve yellowed horribly, and parts of them look pinkish. It irks me whenever I’m in there now.

  12. My last bathroom to update is our guest bathroom. Right now it’s very white and kind of sad looking. It has no window which doesn’t help.

    I have gotten rid of all the glass in our showers. With our water it’s a maintenance nightmare.

  13. Interesting reading today. White fixed elements are always safe, but I like some colour on the walls. My personal bathroom is painted HC-60 Queen Anne Pink which is very flattering to one’s complexion:) I would not want white walls in any of my bathrooms…too cold and sterile!
    For a guest bathroom I think you can have some fun with it and do something daring!

    • Like the pink!!!!!

      Here’s a question/thought that you brought up (am thinking this same question in conjunction with what kind or lighting do i want/need in bathroom as the two are related)

      Putting on makeup.

      I have perused AD (architectural digest) and other high-end, tony mags to analyze lighting choices. Their gorgeous make-you-want-to-weep bathrooms have lousy ‘task’ lighting, only ambient.

      Made me think, concluded: hey, if I could afford that house/bathroom I’d have humongous dressing room /closet with space dedicated only to putting on make up. I would not be doing it in that elegant spa space overlooking the ocean…

      So, as I live in standard 1950s ranch, with no stadium-sized dressing room, and I put on my makeup in my bathroom, am concluding that I may want a flattering color, (LAUGH), i probably want ACCURATE color, so I have my best shot at putting on my make up that will look as good as possible in the harsh light of the real world. 🙂

      So when I leave my bathroom/makeup putting-on area, I know how I will look to the rest of the world.

      So now off to fret about which wall color will provide THAT big o magic.

      Too funny…..

      ((I did google your color above, and first photo up was this color in a kitchen. now THERE I could use some flattering color — you may have just changed my life!! 🙂 🙂 I may have to get a kitchen with your color!))

  14. I absolutely love the bathroom pictures of this post. Classic and timeless. I do love color as well, but I tired easily of it, so for me, I would stick with the white and add some. I love timeless but much easier to change the easy to change things. You may not know by my garden but I am a bit of a simple and no fuss gal. I want to love it years down the road. Thanks for the post Maria. Love those bathrooms. They have inspired me. I especially love the first and the fourth one. Love love love them.

  15. Side Note: I recently was “lazy” enough to just squirt my toilet bowl cleaner onto the mildewy grout in my shower. I let it sit for a couple minutes and then scrubbed and it came right off. Probably not the least toxic way to do it, but it worked better than anything else I’ve tried! 🙂

    Loved that double shower curtain with the trim. Rich!

  16. You know, I have a friend of mine who was house hunting a couple of years ago and kept on commenting on all of the awful white kitchens…kept on saying ugly white cabinets, awful white cabinets, wouldn’t buy the house because of the hideous white etc. etc. I held my tongue from telling her how insulting (and hurtful) she was being because I have a white kitchen. I didn’t say a word.

    If I do nothing else in life, I try to be gracious. I’m not perfect but there are a lot of worse habits out there.

    • As long as you’re not doing any name-calling or similar behavior, I think expressing a contrary opinion is not “un-gracious.” I think quite a few women in particular are afraid to express their opinions for fear of being unpleasant or disliked. I think speaking the truth, as you see it, is an admirable trait and not the opposite of “gracious.”

      • Oh, and I should say, I have a white bathroom and had a white kitchen for 10 years before moving on to other colors. I don’t think white is ugly by any means, and it may be the best choice for someone. But I dislike the opinion that it is ALWAYS the best choice for everyone, everywhere.

      • I see that my original comment was removed, so you can remove my next 2 comments since the context for them (i.e. the “one-note nature of this blog”) no longer makes sense.

  17. I agree Maria! I reno’d my master bath last year and used all white tile for my master shower. Because I was keeping the existing floor tile (pink/yellow beige), I installed a crema marfil marble counter on the existing vanity (which I painted white) and then added a thin strip of the same marble (in mosaic size) in the shower to tie it all in. I also installed honed crema marfil tile on the shower floor. I absolutely LOVE my all (mostly) white shower!!! It feels so bright and clean and my only regret is that I added one thin strip of the mosaic. Luckily it’s a small strip of accent tile (and at least it is marble=classic material) so it is easy to ignore. 🙂

    My preference is for a bathroom to feel clean and fresh and the best way to achieve this is by choosing white for the fixed elements and then bringing colour in with walls, accessories, window treatments, etc… Just like a previous poster said… She changed the paint and accessories in her 1995 bathroom and her bathroom was instantly catapulted into 2005. Classic choices, like white fixed elements that are expensive or costly to change, are never a bad choice!

  18. I think I have finally learned that any “fixed” elements in a room (especially tile and plumbing fixtures! –my dreaded chocoloate brown bath from the 70-‘s!) get dated very quickly and one needs to stay classic…..unless you move often, or can affrod to change the tile often. Wall color, on the other hand, can be changed often and fairly easily.

  19. A question. I love white bathrooms but my kids (boys) love to add “colour” – via dirty hands. What would you suggest for towels and shower curtains if I have that issue? White, while you can bleach the heck out of it, doesn’t fare well when you have to change the towels every l0 minutes. What can I have as white and what other colours can you suggest to go with it so that it still feels “white” but is kid friendly?

  20. Okay. You have given me the solution to colors for my bathroom. For four years, I have been painting one color and then another. None of the eight have worked. The only window is a large and on the west side of the room. My neighbor’s home keeps the sunshine out although it does get hot in there in the summer. The master has large windows on the north side. In the winter it is cold in there. If I paint the cabinets dark and the rest is white will that balance out the temperature? The designer I used suggested that I use dark blinds to warm up the rest of my house. Cabinets that color may be the solution. Thanks for the information and pictures.

    • It strikes me you have some terrific ideas.

      It will depend on the white, of course, but your description makes all sound terrific.

      Another things that warms up a house is rugs. They tuck us in and ’embrace’ us, give a sense of place. In a cool (color or temp) room, they give foundation, provide an oasis of welcome and warmth.

      One thing to consider about color is, have noticed, that light colors make the outside disappear and keep our eyes inside. Mid-tone or deep colors act as a frame for the outside view and pull it in. can use this color trick with drapes, if wanting to keep wall color light.

      just a thought 🙂

  21. Y — white is lovely, agree. And there are so many shades of it, to keep it interesting. (and frustrating to some of us! LOL ack!)

    It is great when all-white,
    It is great when a foil to a pop of color,
    it can be base of a neutral palette,
    it can be upbeat or serene,

    It is easy to forget how versatile it is, as well as timeless, if you are not ‘seeing’ it.

    Would like to hear your thoughts on hardware — chrome, brass, bronze, etc. I am myself leaning towards nickel and ‘flat’ silvers as the timeless solution. I am Scottish and don’t want to by twice. Or three times…

    Stealing from the ad: “…things chosen well rather than often” is my motto. I will pay much more if i believe it is the last time i’ll buy it. White bathrooms and kitchens support that.

    Once more, Maria, well done!

    And am hoping to hear your thoughts on metal finishes! You often see things from a perspective I miss. 🙂 🙂

  22. What about small interior windowless bathrooms? I totally don’t agree with white bathrooms for every situation. Even Maria herself writes about how white needs light, and that white will not make a small dark space feel larger – it will just look dingy. What she says in this article contradicts what she says in her “White is a snob” article. How about a beautiful small dark colorful powder room with amazing wallpaper? I am redoing a 5×8 interior bathroom and am struggling to find the right tile, but I think white would look clinical and dingy and make the room feel smaller. I want to cozy it up and let it be the powder room and main bathroom for the house that it is. The bathroom is off a long dark hall w/ hardwood floors. It would be like stepping into an operating room if it were white.

  23. Hello, Perhaps no one is reading this anymore. But can I (as both a designer and as someone getting ready to re-do a bath) put in a few thoughts?
    First, a defense of creamy, antique white cabinets and trim over white-white? I’m a redhead who wears ivory over white, who wears gold jewelry over silver, etc. Sometimes it works to do what we both feel good in, AND look good in–since we must be naked in there–yikes! And to some of us, cream feels more restful and serene. My counters are marble, but Calacatta Oro. They will overall have whiter, cooler undertones, never-the-less, than the cabinets. I know, I know! But it works for me.
    Our bath that is being gutted is just such a lesson to underscore the “avoid the trends” rule: Here is what 2 reasonably intelligent people put into this 1920’s bath:
    Yellow, pukey-yellow-y rough travertine-type tile.
    Matching, square tiles as the countertops.
    Tuscan (?) rough, faux painted textured walls in a swirl of colors. Accented with 2 very randomly-placed painted Tuscan, painted scene tile quads; I swear, it looks like two of the animals are mating!
    Art Deco inspired over-vanity lights.
    COBALT BLUE bowl sinks. Black, twirly-handled faucets. And finally: Mexican Sand toilet and….a BIDET!!!
    Are you getting the picture?
    I have arrived at clean, 2-inch biscuit floor tile. Subway in my husband’s shower. Marble. Simple!! This is despite advice from another designer to “go BOLD”…do something WONDERFUL!”
    So I agree in the white.
    But don’t be afraid to do off-white. Just sayin.–Stephanie W from Louisville, KY.

    • Wow…you say bidet like it’s a dirty word. No wonder I can’t find a house in my area with a bidet or even room to ADD a bidet. Thanks for reminding me there is no place in ‘design’ for the practical. Don’t let good hygiene, health benefits or the primary usage and purpose of a bathroom stand in the way of ridiculing a former homeowner’s personal taste. Because a professional designer skewering untrained homeowners in a ‘they are so clueless and I am so smart by comparison’ manner on a public forum is way more appropriate than cobalt blue sinks and pukey-yellow tile installed in a privately owned home.

  24. What do you all think of bathtub vs shower? I’m remodeling an upstairs guest bathroom and am trying to figure out if it’s OK to ditch the tub and make a nicely tiled shower enclosure instead-with white tiles, of course. Is it still considered a no-no for resale to lose the bath?

    • Could you do something like the second photo and keep the bath? There are many reasons we have kept our tub- for example- washing very large items by hand; pets on occasion; visiting children who are too young to shower.
      Many prospective buyers would miss the tub and may not want the expense of adding it in-not without taking it off the offering price. If you have a closet that you can bump out to accommodate a shower adjacent to the tub, it is the best of both worlds.
      I think that if tubs were falling out of favour that hotels would be following suit and so far they are not. Good luck with your project!

  25. There is a product out there that’s called Grout Refresh (Lowes) that worked well. My kitchen grout was always so dirty looking that I hated my floor. So following the directions, I refreshed my grout. It changed the color to a better color and has lasted 2 years now. Even with a steam cleaner. It worked so well that I decided to change the color of my Master bath grout which looked like a checker board. My floor was a creamy white with beige-brown and gray markings and the grout was brown. I refreshed it to a light beige- gray. Turned out great. And it doesn’t seem to pick up stains. Thanks for the blog, Maria.

  26. I have followed Maria ‘s blog for a couple of years. I painted my knotty pine kitchen cabinets a soft white and love love love my inexpensive redo. I already have 1970’s white bathrooms. I love them and they are easy to change up. I don’t like the grout, but that’s life. Does anyone remember the orange peel tiles of the 70’s? I had that in a previous house. Gold and white fleck and bumpy as I recall. That was the latest back then. Thank goodness the people who built my current house went with white. Most of us don’t spend $ on updates. We just paint. But wait…the woman who built this house wallpapered…no sizing. I’m paying that penalty!

  27. Hi Maria. We have had epoxy grout tile on our bathroom floors for 6 years, in a fairly light shade. We have not had any staining, however, it is certainly not maintenance free. It still traps dirt and lint, so occasionally I have to scrub it with a toothbrush and a good cleaner. It does, thankfully, come perfectly clean with enough elbow grease.