Where do I start?
Although you may need consent for a major layout change, you don’t need it to change the look of your bathroom – just go for it for a new space stat.
Interior stylist Megan Harrison-Turner suggests starting with the 'limiting aspect' – the product or material that offers the least amount of choice. "This means choosing your paint last," she says.
"For example, if you really want a new coloured basin, chances are there will only be a few to choose from, so select that first, then your cabinetry, then your paint."
What surfaces can I update with paint?
"Paint on your ceiling, walls and woodwork can really revitalise a tired room," says Celia Visser of Celia Visser Design. "There are so many exciting products on the market that you can choose fittings to complement your colours."
Did you know you can even paint over old tiles? Prepare them to receive the new colour with an adhesive primer like Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer.
Megan says the right shade on the ceiling can make or break a space and the trick to getting it right is not to play it safe with white. However, she also recommends going slightly paler than you think as ceilings don’t receive direct light. Go for a greyed version of a colour rather than a sharp, clean one – try a friendlier pale grey such as Resene Flotsam or a green blue like Resene Half Emerge rather than colder pastel blue like Resene Half Frozen, for example.
What products work well?
Consider not only the colours of your paints but also the finishes; they’ll add to the visual texture in the room. For walls, Celia advises using Resene SpaceCote Flat Kitchen & Bathroom or Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom, tinted to your preferred colours. Both equally durable, the former suits fans of a matte look and is ideal for ceilings and the low sheen for walls, while, says Celia, "the higher the gloss, the easier it is to wipe away steam, so I usually specify semi-gloss for windows and doors."
For timber, she tends towards semi-gloss Resene Lustacryl Kitchen & Bathroom, a durable enamel that can also be used on joinery and trim. You can also look to the Resene AquaLAQ range, which is designed especially for cabinetry and joinery.
It includes a full system from sealer options to colour coat to clear coat finish options, including a complete waterborne system of Environmental Choice approved sealer, colour coat and clear coat. With a full range of authentic Resene colours available, there’s no need to settle for anything less.
Resene Lustacryl Kitchen & Bathroom and Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom offer anti-bacterial and mould protection, too – "but be sure to get rid of any existing mould prior to painting," says Celia. Low-sheen enamel Resene Room Velvet is another top option that’s durable and offers a lovely silky finish.
How do I choose my colours?
Personal style aside, your selection may depend on the size of your space. Larger bathrooms respond well to a palette of three to five hues, and keeping them pale makes the room appear more spacious, whereas smaller power rooms could be made even more intimate with just a couple of dark colours.
A useful tool to try is the Resene Colour Palette Generator, which lets you develop a palette from a favourite photo.
"Because bathrooms often see colours bouncing off each other at close range, related colours work well – blue and green, say – rather than complementary ones that are opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as orange and blue," says Megan.
"If you do want to go with a complementary scheme, opt for colours of darker and lighter intensities and use them in different amounts: 70:30, not 50:50."
What are some good looks?
With its minimalist appeal and connotations of clean, ever-popular white is sophisticated teamed with marble, glass or timber for a Scandi effect; ground the room with darker flooring. Celia says her favourite neutrals are off-white Resene Bianca, yellow-white Resene Rice Cake and grey-white Resene Black White.
"For young families, creamy Resene Wheatfield, greyed neutral Resene Quarter Napa or soft pearl Resene Athens Grey can be more forgiving than white walls," says Megan.
For darker walls, she suggests looking to grey-ochre Resene Dune, blue-green grey Resene Woodsmoke, blue-grey Resene Coast or dusky-green grey Resene Jurassic. Create a cocooning effect with charcoal Resene Shark, walnut, cedar or oak timber, a granite vanity, brass tapware and warm lighting.
Peaceful indeed are naturalistic palettes of watery blue (try blue mosaic tiles with Resene Botticelli, understated grey Resene Iron and timber stained with Resene Colorwood Bark timber stain) and green (opt for vivid green Resene Bingo – it’s reminiscent of Persian ceramics and looks beautiful with apricot rose Resene Wax Flower accents offset by white, pale grey and gold fittings).
Go feminine with pretty pink Resene Princess paired with Resene White and matte black fixtures, or masculine with navy Resene Madison and greenish black brown Resene Colorwood Bushtrack timber stain with pale grey-blue Resene Freestyling.
Playful combinations to consider for kids’ bathrooms could include turquoise Resene Java with white Resene Alabaster, or golden Resene Broom with magenta Resene Scrumptious, summery Resene Curious Blue and innocent Resene Half Alabaster.
Should bathrooms relate to other rooms?
Celia enjoys giving them a distinct flavour, "but I link them to the rest of the house with colour or products, so there’s continuity. Who will be using a particular bathroom is another determining factor. I like ensuites to be restful retreats, and to have a bit of fun with kids’ bathrooms."
"Referencing a Moorish bathhouse or Balinese spa is a great way to inject personality into a bathroom, but the overall house ought to be considered so it doesn’t look too disparate," says Megan.
"A successful recipe to evoke the ambience you’re trying to achieve is: colour plus two decorative elements – one larger to make a statement and one smaller to reinforce the idea. Too many pieces in the room and it can end up looking theme-y."
What are some other easy alterations?
Hang a large circular or arched mirror to create the illusion of space. Beautify with lighting – try blending several types, such as pendants and ceiling spots. Go for an oasis feel with greenery, or prioritise a quality towel rail so you’re never without fluffy towels.
Your future self might thank you for this final idea from Megan, who says, "There’s an international trend for bathroom fridges for medicines and cosmetics, and since most people don’t give their bathrooms makeovers very often, it might be worth considering."
For more ideas and inspiration, visit your local Resene ColorShop,or view many more bathroom decorating options online here.
This article was supplied by Resene