How to Decorate a Bathroom – Wall Decor Paint & More

How to Decorate a Bathroom

How to Decorate a Bathroom – Wall Color, Wall Decor and More

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We always get a lot of questions as to how to decorate a bathroom.  People seem to be perplexed when it comes to choosing a bathroom wall color, what type of paint to use, how to paint behind the toilet, accent walls, bathroom wall decor, and more.  Following are a few suggestions to help with your bathroom decorating project.



When people decide they are going to paint their bathroom, it is amazing how many people settle on the color blue. They choose this color for no other reason than blue represents water.. and well, you get it.

In keeping with the water theme, these people often select water themed wall art to display on their blue bathroom walls.  I have seen nautical art, coastal art, sailboats, tropical fish, sea turtles, and more.

Blue is always a very popular color.  And, if blue is one of the colors in your color palette, then a blue bathroom makes perfect sense.  However, let’s say the color palette you have chosen for your home consists of shades of peach and shades of greens, punctuated with a few pops of black for sophistication.

With this color palette running throughout your home, the blue bathroom may seem quite out of place.  Not to mention the uninspired wall art choices, particularly the nautical decor, which seldom works anywhere.

When you decorate a bathroom, your wallcolor, of course, can be any color you want it to be.  It is, after all, your bathroom.  However, it is always best to have some sort of cohesive color palette throughout your entire home.  Each of the rooms, including the bathroom, should look as though that room belongs with the rest of the home.

If you are thinking you might like your bathroom wall color to be slightly different, and maybe a little bolder than your chosen color palette, try using some darker shades of the colors in your palette.

  • Sherwin-Williams has a great site for getting inspiration.  I realize their paint can be a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for.  Their paint is very good quality, and fortunately, they have sales every month or two.  If you sign up on their site they will send you offers and notifications of upcoming sales.



Since this post has to do with how to decorate a bathroom, I am assuming you are considering painting your bathroom.  In selecting a paint for your bathroom walls, you will need either satin or semi-gloss paint.

This is because bathrooms can get pretty steamy.  If the moisture soaks into the drywall, it can damage the wall leaving the surface with a lumpy appearance.  Using either a satin or semi-gloss paint assures this will not happen.  Any moisture will bead up and evaporate, or it may be wiped down with a towel.

Keep in mind, the higher the sheen, the shinier your walls will be.  For this reason, I normally opt for the satin finish for bathrooms, as I don’t care for shiny walls.  I always use flat paint for the living areas throughout my home.  I use eggshell in the kitchen, and satin in the bathrooms, with the exception of the powder room.

Since no one will be showering in the powder room, there are no worries as to steamy walls, so my powder room is painted with eggshell as well.

When walls are too shiny it tends to cheapen the look of your home.  Apartments, rental properties and commercial properties always utilize higher gloss paints due to the increased durability.  In most homes, however, people prefer to minimize the shiny look.



The proper way, of course, to paint behind a toilet is to drain and remove the tank.  However, since guests will likely not be peeking behind the toilet to check out your paint job, most people prefer to do it the easy way rather than removing the tank.

If you are one of those who would prefer the easier method, here are some tips:

How to Paint a Bathroom
Decorate a Bathroom
  • Wrap the toilet tank with plastic cling wrap. This will prevent the back of the toilet tank from being painted.
  • Buy a pack of weenie rollers and the long roller handle that goes with them

NOTE: There are regular length handles and a longer length handle. Get the longer length as it will make getting into tight places much easier.

Buy the pack of 6 weenie rollers.  Once you start using weenie rollers you are going to love them.  They come in handy for small touch-ups, getting into small spaces and so many other little projects.

The weenie rollers are very skinny.. like a hot dog (which is where they got their name). With the longer roller handle, you should easily be able to get behind the toilet.

If it is a tight squeeze and the roller rubs against the tank, no need to worry.  Since the tank is wrapped with cling wrap, it’s all good.  Allow the paint to dry before removing the cling wrap.



If you decide to do an accent wall, be sure to paint the other walls as well.  The other walls can be a lighter shade of the accent color or another complementary color from your color palette.  You might think this sounds like unnecessary advice, but some people simply go into their bathroom and paint only one wall and consider it done.

In choosing an accent color, try a darker shade of one of the colors from your color palette.  Don’t allow darker paint colors to intimidate you!  It’s only paint.  If you decide later you don’t really like it, you can always paint over it.

Before committing to any paint color, you should always try it on the wall.  Paint is normally not returnable unless it was their mistake in mixing it.  Don’t spend a lot of money purchasing a paint color just because it looked great on the paint swatch.  Once you start putting it on the wall you may find it is not as appealing as you thought.

Home Depot has small tester jars of paint base.  They will mix up the colors you like and you can take them home and test them on a wall.  The jars are very inexpensive.  It is best to spend a few dollars on testers to be sure you will wind up with a color you can actually live with.

This is also where your extra weenie rollers will come in handy.  If you buy the 4″ wide weenie rollers, you can paint several 4″ vertical swaths of different colors on the wall and see which one you prefer.  It is best to leave about a foot between colors.  This way you can get a better idea of each individual color.  It can be difficult to single out your favorite if the colors are too close to each other on the wall.



When making the decision to decorate a bathroom, a lot of people like the idea of a stone accent wall.  If this is a look that appeals to you, be sure to pick something that is washable.  You could select a stone tile that co-ordinates with your tile floor or your granite vanity top.

Flagstone type surfaces are not recommended for bathrooms.  Although flagstone may be a good look in another part of your home, this type of stone just isn’t practical in the bathroom from a hygienic standpoint.

Bathrooms can play host to all sorts of bacteria, the likes of E-Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus, Paratuberculosis and Salmonella, just to name a few.  All the crevices, nooks and crannies in the flagstone provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.



Bathroom wall decor can be anything you want it to be, other than maybe paintings of fruit.  Somehow, food in the bathroom doesn’t exactly seem appropriate.

How to Decorate a Bathroom

When shopping for bathroom wall decor keep in mind the size of the bathroom, and the size of the wall on which you will be hanging your wall art.

Bigger is always better!  If you have the space, hang a nice big painting, or a couple of medium-sized paintings.  Filling up the space with an assortment of too small pieces of wall art tends to make the space look junky.

We have a rather large wall in the master bathroom, as well as in the powder room.  I purchased a couple of large floral paintings for these two bathrooms.  The one pictured at the left is the one in the powder room.  It is 29″ wide x 42″ high.

There wasn’t quite as much wall space in the guest bathroom.  I found a couple of smaller paintings in the bathroom wall art category.  You can find a selection of bathroom wall decor here.

Actually, when shopping for my vacation rentals I check Goodwill, Salvation Army, and occasionally the swap meet.  I have found some great bargains at these places.  Sometimes the frames may be a bit gouged and scratched, but that’s an easy fix.  With a little wood filler and some sandpaper and paint, they will be good to go.  If you are on somewhat of a budget.. check these places out.

When you purchase a print, don’t simply stick it in a frame and call it good.  Go to someplace like Michael’s, or Joann craft stores and pick up a couple of mats to add more interest to your art work.  Not only does this allow you to use larger frames, but a mat around your print serves to enhance your art work.  A print in a frame without a mat looks unfinished.

When hanging your wall decor, the center of the art work should be at eye level.  I realize eye level varies, depending on the height of the person.  A good rule of thumb is to have the center of the art work at 60″ from the floor.

This seems to be one of the first issues that needs to be addressed when I am working with a client, or staging a home.  I don’t quite understand why some people have their art work hung so high up.  Maybe their son plays for the NBA and he hung their art work at his eye level 🙂

Need more advice on how to decorate a bathroom? 
Read our Post:  Master Bathroom Remodel Ideas

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