IN PICS | Don't shy away from making a splash: Eight colourful bathroom designs

28 February 2021 - 00:02 By Robyn Alexander
Detailed repeating pattern on floor tiles can help to make a small bathroom seem larger.
Detailed repeating pattern on floor tiles can help to make a small bathroom seem larger.
Image: Bureaux

Colour is back in vogue for bathrooms and in a variety of ways too.

From ultra bright accents that provide energetic punch in monochromatic schemes to subtle tones of pastel pinks, blues and greens, here’s all the inspiration you need to create a cool and contemporary space.

1. COMPLETELY FLOORED

In this laid-back beach-side cottage, the main bedroom's en-suite bathroom features Moroccan encaustic cement tiles in a brilliantly bold red pattern, which adds appeal to an otherwise very simple space.

It might seem counterintuitive, but not only does the flooring provide a colourful boost, the detailed repeating pattern on the tiles also helps make the room seem larger.

TIP: Nature-inspired touches such as the woven floor mat (from African basketry and weaving suppliers Design Afrika), plus plenty of greenery in the form of leafy indoor plants, complete this bathroom's mellow look.


Use wall shelving to add both storage and visual interest to your bathroom.
Use wall shelving to add both storage and visual interest to your bathroom.
Image: Bureaux

2. GREEN DREAM

The tranquil, tonal colours used in this compact bathroom - situated in a coastal cottage within a nature conservation area - are inspired by the variety of green and blue shades of the surrounding landscape.

Textural simplicity is key to making this small space feel calm, with materials restricted to wood and ceramic elements, and tapware in a matte finish rather than gleaming stainless steel.

TIP: Adding plenty of narrow wall shelving provides storage for bathroom essentials and an opportunity to add visual interest - seen here, for example, in the form of grey ceramic vessels and vases from Vorster & Braye.


Starting with a monochrome foundation will allow you to quickly and easily update your bathroom by simply bringing in colourful accessories.
Starting with a monochrome foundation will allow you to quickly and easily update your bathroom by simply bringing in colourful accessories.
Image: Bureaux

3. YELLOW FEVER

The owners of this urban home know just how to attract the eye - in this case, by adding a brilliantly bold yellow cabinet to a monochrome bathroom.

Because the colour scheme and fittings - note the round retro lamps alongside the mirror, and old-school pedestal basin - provide such a classic backdrop here, almost any bright item will "pop" in this space.

This also means you could ring the colour changes easily and often, and without breaking the bank.

TIP: The cabinet seen here, designed and made in Cape Town, is from Mother City Hardware. From vintage locker suppliers to hardware stores, this sort of industrially inspired piece is easy to find.


Gold accents add a glam touch to this bathroom.
Gold accents add a glam touch to this bathroom.
Image: Bureaux

4. COMPARE AND CONTRAST

The combination of dusty pink and sea green helps make this bathroom vanity and storage unit a stylish exercise in retro chic.

Combine the colours with a painterly terrazzo countertop and oversized tiles, as well as the lesson in geometry created via the shapely oval of the unit itself and the perfectly round sinks (from Studio 19), and you've got a very modern lesson in why more really can be lovely.

TIP: The multi-dimensional blend of textures, materials and colours in this bathroom is bold and fearless - and an element that adds yet more appealing tactility to the space is the white wall tiles, handmade by bespoke tile manufacturers Akashic Tiles.


As you don't spend much time in them, guest loos are a great space to splash out on bold design.
As you don't spend much time in them, guest loos are a great space to splash out on bold design.
Image: Bureaux

5. GLAM SLAM

Reminiscent of the gleaming interior of an old-fashioned trinket or jewellery box, the walls of this guest bathroom are clad in handmade glass-toned green tiles from local manufacturers Southern Art Ceramics.

Applied in a vertical broken bond pattern that adds a feeling of height to the compact space, they lend a luxurious and dramatic atmosphere.

TIP: With the tiles the real stars of the show here, the rest of the fixtures are chosen to complement them while contributing to the updated Art Deco feel of the space. The mirror - with its curvy brass frame - and petite wall sconce are especially clever choices in this regard.


Placing the bath behind the shower is a great space-saving idea for a small bathroom - it's also cost-saving as you'll only need a single piece of glass to enclose the space.
Placing the bath behind the shower is a great space-saving idea for a small bathroom - it's also cost-saving as you'll only need a single piece of glass to enclose the space.
Image: Bureaux

6. IN THE PINK

The appeal of millennial pink - the dusty, off-pastel shade that has been popping up in interiors for years - is amply demonstrated in this bathroom.

Cladding the bath in chunky granite and using charcoal-grey slate tiles on the floor of this "wet room" space is both practical and a smart way to ground and offset the soft pink shade on the walls.

TIP: There's a lot going on here in terms of colour and texture, so keeping the shower enclosure, tapware and other fixtures minimalist allows this compact space to intrigue rather than overwhelm the eye.


Note how the shape of the circular window is echoed in the curves of the vintage light fixture.
Note how the shape of the circular window is echoed in the curves of the vintage light fixture.
Image: Bureaux

7. POP LIFE

This family home makes use of plenty of bright colour against crisp, whitewashed backdrops, and includes a large en-suite main bedroom that opens up onto this ultra-stylish bathroom.

Here, seamless monochrome floor and wall tiling combines with a bold artwork to create a graphic feel worthy of a Roy Lichtenstein painting.

TIP: Artworks in the bathroom are always a good idea: the Pop Art-inspired picture here is by Democratic Republic of Congo-born artist Job Ngwanza.

The fabulously futuristic Italian mid-century chrome light fixture, picked up at a local vintage dealer, adds to the pop feel.


If budget allows, a custom vanity can be a real statement piece.
If budget allows, a custom vanity can be a real statement piece.
Image: Bureaux

8. ON THE SHELF

This contemporary bathroom is in a small, semi-detached, historic villa recently given an award-winning refurb by its architect owners.

They created the bespoke built-in storage, which is made from steel painted in a deep maroon-red oxide that looks elegant against the raw wood and crisp white interior finishes.

TIP: There's an alternative to prefabricated vanity units: ask your architect or interior designer to create custom storage for your bathroom.

It's a good opportunity to reuse or upcycle too: this vanity is topped with a piece of timber reclaimed during the house renovation.

Photos by Greg Cox, Warren Heath and Lar Glutz for Bureaux.


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