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How to Choose the Right Paint Finish for Your Bathroom?

The bathroom.  It’s a place that you spend a decent amount of time in on a daily basis but it doesn’t seem to get nearly as much attention as other rooms in the house when it comes to deciding on what color to paint the walls.  Oftentimes, not a lot of thought is put into bathroom paint colors simply because these rooms are undervalued because of size.  While the small size of these rooms can be the reason not much thought is put into paint color, the contrary is what actually stands to be true.  The small size of these rooms is exactly the reason why the color chosen for the bathroom is especially important.

The small size of a bathroom means the color has even more impact.  The right color in a small room has the power to make a splash, while the wrong color can make going to the bathroom a painful nightmare.

When starting the bathroom color selection process, it is first important to ask yourself some crucial questions.  First, do you want your bathroom to be relaxing or energizing?  Trendy or timeless? Modern or classical?

Whatever mood and tone you are looking to create for your bathroom, the process of choosing a color will be a whole less daunting if you follow these steps and asks these questions when making a decision:

  • Choose colors that you like
  • Private or public?
  • Match the walls to the rest of the room
  • Natural or artificial light?
  • Select the paint finish

Choose Colors You Like

To start the process you need to make sure that you are only selecting potential colors that you could imagine in your bathroom.  Remember, whatever colors you end up selecting will be part of your daily life and routine.  Since you use the bathroom multiple times in a day, the color you choose will end up becoming a part of you in a sense.

Once you have selected a number of paint colors that interest you, narrow them down to about two or three options.  Instead of painting swatch samples of the paint finalists directly on the wall, it’s best to buy some 8×10 flat canvas boards and paint each one as the color you are considering.

This system will allow you to move the paint color samples around the room easily and will also eliminate the mess and confusion of having multiple paint colors on the wall.  Also, the 8×10 canvas boards are much larger than the small paint chips that many paint stores supply so you can really get a good visualization of what the color will look like.

Public or Private?

While ultimately you are in charge in the painting decision making process, it’s still important to put into perspective the space you are going to paint.  A private space, such as a master bathroom, allows one to express a more personal and playful side since the bathroom will only been seen by you.  It is here where you can really have some fun with bold, bright colors.  Whatever makes you happy is fair game here.

However, for a public bathroom that would be used by guests, you will want to be a little more conservative.  Public bathrooms are not so much the place for bold or vivid walls, but instead more calming and softer colors work best here.

Match the Walls

So now that you have narrowed down your color selection and decided the room’s target audience, it’s important to match the potential colors of the wall with the rest of the equipment and accessories in the bathroom.

Typically, when constructing a bathroom the toilet, sink, vanity and tub/shower have similar color tones. Normally the tones of the bathroom fixtures are fairly neutral and easy to match.  While this is true most of the time, there are certainly exceptions in which case you will have to decide what’s best to match the walls to.

Nonetheless, it is at this point in the process that you have to ask yourself what you want the overall tone of the bathroom to be.  For example, a bathroom that incorporates white marble and porcelain would have an entirely different look with soft green walls than walls of mystic blue.

Natural or Artificial Light?

Now that you have done some color matching, you need to see how the colors will look in different light tones.  If your room has windows or skylights it’s especially important to view the paint color at different times of the day since a color will look different in natural daylight compared to how it will look in the nighttime.

If a bathroom does not have any windows or natural light, it’s important to check the type of lighting that you have installed in your bathroom to see how this will affect the wall colors.  You can also even play with your light wattage and even change the type of bulbs (incandescent, halogen, or LED) in order to achieve the ultimate look that you are looking for.

Select the Paint Finish

You’re almost there!  Now that you’ve decided on the color that you would like to paint your bathroom, you need to decide what type of finish of paint to choose.   There are a number of different paint finishes to choose from.  Particularly, choosing a paint finish for interior walls depends on the desired amount of shine and durability that you would like to have.  The most common interior paint finishes include: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss with flat and semi-gloss ranking as the most popular and widely used among painters.

Ultimately, choosing the right paint finish for your bathroom depends on the look, durability and ambiance that you would like to achieve.  Now that you narrowed down your color to one choice, buy some 8×10 flat canvas boards and paint each paint finish on the boards in order to compare and contrast.

Let the Painting Begin!

Finally you are ready to crack open the paint and dip in the paintbrush!  Once you have decided on the color and finish, just go for it! Remember, ultimately it is only paint.  If you paint the room and really aren’t happy with how the color turned out, you can always change it very easily.  Ideally though, you will love how the bathroom turned out and the color will be part of your life for years to come!