Colour is an important part of designing any room. Bathrooms, which are often smaller than the other rooms in a home and yet still meant to evoke certain sensations, are particularly susceptible to the use of colour.
Bathroom tiles often require consideration of the saturation of colour as well as the hue itself, as the intensity of colour will dictate the mood of your space. The choice between pastels and vivid colours can transform the direction of your design.
What is the difference between pastel and vivid colours?
When you hear the word blue, you often think of the colour in its purest, most common tone. This is the primary blue often found in early childhood classrooms. Typically, you would call it light blue if it appears to have more white added, and is paler than its primary shade. This intensity of colour is the saturation.
Pastel colours appear to have more white added to them, and when it comes to tiles, this is often the case. The effect is a colour with low to medium saturation. Vivid colours are often closer to their primary hues and have a medium to high saturation. The brightest of colours, such as hot pink, have extreme levels of saturation.
Neutral tones that we usually call ‘earthy colours’ fall into the pastel category. That includes lighter greys and shades of cream or off-white. Black and, on occasion, white, can be vivid colours, especially in tile form where they typically have a glossy sheen.
Pastel or vivid coloured tiles?
Vivid colours make everything feel a little more intense. These bright colours can make a space feel more dramatic or bold than pastel colours would do. Conversely, pastels can offer a calmer, more subdued mood.
The difference between a bright blue and a pastel blue will transform the entire feeling of your bathroom. As the mood changes in a bathroom, so too should the fixtures, accents and accessories chosen for the space. You can choose the colour of your floor tile based on the type of room you want to create, or you can let colour dictate that mood.
Vivid colours work best in a modern space
Bright colours, clean lines and uncluttered spaces define modern design. High levels of saturation do not limit you to bright greens and purples. You can also choose contrasting black and white for your bathroom. Indeed, any colour, including a high-gloss, bright white will work exceptionally well in a modern space.
Vivid colours match exceptionally well with everything from wood to chrome fittings. Brightly coloured tiles can be used to create feature walls, such as the back of the shower wall, in large modern bathrooms. Mosaic glass tiles also add vivid tones without overpowering the space. SplashPanels are an excellent way to add vivid colours to bathrooms, especially on bare walls where the area is relatively uncluttered.
Pastel colours for neutral bathrooms
If you want to evoke calm, relaxing feelings then pastels are your best option. Baby blues and pinks are often some of the first pastel colours that spring to mind, however, there are a wide range of pastel colours to choose from: light greys, greens, violets and creams are also pastel colours.
Bathrooms with pastel tiles can have a shabby chic feeling if the fixtures appear rustic, or well-loved. Pastel tiles can also have a contemporary, though not ultra-modern look. Paired with woods and rounded basins, a mid-century feeling emerges, especially with pastel green tiles.
Considering the different tile colours
The colour of tiles that you choose will affect the mood of your room as will the intensity of the colours. For example, yellow is a happy colour; as a vivid colour tile, yellow can be overpowering in large patches, whereas pastel yellows feel warm and reflective.
Blues are a natural choice for bathrooms and home spas. Not only are they often serene, but various shades of blue can be calming. That is especially true for pastel blues, whereas a more vivid blue can add excitement to a space.
Vivid red tiles are passionate and strong, creating drama, warmth and excitement. Lighter reds, on the other hand, can be great for more traditional styles.
Pastel greens, including lighter shades of olive, are restful, natural and fresh. Vivid greens are associated with vibrancy and life and are an excellent alternative to blue in home spas and large, bright bathrooms.
Purple has been out of fashion for so long in decorating circles that its recent re-emergence is dramatic in itself. Pastel purples and light lavenders suggest tenderness and timelessness, whereas tiles in a vivid purple evoke a sense of grandeur and luxury.
Popular vivid and pastel combinations
You don’t have to be limited to working with just one colour tile in the bathroom, you can change it up as much as you like. If you fancy being a bit more creative, consider pairing different intensities or shades of a single colour, such as green or blue. Or, if you want a very striking look, choose two vivid colours.
You can also mix pastels and vivid colours for a bathroom that is completely unique. Think about light blue tiles with bright orange accents or create a seaside theme by bringing in vivid blue and off-white tiles.
Create tile patterns
Playing with colour gives you plenty of freedom to create your own patterns and designs. You can be as ordered or as random as you like.
Checkerboard patterns are a bathroom floor classic, but you can mix it up with greens and purples if you’d prefer to inject a bit of colour into the design. Another popular way to enhance the checkerboard pattern is the play on vivid and pastel shades of the same colour.
If you prefer to randomise the placement of a tile, you may like a bathroom done in pastel greys with the occasionally placed red tile. This works just as well on the walls as it does on the floor. Another idea is to create a slow fade from vivid to pastel on a feature wall.
If you are only tiling a shower wall and your floor, consider bright splashes of colour on one. SplashPanels offer opportunities to bring patterns into your bathroom without overpowering it. Consider adding a bright glass tile mosaic to this area.
For more information on patterned tiles or mosaics, take a look at our ‘Single colour, patterned or mosaic tiles?’ guide here.
How you work with the tiles in your bathroom is up to you. Even if you prefer white tiles, you can still choose between a vivid white and one that fits a pastel scheme. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different ideas. After all, you can still think outside the box, even when working inside a square.