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Going over to the dark side: black and dark grey bathrooms

Inspired by all those lovely dark walls which are appearing ever-abundantly in interiors magazines and blogs, I took a leap of fatith late last year and painted my bathroom in Porter’s Paints’ Toy Solider, a dark dark grey. The colour is gorgeous and I really wanted it to work as bathrooms all too often are bland and uninspiring. But it doesn’t.

It has taken me a while to figure out why. I did so by looking at all the dark walled bathrooms I like, many of which are pictured below and came up with the answer and the solution. What do you think?

via girl of istanbul

via bijou and boheme

Paul Raeside via desire to inspire

vía house to home

Melaine Acevedo

via home colours

vía living etc

Abigail Ahern (does it again) via carrie can

Like stark white walls, dark ones are a stunning backdrop and require bold splashes of colour, contrasting texture and accessorising to look amazing. Yet, in the examples above the rooms are all minimal. What makes the rooms are the details: the sunflower yellow chair, the vintage mirrors, the wooden stools and herringbone floor, ornate sconces, antique marble vanities and hardware, the metal vintage standalone baths, geometric wood-panelled walls, chandeliers and  glossy paint.

I can’t renovate and want to keep the room minimal and the solution to achieve the dark effect came to me the other day. It is radical and beautiful! So the bathroom is being changed this week. I can’t wait to show you. In the meantime, can you guess what I am doing?

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anna Phipps #

    I love the way you explained that. It makes sense (yep even to me). Thanks Kate, I cant wait to see the final result xx

    January 30, 2012
  2. Patricia Pinto #

    I’m not sure Kate, but I’d be de-cluttering for all I was worth, running with one pop colour (the yellow of your print) and maybe think about a dark grey that’s a bit more closely matched to the floor tiles, which have a bit more of a brown base than a blue, no? OTT accessories especially mirrors tend to pop these spaces too don’t they?

    A big old fern can work wonders too. Though I’m a slave to the pot plant nowadays…can’t get enough.

    January 30, 2012
  3. Can’t wait to see it!!!

    January 30, 2012
  4. Bec #

    I used a black pinstripe tile for one big wall in my bathroom, and got a car painter to spraypaint an old dresser in gloss black, which I then turned into a vanity against that wall. It’s turned out really well, I think, so I’m sure yours will!
    http://www.pourameliorer.com/2011/10/revealing-our-bathroom.html

    January 30, 2012
    • Bec, the dresser which you spray painted gloss black and use as a vanity is incredible! Stunning. Love it. Abigail Ahern does this with antique tables too – gets a car painter to spray them black or really bold colours. They look incredible.

      January 30, 2012
  5. Penny #

    Don’t remove the wall art!

    With that caveat a few ideas spring to mind.

    (1) I would change the colour of the blind. At the moment it competes with the art. Perhaps the blind to match the wall colour. Since it is an opaque blind, you should still get some light when it is down (I think?).

    Not sure where your bathroom is located, but alternatively can you remove the window altogether and put in a skylight?

    (2) can you make the floor the same colour as the walls (that way you drown in the darkness).

    (3) Depending on how (1) goes, perhaps a small bath rug that is red…

    More radically, can you change the colour of the toilet and basin? That would be cool, and somewhat retro if you remember 1970s and 1980s [unfortunately plastic!] caroma gear.

    January 30, 2012
    • Thanks everyone for your suggestions. The changes are currently in progress and so far it is looking incredible. It’s radical without changing any of the major bathroom items i.e. bath, vanity, loo, tiles, mirror. I have gone for something quite unconventional and I suspect that it’s going to become my favourite room in the house. As soon as it’s done I can’t wait to show you.

      January 30, 2012
  6. BeccaP #

    I love the colour of your walls and your print – fab! But all of the dark walled bathrooms you love have something either circular or curvaceous (light fittings/baths/shower accessories etc) and I think these are what lift the dark walls into a glamorous and dramatic backdrop instead of being strong and flat. Have fun remodelling – can’t wait to see what you do!

    January 31, 2012
    • Becca, that’s a really interesting observation about the circular quality of the bathrooms and how that creates glamour. Spot on. The change in my bathroom is almost done and am planning to photograph the room in the next days . . .

      January 31, 2012
      • BeccaP #

        Kate,
        I Loooooooove your new bathroom, it looks fabulous. No, sumptuous! No wonder you love spending time in it.
        So happy I found your site (through Design Sponge) as it is giving me lots and lots of ideas for our home reno & re-style.
        Cheers, Becca

        March 7, 2012
  7. Hello, I just nominated your blog for a versatile blogger award on wordpress… check it out http://www.lgreendoor.wordpress.com

    February 2, 2012
    • I am so flattered thank you!

      February 3, 2012

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