4 inspiring ideas for stylish dark bathrooms
All you need to know about designing a dark bathroom
There is an established school of thought that bathrooms should be light and bright, promoting the idea of a fresh, clean environment, but there is also a growing fan club who prefer the darker side.
Think moody, atmospheric shades of black, brown and grey and a sensation of understated luxury. Gone are the days when such colours were considered drab and boring, and today they are the epitome of elegance and class, but, as always when it comes to interior design, only if you know how to use them well.
With that in mind, we guide you through some of the pitfalls to avoid if you do decide to be bold and opt for the drama of a dark bathroom, and of course, as always, we’ll leave you with examples of stylish modern Salvatori bathrooms.
While black has long been a classic choice when it comes to fashion, greys and browns have also come into their own in recent years, and the same principle holds true in bathroom interior design where their confident, unassuming elegance lends an undeniable sense of refinement.
Dark doesn’t have to mean heavy or oppressive, as long as you know how to work with texture, lighting and tones. If you’re not yet convinced that a dark bathroom is worth considering, besides that fact that it is modern and sophisticated there are many other reasons:
- Dark colours transmit a feeling of relaxation and intimacy
- It’s a versatile colour scheme that works with any style
- Its bold character allows you to be more daring
- It’s easy to create an appearance of order
Besides all that, dark colours emphasise the space, create a sense of depth and are a fantastic backdrop on which to showcase accessories. They are also extremely adaptable, making it easy to combine different materials such as stone, ceramic tiles, exposed bricks, wood, paint and even wallpaper.
When it comes to interior décor trends, there is no issue using black, dark grey or chocolatey brown, whether you are looking to create a rustic or vintage look, industrial chic, a minimalist modern bathroom or a sleek loft-style effect.
A failsafe combination, if you’re not convinced about going totally dark, is the classic black and white bathroom, or for something less dramatic, but still extremely stylish, black and grey work beautifully together for an elegant contemporary look, while a rich dark brown with touches of wood or accents in gold or brass is always a winning recipe.
This latter option can be particularly striking as the golden colour not only lightens the overall dark effect, but also adds an element of luxury, however it’s a delicate balance, as it can be easy to overdo it and end up with a kitsch or baroque-style bathroom. These metals really need to be used in minimal but strategic doses, whether they are in metallic form or using nature’s own patterning. For example, a black marble with golden veining can be truly sophisticated without edging into ostentation.
If you are looking for understated luxury, dark colours definitely deliver, with their ability to transmit that atmosphere of peace and relaxation that you find in beautiful spas and an unhurried, gentle sensation that envelops you. Strong, dark colours give real character to your bathroom, but at the same time, create an extraordinary sense of intimacy.
While a dark bathroom is a bold and stylish choice, there are three common errors that can ruin the effect you are looking for:
- Using black in a small bathroom
- Choosing an all-dark look for windowless bathrooms
- Lack of attention to accessories
If your bathroom is on the small side, it is better to avoid a total dark look, particularly black, and instead opt for a mix of black and white as the contrast has the effect of enlarging the space. Black vertical stripes help make the ceiling seem higher, while the same pattern on the floor will give the appearance of increased dimensions.
Then of course, in a small bathroom, there is that other useful trick for expanding the perception of space, and that is strategic use of mirrors. This could be with a mirrored door, an entire wall or large mirrors hung on facing walls. Not only do they improve the bathroom’s aesthetic and make it seem larger, but they also make it appear lighter.
All this becomes even more important if the bathroom has no windows. Black or dark tones tend to shrink the space, and this could result in a claustrophobic atmosphere, so here lighting is key to help make the bathroom seem brighter and more welcoming.
Opting for a mixed lighting solution can work well, combining an intense, strong light for everyday tasks with a soft, muted fixture which helps create atmosphere when you want a relaxing soak in the tub. You can even achieve this with just one single piece with a backlit mirror, which can be elegant and efficient.
Last, but not least, if you’ve chosen a black or dark bathroom colour scheme because you want to make a style statement, you can’t neglect accessories. These small touches can completely transform your bathroom, and can either accentuate the moody atmosphere or lighten it, depending on the effect you are after.
When choosing pieces such as shelves, towel rails, soap dishes and toothbrush holders, while of course they are first and foremost functional, they also represent scope for adding flair and personality. The important thing is that they maintain the same style and fit with the overall look of the bathroom.
Aside from the practical items, if you have space, why not let your artistic side out and add some framed prints or even stone art panels, creating a private mini-gallery in the privacy of your own bathroom.
This undeniably sophisticated bathroom in near-black brown is the perfect example of how a single dark colour scheme does not have to mean boring, drab or depressing.
The star of the show is Pietra d’Avola limestone, but it is the perfect balance of textures and forms that creates interest and personality, with the rugged Raw finish on the wall and drawer facings of the Balnea wall-mounted basin unit lending depth and showcasing the stone’s rich variations of tone.
The resulting play of light and shadow brings movement to the all-dark setting, with the Mirari mirror adding an extra element of brightness and a single pale accessory providing just the right touch of relief.
If you’re looking for a modern, minimalist bathroom, this all-dark ensemble delivers both functionality and understated luxury.
A perfectly judged combination of classic and contemporary, this predominantly dark modern bathroom is softened by wood, that most traditional material of all and, like stone, completely natural, which is why Salvatori has developed an entire line that mixes these two beautiful elements provided by nature.
The Adda collection combines the coolness of natural stone with the warmth of wood, featuring pieces such as this freestanding basin clad in ribbed walnut. Its tones and texture pair beautifully with the chocolatey tones of Pietra d’Avola in Chevron texture on the wall, a contemporary finish laid in a herringbone pattern that reinterprets the effect of hewn wood in stone.
A piece of advice at this point, if you are considering using wood in a dark bathroom, is to only use one type, rather than mixing colours and varieties.
As always, it’s the accessories that complete the look and bring it all together harmoniously, from the Archimede mirror that folds in on itself to the TABL-EAU towel rail in burnished brass and with the Fontane Bianche tapware adding the final elegant flourish.
A black and white bathroom is always a winning choice, with the juxtaposition of colours creating a striking but simple canvas for accessories. This example is a slightly different take on the classic combination, replacing the traditional black with an intense dark brown, but is just as elegant and effective, resulting in a contemporary bathroom that balances clean modern lines with warmth and a sensation of wellbeing.
The dramatic geometric floor in Bianco Carrara marble and Pietra d’Avola limestone sets the stage, without overpowering the space, leaving room in the spotlight for the delicate lines of the Ninfa console basin from the Fontane Bianche collection.
It is not only the mix of colours, however, that makes this bathroom so fascinating, but the choice of different forms, from the triangles of the floor to the simple circles of the basin and Archimede mirror, which also amplifies the sense of lightness. Contrasting these smooth contours are the sleek, sharp lines of the Ciane modular drawers and floating shelves, a homage to the iconic designs of Donald Judd, and an unconventional but extremely stylish storage solution.
If you love the idea of a dark bathroom, but are nervous that on its own it could be too flat, why not play with patterns, textures and geometric shapes to break it up and add interest and character.
This Salvatori bathroom shows just how effective that approach can be. Once again, the dark chocolatey tones of Pietra d’Avola sets the mood, with a classic honed finish on the floor and striking Romboo not only on the walls, but even on the ceiling for a truly bold décor. The three-dimensional effect of the diamond-shaped tiles becomes even more dramatic with the addition of lighting, which in this case floods in through the oversize window.
Pietra d’Avola is also the stone of choice for the Dritto side table, pair of Vasco Colonna freestanding basins and TABL-EAU towel rail, where it combines with burnished brass for a touch of stylish bling.