Painting The Bathroom

We’re about to hop on a plane back from Boston (which is thankfully not canceled, despite the snowy weather), so this post is up a little early for ya but your comments might not pop up for a little while. Anyway, we’ve debated potential colors for the walls in this hall bathroom from almost the day that we moved in. For a while we were on the deep blue train, but after putting that in the adjacent guest bedroom, we’ve been going back and forth between several other options. Dark? Light? Colorful? Muted?

We finally found our focus when we put that bright fish painting on our whitewashed shelf. Suddenly we had a direction. Toned-down-but-not-completely-neutral walls with colorful accents (sort of like we’ve been doing throughout the rest of our house, but this time with a new undertone – plum). Yup, we went for it. Sherry flipped through our paint deck and plucked out Elephant Gray by Benjamin Moore (we went for a nice bathroom-friendly satin finish, and only needed a quart for the job). Like many of our walls, it was grayish – but unlike Moonshine, it had a warmer plummy undertone to it.

Just like we’ve done in our other bathrooms, we chose to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. We find that in small rooms like these it actually makes the room feel bigger because the ceiling isn’t some jarring white plane and it all feels seamless and lofty. The pic below is a bit grainy because I had to zoom way in. My painting outfit involved just boxers and while maybe I should be flattered that Sherry thought that was worth sharing, I decided we should maintain some mystery in my relationship with you guys…

It wasn’t until we finished that we both stepped back and said “oh yeah, this kind of reminds us of Granny’s bathroom.” We were both so happy with how her bathroom makeover turned out, perhaps it was a subconscious inspiration. They look more similar in these photos than they do in person, since Granny’s “Hint of Violet” was lighter and felt more purple than gray while ours is definitely darker and more plummy (less pinky and pastel than Granny’s).

But either way, the idea of having a Granny-inspired bathroom in our own house is kind of awesome.

See how it pulls from the painting a bit, while providing a nice backdrop for the brighter oranges and blues – which we’ll definitely be bringing out a lot more with some crazy bold fabric that Sherry wants to use for a roman shade.

Here’s the other side of the room too. It’s nice that the soft and moody tone of the paint looks nice with some of the metal accents – like our iron horse head towel hook and the ORB light – to fit right in. But looking at these photos, it makes it painfully obvious how much we need to frame out that builder-bland mirror. Soon I hope!

That’s probably next on our list. Well, that or making a roman shade. Sherry’s got fabric hanging around that she’s been dying to use so we’ll see who wins and gets ‘er done first. #maytheoddsbeeverinmyfavor

The best part about this latest update? That fact that we’re making the existing tile work. I was not excited at the idea of busting that stuff out and starting all over, and it’s in much better shape than the tile in our first house’s bathroom, for which we’re eternally grateful! You know we love to use what we’ve got. So thanks to just a quart of paint, the room definitely looks a lot more polished and welcoming than it did just a few days ago:

What are you guys painting? Are you psyched that we went with a plummy gray after dropping the word plum at least thirty times in the past two years since we moved in? I gotta say, I’m a dude and I love my plum bathroom. Just don’t call it purple. For some reason that’s not nearly as enticing…


  1. says

    I’m doing my own little hallway bathroom update (switched out some, um…groovy dark green pieces — a toilet and sink. blegh) and I think you guys have convinced me to paint the ceiling too. Love the color and can’t wait to see the finished room! =)

  2. Liz E. says

    Love it! We don’t have much painting going on now (definitely on our list, but the drywall has to come first haha). One thing we are working on now is upgrading our 70s era light fixtures. Do you have any tips on choosing a finish? I LOVE the ORB light you have in the bathroom here and would love to use that scheme in our house! Unfortunately, though, we had started replacing lights before now and have some brushed nickel going on…. What are your thoughts of mixing vs. matching?

    • says

      We love to mix and match! As long as you have a few things in each finish (ex: a brushed nickel faucet and shower set with an iron towel bar, ORB light, and ORB doorknob) it’s all good! We have some ORB lights and other nickel ones throughout our house :)


    • Lindsay says

      Along with your Mixing and Matching response – How do you feel about mixing ORB and shiny brass? Our house is outfitted with shiny brass door knobs, hinges, lighting, etc. I would love to refinish everything in ORB spray paint (using your technique of course), but am concerned about hinges and interior door knobs not holding up after painting. My husband is also not a fan of removing and painting every door hinge and fan currently sporting a shiny brass finish. I was thinking of redoing all of the lighting for now and leaving the knobs, but am not sure how well ORB and brass ‘go together’.

    • says

      Hmm, I have sort of a hatred towards shiny brass, so personally I would love to spray all of our knobs (we have many of them too) in ORB and then just replace the hinges and plates since those aren’t too expensive I hope (haven’t looked into it, but I think for resale it’s an awesome upgrade to do, so you’d probably not be wasting money).


    • Lindsay says

      Thanks so much! Glad to know I’m not the only one with a strong dislike for shiny brass fixtures! Can’t wait to meet you both in Chicago this weekend!

    • says

      I’m in the same boat as Liz E. I think mixing and matching is great but I just wanted to suggest to Liz that if she doesn’t like one of her brushed nickel lights she could always ORB it. I haven’t done this yet but that is also because my brushed nickel lights are boob lights so I just want to get rid of them altogether now. :)

    • Liz E. says

      That makes me feel better! I feel like my “tastes” change frequently, and I often like so many different styles that sometimes I wonder how/if they can even go together!

      Thanks for taking the time to respond. Hope you’re having a blast with your book tour!

  3. says

    I never considered painting the ceiling anything but white but, given Clara’s room and now this bathroom, I’m starting to re-think that attitude. Also, love the plummy paint color in the bathroom. It actually makes the room seem brighter than having it all white.

  4. says

    Love it!! And I love the floating shelf although I dont think I commented on that post the other day. Definitely going to do something similar somewhere in my house. Still working on that basement right now though………argh.

  5. says

    I absolutely LOVE the color with the black and white tiles! Looks great! :) We are actually painting our teeny tiny under-the-stairs half bath in a very similar grey with purplish undertones! :) We painted the ceiling, too to make it look much larger! :) I’ll have to share some before and afters when we’re finished. 0:)

    We are also currently remodeling our full bath if you’d like to take a peek here! :)

    Fabulously Vintage

  6. Carla says

    That looks awesome! And it really is amazing how much that grey looks like the “P” word that John doesn’t want to use!

  7. lizaanne says

    Gorgeous color!!! The fishpic really pops on the soft plummy gray.

    I just got two yards of black on white modern toile ( ). I plan to cover the top of our coffee table which is a black wrought iron frame with just a drop in top, and the top of a square storage ottoman – I’ll be painting the ottoman a shiny white enamel. With two kitties and a husband, I needed something that looks good, but can be wiped off easily after paw prints and spilt coffee. I think this should do it!! I will start painting and stapel-ing this weekend!! woohoo!!

  8. says

    i completely would have thought painting the ceiling would have the opposite affect but it looks great. and i’m still so impressed that you all never have to tape off with painter’s tape–sherry has such impressive cutting in skills

  9. Melanie says

    Wow I love it. It’s such a soft plum and it looks awesome with the fish! PS: as I was reading, I wondered if you would keep the black tile. #greatminds

    PS: the fiance surprised me with a late bday gift yesterday… your book! So pumped!!!

  10. says

    loving the color! i wish our hall bathroom could have been saved with just a little paint and accessories… we recently tore everything out and are now working like crazy to get it all put back together before my family comes for Thanksgiving!

  11. Sayward says

    Holler!!!Plum undertones for the win! I’m moving into a new rental next month and I’m allowed to paint, so this has me all excited. Be safe in your travels :)

  12. says

    Wow! I would have never guessed that a color with a plum undertone could look so AWESOME! I agree with everyone else – the room actually looks brighter! And I bet it’s just a trick of the monitor, but those black tiles actually look like a deep plum now? Weird! But I like it! haha!

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