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. Marissa says

    This color looks really nice! I actually have the same exact tile in my closet sized bathroom. Any tips on how to keep it clean and nice looking? My husband hates it, but I love the vintage look.

    • says

      We cleaned our old house’s tile with some sort of peroxide that we found at the store (maybe search peroxide and tile on our sidebar and see it that post comes up? It seemed to work!


  2. says

    Oh la la….looks great guys!

    Do you know if the Chicago signing is sold out? When you announced I kept trying to RSVP but couldn’t get onto the site. Now it says something like registration is closed.

    I will be devestated….but I would rather know if I wont get in before the 12 hour round trip :)

    • says

      Oh yes, I would call the store. From what we understand if you get there early and line up they’re happy to let everyone in. I’d call though just to be sure. Hope to see you there Christina!


  3. says

    We have the exact same tile in our bathroom–I’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of it, but a good paint color is way easier and looks great too. thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Diane says

    Love your existing tile! Glad you kept it. Can’t wait to see the mirror framed. Do you decorate this room for the holidays?

  5. says

    We are repainting the brand new trim we just installed, despite having spent 3 nights in the garage painting it so that all we had to do were touchups once installed. I several hours this week puttying the nail holes and “touching up” the paint. What I didnt realize until the whole room was done was that I used bright white ceiling paint for my touchups, instead of the nice creamy white they were painted. OOPS! This is what happens when you try to be mommy and painter at the same time. Needless to say, I will be spending this weekend repainting, in the correct color!

  6. Cate says

    Long time lurker de-lurking to say that I love the change the new colour makes (wasn’t a fan of the shelf I think just because the room still seemed sterile). And that I think this is THE colour I’ve been looking for to do my bedroom (similarly suffering from sterility after painting the walls white…which was an anything-is-better-than-the-previous-swamp-green decision).

    A question, though….is there an easy way to colour match between brands? Like if I don’t want to use Benjamin Moore?

  7. Marissa says

    Thanks S! I’m so sad I missed you guys in Ridgefield, NJ, we just couldn’t make it out with the storm (housing family who had no power, etc), I hope you’ll be able to reschedule NYC!!

  8. Maggie says

    I’m taking a cue from you guys and changing the colors in a few rooms, the guest bedroom from a vibrant green and the kitchen from a pale turquoise to a greyish white by SW called Rhinestone. I used a color called Flexible Grey by SW in my master bedroom that looks light plum during the day and dark grey at night – my husband love it too!

  9. says

    The wall color looks really nice with the tile! Very cute! You’re lucky you just have black and white to work with. In my first rental we had the same kind of tile but it was cracked salmon pink. Yuck, haha!

  10. Julianna Strachan says

    I’ll be waiting for the fabric roman shade post patiently….I’m planning on introducing some fabulous color into our small bathroom wih that strategy! Your book arrived yesterday. Lets all hope for a great morning nap from baby, soni can read a chunk!

  11. treeclimber5 says

    Love the the color! My family put a large sunroom on the house and ended up using a similar color. It changes with the light from gray to more plum and is gorgeous! Love the painting too.

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