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

    It looks great. I’m glad you said it has “plum” (not purple) undertones. Sometimes it’s hard to truly tell in pictures. I have a hard time choosing gray paints because it’s tough with the undertones. The last gray I chose ended up kind of a blueish color. I want to paint our entryway a light gray, but am nervous about choosing the right color. I don’t want to be surprised by how it turns out. Any suggestions for a True Gray? Since it’s such a large space and gets a lot of light, I want to get the color right. Plus, we’ll need scaffolding, so I really don’t want to do it twice. :)

    • says

      We love Moonshine and Gray Horse which are both pretty true grays in our house, but lighting can change that so getting a test pot after bringing swatches home can ensure a choice is really what you think it is! Good luck.


    • sara says

      One tip I’ve read to determine the undertones in a paint color is to look at the bottom-most (darkest) swatch on the color card with your chosen swatch. That will help you determine if the grey is more purple, green, or blue. In my opinion, moonshine is on a card with an olive green undertone, so for that reason I had to avoid it. I am also looking for a true grey for my bathroom and the ones I’ve liked so far have charcoal-like colors at the bottom of the swatch card.

  2. Carissa T says

    Love the color! we just finished painting our whole entire house. Ceiling and closets included! It took forever to do but I totally love all the colors we chose. Benjamin Moore sure has some great colors

  3. kyle says

    HOLY COW! What a difference a coat of well thought out paint can make! It looks like a completely different room (polished, classy, and cozy at the same time). It even makes the retro tile look awesome and purposeful. I am blown away. Virtual high five, y’all!

  4. Christina P. says

    Luuuurve the gray color! It really does the room look more polished.

    Leaving Cville at 4 to get dinner and then see you guys at R Home for the Holidays! So excited slash awkwardly nervous to see you guys!!

    I know you’re traveling today and super busy but I couldn’t find any info anywhere about whether or not there’s a dress code for the event tonight. Wine and hors d’oeuvre and a silent auction sounds pretty fancy! Do you happen to know?

  5. Anne says

    I like it! Funny, I just painted a swatch of Elephant Gray from Behr Ultra yesterday in our living room. It’s a muddier gray/brown though! (I also got a test pot of your master bedroom color from BM. Haven’t put that up yet.) I hope the charity auction raises lots of money!! You’ll have to tell us what goes for the highest dollar. That might be a fun report. :-)

  6. Liz B. says

    Hey guys! I love the color you chose for the walls, but it got me to thinking that the shelf you built to hide the soap dish, could look really awesome if it were painted a navy blue or dark purple. Just a thought. :-)

  7. says

    I absolutely love the color. It’s so fresh and cheerful. I read above where you said you like to mix and match your finishes, but I would have such an impulse to ORB the heck out of the faucets and the horse towel ring to tie everything together. The way you have the hits of black in the tile and on the wall and with the light fixture, I think it would tie everything together and look super chic. To each his own though. It looks fabulous either way!

    • says

      Oh yes, if money were no object I’d get a gorgeous ORB faucet. Although we have a chrome faucet in the kitchen with an ORB and mercury glass light above it and we love the mix!


  8. Heather W says

    I really really love this color!! It looks so good with the black and white you have in there. Just curious did you get this color matched like usual or did you get it straight from BM. I just wondered how close they got to the real deal if you color matched it.

    Can’t wait to see what fabric you use for your blind!

  9. says

    Love the color and the bathroom! I’ve been debating what color to paint our upstairs (one big, all-paneled room) so there’s test stripes everywhere on the walls. For some reason the lighting up there makes everything look different, so it’s a trial-and-error process. Perhaps Elephant Gray will have to go in the mix. Safe travels and see you in Minnesota!

    • says

      Ahhhhh! I love your post. And I loved meeting you!! Thanks so much for coming out. You guys were all so sweet and friendly and awesome and we didn’t mind the weather at all because you guys were sunshine in a room. A well-styled West Elm room. Hahah! Thanks again for coming and having so much fun with us! We love you guys for braving the snow.


  10. katie says

    Quick question for you….do y’all take everything down when painting (ie. the light fixture above the mirror and the horse head towel holder?) or paint around them?

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