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. Elaine says

    We got new windows recently and I’ve needed to touch them up for weeks now. The previous owners did the whole sand in the paint thing, so this touch up is just a little bit more complicated. Enough to make me put it off for weeks. Wish me luck!

  2. says

    love the plum with the black and white tile. it softens the room up a little without it feeling too “girly”. :) thanks for sharing these posts that show a little change can make a bit difference!

  3. Cara says

    It looks so much better. I was thinking the same thing before I read on “they really need to frame out that mirror”. Whitewash on the frame may be nice. My next painting project is to stencil the fireplace wall. If that goes well then I will stencil our long, narrow, boring hallway. Then painting out the red wall to dark teal in the kitchen. I also plan to repaint our master bedroom and guest bath. Lots of painting and we just painted the whole house 3 years ago when we moved in. I liked reading in your book that “it is okay” to change your mind. I feel like my style has changed a lot since we first moved to this home.

    • says

      Mmmmm, I love that! So much. And I love your lack of boundaries! Don’t stop photoshopping. Hahah! My only worry is that the room is small/tight (moreso than it looks in pics) so my only worry is it’ll feel crowded and the vanity will feel heavy (the white tile on the walls in and in the shower is nice and balanced with the white vanity for now). But who knows where we’ll end up! I promise to keep you posted!


    • Lisa R. says

      Oh gosh…I think the black cabinet totally makes the tile look like it was a choice and not a left over. I could probably go either way with the trim on the mirror…that could be white to match the window/door trim I think.

    • Laura says

      I agree with Lisa R. that the black makes the tile feel much more intentional. Maybe other black accents could do that though. Like a few black horizontal stripes along the bottom of the shower curtain. Certainly the mirror frame could be stained black. Or, maybe bring in some newsprint somehow. I got some super cute knobs recently for a dresser, that were covered in newsprint. Something like that. Maybe the curtains will do something too. I’m looking forward to seeing what Sherry has chosen for that.

    • Jen says

      This is the very first thing I thought when I saw the finished wall color!!! Graphite by BM, or something similar. I actually think that a dark color on the vanity would really help anchor the space. Right now, with the mostly white floor, white tile on the lower half of the wall, and a white vanity, the eye floats up to the painted walls, ceiling, and art, and the whole bottom half of the room disappears from the visual field. This effect may also be magnified once there is a bright shade on the window that will also draw the eye higher. A dark vanity would be a bridge between the bottom and top halves of the room, and would also tie in the black tile beautifully. I think it would look sooooo awesome!!!

      That said, the wall color is gorgeous!

  4. sarah says

    Looks amazing! My fingers are itching to start painting now. But it would be a mistake to paint in a rental when I’m leaving in just under a year…. right!?

    • says

      Not a mistake at all Sarah! My husband and I relocate often due to our jobs and one of the first things we do once we settle in is make our new house/apartment/condo our home with paint and photos up on the wall. Paint and nail holes can be covered up in no time! Go for it!

  5. Kristi says

    Very pretty! I myself, am a fan of purpley-plum – so this color is right up my alley. Really brings out some of the color on the fish picture. Can’t wait to see the roman shade! I’ve been wanting to DIY one for my kitchen window and this is going to be perfect timing!

    Had such a blast at the book signing in Boston last night. Totally worth the commute in the snowy weather. I made friends in line, I ate one of the yummiest sugar cookies ever, sipped a delish hot chocolate – and oh yeah – got my book signed! You guys are just so awesome, and energetic and sincere. Sherry – with every person that stepped up to you, you were just as equally enthusiastic! So genuine and nice!! Thanks for making the trip to see us!

    Also – my idea of getting a Christmas ornament from each stop on your book tour…since you’ve already been to a few and may have missed the opportunity to buy one – how about cutting out the shape of the state in a nice holiday paper and hanging that from the tree? Just an idea of course.

    Have fun tonight!

    • says

      Yes, I love that idea!!!! And it was amazing to meet you. So glad you had a great time. We had a blast and were so grateful that you guys came out in the snow!


  6. Meagan says

    Have you ever considered painting the vanity in that bathroom black? I know y’all love white – I totally love white too, but for some reason seeing the new paint color in there just makes me want that vanity painted black. Maybe to tie in with the black tile border. I don’t know…just a thought for you. But I love the new color!

    • says

      We definitely have been debating a ton of options! The room is pretty small/tight (more than it looks in pics) so we want to be sure it won’t close things in and look like a big heavy piece of furniture… will keep you posted!


  7. says

    I have been contemplating that color for my bedroom for approximately 6 months now. I think I should probably just pull the trigger after seeing how great it looks in your bathroom!

    p.s. It was so awesome to meet you guys last night. Totally worth the 2 hour wait and the freezing commute home! :) I started flipping through the book when I got home but had to go to bed before I got far. Sorry my hometown decided to welcome you with snow. Winter is my favorite time in Boston. Something about cold air and the city just feels so right. Glad they’re letting you leave! :)

  8. Kyla says

    I’ve been wanting to paint our small half-bath downstairs and have been debating whether or not to paint the ceiling as well. The room itself is rather small, maybe only 5′ by 3′, but the ceilings are high, around 10′. Do you think painting the ceiling will have the same effect or do you think that it will be too much color in the same room with the ceilings being so high? Love your blog. You are both hilarious and it is very inspiring for a young, new homeowner!

  9. Hannah says

    I’ve been dying to frame our boring builder’s mirror, so I’m excited to see how you guys do it and maybe pick up a tip or two. Oh and the plum walls look soooooooo much better than the boring white. Can’t wait to see all the orange accents you’ll add.

  10. Jen. says

    Love the color! And — I like that you’re keeping the tile. It’s nice to see someone do an update without ripping perfectly good, if not trendy, tile out and starting over.

    (Says the woman with yellow bathroom tile … most days I like it, especially now that the room is painted blue-grey instead of ketchup red. :) )

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