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The Best White Bathrooms

By 08/14/2013July 24th, 2022110 Comments

I believe all bathrooms should be white.  Off white, or cream.

When I say this, I’m talking about the tile and countertops (not cabinets or wall colours).

And I have three bathrooms to renovate sometime very soon. And they will be white as that will flow with the rest of my house. Update, here they are, all complete.

Here are some of my favourite white bathrooms:

The Best White Bathrooms


Via Pinterest

Pretty, free standing tub. Very on-trend and something I want to incorporate into my master bathroom (above).

The Best White Bathrooms

Via Pinterest

Love the idea of two shower curtains to duplicate the look of drapery. And this classic black and white basket weave tile is exactly what you would expect to see in a timeless bathroom.

The Best White Bathrooms

Love this vanity.

Do not love the light fixture but bar lighting is mostly not that great. Incorporate wall sconce lighting if you can.

When I found the bar light I could live with, I bought three for each of my bathrooms since the lighting in my dated bathrooms could not wait for the reno.

The Best White Bathrooms

Via Pinterest

Last year when I was in New York, the bathroom in my hotel room was entirely covered in Carrara. It was hard to tell whether it had been there 5, or 10 or 15 years.

Via Pinterest

And the reason why I think white bathrooms are so great is because you can paint them a different colour every year if you get bored.

The Best White Bathrooms

Via Pinterest

Wood flooring in a master bathroom or powder room is always lovely (above) But it should ONLY go in your bathroom if it’s just a continuation of the rest of the wood flooring in your home.

Years ago, when I was faced with the task of choosing tiles for clients bathrooms, I was overwhelmed with the amount of tile available.

Now that I’ve seen thousands of bathrooms, it’s easy for me to curate a selection that I like the best because when you look at the world of design through the lens of classic and timeless, it’s much easier to choose.

You’ll also notice that white tile is not front and centre in a tile store. Why? Because if you walked out of a tile store with a white tile floor and subway tile surround with no accent tile, that would seem WRONG, and BORING. 

If you need help choosing finishes for your bathroom, I can help. You can buy my Create a Classic Bathroom package here.

Related posts:

Is your Bath Perfect or Perfectly Nice?

The Rule of More (when sourcing product)

One more Reason you Should Skip Accent Tiles Altogether

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 


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  • Jann Newton says:

    I LOVE white bathrooms, and these are lovely. I especially like the two shower curtains that look like draperies, I’ll have to remember that little trick for the future.
    Can’t wait to see what you do with your bathrooms!

  • Victoria says:

    Love! Love! Love! White bathrooms and white kitchens. Can’t go wrong there!

  • Margaret says:

    At first I was thinking no, but based on your pics and adding a paint color, YES!

  • Melissa says:

    Great selection of white bathrooms! Would love to see an equally great selection in off white or cream. I think that is infinitely more difficult!

  • Kim says:

    Love the small round Lucite table!!!! and all the bathrooms

  • Wendy Clarke says:

    Great bathroom selections!! I’ve used epoxy grout but only on porcelain or ceramic. To really clean the tile you need to use vinegar water which will damage your marble, especially the polished tiles. Not a great idea to use sanded grout either because if you ever need to polish the stone the sanded grout works like sandpaper. Best choice is un-sanded grout and it will get sealed when the stone is. Use stone soap to mop and you’re good to go!

  • Teresa says:

    I used epoxy after grouting grey porcelin tiles with a matching grout. The day after the grout turned a light shade that made my floor look like a checkerboard. GASP NOW! Went over the top with grey epoxy with success. Currently I am struggling with flooring choices for a white family bath. White will be too dirty, creme seems like it is not white and grey feels trendy. Thoughts?

  • Lee Cardwell says:

    Perfect timing for this post as I am getting ready to redo a main floor 3/4 bath. Thanks Maria! The lucky color is white, of course. My problem is trying to pick flooring for the bath because it leads into the mudroom area. I don’t want wood, because too much water (dog bowls) and snow (Chicago winters. A marble would be too formal against my real wood in my kitchen. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Michelle Ku says:

      There are great vinyl plank floors that look like wood from Earth Werks and IVC US. Some are individual planks like actual wood and if you have a flood, you can take them off the floor to dry and then reinstall. And, best of all, they look very realistic and come in lots of different looks.

    • LeeAnn Cheeley says:

      I love travertine. I just remodeled a master bath & put travertine under the soaking tub. I also put it in the laundry room/guest bath area. I would look fabulous with wood flooring to complement it. I opted for a cream/tan color with lots of movement called “jerusalem”.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    That mirror hung over the windows with a strap is AMAZING. Classic is always Five Star with me. Since
    I can’t get to a spa, I’d love any of these!
    The 2 shower curtain idea/simple/perfect!
    Beautiful choice of images Maria!……
    Is my tub ready?

    • Paula Van Hoogen says:

      Ironically, after writing this last night, I got in my shower, then proceeded to scrub (or try to scrub) the bottom with a brush & cleanser,etc. It is so frustrating–I never can get all the mildew off! Even a great product that usually works—“X-14” didn’t completely do it! WHAT is the BRAND of this epoxy grout? Anybody….?
      Really thinking that the next shower I ever specify will have a fiberglass, one piece pan in the bottom.
      Never mind resale value! This is a PAIN!

      • Paula Van Hoogen says:

        Ok, reading down a bit…Spectrlock…hope I can find it here. Thanks, Donna.

      • Farha Syed says:

        the fiberglass isnt that great either. I have it in my master bathroom and I really hate it. it gets a film on it that looks yucky.

  • Sharon says:

    We used epoxy grout in our kitchen and i love that it doesn’t stain or change color. It is the only way to go no matter what color your tile. Love it!

  • I’ve heard bad things about epoxy grout over time, but only from grout companies so I don’t know if I believe it. 🙂 Since It’s a much newer choice, I’ll wait a few years to see how it holds up. Promise me you’ll keep me posted!

    We inherited a master bathroom with pink-beige fake-stone ceramic tile throughout, with a different size on the floor, countertop, tub surround, shower wall, shower floor, and around the window as trim. It is a LOT of slightly-busy pink beige. I’m learning to live with it, but we blast through the shower grout really quickly, and I don’t love the look.

    If I won the lottery tomorrow I’d redo the whole thing in larger slabs of Carrara and be done with it. I agree that’s the most lovely and timeless look… but it stains from rust, so make sure your fixtures aren’t leaky!

  • Donna Frasca says:

    All bathrooms should be white? This can’t be further from the truth! I strongly disagree with you Maria first as a Designer for even saying that. You already determine that your bathrooms should be white before you even get into the house – along with the white kitchens that you love? Where does the color come it? This is just to weird to even respond to. I have NEVER designed a white bathroom. All my clients want a spa retreat which includes color, much like the 4th bathroom you have shown here.

    “Paint your bathroom a different color each year if you get bored?” Well if the right color was chosen the first time, this wouldn’t happen. You don’t get tired of the perfect color, only rooms that are colorless. Colorful accessories only take you so far. The reason hotels choose white is because they are easier to bleach not because they are concerned that their guests will love the decor.

    And epoxy grout has been around for a trillion years. I use Spectrlock grout and if you use something else,it’s really easy to seal grout. This is so 101. Is this Maria writing these posts or someone else? It sure seems different.

    Your blog and ideas surely have changed since you left your other blog Maria. You posts used to be fun, personal, long stories about you and your designs not filled with Pinterest pictures and vague sentences. I’ve been wanting to say that for a while and now this is the perfect opportunity.

    • bfish says:

      Interesting comments and I agree that practically mandating the color of the bath sight unseen seems a bit extreme. I wonder if your comment will stay up?

      • Donna Frasca says:

        That is totally up to Maria whom I adore and respect but it’s my job as a Color Expert to voice my opinion when it comes to color – just like everyone else here does.

        • We have been discussing this topic a lot among True Color Experts. Maria’s point was that if your home is full of earth tones, then of course a white bathroom might not be the right choice, but if it has whites and grays, then a white bathroom will naturally flow as it lends itself to the grays and bright clean colors that are popular right now. In an all white bathroom you are not stuck trying to match tiles that have a lot of colors already running throughout, so you have the freedom to choose any clean color you like. You aren’t stuck picking “one” “correct” color, you have options! The same would go for an all-cream bath, you would be able to choose any color as long as it’s more of a muted color or brown. Otherwise you are right, if you have tile that already has beiges or greens or blues then you have to pick the “right” color to coordinate. I also totally get what you are saying about clients wanting “spa” like baths, or a fung shui warm bath to contrast with the cold water, and that is harder to create with white tiles but it uses natural stones like slates and travertines and warm woods. Some of it, of course, is up to personal choice and with a white/gray house scheme it lends itself to pick similar colors for the kitchen and bath and allows for the “happy” clean bright colors. I am only hoping to clarify. I’m about to re-do my own baths and with my predominantly white/gray house I know earthtones would look awful if I suddenly switched to them in my bath!

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank You Donna! I could not agree more. I think white bathrooms are pretty but not for me.
      Why should every bathroom in every house be white … how boring.

      • Lorena says:

        Yes I hate all white bathrooms. The only practical thing is that they are bleachable but then again, I hate bleach and too much cleaning, plus it is super hard on my eyes.

  • Linda says:

    Dear Maria,
    How do you feel about mixing metals in a bathroom? I have a handsome nickel lav set but like a brass fixture and accents. What are the rules?
    Thank you! Linda
    PS – I love reading your blog. You generously share your expertise while being fun!

    • Maria Killam says:

      I think if you do it thoughtfully it looks great which is why I don’t think a post outlining ‘rules’ can be written. Maria

      • Kim says:

        I’m mixing vintage and modern with gold and silver in my bathroom. It has modern chrome faucets and lights so I’ve added a vintage gold towel ring and gold frame on painting along with subtle gold and silver wallpaper. For me, it works and adds to the layers of interest.

  • saypoint says:

    I’ve had to live with all sorts of bathrooms when we moved a lot, and I have to agree with you. White fixtures and tile are timeless and versatile, plus they look clean and fresh. Adding wall color, towels, accessories and art can provide color that is easy to change. So you’d think I know this. The last tile change I did was a pink-beige bathroom floor tile that I HATE. I found your blog about a month after having that tile installed. WAAAAAHHH!

  • Rebecca says:

    As I write this, I am sitting in a Marriott Hotel bathroom (it’s early, my hubby is sleeping, so this is my only venue to get some work done!) We’ve been coming to this hotel for 15 years and the bathroom decor hasn’t changed and it still looks timeless. White shower, Ecru walls, black counters. I would say the granite is slightly dated, but still has a classic look to it.

    I love all-white bathrooms, but I would say that the majority of my clients go for something with more wood and warm undertones. But I agree white bathrooms can be timeless and can easily change their look with paint and accessories. In the end, it doesn’t matter if I agree with Maria or not, this is her blog and therefore, her opinion! I read her blog often as it has helped me in my design business immensely. I don’t always agree with her color choices or designs, but I value having blogs which give me different perspectives, which in the end only helps me understand my clients.

    So Donna, I can understand your point of view…but your opinion could just as well be vehemently disagreed with by others as well! Just as Maria is not the end-all be-all in color experts, neither are you! We all like what we like and have opinions about it. Beyond that, you could have disagreed in a much nicer tone! Hello! It’s just a blog!

    (Sorry to hijack, Maria….:)

  • Becky says:

    I have to agree with Donna here. It bothers me to hear a designer make such blanket statements as “all bathrooms should be white”. Creamy bathrooms ONLY if the rest of the house is filled with earthy colors? Hmmm…..this is very opinionated and really just a personal preference, I believe. It does not make good sense to me. On the other hand I do love all the pictured bathrooms!

  • Holly says:

    I have a vey light gray epoxy grout in my kids bathroom on the floor. Guess where I was last week? On my hands and knees with a toothbrush and some bleach. And the pathway to the sink is still much darker than the edges of the floor and the area where the bathmat covers. For high traffic areas the epoxy is not stain free, but I guess its better than the traditional porous grout.

    I agree with the white bathroom rule, if you are going for a timeless look. If you don’t mind replacing it every 5 or so years, then go for color in your tile! It will look amazing for at least 3 of those years! We did a 12×24 tile with strands of grays and tans in it, for a modern spa look in the master bath and it has been very popular in our house showings. I will do white next time, however, if I feel I will be living in the house for more than a few years.

  • mimi says:

    Hi Maria!

    I have to agree that white stands the test of time- in our last house our master bath had all white marble and I loved it so much- it always felt so clean and indeed timeless.

    Also, LOVE the idea of using 2 shower curtains to frame the tub! This is an idea I will definitely use.


  • Amy says:

    “All bathrooms should be white.” versus “I believe all bathrooms should be white.”

    I read this blog to get Maria’s take on the world. I thing she is saying if you want a classic, timeless bathroom, stick with white fixed. I see many different colors in those pictures from paint, to marbling, to grout, to flooring, but if you want timeless — which many are trying to do — the essence is white. Add color on the walls, shower curtain, towels, art.

    These bathrooms are beautiful…I want to remodel my master bath but it is essentially white. Too bad they are the 4×4 white tiles. I have to say, I would NEVER put tile in a bathroom again around the shower. In the south it is too much mildew, mold, bleach…it is never ending cleaning and regrouting. I would use a solid surface be it marble, Corian, granite, etc. etc. Now if you have somebody ELSE cleaning all that grout…???

    • Beth says:

      Rather than “All bathrooms should be white,” how about “I prefer all white bathrooms?” (Or as I say when I find a paint color or tile or _____ that I adore, “I’d marry this if I weren’t already married!”

      This is a matter of personal taste, not a one size fits all decision. It’s the same with kitchens. Just my take as an architectural color/materials consultant.

      BTW, I adore many of the photos here. However the pale gray and white walls *could* seem dingy in real life. The ambiance a color creates when it surrounds you in a room isn’t always the same as when looking at a little shiny photo.

  • Debbie says:

    I used epoxy grout on my kitchen backsplash and my bathroom floor. This grout has been in place for 7 years and still looks as good as the day we installed it, no stains or discoloration. I have never had to scrub it and spills wipe up very easily. I would never use anything else but EPOXY GROUT. It preforms like the claims, love it!

    • Amy says:

      Thank you. I will look for EPOXY GROUT…maybe I can put a band-aid on my shower for another few years. I have two elementary school children and it is hard for me to spend thousands on a bathroom rather than a vacation/dance/pool membership/ soccer/baseball/ golf/mini-golf ($40 for 4 to play…goodness! Another $15 for the snowcones.).

      • jammer310 says:

        Try an epoxy grout paint – it is an epoxy paint for your grout…is available in any BM paint color…While it is tedious to paint the grout…it is a great “band-aid” solution until you can do that remodel…someday! Holds up well…just like epoxy grout and can update an old tile job quickly…Google it…I used it for my kitchen file…dramatic change!!!!

        I also have used Spectra Lok in white when tiling our Master Bath floor…GREAT PRODUCT…stays clean and unstained as the manufacturer claims…Good luck!

      • Maggie S says:

        I saw on the SpectraLOCK website that it can be used to re-grout older tile

  • Hey Maria
    I recently completed a beautiful bathroom renovation for clients which we are having photographed next week in Toronto. The entire bathroom is white (Snowfall white by BM to be exact) with the exception of the ceramic walnut wood looking floor tiles (that perfectly matches the actual walnut flooring I chose for the remainder of the 2nd floor). I will share the photos with you once they are done, I’m sure you will approve!!

    Hope you are enjoying your summer! Still loving your posts! xo

  • Debbie says:

    The tile in the last photo with the wood floor look off white to me. Am I wrong?

  • Kim says:

    Maria, I also love white bathrooms, including towels, washcloths, bath mats, shower curtains, and curtains (if any). Oh, and an all white robe :). It speaks of the function of the bathroom. Clean. The only color in my soon to be renovated, soft white bath will be the pale blue ceiling and a few antique aqua glass accessories, for a little ‘watery sparkle’. Still haven’t decided if the vanity will be white or natural wood though.
    Btw, thanks for the double shower curtain idea, and love the lucite table!

  • Kim says:

    Maria said ‘I believe all bathrooms should be white’, not ‘all bathrooms should be white’.

    • Becky says:

      Same message.

      • Kim says:

        Not the same message to me at all. This is why the English language has over a million words, so that we can use them for precise communication. An ‘I believe’ statement puts forth what one holds as their opinion, a statement such as ‘all bathrooms should be white’ is a factual statement. There’s a difference to me between an opinion and a fact.

      • Gemstar64 says:

        It is Maria’s blog and her beliefs…that is why I follow Maria’s blog – I am looking for HER opinion as I admire her design!

  • Cathy Z says:

    As Maria always says you need LOTS of natural light to bring a white room to life. Notice most of these bathrooms are the master ensuite hence the larger windows – they are gorgeous. Its the tiny ones with the one small window (if you’re lucky) that could/would go drab with just white as the palette. Maria, wouldn’t punches of color be best in those types if situations?

    As an FYI, the more down to earth photos you use to illustrate your points using “real” houses – not the gorgeous Houzz or Pinterest shots – help to teach us and provide the honest insight we’ve come to know and love about you. You did this in your webinar and it was VERY helpful.

  • Kim says:

    Maria also said, ‘and the reason why I THINK white bathrooms are so great is because you CAN paint them a different color every year IF you get bored’.

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    One more leeetle comment—if I had another chance to build a spec house for an unknown buyer I would definitely spec white for the baths. I’m in the mountains where cream, etc. goes really well with the rustic finishes here…but having seen some designer show houses locally, the white they used looked so fresh in comparison….and the color choices to use in there (for walls, accessories,etc.) are limitless!

  • In 1998 my husband and I built a new bathroom. I chose white floor tiles a white vanity and white counter top. As was the style of the day I had a painter sponge paint the walls mint green over white and I added mint green draw pulls, mint green towels and mint green accessories. In 2005 when we went to sell, I simply repainted the walls a blue gray, switched to brushed nickle drawer pulls and banished the mint green accessories. That bath went from dated 1998 to current 2005 in a single day. I could never have done that had I chosen the trendy tiles of 1998 which were pastel with accent tiles. In our “new” house I inherited pinky/white tiles in master, orange/white tiles in the 2nd bath and purple and white tiles in the powder room. Boy, what I wouldn’t give for a white bath now!

  • barbara says:

    Oh please ladies, back off on Maria. I do believe she is meaning that the permanent fixtures should be all white. This topic brings to mind those who did the orange or brown sinks, tubs, etc in the 70’s…… large tile with brown grout. ICK! White fixtures will always be “in style” and not dated. period. who wants to reno a bath every 10 years??

    also one comment…all I am seeing these days is those stand alone tubs you have to climb into. I am very very agile from working out but I know a lot of gals my age (65.. !! ) would never be able to lift their leg high enough to climb in. What is with that?? I have a dinky shower in my master bath and a honker fake marble tub ( but standard size) and so wish i could have a larger shower but still have some tub function…. ( like tub walls that rise with the push of a button?? what to do? lose the tub all together?? I also wish i could turn my vanity area into a walk in closet and then shift all the fixtures down in the bathroom, losing the tub, but THAT would be lots of $$$!

  • SandyCGC says:

    This is a big surprise statement coming from a color expert, Maria, and worrisome coming from a designer. It leaves your client totally out of the mix and questions how you can say “If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in…” I love elements in all the bathrooms pictured above, but not all of the white, and every one of them would out of place in my humble little abode, except for the last one with the dark frames and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures which go with the dark window frames throughout my house which give it a character that I love and want to keep . You’re talking about tile in the bathroom which is the most permanent element, of course, but kinda sad world if “white” white and Carrara is being equated with timeless and classic and “creamy” white only works if…

  • have fun with the new project. thank god business picks up this time of year!

  • Fran says:

    My home is filled with creamy, earthy tones, so I selected crema marfil marble when I renovated my master bath two years ago. It was more difficult to find just the right paint color, but Maria helped me with that, and I now have the bathroom of my dreams!

  • Wow…ladies you are brutal…did Maria say all bathrooms should be white or I believe all bathrooms should be white. Really… I have been reading Maria’s blog for a few months now and find her post very informative..Maria has an opinion she shares it with us. So if you’re a color expert , designer whatever if you’re reading Maria’s blogs then she must be doing something right. By the way I’ve been designing since 1989 and I am also a certified Color Expert.

  • I think we all know by now that Maria is into white kitchens and bathrooms, and why. No surprise. But I also hear the comments from folks wanting more color! I agree with the white or creamy tiles, but I like to see more colorful walls in conjunction with them. I too have seen too many homes with pinky beige or dark slate tiles. I’m very nearsighted, and when I step into a shower I can barely see. I’m glad my shower has white tiles and lots of light. The dark slate showers look dark and creepy to me.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Thanks everyone for the lively comments!! Love them!

    This is the reason why I would start a post with a statement like this:

    And yes, it’s the tile that should be white or cream so that you are not married to just one beige for 20 years.

  • BillP says:

    It is interesting to note that not one of the pictured bathrooms is all white. I believe that Maria’s message is that white elements will withstand the test of time better than some of the more exotic finishes available today. Reminds me of a condo I bought about 15 years ago. One of the selling features was that the previous owner “spent more than $100,000 in upgrades”. I never changed but always hated the black, gray and tan fixtures in the three bathrooms. The new owner has dealt with them and replaced everything with white.

  • Carol Todd says:

    What about what you have been telling us about
    white in a dark room………that a light color will never
    come to life in a dark room that it will look grey and
    dingy?? Wouldn’t the same principal apply if you had
    a dark bathroom with a small window and very little
    Just wondering?

    • White fixtures with a rich clean color on the walls is beautiful even without light!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Great question. I’m suggesting white or cream tiles, not walls. And most bathrooms are pretty well lit anyway. If it’s dark, you’ll probably have the light on.

      • Beth says:

        If it’s early morning and dark, I’d rather have the light off so I don’t have to catch a glimpse of my morning self in the mirror. Horrors. ; )

  • Noris Monsalve says:

    I agree with you Maria, I think the bathroom should be especially white tones…
    I explained this to one of my friends when she asked for my opinion…
    and also whites can match any season of the year with just changes the color of the towels….

  • Beth B. says:

    Nothing says clean and fresh like a bathroom with white fixtures and white towels that you can bleach and not worry about. Who else loves the faint smell of Clorox on a bath towel after stepping out of the shower??

    • BillP says:

      Are you serious, Beth? If you can smell Clorox on your towels after they are washed, you are using too much of it. Bleach is toxic. From Oprah’s website “We’ve been somewhat indoctrinated to think that the acrid smell of bleach is the smell of “clean,” but the chemical found in bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and other household products, including mildew remover and toilet cleaner, can burn our skin, cause a host of respiratory and gastrointestinal problems and may even be fatal.”

      Read more:

      • Paula Van Hoogen says:

        There’s a little “trick” you can emply if you really have to use bleach for something in the wash—use 1/2 to 1 full cup of baking soda along with your detergent and just 1/4 cup or LESS of bleach. The baking soda activates the bleach so it doesn’t eat through your towels or you!

  • The double shower curtain is great…at Textile Trimmings we have noticed that clients are either moving away from a glass shower wall because of the cleaning or are trying to enclose tubs. Our 30mm Channel rod does the trick. We can bend it into right angles or tub surrounds and bracket it from the ceiling, and have the carriers easily move past the brackets. Also the track/rod is aluminum so it won’t rust. I just thought I would tell you that ladies, because I see that some of the pintrest tracks are ours, but others have rings, and that is not the way to go!
    PS White is the way to go in the bathrooms. Accent colours can change easily! But that is just my opinion.

    • Amy says:

      I would love to get rid of the glass shower walls. They are a pain to clean, they are see through (some privacy please!), the rubber thing under the door gets yucky mildew, and I hate the frame color. How do you get rid of the wall when the glass is on two sides? I have an approx 3 x 4 shower with glass on 2 sides and tile/wall on the other (the tile then leads to the garden tub). Honestly, I miss the look of a shower curtain.

  • Michelle Ku says:

    I too have heard good things about epoxy grout and have wanted to use it on my projects. However, the installers do not like working with it and it cannot be used with all types of tile. There are other grout products out there that can function well when it comes to mold and mildew.

    These bathrooms are beautiful but, the last one is my favorite. The wood floor, rustic wood counter & legs, and the cream color really warm up the space. And, the double shower curtain really makes the room feel less like a bathroom and more like a regular room.

  • Ann says:

    Oh, how I wish I had white bathrooms. I have one with a mauve toilet, sink, and shower that was “to die for” in 1990. You better believe the new one will be white. Maria, you are my favorite designer/blogger.

  • Missi says:

    I wish I’d gotten help before we redid our bathroom a couple years ago. Now it has to be partially done over, so I will have to contact you soon for that. I *love* the look of that last bathroom. Is mixing whites/creams ok to do, or only on certain occasions? I tried to do it in our bathroom, and maybe it would’ve worked if we’d painted the wood pieces (vanity, trim, door etc) instead of staining them–they were varnished afterward even tho I didn’t want them to be, and now they’ve yellowed horribly, and parts of them look pinkish. It irks me whenever I’m in there now.

  • sherry says:

    My last bathroom to update is our guest bathroom. Right now it’s very white and kind of sad looking. It has no window which doesn’t help.

    I have gotten rid of all the glass in our showers. With our water it’s a maintenance nightmare.

  • Angela Taylor says:

    Interesting reading today. White fixed elements are always safe, but I like some colour on the walls. My personal bathroom is painted HC-60 Queen Anne Pink which is very flattering to one’s complexion:) I would not want white walls in any of my bathrooms…too cold and sterile!
    For a guest bathroom I think you can have some fun with it and do something daring!

    • Meger Anski says:

      Like the pink!!!!!

      Here’s a question/thought that you brought up (am thinking this same question in conjunction with what kind or lighting do i want/need in bathroom as the two are related)

      Putting on makeup.

      I have perused AD (architectural digest) and other high-end, tony mags to analyze lighting choices. Their gorgeous make-you-want-to-weep bathrooms have lousy ‘task’ lighting, only ambient.

      Made me think, concluded: hey, if I could afford that house/bathroom I’d have humongous dressing room /closet with space dedicated only to putting on make up. I would not be doing it in that elegant spa space overlooking the ocean…

      So, as I live in standard 1950s ranch, with no stadium-sized dressing room, and I put on my makeup in my bathroom, am concluding that I may want a flattering color, (LAUGH), i probably want ACCURATE color, so I have my best shot at putting on my make up that will look as good as possible in the harsh light of the real world. 🙂

      So when I leave my bathroom/makeup putting-on area, I know how I will look to the rest of the world.

      So now off to fret about which wall color will provide THAT big o magic.

      Too funny…..

      ((I did google your color above, and first photo up was this color in a kitchen. now THERE I could use some flattering color — you may have just changed my life!! 🙂 🙂 I may have to get a kitchen with your color!))

  • karen says:

    I absolutely love the bathroom pictures of this post. Classic and timeless. I do love color as well, but I tired easily of it, so for me, I would stick with the white and add some. I love timeless but much easier to change the easy to change things. You may not know by my garden but I am a bit of a simple and no fuss gal. I want to love it years down the road. Thanks for the post Maria. Love those bathrooms. They have inspired me. I especially love the first and the fourth one. Love love love them.

  • Beth says:

    Side Note: I recently was “lazy” enough to just squirt my toilet bowl cleaner onto the mildewy grout in my shower. I let it sit for a couple minutes and then scrubbed and it came right off. Probably not the least toxic way to do it, but it worked better than anything else I’ve tried! 🙂

    Loved that double shower curtain with the trim. Rich!

  • Amy says:

    You know, I have a friend of mine who was house hunting a couple of years ago and kept on commenting on all of the awful white kitchens…kept on saying ugly white cabinets, awful white cabinets, wouldn’t buy the house because of the hideous white etc. etc. I held my tongue from telling her how insulting (and hurtful) she was being because I have a white kitchen. I didn’t say a word.

    If I do nothing else in life, I try to be gracious. I’m not perfect but there are a lot of worse habits out there.

    • Liz says:

      As long as you’re not doing any name-calling or similar behavior, I think expressing a contrary opinion is not “un-gracious.” I think quite a few women in particular are afraid to express their opinions for fear of being unpleasant or disliked. I think speaking the truth, as you see it, is an admirable trait and not the opposite of “gracious.”

      • Liz says:

        Oh, and I should say, I have a white bathroom and had a white kitchen for 10 years before moving on to other colors. I don’t think white is ugly by any means, and it may be the best choice for someone. But I dislike the opinion that it is ALWAYS the best choice for everyone, everywhere.

      • Liz says:

        I see that my original comment was removed, so you can remove my next 2 comments since the context for them (i.e. the “one-note nature of this blog”) no longer makes sense.

  • Nicole says:

    I agree Maria! I reno’d my master bath last year and used all white tile for my master shower. Because I was keeping the existing floor tile (pink/yellow beige), I installed a crema marfil marble counter on the existing vanity (which I painted white) and then added a thin strip of the same marble (in mosaic size) in the shower to tie it all in. I also installed honed crema marfil tile on the shower floor. I absolutely LOVE my all (mostly) white shower!!! It feels so bright and clean and my only regret is that I added one thin strip of the mosaic. Luckily it’s a small strip of accent tile (and at least it is marble=classic material) so it is easy to ignore. 🙂

    My preference is for a bathroom to feel clean and fresh and the best way to achieve this is by choosing white for the fixed elements and then bringing colour in with walls, accessories, window treatments, etc… Just like a previous poster said… She changed the paint and accessories in her 1995 bathroom and her bathroom was instantly catapulted into 2005. Classic choices, like white fixed elements that are expensive or costly to change, are never a bad choice!

  • Connie says:

    I think I have finally learned that any “fixed” elements in a room (especially tile and plumbing fixtures! –my dreaded chocoloate brown bath from the 70-‘s!) get dated very quickly and one needs to stay classic…..unless you move often, or can affrod to change the tile often. Wall color, on the other hand, can be changed often and fairly easily.

  • Cat says:

    A question. I love white bathrooms but my kids (boys) love to add “colour” – via dirty hands. What would you suggest for towels and shower curtains if I have that issue? White, while you can bleach the heck out of it, doesn’t fare well when you have to change the towels every l0 minutes. What can I have as white and what other colours can you suggest to go with it so that it still feels “white” but is kid friendly?

  • Dianne says:

    Okay. You have given me the solution to colors for my bathroom. For four years, I have been painting one color and then another. None of the eight have worked. The only window is a large and on the west side of the room. My neighbor’s home keeps the sunshine out although it does get hot in there in the summer. The master has large windows on the north side. In the winter it is cold in there. If I paint the cabinets dark and the rest is white will that balance out the temperature? The designer I used suggested that I use dark blinds to warm up the rest of my house. Cabinets that color may be the solution. Thanks for the information and pictures.

    • Meger Anski says:

      It strikes me you have some terrific ideas.

      It will depend on the white, of course, but your description makes all sound terrific.

      Another things that warms up a house is rugs. They tuck us in and ’embrace’ us, give a sense of place. In a cool (color or temp) room, they give foundation, provide an oasis of welcome and warmth.

      One thing to consider about color is, have noticed, that light colors make the outside disappear and keep our eyes inside. Mid-tone or deep colors act as a frame for the outside view and pull it in. can use this color trick with drapes, if wanting to keep wall color light.

      just a thought 🙂

  • Meger Anski says:

    Y — white is lovely, agree. And there are so many shades of it, to keep it interesting. (and frustrating to some of us! LOL ack!)

    It is great when all-white,
    It is great when a foil to a pop of color,
    it can be base of a neutral palette,
    it can be upbeat or serene,

    It is easy to forget how versatile it is, as well as timeless, if you are not ‘seeing’ it.

    Would like to hear your thoughts on hardware — chrome, brass, bronze, etc. I am myself leaning towards nickel and ‘flat’ silvers as the timeless solution. I am Scottish and don’t want to by twice. Or three times…

    Stealing from the ad: “…things chosen well rather than often” is my motto. I will pay much more if i believe it is the last time i’ll buy it. White bathrooms and kitchens support that.

    Once more, Maria, well done!

    And am hoping to hear your thoughts on metal finishes! You often see things from a perspective I miss. 🙂 🙂

  • Rosie says:

    What about small interior windowless bathrooms? I totally don’t agree with white bathrooms for every situation. Even Maria herself writes about how white needs light, and that white will not make a small dark space feel larger – it will just look dingy. What she says in this article contradicts what she says in her “White is a snob” article. How about a beautiful small dark colorful powder room with amazing wallpaper? I am redoing a 5×8 interior bathroom and am struggling to find the right tile, but I think white would look clinical and dingy and make the room feel smaller. I want to cozy it up and let it be the powder room and main bathroom for the house that it is. The bathroom is off a long dark hall w/ hardwood floors. It would be like stepping into an operating room if it were white.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I meant white finishes so you can paint the walls a colour. Sorry that did not seem to be clear. Maria

  • Stephanie says:

    Hello, Perhaps no one is reading this anymore. But can I (as both a designer and as someone getting ready to re-do a bath) put in a few thoughts?
    First, a defense of creamy, antique white cabinets and trim over white-white? I’m a redhead who wears ivory over white, who wears gold jewelry over silver, etc. Sometimes it works to do what we both feel good in, AND look good in–since we must be naked in there–yikes! And to some of us, cream feels more restful and serene. My counters are marble, but Calacatta Oro. They will overall have whiter, cooler undertones, never-the-less, than the cabinets. I know, I know! But it works for me.
    Our bath that is being gutted is just such a lesson to underscore the “avoid the trends” rule: Here is what 2 reasonably intelligent people put into this 1920’s bath:
    Yellow, pukey-yellow-y rough travertine-type tile.
    Matching, square tiles as the countertops.
    Tuscan (?) rough, faux painted textured walls in a swirl of colors. Accented with 2 very randomly-placed painted Tuscan, painted scene tile quads; I swear, it looks like two of the animals are mating!
    Art Deco inspired over-vanity lights.
    COBALT BLUE bowl sinks. Black, twirly-handled faucets. And finally: Mexican Sand toilet and….a BIDET!!!
    Are you getting the picture?
    I have arrived at clean, 2-inch biscuit floor tile. Subway in my husband’s shower. Marble. Simple!! This is despite advice from another designer to “go BOLD”…do something WONDERFUL!”
    So I agree in the white.
    But don’t be afraid to do off-white. Just sayin.–Stephanie W from Louisville, KY.

    • Sylvia says:

      Wow…you say bidet like it’s a dirty word. No wonder I can’t find a house in my area with a bidet or even room to ADD a bidet. Thanks for reminding me there is no place in ‘design’ for the practical. Don’t let good hygiene, health benefits or the primary usage and purpose of a bathroom stand in the way of ridiculing a former homeowner’s personal taste. Because a professional designer skewering untrained homeowners in a ‘they are so clueless and I am so smart by comparison’ manner on a public forum is way more appropriate than cobalt blue sinks and pukey-yellow tile installed in a privately owned home.

  • Tamara says:

    What do you all think of bathtub vs shower? I’m remodeling an upstairs guest bathroom and am trying to figure out if it’s OK to ditch the tub and make a nicely tiled shower enclosure instead-with white tiles, of course. Is it still considered a no-no for resale to lose the bath?

    • mairi says:

      Could you do something like the second photo and keep the bath? There are many reasons we have kept our tub- for example- washing very large items by hand; pets on occasion; visiting children who are too young to shower.
      Many prospective buyers would miss the tub and may not want the expense of adding it in-not without taking it off the offering price. If you have a closet that you can bump out to accommodate a shower adjacent to the tub, it is the best of both worlds.
      I think that if tubs were falling out of favour that hotels would be following suit and so far they are not. Good luck with your project!

  • ann says:

    There is a product out there that’s called Grout Refresh (Lowes) that worked well. My kitchen grout was always so dirty looking that I hated my floor. So following the directions, I refreshed my grout. It changed the color to a better color and has lasted 2 years now. Even with a steam cleaner. It worked so well that I decided to change the color of my Master bath grout which looked like a checker board. My floor was a creamy white with beige-brown and gray markings and the grout was brown. I refreshed it to a light beige- gray. Turned out great. And it doesn’t seem to pick up stains. Thanks for the blog, Maria.

  • Jean says:

    I have followed Maria ‘s blog for a couple of years. I painted my knotty pine kitchen cabinets a soft white and love love love my inexpensive redo. I already have 1970’s white bathrooms. I love them and they are easy to change up. I don’t like the grout, but that’s life. Does anyone remember the orange peel tiles of the 70’s? I had that in a previous house. Gold and white fleck and bumpy as I recall. That was the latest back then. Thank goodness the people who built my current house went with white. Most of us don’t spend $ on updates. We just paint. But wait…the woman who built this house wallpapered…no sizing. I’m paying that penalty!

  • carol says:

    Love the white bathrooms. Do You Know what the light gray paint color is in the 4th bathroom down?

  • Katherine says:

    Hi Maria. We have had epoxy grout tile on our bathroom floors for 6 years, in a fairly light shade. We have not had any staining, however, it is certainly not maintenance free. It still traps dirt and lint, so occasionally I have to scrub it with a toothbrush and a good cleaner. It does, thankfully, come perfectly clean with enough elbow grease.

  • julie b says:

    regarding epoxy grout! the idea is great but working with the stuff is very difficult. There may be a trade secret to it (i’d say probably work in very small sections) but it is not like regular grout. I don’t think i would use it again, despite the good properties. It is just very hard to get off the tile, unlike regular grout.

  • Laura says:

    None of the extra links at the bottom work.

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