The Power of Color: A Shade That Makes Dated Bathrooms Look More Modern

published Aug 14, 2016
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(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Whether you have a tile color you can’t stand, falling apart cabinetry, a terrifying toilet or blemished walls, using this color in this sheen is a simple way to cover a lot of flaws. Because of its sophisticated vibes, it ups the modern style of a dated bathroom without having to do any major remodeling.

Matte black!

As you’ll see in the two first case studies below, matte black works best with white (or, walls and fixtures that once used to be white). Creating a bold, contrasting black and white color scheme will immediately distract from a dated bathroom’s flaws. But, as you’ll see in the last case study below, dated white bathrooms aren’t the only rooms that can benefit from the addition of matte black—nor does do you have to use paint to bring matte black in!

Case study 1: A narrow “nothing special” space turned sophisticated

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

The bathroom in Morgane’s Delicate, Detailed Apartment is pretty cramped. And with the square, standard wall tiles, the industrial wall-mounted sink and dated overhead light fixture, this could have been a dingy, sad space. But a band of black at the bottom portion of the main wall (and mirrored in the black and white shower curtain) immediately adds depth, architectural interest and drama.

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

Case study 2: The really needs help rental bathroom

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

With a toilet that’s definitely seen better days, vanity cabinet doors that look like they’re barely hanging on and vintage floor tile—with a few missing pieces here and there—the bathroom in Anna’s Warm & Sweet Chicago Studio Apartment was in need of decor therapy. Anna brought in matte black in her rental bathroom in a way that both added sophistication and helped disguise flaws. Paint on the wall, paint on the cabinet, even paint on the claw foot tub—the matte black here doesn’t erase anything, it just creates a subtle elegance that elevates the entire room.

(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Case study 3: Too-bold blue is tamed with color (and pattern)

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Some may have found charm in the electric blue tiles covering the wall in Wes and Taylor’s, but for this creative color, this hue wasn’t doing it for them. But, they rent, so while they have wanted to rip the tiles off the wall, they can’t. They’re solution? Matte black vinyl stickers cut into circles and placed on each tile. Instead of a dated feel, the look is now a modern, surreal pattern. Mixed in with matte black in other ways—like the shower curtain and the rug—and Taylor and Wes were able to transform their bathroom into a room they enjoy.