Grey and white bathroom ideas that will update your space quickly and on a budget. Includes easy ways to add color and texture.
Grey seems to be a controversial color these days. It has gone from being wildly popular, to a color that’s often referred to now as over-used and bland. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I believe that grey tones are a classic and sophisticated neutral, and I personally like it.
Working With What You Have
Even though I love grey, I never decorated with it until we moved into our new home. Our main bathroom has grey wall tiles and floor tiles throughout, and changing it was never something I was interested in tackling. The light grey color palette is joined by a white vanity and a white freestanding tub.
As a result, I have wholeheartedly embraced it, along with the grey and white color scheme. To update the room and make it our own, we chose to switch out other, easier-to-install features, and keep the tile and bathroom vanity as is.
In this post, I’m showing you how to update and personalize your bathroom decor, and it doesn’t matter what color you choose. Keep in mind that the ideas and inspiration that follow don’t have to be done all at once. Simply take one thing at a time, as your budget allows.
How to Brighten a Grey and White Bathroom
When it comes to bathroom designs, the place you get the most bang for your buck is with the mirrors and lights. They are relatively easy to switch out, and they are the first thing you see when you walk in a bathroom. When we moved into our current home, our bathroom had a large builder-grade, frameless mirror, and lights that just did not work for me. (More on that later.) You can see the original bathroom HERE.
Since we were painting anyway, I had the big mirror removed, and replaced it with two beveled, tilting mirrors in brushed nickel. Just this change alone made a huge difference. After that, I found the perfect light with a farmhouse vibe and clean lines. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I decided to splurge, and I have zero regrets. It’s beautiful!
Splurge and Save Advice
Deciding on where to splurge, and where to save, is a personal decision…but make sure your splurge items are timeless, and ones that you truly love. I had planned to replace the towel rings and faucets, but I decided to keep those for a while, so by splurging on the light, I didn’t completely blow my budget.
Best Tip for Choosing Lights
When we renovated our bathrooms at the Sutton Place house, I chose lights with glass shades. I loved them, but within a few weeks, I was filled with regret. They were impossible to keep clean. I did the best I could, but mostly I just ignored the haze that was constantly on those shades. It was an expensive lesson to learn, but I didn’t make the same mistake in this house. I knew from the first time I walked in our new bathroom, that the existing light with glass shades would have to go. So…just something to consider!
Faucets + Mixing Metals
Although I chose to keep our existing faucets, replacing them is a budget-friendly way to update a bathroom, and it’s very quick. I did not mix metals in this bathroom, but if you like to vary the color of your fixtures and hardware, the faucet is a great place to start. Door hardware and towel rings/bars are another easy way to add interest by mixing metal colors. In the bathrooms on Sutton Place, we mixed oil rubbed bronze with brushed gold…and I loved it. Our faucets were bronze, but our door hardware and shelf brackets were gold. It was a lovely combination. Mixing brushed nickel or chrome with gold would also be a stunning duo.
How to Add Contrast
An easy way to add the unexpected to a bathroom with a monochromatic color scheme is to incorporate contrasting accessories. I needed something to pop off the white countertops, white walls, and grey floor.
I chose this bamboo bathroom set for two reasons. First, the pieces add a warm, organic material to a bathroom with mostly cold surfaces. Second, the different shades of brown pop off the cool grey and white tones, providing instant contrast. I also love the way the bamboo blends with the teak wood stool that I used in this bathroom refresh at the Sutton Place house. Adding warmth with simplicity to a grey and white bathroom can be accomplished by simply adding a few well-chosen accessories.
Crisp New Linens + Rugs
Fresh and new towels are such a treat…especially if you have been using towels that have been around for a while! This ring spun cotton 8-piece set comes in several different colors, and washes up beautifully. When it comes to bathroom rugs, I prefer ones that are soft and cushy, and have a rubber back, so there’s no possibility of slipping.
Adding something from nature, like flowers or a plant, to a bathroom is always a good idea. If, that is, you have room on your vanity top for something that technically isn’t functional. If your vanity top is very small, that valuable real estate should used for storage. If this is the case, another option is to install a shelf, and place a natural element there. Corners are also a space that can be filled by adding a natural element. For example, fill a stoneware planter with soft faux ferns and place it in that empty corner where nothing else fits!
More Easy Update Ideas
- add wallpaper
- install accent tile
- hang artwork (I still want to do this over the teak bench and over our toilet.)
- add plants
- replace the shower curtain
- install a wall treatment like shiplap or board and batten
- replace the toilet seat and update the toilet lever
- hang a chandelier over a freestanding bathtub
- add black accents
Click the images below to be taken directly to the product listing. Every effort has been made to provide sources for the items found in this post. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
*Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Bathrooms are easy to put on the back burner. We don’t spend a lot of time in them, and some aren’t seen by anyone except family members. But I encourage you to keep your bathrooms refreshed, even if it’s just by changing one or two things at a time. Prioritize you by doing it for yourself…and every time you walk in your spa like stylish bathroom, you’ll smile.
Until next time…