Gray and White Bathroom Ideas

Gray and white bathroom ideas that will update your space quickly and on a budget. Includes easy ways to add color and texture.

grey and white bathroom with tile (1)

Gray 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 all the various gray tones are classic and sophisticated neutrals, and personally, I like them very much.

Working With What You Have

Even though I love gray, I never decorated with it until we moved into our new home. Our main bathroom has gray wall tiles and floor tiles throughout, and changing it was never something I was interested in tackling. The light gray color palette is joined by a white vanity and a white freestanding tub.

As a result, I have wholeheartedly embraced it, along with the gray 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.

white kraftmaid vanity brushed nickel hardware in grey and white bathroom

How to Brighten a Gray 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.

brushed nickel bathroom mirror and lights

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! (My light is currently sold out, but this one is very similar and a much better price.)

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.

white bathroom vanity with bamboo accessories

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!

brushed nickel bathroom mirrors and light

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.

grey and white bathroom with teak bench and white rug

How to Add Contrast

An easy way to add the unexpected to a bathroom with a monochromatic color scheme is to incorporate contrasting accessories. In order to do that, I needed something to pop off the white countertops, white walls, and gray 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 are the perfect contrast to the cool gray and white tones. 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 gray and white bathroom can be accomplished by simply adding a few well-chosen accessories.

teak tray and soap dispenser on white vanity

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.

gap home grey towels on teak bench

Natural Elements

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!

gap home walmart grey towels

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
grey and white bathroom tub shower

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.

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26 Comments

  1. Removing a builder grade mirror can be easier said than done. Ours are glued to the wall, so removing them causes drywall damage, something I can’t tackle myself. I’ve been updating my master bath and am choosing to leave the mirror. Instead of a new one, I’m going to build a simple frame to go around it. If all goes well, I’ll do the same for our powder room.

    1. Hi Ginny…this is the perfect solution to removing the mirror. At our house on Sutton Place, that’s what we did in our hallway bath. It was the original 1960’s bathroom with all the original tile. Just adding the frame made a big difference. Good luck!

  2. Hi, your bathroom is beautiful! What is the paint color?

    1. Hi Leslie…the paint color is Snowbound by Sherwin Williams. Thanks!

  3. Love how you made this your own! The bamboo accessories add a wonderful finishing touch. Feels very spa like from your pictures.

  4. I would go with whatever you say as you have wonderful decorating taste. Not the public norm. But I am feeling like I am a little behind the times, as I am now loving a light gray color in decor. You can add so many other colors to this for pillows, etc.

    I hope you are feeling better from the dreadful COVID. We have both been there, done that.
    Have a wonderful New Year and keep up the wonderful ideas for 2024.
    Alice

  5. I have always liked the color gray and it will continue to be a color I use in my home decor. So many beautiful, vibrant colors pair with the relaxing nature of gray. Following trends is not something I am comfortable with; gray will always be welcome in my home. Thank you for sharing this great article.

  6. We have gray and white, too. I love your choice of teak wood accents, they pop in the bathroom.

  7. I love your bathroom!! Do you remember the kind of grey tile you have?

    1. Hi Heidi…the tile was here when we bought the house. I looked for the source, but was unable to find it. I’m pretty sure it’s basic ceramic tile that’s available at Lowe’s or Floor and Decor. Thanks!

  8. Ann,
    Your bathroom looks fresh and beautiful. I confess I’ve tired of gray in my house, but the towels are such a great color gray. Very pretty, thank you for sharing.
    Karen B.

  9. Your bathroom looks fantastic!

  10. It looks lovely, and the teak accents are perfect! The new mirrors really make a great statement.

  11. Love the grey bathroom – we remodeled our kitchen and got many of the same remarks about the grey being overused. We couldn’t be happier with our grey toned kitchen – it is subtle and lets me use my bright red pops of color so I’m all for it!!! Beautiful bathroom!

  12. Ann I love your esthetic. I have loved gray for over a decade and honestly keep waiting to get over it. However, gray sparks joy for me and I have a visceral reaction to it. Did a total renovation (floor to ceiling) in 2014 and to this day regret not following my gut to put down the then new to me ceramic “wood” plank floor in gray.

  13. I love grey and have incorporated it all over my home.Our master bath needs a remodel but that isn’t happening any time soon so I’ve updated with towels,rugs and accessories.Your bath looks lovely with the neutrals.The small changes you made created a big impact in the total look of the bathroom.Can’t wait to see more of your new home.

  14. Your bathroom is gorgeous. I like gray and white; I have used it extensively in our tiny condo. The color is so easy to update with touches of fun colors whether through the use of throws, pillows, towels, even artwork. I see gray and white as neutral and not trendy.

  15. We remodeled our main bath and gutted it to replace the tub with a walk in shower. We’ve never regretted losing the tub and love the look of the time throughout the glass doors. We chose gray and white also, and add color with the towels. Pastels in spring and summer, darker colors in fall and winter. We love it!

  16. I love your bathroom!! So fresh looking. I agree with you about gray being a great neutral. Last year we changed out our downstairs flooring to a gorgeous lt gray plank tile and we have been so happy with the update. Everything goes with it!!

  17. Looks like a lovely spa 😍

  18. Ann, I just love the way the bath came out! It doesn’t look too grey at all. Instead the grey is lovely… :-) The bamboo pieces make all the difference in the world. I love them and they really do warm up the space! Beautiful job!

  19. Your bathroom looks lovely!

  20. We are currently in the search for a new wall color for our master bath. You’ve given me some good ideas. I also am going to seriously consider that towel set. I like a towel with no ribbing at the end. And these look soft and perfect. We are also getting rid of the big builder grade mirror in our powder room. I’ve never liked it and plan on upgrading that and the light fixture. Your new home is beautiful and I like watching it evolve into your style; flawless, timeless and classy.

  21. Thank you for these ideas, Ann!! I never really did take to gray, but reading this post made me realize that our master bathroom would look beautiful with gray towels and floor rugs! This is a new house for us (we just moved from California to Fort Wayne, IN), so I am definitely going to look closely at your shopping list for accessories!

  22. Love that tub peeking out in that photo. One thing you didn’t mention is adding art to the walls to bring in interest and color. I could see a lovely print over the towel bar by the tub. Textures are important in a bathroom full of hard surfaces. So I liked what you said about that. A stool that is upholstered is another way. Enjoy that new bathroom and thanks for sharing

  23. I love your gray bathroom! I have always liked gray colors whether trending or not. Enjoy your beautiful home. 😊