Colour me happy: Eight of the best colourful bathrooms to feast your eyes on and gain inspo from

Text Robyn Alexander 
Production Sven Alberding
Photographs Greg Cox, Warren Heath, Lar Glutz

Colour is most definitely back in vogue for bathrooms, and in a variety of ways, too. From ultra-bright accents that provide energetic punch in monochromatic schemes to subtle and slightly “off” tones of pastel pinks, blues and greens, here’s all the inspiration you need to create a cool and contemporary space.


In this laid-back beachside cottage, the main bedroom’s en suite bathroom features Moroccan encaustic cement tiles in a brilliantly bold red pattern, which adds massive appeal to an otherwise very simple space. It might seem counterintuitive, but not only does the flooring provide a colourful boost here, the detailed repeating pattern on the tiles also helps make the small room seem larger.

Bathroom design colours
Tip: Naturally inspired touches such as the woven floor mat (from well-known African basketry and weaving suppliers Design Afrika, plus plenty of greenery in the form of leafy indoor plants, complete this bathroom’s laid-back look.


Reminiscent of the gleaming interior of an old-fashioned trinket or jewellery box, the walls of this guest bathroom in a contemporary family home are clad in handmade glass-toned green tiles from local manufacturers, Southern Art Ceramics ( Applied in a vertical broken bond pattern that helps add a feeling of height to the compact space, they give a marvellously luxurious and dramatic atmosphere to the room.

Bathroom design colours
Tip: With the tiles being the real stars of the show here, the rest of the fixtures are chosen to complement them while also contributing to the “updated Art Deco” feel of the space. The mirror – with its curvy brass frame – and petite wall sconce are especially clever choices in this regard.


The ongoing appeal of millennial pink – the dusty, off-pastel shade that has been popping up in youthful interiors for years is amply demonstrated in this bathroom, which forms part of a new-build apartment with a stylish, retro feel. Cladding the bath in chunky granite and using charcoal-grey slate tiles on the floor of this “wet room” space is both practical and a smart way to ground and offset the soft pink shade on the walls.

Bathroom design colours
Tip: There’s a lot going on here in terms of colour and texture, so keeping the shower enclosure, tapware and other fixtures completely minimalist allows this compact space to intrigue rather than overwhelm the eye.


A resolutely contemporary bathroom, this space is situated in a small, semi-detached, historic villa recently given an award-winning refurb by its two architect owners, whose design practice is called Douglas & Company ( They created the bespoke built-in storage, which is made from steel painted in a deep maroon-red oxide that looks superbly elegant against the raw wood and crisp white interior finishes.

Tip: There’s no need to fill bathrooms with often expensive prefabricated vanity units: ask your architect or interior designer to create custom storage for your new bathroom. It’s a good opportunity to reuse or upcycle, too: this vanity is topped with a piece of timber reclaimed during the house renovation.


This family home uses plenty of bright colours against crisp, whitewashed backdrops. Here, seamless monochrome floor and wall tiling combines with a bold, cartoon-style artwork to create a graphic feel worthy of a Roy Lichtenstein painting. It’s the very opposite of tranquil and the perfect space for morning people.

Bathroom design colours
Tip: Artworks in the bathroom are always a good idea: the Pop Art-inspired picture here is by Democratic Republic of Congo-born artist Job Ngwanza. The fabulously futuristic Italian mid-century chrome light fixture, picked up at a local vintage dealer, adds to the pop feel.


The combination of dusty pink and sea green helps make this bathroom vanity and storage unit a stylish exercise in retro chic. Combine the colours with a painterly terrazzo countertop and oversized tiles, as well as the lesson in geometry created via the shapely oval of the unit itself and the perfectly round sinks (from Studio 19,, and you’ve got a very modern lesson in why more really can be lovely.

Bathroom design colours
Tip: The multi-dimensional blend of textures, materials and colours in this bathroom is bold and fearless – and an element that adds yet more appealing tactility to the space is the white wall tiles, handmade by bespoke tile manufacturers, Akashic Tiles


The gallerist owners of this urban bolthole know just how to attract the eye – in this case, by adding a brilliantly bold yellow cabinet to an otherwise monochrome bathroom. Because the colour scheme and fittings – note the round retro lamps alongside the mirror and old-school pedestal basin – provide such a classic backdrop here, almost any bright item will “pop” in this space, so you could ring the colour changes easily and often, and without breaking the bank.

Bathroom design colours
Tip: The cabinet seen here, designed and made in Cape Town, is from Mother City Hardware From vintage locker suppliers to hardware stores, however, this sort of industrially inspired piece is easy to find just about anywhere.


The tranquil, tonal colours used in this compact bathroom – situated in a coastal cottage located within a nature conservation area – are inspired by the variety of green and blue shades of the surrounding landscape. Textural simplicity is key to making this small space feel restful and calm, with materials restricted to wood and ceramic elements and tapware in a matte finish rather than gleaming stainless steel.

Bathroom design colours
Tip: Adding plenty of narrow wall shelving provides sensible levels of storage for bathroom essentials and an opportunity to add visual interest – seen here, for example, in the form of the grey ceramic vessels and vases from Vorster & Braye (