The Idealist

Colour Scheme: Black in the bathroom

Black in the bathroom may seem counter-intuitive. The contemporary design and decor trend is towards all things light and bright, with a hygienic spa-type vibe prevailing. That’s all very nice and relaxing, but we’ve been thinking about the challenges and potential triumphs of anchoring bathroom spaces with … black. Yes, negative, dark, sultry and suggestive black.

We’re not sure about going the whole hog and having a black bath tub, although we love this one, but bathroom hardware aside, there are many imaginative ways to incorporate black into a sophisticated, elegant, or even playful decor scheme for your bathroom. We’ve sourced a range of furniture and accessory pieces to help you do it.

Black and White Traditional

Let’s ease into things with a look at the absolutely traditional yet still very sound black and white design scheme for the bathroom. Think subway tiles on the walls and black and white penny mosaic on the floors. It remains fresh and clean, but you can play with the balance of white to black in a way that makes this classic early 20th century style completely modern.

Start with those iconic black and white tiles (still very easy to source) and then consider an elegant vanity and sink unit with a light-coloured wood base and a darker stone basin and counter. This retro beauty from Maisons du monde fits the bill beautifully. £839

Black and White TraditionalTop it with contrasting white marble accessories – a basin tidy, soap dispenser, tissue cover and accessory tray. These are all hand-crafted Jaipur marble from John Lewis. £12.00 – £28.00

Then bring back the black with solid colour Egyptian cotton towels draped on racks and stacked. Add a few white ones (or some other pale colour – light pink, perhaps?) for contrast. £2.00 – £30.00 A textured all-cotton black bathmat will also look great against black and white tiles. £25

Black Towels and MatSuper contemporary

Black can take your bathroom in a completely different, ultra modern direction. It tends to pair well with metal and chrome surfaces in what is usually considered a masculine look – but it also appeals to many women. Think all black towels on polished chrome heated towel racks. And black or white porcelain, ceramic or marble wall tiles. And punctuate with a striking geometric lighting fixture in the hallway or adjacent bedroom. £120

Or go for a matt black towel rail for the full effect. £79.99. This would look great with black or contrasting towels.

Radiator OptionsOn the accessories side, if you have the room, we love the starkness of this black metal standing mirror with extra shelving discreetly tucked behind the glass. £85 This black accented shaving mirror can be used for all sorts of grooming with its 7X magnification. £35 And just for fun, and because contemporary does tiny hits of pop culture better than any other design ethos, who can resist this noir Batman version of a rubber ducky for the bath? £10

Quirky Victorian/Steampunk

Finally, black denotes the mysterious, nocturnal side of culture expressed so well by the Victorians or by creative cult movements such as steampunk. We love the idea of bringing some of this dark energy to the bathroom. This striking wood and marble washstand and basin from Maisons du monde has all of the requisite qualities. Brooding, with a sensuously wavy front, it’s a solid piece to build a bathroom around. £1,501.00 Top it with this stunning convex mirror with a matte black surround. £230 We also love this moody marble basin tidy for organising toiletries. £28

Victorian SteampunkThree very different bathroom decor styles, using black in different intensities for a range of effects. In a sea of spa style white and pastel bathrooms, it’s a dramatic alternative decor scheme for the brave and the creative.

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  • John is a photographer and journalist from Manchester with a passion for street photography and modern art. When not taking photos, you can find him on a bike anywhere from Sardinia to Amsterdam listening to Zero 7.

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