Choosing Colors for a Beach Themed Bathroom Choosing Colors for a Beach Themed Bathroom

Q: After gutting our main bathroom, I need help with color choice. I chose a natural maple cabinet and faux granite for the sink top & shower walls. It's called "sandy beach". It's speckled and looks like sand. The fixtures are nickel-brushed. My whole house is beige. I've always been afraid of color, but now I'm hooked on all the TV design shows and I want color in my house! I think I want to paint the walls some sort of blue, but who knows how to pick the right shade? Not me! Any suggestions?

A: Remember that you're asking this question of the Anxious Decorator, not the Calm, Cool, and Collected Decorator, so first let me say that I fully understand your fear of color. Rest assured that it's a concern shared by many. You're right to push through this fear of yours, and the bath is a great place to start because chances it's a small rooms and can easily be repainted later.

First, consider the overall look of the bathroom. It sounds as if you're going for a beach style, given the sandy colored faux granite which seems to take up much of the room. The brushed nickel and natural wood cabinet contribute to the outdoorsy effect.

Use muted shade of green, such as moss, lichen, or sage. Imagine standing on a beach with a big branch of driftwood. There is the warm pink colored sand and flat stones. What is the shade of green you'd expect here? Take that image with you when you go to the paint store, along with a swatch of the faux granite and a sample of the nickel faucets.

Get paint sample. Test the paint on a white sheet of cardboard or wallboard. You'll find your choice to be quite clear.

You can pull the whole room together with towels in green and sand stripes, and with artwork. You don't have to beat the sea-side theme to death. Leave out the actual seashells and glass jar of sand, instead aiming for a more subtle manifestation of the sea through color.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Design

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