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Layering Whites In The Bathroom

September 12, 2019

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Layering different shades of white to create a warm and cozy space with charm, isn't always as effortless as it looks.

Here are a few tips to create a warm and cozy white bathroom.

And still keep it light and bright.

Bathroom vanity with flowers and towel near sink

Our bathroom renovation is finally complete.

Can you believe it?? Well, it took me long enough...I mean five months from start to finish is just a little too long wouldn't you say?

Ok, full disclosure, the nuts and bolts were swapped out with relative ease. The hold up was all my fault. You see when I said that I wanted an all white bathroom, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Decorating with white is not as easy as it looks. Layering those tones to create a warm and cozy space, that doesn't feel like an arctic well, takes skill.

And apparently, it's not one that I inherently possess.

I'm a color girl. I've got that design process down to a science...especially if it involves red. I know exactly where to place the pops, my gut tells me which patterns coordinate and when there's just too much.

But with white, I was lost.

There are bright whites, gray whites, creamy whites and yellow whites. There are whites with purple and blue undertones and ones so blinding the light just bounces right off the wall.

And mixing and matching them to get a cohesive look is much more difficult than adding a vase of crimson tulips to accent a room.

And anyone who tells you differently has never really played this particular decorating game.

Do you remember where I started?

My red bathroom. I loved that room. The walls were so dramatic that, if anything, the space needed to be toned down.

Accessorizing was simple.

Just add white things and ta-da, fabulous.

Red and White Bathroom

However when everything in the room was already white, I was lost.

Here's my tale. You might want to grab a's a long one.

We started by replacing the tub.

If you recall, that was the motivation for the entire project.

It wasn't easy to find one that fit the existing area, had the sleek lines I was looking for, got decent reviews and didn't cost thousands, but eventually we found one.

White Bathroom Mosaic Tile Floor

And I couldn't be more pleased. Thankfully, the white matched our existing toilet and wall tiles. So far, so good. Phew.

Once that was in though, my husband was all pick a floor and what are we doing to the vanity? I honestly had no idea. I was at a standstill.

I looked at floors for weeks and when I thought I couldn't look any further, he literally forced me into one last tile shop, where I found this beauty.

That became the inspiration for the rest of the room. It exudes a sort of vintage, cottage, classic elegance. So I went with it.

A wooden floor tile sample - the inspiration for my new wooden countertop - and an old faux floral pot became my muses and helped me see that the vanity needed to be white.

Ok, but which one?

Bathroom Mood Board with tile, cabinet door and flower pot

I spent more hours in the paint shop looking at colors to makeover the old vanity and ended up picking one that looked a teeny bit silver, Benjamin Moore Silver Satin to be exact, so it would match the slight silver sparkle in the floor.

Of course once it went on the cabinet, it was cream. Go figure.

I swear, those paint chips lie. We had the same issue with the walls. Again, my husband said, pick a color. I said, no, I want all white.

The room has no windows and while I have adored those red walls for almost two decades, I was craving a lighter, cleaner aesthetic.

I was looking for fresh, but soft and warm, and those were the exact words I used with the paint guy when he recommended Chantilly Lace.

Ooh...that sounded perfect.

Well, that was another lie. It's the whitest white I've ever seen.

I was ready to tell my husband to paint over it, but it already took him too many coats to cover the red. More painting wasn't really an option.

The room would have to be warmed up in other ways. I was hopeful that the other elements in the room would take care of it...but not necessarily convinced.

Romantic Country Farmhouse Bathroom Vanity

The next big decision was what to do with the huge mirror behind the vanity.

By now I was pretty burnt out and I was almost ready to leave it alone, when common sense got a hold of me.

That metal finish was not going to work. It had to be painted, but should it be wood or white?

Oh boy. In the end I picked white...light and bright and all white was the original plan, so I kept going. But again...which white??

My husband said, Let's spray it.

It seemed like the obvious (and frankly, easiest) answer, so I let him. Big mistake.

It was terrible. Cold and shiny. Nope.

So I grabbed my paint brush in an effort to warm it up and gave it a few coats of that creamy decidedly not Silver Satin.

And wouldn't you know it, now it was silver.

Mirror Frame Makeover In White

Just as I was about to drag it to the curb, common sense once again intervened and I called my friend Susan from Homeroad.

She came to the rescue with a brown antiquing gel that I just rubbed on and off and it warmed the whole thing up.

Thank goodness for crafty friends!!

White Bathroom Decor close up of vanity and mirror

The place was starting to shape up, but now it was time for those all important accessories.

I grabbed my Frankenpot from the living room, found a few crochet trimmed towels at Tuesday Morning and combed the internet for a suitable shower curtain.

White Farmhouse Shower Curtain and crochet tipped towel draped over tub

I was looking for something with character and style, but, again, in white.

Stark white wasn't going to do the trick, neither was anything made of polyester, too frilly or too beige.

White Country Style Bathroom

In the end, I found the perfect one from Laura Ashley, with just enough to lace to make it feel vintage. And it didn't break the bank...which is perfect since I tend to swap out my shower curtains often.

Even better, I found these darling antique looking shower hooks that coordinate with the ring pulls on my vanity.

Vintage Style Shower Curtain Hooks

By now, I think I had about ten different shades of white in the room. I was getting the hang of where to put the creamy ones, the grayer ones, the bright ones.

But the walls were still bare. I was able to mitigate one blank area by painting the old white mirror. However the other side of the room needed something else. Art.

When it was red, I had simple white frames mounted in the space, however now, that simply wouldn't do.

So I started searching for colorful prints and ended up with this beautiful free botanical from my friend Handan's collection.

Vintage Style Botanical Rose Print

I printed it out, found a 40% off frame at the craft store and hung it up. Right away it warmed up the room. And I would love to say that now I'm done. But alas, I am not.

You see, this view is lovely. Cameras can crop out unsightly areas.

In reality, this print and a horrible light switch are the only things on the wall. There's still a lot of blank space that needs to be filled.

Cottage Style Vintage Bathroom Decor including faux flowers in corner and botanical print

What's the hold up? I just haven't found what I want yet.

Ideally, I'd like three oval frames with more artwork up there. Oh, and a replacement for that nasty light switch cover would be nice.

I'd also like a towel holder or hook of some sort to mount there, as well. The countertop is not that big and it is a working bathroom. That towel looks very sweet, but it's not practical. At all.

Planning A Bathroom Gallery Wall with drawings of wanted items on wall

So I guess the bathroom isn't really done yet. ( is now!!)

But that's ok, it's well on its way.

It's warming up in there, and I'm learning how to decorate with white.

Hopefully, by the time the new year rolls around, the walls will be filled and the room will feel a little cozier, to me.

Decorating With White In The Bathroom  text over photo of bathroom vanity and white towel

If not, well hey, I could always paint it red.

Just don't tell my husband I said that.

Do you decorate with white?

Kim Signature

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  1. Your bathroom looks amazing, Kim! The floor was the perfect cottagey inspiration and goes so well with the rest of your house. I love that you decorated with white but added that pop of red in the art. Perfect!

    1. Thanks so much, Stacey! It's taken a little bit of time to figure it all out, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. And I really do like the way it looks. ❤️

  2. I get it with the white. There are a ton of different whites it's amazing. It's not as easy as people think to get the whites to work.

    I'm great with colors and fabric matching. I don't know how I would do with all white. I think you have done a great job. Take your time finishing every detail so you are happy


    1. Thanks so much, Cindy! It really was not easy. The magazines make it all look so easy. It really is not..but I have to say it's a nice fresh change for me. So far, I really like it.

  3. I think it looks wonderful. You did a great job marrying all of the whites. The touches of wood warm the place up perfectly.

    1. Thank you, Penny! I have to say, the wood accents are my favorite.

  4. Kim it looks so pretty. You guys did a great job. I love that you embraced the whites and neutrals and can add your signature color of red. Amazing. You go girl this was a good transformation. The nice thing about whites is you can add and change decor and colors easily. Have a great rest of the week.

    1. Kris, thank you so much! All I kept thinking, while I was wrestling with this room, was how does Kris do it?? She makes it look so easy!! It was not. You are the master, my friend! ❤️

  5. Kim, it all looks lovely. I love the trim you added. You cannot go wrong with white. It is easy to add color.

    1. Thanks Linda and yes, I agree. I’m already shopping for a new colorful shower curtain for fall! :)

  6. The bathroom looks beautiful and I love that all the remodeling was done by just you and your handy husband. It sounds like a long time with doing the bathroom but worth it as you saved so much money. Enjoy it and you will be able to change things in there very easily.

    1. Thanks so much, Julie! I have to say, I did enjoy this process looking back…in the moment it was a little frustrating, because I didn’t want to mess it up. But as you said, the base is there and I can change it up easily!

  7. I'm having bathroom decorating dilemmas right now, too! I just did a post about both my bathrooms. Unfortunately, we still need a new tub (main bath) and a walk-in shower (master bath) but both those have to wait as we need other more important things done in this house first.

    It is hard to decorate with whites but I think you did a good job because all the different textures. If the white shower curtain is just too much white for you, you could always find one with pops of some kind of red design! ;-)

    1. Oh Melanie, why are bathrooms so difficult to decorate? I am so behind in my blog reading, it's on my list for today. I need to catch up with your bathroom decorating dilemmas! And you are so right, I'm already looking for a new fall curtain...and yes, it will be red!! Thanks so much!!

  8. Well, I do like the shower curtain, but I can see what you mean about wanting to add some color. It will come to you, I know it will.
    We have a deep dark blue bathroom and the decor is ocean. We have several of the fun items we found on a trip to California as decor. The best is a recent gift my sister gave me of some sea shells from Hawaii. I do like the dark color in the bathroom. It is dark blue with a lighter blue trim. We have different shades of blue towels and rugs. We have a wood floor, wood toilet seat and wood vanity. I really should take photos. LOL

    1. I would LOVE you to share pictures, Carla! I just picture your home as a warm and charming place and every time I get a quick glimpse in one of your posts, I'm more convinced. And this week not only did I find a warm brown accented curtain, but I found a red and white plaid UGG flannel one for the holidays in the discount store. You know me so well...

  9. I love how this turned out! Warm and bright, not stark! Love the wood countertop, too!

    1. Thanks Deanna! I was a little worried about it being cold, but it's warming up. I bet it will just get better in fall, too, with all the colorful accents.

  10. Of course it looks amazing, your home is always perfect, my friend!!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! Your comments always make my day…hoping that this late summer is treating you well on your gorgeous mountain!

  11. LOL Kim, I don't think I'll ever get the hang of decorating with whites. Lordy who would have ever thought that there were so many variations of .......... white. Kudos to you for putting it all together like that and making the bathroom look warm and inviting. Love your shower curtain and the your vanity. It still wows me every time I see it.

    1. You are so sweet Michelle! Thank you! It's still a bit of struggle to get it right, but I think it's coming together....a little candlelight helps!

  12. Kim, first I will tell you thanks for your last visit to me. We are having rain, thunder, lightening and the lights are flickering so wanted to tell you before it goes out. You have done a beautiful job with your bathroom. It looks so pretty and I know it is hard to put different shades of white together but looks like you found out the trick. I never would have thought that I would used a lot of white in my decorating until I started blogging, now I am liking it more and more..Happy Monday..xxoJudy

    1. I've always loved the way an all white room looks, Judy, but getting it to look and feel warm and cozy is a challenge! I didn't expect that. I guess it all depends on what whites you use and how you layer them. It's a true art form...and I'm learning, but it's slow go!! xoxo

  13. WHITE always looks so clean and white...and you've done a fabulous job with your bathroom. I have often thought of going with more whites around my home, but I LOVE COLOR! Don't think I could live without my bright colors:)

    1. It’s not been easy, Cheri, I am drawn to bold pops! This has been a wrestling match and learning experience for me, but so far so good. I will confess that this week I found a subtle, but slightly colored new shower curtain and a deep, flannel red plaid one for winter. I guess old habits are hard to break. Have a great week!