Bathroom accent wall ideas: materials, colors, and wall selection

Creating an unusual, trendy, and balanced bathroom interior is no less exciting than decorating any other room in the house. Sometimes, just a couple of details are enough for this functional room’s appearance to become truly unique and attractive – you just have to choose which elements will do that.

According to American designers’ research, in 2018, the median size of single-family housing was 2386 sq ft (217 sq m), while back in 1973, this figure was in the region of 1500 sq ft (140-145 sq m). The trend towards an increase in the total area of housing is reflected in the premises’ size, and therefore large bathrooms have recently become more common. Moreover, even in apartments with smaller footage, spacious bathrooms are no longer a rarity – also because their owners are making sufficient efforts to expand them.

The development of possibilities in terms of surface could not but affect the emergence of new interior trends, including large baths, open showers, glass showers, and separation of bathrooms and showers. All this led to the need to try various techniques for decorating rooms with similar functionality – and one of the most striking is the accent wall. This solution not only allows you to bring the visual balance of the interior to perfection but also provides it with the much-desired exclusive due to the intelligent choice of colors, materials, and their location. Let’s dwell on this in more detail.

Ways to accent the wall in the bathroom

Let’s make a reservation right away: we wrote above about spacious bathrooms’ role in the development and growth of the popularity of accent walls, but this does not mean the impossibility of using such decor in small rooms. Today, the accent walls are used with no less success in small-sized apartments, allowing you to transform the space profitably. It remains only to decide how you will create such an accent. There are several basic options:

  • Color accent. Everything is quite simple here: one wall is made in a different color from the shade of the other walls. This technique is the most straightforward and most appropriate in bathrooms of any dimension, and the main difficulty, in this case, is the correct selection of an accent shade. It not only has a specific decorative function but also allows you to play with space: so, juicy and warm tones visually bring the wall closer, cool and dark tones move it away.
  • Emphasis on texture. The use of a material other than the base material on the accent wall offers much more exciting and expressive solutions than monochrome and low-texture paint. However, we will talk about this below.
  • The emphasis on the pattern. This design technique deserves the honorary title of “oldest”. The design of one wall with patterned tiles combined with monochromatic elements of the surface was trendy several decades ago. Today, when the number of collections of ceramic tiles and mosaics reaches tens of thousands, you can choose any solution to your taste – from classic to extravagant, from luxurious to laconic geometric patterns.
  • Emphasis on architectural forms. Suppose you are not too interested in finding beneficial combinations of colors and textures. In that case, you may well go down a different path – and provide your bathroom with unique diversity. The most versatile options remain illuminated niches and arches that can even fit into a small bathroom’s interior. In a large room, you can afford to act on a grand scale and create a more oversized accent – for example, with the help of columns and pedestals.

Which wall should be accentuated?

Before choosing the color and texture of the material to create an accent wall, it is necessary to determine which of the planes will accept the contrasting design in the best way. Depending on your idea, you can choose:

  • The wall on which the bath is placed. As a rule, it is as open as possible compared to other bathroom walls, making it possible to make the accent more expressive – it is not for nothing that the tiles with a pattern and wall art are most often placed on it. At the same time, this wall is considered the most vulnerable in a wet area, and therefore your choice is limited to exclusively moisture-resistant materials.
  • The wall with the sink. We look at it most often – and when we wash and brush our teeth, and when we put in order our makeup, and at any time when we need water for cosmetic or other procedures. That is why decorating an accent wall here is a great idea, including purely an aesthetic perspective. True, you will have to figure out how to place the mirrors on it wisely, but in this case, you will be offered many options both on the network and in consultation with designers.
  • Wall for bathrobes and towels. This plan can also act as an accent – especially since the choice of materials, in this case, is practically unlimited, and you can even try decor with less moisture resistance. Besides, furniture is often located along this wall, and its accent design in the form of a rack will add expressiveness to the interior.
  • Open shower area. An accent wall for an open shower is chic, one hundred percent hit, and just wow. It may sound too emotional, but this decision has become one of the last two years’ hottest trends. And if you have long dreamed of decorating such a shower area, then you can hardly do without such an accent. Statistics even confirm this: according to Houzz, almost every third person who renovated the bathroom in 2019 preferred this particular design technique.

Materials for a bathroom accent wall

Now that you’ve identified the accent’s location, it’s time to move on to a more fun and challenging process: choosing materials to create an attractive yet harmonious bathroom detail. The list of suitable solutions for this room is quite long, and therefore you will have plenty to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at the materials that are used today to design an accent.


This decision seems self-evident and almost a win-win. Indeed, with a material created specifically for wet areas, you don’t have to worry about its practicality, but you can entirely focus on the design.

The most comfortable and least expensive option is to use tiles from the same collection. In this case, you can tile all the walls with tiles without a pattern – and layout the pattern on the selected plane following your idea. If this seems too common to you, you can try any of the following tricks:

  • Tiles with a contrasting texture. It can be the same shade or brighter or darker. It is no less interesting to try different combinations. Thus, smooth tiles look more sophisticated when combined with embossed surfaces. Conversely, a flat accent wall enhances the sound of uneven, textured tiles.
  • Patchwork. As a rule, there are also plain tiles in collections with such decor, but who said that you could not mix them? If beige tiles in combination with beige, blue, and brown tiled patterns seem pale, then you can easily choose brown or blue tiles from another collection – however, in this case, it should be smooth and monochromatic.
  • Tiles with another material. An accent wall decorated with tiles combined with painted surfaces looks fresh and modern – and also adds the necessary volume.
  • Imitation game. Neutral surfaces without bright ornaments will look more expressive if you try to create an accent with tiles imitating any of these materials – marble, natural wood, or even metal and concrete.
  • Luxurious wall art. Compositions of tiles that occupy the entire wall are incredibly effective and, moreover, turn an ordinary interior into an exclusive one. At the same time, designers recommend focusing on the room’s size: in small bathrooms, wall art runs the risk of creating an unnecessary visual disturbance.


A mosaic accent wall in a bathroom is the best way to embody modern chic. This solution is appropriate both in a spacious room and on small footage. The mosaic layout is often performed over the bathtub, less frequently in the area with the dressing table and mirrors. In the latter case, the decoration of the wall along with the countertop will help add sophistication.

Large-format porcelain stoneware

If you are the happy owner of a huge bathroom, then the large format is just what you need. Of course, you can’t combine it with ordinary tiles, but it is quite possible to play with shades and textures within the framework of one or different collections. Various types of marble, travertine and onyx, oxidized metal, and time-worn concrete are just a few of the options offered by large-format slab manufacturers.


The wood accent wall takes on a remarkable expressiveness in the interior of the bathroom. Of course, you will have to tinker with the preparation and selection of material, and first of all, it concerns the water-repellent coating. In all other respects, wooden elements are an environmentally friendly and relevant solution for decorating an accent wall, especially since you will have a lot of materials at your disposal, including:

  • engineering and solid wood;
  • shiplap;
  • wooden pallets (it’s better to buy new ones and tint them than to build a composition from old ones).

If you are still worried about wood, you can take a closer look at wood imitation tiles – today, manufacturers offer many options that delight with an almost impeccable similarity to natural material.


If you do not have the experience and talent of a decorator, it will not be difficult for you to paint the bathroom yourself – and, of course, highlight one of the walls with color. Modern moisture-resistant and vapor-resistant paints serve for years without warping and swelling and can easily withstand wet cleaning. A vast color palette allows you to choose the ideal tone both in terms of spectrum and color temperature.


The brick accent composition looks great in modern bathrooms – especially in the loft and industrial interiors. The texture of ceramic tiles opens up unlimited possibilities for color combinations: so, against the background of rough brickwork, white plumbing fixtures and mirrors in the same frames look great, silicate brick perfectly sets off bright details, and white plastered sets a cozy and relaxed tone.


Wallpaper for the bathroom is a somewhat atypical solution. However, there are often cases when the beauty of wallpaper makes you forget about practicality. Yet, manufacturers of finishing materials have found a compromise solution. Today, they offer washable, liquid, and fiberglass wallpapers that delight you with various designs and make you forget about the risk of high humidity. Simultaneously, it is recommended to decorate accent wallpaper walls in the driest areas, combining them with a base of tiles or painted surfaces.


A stone accent wall is a very romantic technique that allows you to create a natural and mysterious atmosphere in the bathroom. However, this material has a significant drawback: you can use the stone for accent only in spacious bathrooms since it looks unnecessarily bulky in small ones.

Acrylic panels

Glossy acrylic surfaces have become a truly great option for accent walls. The panels look especially impressive in the decoration of open shower areas. Thanks to seamless installation’s ideal smoothness and technology, acrylic plates delight both with ease of installation and easy maintenance.

Accent wall in the bathroom: how to choose a color

The color of the accent wall is just as crucial as its texture. Above, we have already mentioned the pattern of shades selection based on the color temperature of background surfaces – and now let’s dwell on some of the current tones.


The gray accent in the bathroom interior is in perfect harmony with the colored walls, and you can exceptionally well combine it with wooden surfaces. The principles of shade selection obey the general rules: dark ones move away, light ones bring them closer, warm to warm, cold to cold. Besides, lamps and wall decor look very good against such a background.


According to the design laws, black works to remove, which means that the bathroom interior will look more profound and more expressive due to this shade’s accent wall. Black accent walls are great in compact and spacious rooms, especially when combined with neutral or soothing shades and light fixtures.


A blue wall seems like an incredibly logical bathroom solution. Indeed, what color could be an accent wall in the kingdom of water? Depending on the background, you can choose a blue shade that will best harmonize with other surfaces’ tones; however, universal solutions suit almost everything – these are sea blue, denim, and azure.


Oddly enough, green accents in the bathroom interior are used much less often. However, it can be said with all certainty that this color is undeservedly ignored. Shades of emerald, forest moss, mint, sage, and olives are in perfect harmony with the most fashionable textures – from large matte tiles to rough brickwork.


For a neutral bathroom, a red accent wall is the perfect opportunity to add life, optimism, and real passion. We will not talk about the need to avoid overly bright, “electric” shades. However, deep and juicy tones will come in handy, especially if you supplement them with accessories of a dark color: against such a background, the red shades look imposing.


If you want to add a little more sun to the bathroom interior, a wall in yellow tones will come to the rescue. Shades of yellow look organic in minimalist bathrooms with colored or neutral tiled walls, creating a pleasant and warming accent.

Whatever size your bathroom is, and whatever style it is decorated in, an accent wall will help create a very special mood. Do not save time in researching the material or choosing a color: with a thoughtful approach, the result will delight you until the next remodel!

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