Using Brown And White To Create A Stunning Bathroom Space

Lifestyle image of a brown and white bathroom design, featuring a wall mounted wooden washbasin unit
Author: James Roberts
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Brown is the unsung hero of interior design. It might not be at the top of your “Exciting Colours” list, but its ubiquity can’t be denied. Look around the room you’re sitting in now: you’ll probably see something brown. A cabinet, a picture frame, a curtain rail, maybe even the whole floor.

Brown is popular, and with good reason. It is sophisticated, confident, and traditional: all properties which lend themselves perfectly to bathroom design. It can be used to create anything from a natural, rustic feel, to something at the cutting edge of modernity. And when offset with white, both colours are lifted to a new dimension.

This blog post showcases some of the ways brown and white can be used to stunning effect in a bathroom, whether you favour modern or traditional, and whether you are working with a large space or a small one.

After reading you’ll be inspired to explore a brown and white colour scheme for your bathroom.

What Does A Brown and White Bathroom Look Like? 

We can sing its praises all day, but don’t just take our word on how much brown and white can bring to a bathroom. Instead, see what it looks like in situ, in some beautiful bathrooms from around the world.

Let’s start with something simple.

Lifestyle image of a brown and white bathroom design, featuring wooden floors and walls, a white marble tiled feature wall, white countertop and white ceramics


This bathroom design gives prominence to the familiar texture and grain of wood, bringing depth to the decor. It’s hard not to feel calmed by the wooden grain, especially when used in combination with gentle whites and ambient natural light. Note the inclusion of a white flower to emphasise the natural themes suggested by the grain.

Lifestyle image of a white and brown bathroom design, featuring brown floor tiles, wooden countertop with a wide white double basin, wood panelled bath, white tiled shower enclosure with wooden pillars and integrated white cabinets with wooden handles


Other natural textures like cork can be used to great effect in a brown and white bathroom. This material brings a different nuance than wooden grain, great for creating a natural, earthy aesthetic that doesn’t rely only on wood. While cork may be most associated with bygone decades, it is possible to integrate it successfully into a new bathroom. Notice again that there is very little colour aside from the brown and white: just a tiny touch of blue and green from the painting and plant, respectively.

Lifestyle image of a white and brown bathroom design, featuring white floor and wall tiles, copper brassware and a wooden countertop with a white countertop basin


Here brown takes the back seat, demonstrating its ability to complement and accentuate, rather than to dominate. White takes centre stage: white walls, fittings, fabrics, and even door are juxtaposed by brown surfaces and complementary brownish metallic fixtures. Note how this bright and well-lit design makes a small bathroom space feel bigger. The dishevelled modern look is another context that brown performs effortlessly within.

Lifestyle image of a brown tiled bathroom with white walls


Brown and white bathrooms can evoke other cultural design palettes, too. This bathroom riffs on terracotta brown of its wall and floor tiles to create a Mediterranean feel which, when offset with white and the striking turquoise, is stunning and captivating. The angular tiles on the floor contrast with the square motifs on the wall, creating a subtle dance of angles and lines that capture your attention effortlessly. This is a perfect example of brown and white being brought to life with a bold streak of colour.

Lifestyle image of a marble tiled bathroom with a grey-brown wooden washbasin unit


ou’re not relegated to natural themes or traditional styles. This brown and white bathroom is distinctly modern: the clean lines, subdued tones, and great use of bathroom mirrors to throw the natural light back into the room create a space that is airy and inviting. As in the first bathroom we showed you, there is a small white plant near the sink to play on the natural associations of brown, without forcing colour into the room.

As you can see from just five bathrooms: the designs you can achieve with a brown and white colour scheme are almost endless.

What Are The Benefits of A Brown And White Bathroom? 

There are plenty of benefits. It’s no coincidence that brown and white are used frequently in bathrooms: it’s because they are a match made in heaven.

First off, brown is incredibly versatile. Wood comes naturally in colours ranging from the almost-black of ebony, through to the rich red of mahogany, via bold shades like walnut, oak, and teak. Each brings a subtly different feel to a bathroom, through both colour and grain, and an even wider colour palette is made possible when artificial staining is used.

Image of a wood colour chart


Other natural browns like thatch, bamboo, cork, and more can be brought into your bathroom too. Wood is popular, but it definitely isn’t the only material that looks good in brown.

This versatility is enhanced by white which comes in various shades, despite this sounding counter-intuitive. Different shades of white – like cream, smoke, oatmeal, and so on – can each lend their own character to your bathroom, and will each complement brown slightly differently.

In short, you’ve got a lot of options when choosing the right shade of brown and white for your decor.

White works so well with brown because it offers a neutral offset, a powerful design feature that prevents browns from becoming overwhelming or imposing. White can function in lean lines on tile edges and bold angles of modern bathroom fittings, in painted surfaces, or even softer features like tatami or cloth.

Another benefit of white and brown is the absence of any reliance of bold accents or vibrant colours to draw the eye. This will be a big appeal if you have less bold design preferences, or for if you want your fixtures and fittings to do the talking. Sometimes loud bathroom decor can detract from the things the room contains. 

When Does Brown and White Work Well Together?

Brown and white bring calmness, warmth, and confidence to a room. Depending on the shades you choose you can have a light, sprightly bathroom or something darker and more moody. The former works well when you want a refreshing and energising room; the latter lends itself better to a bathroom where you might take a long, relaxing soak in the bathtub.

It is a colour scheme well suited to small spaces, too, thanks to the atmosphere it creates. This is better communicated visually, so how about some brown and white small bathroom ideas?

High angle lifestyle image of a white and brown bathroom, featuring stepped wooden shelving, white tiled walls, a wooden countertop and white ceramics


Here brown and white are peppered with duck egg blue to create a refined and compact bathroom. It’s quite an achievement that the size of the bathroom isn’t the first thing you notice when looking at this picture: it’s the gentle confidence of the colour scheme.

Lifestyle image of a white and brown bathroom design, featuring a wall mounted wooden shelf and countertop, a wooden framed mirror, grey-brown painted walls, white tiled walls and white ceramics


This bathroom uses the more ambient end of the brown and white design spectrum to achieve a room that is relaxing and calming. Though small, it seems spacious and inviting thanks to the masterful use of light. Fewer shadows mean allow a room to feel bigger psychologically, which is half the battle when you have a small bathroom.

Together, the colours are able to thrive when used with dim, warm lighting. Warm accents like gold, orange, or even a lighter shade of brown can lift the colour scheme, but as we’ve said previously: bright colours aren’t compulsory or even required.

If you do decide to incorporate colour, a splash of green from a houseplant or two can bring brown and white to life by playing on the psychological association between brown and green. This vibrant vitality brings provides colour without being garish.

Lifestyle image of a white and brown bathroom design, featuring a wooden washbasin stand, wooden framed round mirror, copper brassware and white ceramics


Which Other Colours Work Well With Brown And White? 

Neutral colours like gray and taupe can work well with brown and white. And as we’ve seen previously, bold blues can work well too.

Tan can be used to great effect, bringing a more earthy feel to the room. As with green, tan plays on the psychological associations with nature.

Brown and white also work well as a fantastic backdrop for metallic finishes, like brushed brass or rose gold.

There You Have It...

This blog post has showcased brown and white bathroom decorating ideas ranging from modern to traditional, in bathrooms from small to large. You’ve seen how versatile and accomplished the colour scheme can be in all sorts of different contexts, and with all sorts of different fixtures and fittings.

The next step is deciding whether brown and white is right for your bathroom, and if so, which design direction you’re going to move in. You can rest safe in the knowledge that whatever you choose, our handpicked range of bathroom products will have something to bring your design to life. If you need help combining these colours together, then our experts here at Sanctuary Bathrooms can help. Contact us today or book a 3D bathroom design appointment, and we can help create your dream brown and white bathroom.

Lifestyle image of a brown and white bathroom design, featuring a wall mounted wooden washbasin unit