What colours will go with black & white tiles in my bathroom?

Updated February 21, 2017

Black and white tiles are always in style, making them a classic colour scheme. In addition to designing a room using only black and white, virtually all colours can be combined with black and white to create a particular mood or style. The accent colour or colours can be introduced in fabric, paint or accessories like towels and decorative fixtures. Consider the styles and colours of adjacent rooms when selecting a colour scheme for the bathroom.

Vivid colours

Black and white works as a neutral backdrop for strong, hot colour accents like red, yellow or orange, and is equally successful for strong, cool colour accents like vivid blue, green or purple. Black and white tiles can hold their own with strong colours by enhancing and controlling the effects of the pure hues so they don't become overwhelming. The key to success with strong colours is to not use too much of them. For example, in a small space, use a strong colour on only one painted wall, not all four. Alternatively, use it for the shower curtain and towels, but keep the walls white.


Black and white tiles will keep pastel colours from becoming too sugary and feminine. Delicate pinks, blues and yellows appear elegant against black and white tiles. Shell pink is an especially lovely pastel colour, and accessorising with naturally pink shells is a clever way to link the colour scheme to natural beauty. Towels, rugs and shower curtains in a single pastel tone will create sophisticated harmony in a black and white tiled bathroom space.

Subtle mixed colours

Black and white tiles are also a successful background for richer, mixed colours in more subtle tones, such as saddle brown or sage green. These colours will dominate the space if used in larger quantities. For example, painting the walls saddle brown, using a printed fabric that repeats this colour for draperies or the shower curtain, and repeating it in the towels, will push the black and white tile into a background position. The space will be remembered as a saddle brown space, not a black and white space. This would be true of any subtle tone. That is why black and white is such a versatile choice for the tile colour.

Black and white

Don't overlook the possibility of developing the room using only black and white tones. The effect can be very sophisticated and elegant. A full bath, where grooming takes place, must be well lit with natural or artificial light. Light-coloured or white walls contribute to a feeling of openness. Darker colours will close in a space and make it seem smaller and cosier. A half bath or guest powder room is usually a smaller space, however, in this case, darker walls, even black walls, can create a dramatic ambience.

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About the Author

Melanie Aves has more than 30 years writing experience. Aves coauthored four interior design color books, authored a book on Newport Beach, California, wrote newspaper features and currently writes monthly magazine features. She holds a Master of Arts degree, a certificate in interior design, and completed post-graduate studies in journalism.