Color Calling Your Bathtub, Part 2

By Allan Knight

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As I’m writing this blog about how to enhance the color of your bathroom and bathtub, I’m enjoying a nice, robust glass of semisecco (semi-sweet) Marsala wine from Italy.  And speaking of Marsala, having just googled the term, it’s now become the Pantone Color Institute’s “color of the year” (2015).  Already celebrities and models are adorning themselves and garments with this rich, delicious-looking dark reddish/purple color.  And come to think of it, it’d look good in a bathroom, too. 

Creative Color Concepts to Consider

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As mentioned in the first segment of this blog, “Color Calling Your Bathtub,” I talked about the science of Color Psychology, or chromodynamics, first espoused by Swiss psychologist Dr. Gustave Carl Jung (G.C. Jung).  Today, color psychology is used in numerous applications, but especially by professional interior designers of commercial, public and residential properties. 

Remember this little “formula”: Color = light = energy.  Scientists have found that measurable physiological changes occur when we’re exposed to certain colors.  Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquilize, increase appetite, and create sensations of warmth or coolness. 

Our experience and perception of color is influenced by both personal and cultural associations.  In general, colors are perceived as being warm or cool due to long-standing and often wide cultural associations.  For example, yellow, orange and red are naturally associated with the natural heat of the sun and fire; blue, green and violet with the coolness of water and the sky.  Taking advantage of this natural perception, you can use warmer colors to accent certain areas because they typically seem closer to the viewer than their cooler counterparts. 

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But wait … it’s not so cut-and-dry as that, especially when we humans, as I’d pointed out in the previous segment, our eyes/brain can differentiate about one million different shades and hues of colors.  Given the statement I’d said a few sentences back about warmer colors appearing closer is relative, not absolute.  That’s because vivid cool colors can overwhelm lighter and more subtle shades of warmer colors.  But in general, if you use cooler colors for your background structures (i.e., tile, wallpaper, paint, shelving, etc.) and warmer colors in the foreground (accents, towels, bath rugs, fixtures, etc.) you can enhance the room’s depth perception.  This would be especially useful, for instance, in a smaller bathroom, where you want to “enlarge” its perceived space. 

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Taking this concept further, the warmer colors are also considered to be “high-arousal” colors, whereas the cooler colors are “low arousal.”  Red has been shown to stimulate our senses and raise our blood pressure, while blue lowers our blood pressure and is more calming to our sense of well-being.  But again, it’s not so absolute.  That’s because the brilliance, darkness and lightness of a color can also change its psychological impact.  For example, while a light greenish-blue color can make us feel more tranquil, a vibrant teal or turquoise is more exciting to look at (especially when that teal is part of the Jacksonville Jaguars and they win a game).  So the psychological association of a color can carry more import than its primary visual properties. 

If you want to learn more about color theory, I recommend you check out, “Psychological Properties of Colours,” Color Psychology: How Colors Impact Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors,” and “Color Can Affect How People Think and Act,” for starters. 

Trooping the Colour

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A rousing visual and musical ceremony performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies, Trooping the Colour has been a tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, although its roots go back much earlier.  On battlefields, a regiment's colours, or flags, were used as rallying points.

You can “troop your own color” in your bathroom (or anywhere else in your home) to your heart’s content.  And happily, you don’t need to rip out tile floors or walls, nor install new sinks, toilets or even bathtubs (unless that is, you want to upgrade to a Walk-in Tub or our Iron Cast, Porcelain Tubs). However, if you’re considering a total bathroom refurbishment, do take some time to learn more about color and how it can be used most effectively to create certain moods.  Many of these projects can be DIY, thus saving you money on the labor. 

A Spirited Material World

Buy colorful, off-the-shelf window treatments and shower curtains, or consider getting them custom-made, if that’s within your budget.  Choose attractive-looking fabrics to accent either warm colors or cooler colors with existing colors in your bathroom.  For example, let’s say your bathroom walls are a subdued "old World" gold. If you want to create an impression of more depth, you can use warmer color fabrics in terms of decorative towels, bath mat, shower curtain, toilet seat cover, etc. 




Canvassing for Color

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Consider your bathroom the way a painter may approach his or her canvas.  All sorts of surfaces in your bathroom can be painted, for instance.  Paint your walls, or if they’re mostly tile and you like them as they are, you can paint the ceiling.  You can paint the cabinets.  If you want to make minimal changes, you can paint certain items, such as the frame around a painting, or the frame around a mirror, or the door handles on your cabinets.  You can even paint the interior of the door a different color than its exterior, for when it’s closed, it solely affects the interior look of the bathroom. And let’s face it, bathroom doors are closed quite often. If you’re in the process of getting a new tub, you can consider having its exterior and its interior painted; they no longer have to be off-white.  If you’re going to sell your house years down the road and want to create a neutral look, you can always repaint them white or strip off the paint from wood and other surfaces.

A Knack for Knick-Knacks

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If you don’t need it for utilitarian purposes, you can place key color-scheme items atop the toilet.  A nice flower arrangement, or vase that holds flowers (real or artificial) or potpourri can work as well.  Ditto if you have room in your sink area.  On the sides of the bathtub. Even above your cabinets, if people can see the top of them. If you have open shelving, inside of filling all the cubby holes up with towels and/or bathroom supplies, you can add color-coordinated decorative items in there, too. Visit local art festivals or even museum gift shops for those very unique-looking items you won’t find in most commercial outlets.  


Colors Make Scents

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Colored and scented candles will not only enhance the look of your bathroom, but can an element of
aromatherapy as well. These candles can easily be interchanged, depending upon your mood. Use lavender, for example, if you want to relax; red or rose-colored/flavored when you want to feel romantic.

Artfully Tasteful

You can choose images that are very attractive on the wall above the toilet or another wall in the bathroom, again being cognizant of how the image’s overall color scheme will affect the other colors in the room. Usually, moisture isn’t that much of a concern, but still, any image you post should be framed well. And don’t forget to choose a color-coordinated frame to enhance the color scheme even further.  

Other Ideas

One of our customers had a very handsome bathroom that had colorful stained glass windows strategically placed to capture the morning sunrise or evening sunset.  These imbued the entire room with multi-hued, almost regal quality.  The look was quite stunning. 

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And, last but not least, when you’re taking that long-awaited relaxing bath (ideally in our Walk-in Tub or our Cast Iron, Porcelain models), you can always use safe, vegetable food coloring to actually color the water when you’re lying in it.  Just make sure the color won’t remain on your skin; that might be hard to explain to your family, friends or coworkers the next day.  

In this article, I discussed various ways you can add color to your bathroom and bathtub. I talked about how certain colors are psychologically perceived and can be used to create the type of ambiance you’re looking to imbue in your bathroom. I also mentioned several different ways you can add color to your bathroom, including use of fabrics, painting, using decorative items, candles, and more.  

If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers.  If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog. 

Thanks again for visiting with us.

Cast Iron, Porcelain Tub Customer Testimonial

If you’d like to receive a FREE Clawfoot Tub Buyers’ Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I’ll personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to

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