The Pantone "color palettes" that are released each year can give you good ideas for bathroom color, "and I love them," says Cy. "Next year they'll come out with a whole new set and those will be out." Instead, says Cy, "choose what you like." But he's got a few caveats. "Peach looks like a bad '80s hotel room," he says. "We're not over it enough to laugh at it yet." The light in the bathroom should also influence your decision. "Really dark colors can be fabulous, but you have to make sure the bathroom gets enough natural light, or put in some other lighting, if you want to use them. Otherwise, the effect is just dark, and you need to be able to see to shave and put on makeup." The idea of looking at yourself in the mirror with these colors framing you brings up another issue. "Even when it's just extra color, you shouldn't put anything in your bathroom that will make you look ghastly in the morning, like lime green — a mistake I've made before — and yellow, unless it's a real warm shade." "More than anything," says Cy, "remember that it's your house. The color you choose should express who you are -- unless it's peach.
I painted over the Masonite with a really good primer and then I decoupaged tissue paper in vivid colors over it — indigo blue, sunny yellow, even some silver tissue paper. It looks luminous, freckled, almost like water. Above the shower stall, I did much brighter colors and I sealed it all with a water-based polyurethane." While Cy applied his decoupage directly to the wall, his "simple French" look would work just as well applied to foam core or poster board, framed or not, and then hung on a bathroom wall for a splash of color you could change out whenever you want. "Paint the walls, or if they're mostly tile, paint the ceiling!" says Cy. "If the color doesn't work, you can paint it something else." And should you need to sell the house later, and believe the accepted wisdom that only white walls are appropriate in "For Sale" bathrooms, you can spend an afternoon painting it back. Or for just a minimal change, paint a frame and hang it on the bathroom mirror with Velcro.
He recommends haunting estate and garage sales for bathroom art. "That's where you find that weird art like those little oils Aunt Martha painted. Think, 'Oh my gosh, there's a clown with a knife in his hand! Let's buy that and put it in the bathroom.' It's nice to see something to make you giggle in the morning." Of course, even the zaniest art should have at least one element that picks up other colors in the room, says LaDonna. And what should those colors be? Often, you're limited by the hard-and-fast items in the room, like the '60s style pastel tiles, says LaDonna. "When you add other colors, they'll have to complement, but the right selection can update the design and downplay the colors you don't like." Today's popular chocolate-brown accessories, from towel racks to curtains, for example, give old-style pastels a fresh look, says LaDonna.
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