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.
Luckily, says Cy, there are dozens of ways you can add color without ripping out tile floors or walls, installing new tubs, sinks or toilets. And they come right back out of the bathroom if you need to move them to another room or another place. "There's nothing wrong with a colorful bath rug, but why stop there?" says LaDonna Pare, a franchise owner for Interiors by Decorating Den in the Bowling Green, Ky. area. LaDonna and Cy share these ideas for adding quick — and easy to change — color to the bathroom: Daring Decoupage,cy and his partner moved into a 1907 home in Minneapolis, housing a 1970s bath, all dark brown and mustard and Mediterranean plastic, with walls of floral Masonite, he remembers. The two were working so hard on so many other rooms, Cy did a quick-change in this one, turning to collage artist Matisse for inspiration.
The final selection of your bathroom's color palette will depend not just on the color of your tub or the tone of your tile, but also on the overall look you want to achieve. A bathroom that incorporates white marble, white porcelain and pale wood will have an entirely different look with soft green walls than with walls of metallic blue. Ask yourself: Do I want my bathroom to be relaxing or energizing? Trendy or timeless? Whatever mood you're after, the process of choosing a color will feel less overwhelming if you take it step by step. "First," says Joan Osburn, of Osburn Design in San Francisco, "pick all the colors that you like, no holds barred. Then narrow them down to two or three options. Look at them in different lights and at different times of day.
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