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How to Decorate a Tub Surround

By: Joanne Derrick |

Maybe you’ve had a new bathtub fitted and you’re stuck for ideas now that you have a fresh blank canvas. Or perhaps you’re tired of your bathroom and want some ideas to refresh it.

Your tub is somewhere you’ll want to linger and luxuriate so you’ll need to get the styling right to work for you. No matter your taste, there is something for everyone in this guide to decorating your tub surround.

Simply Does It

These styles work for those who like minimalism and like their bathrooms to be clean and clutter-free. Influenced by luxury spa hotel style you can lie back in the tub and feel the calm of your own personal sanctuary.

Natural Tropical Bathtub

 Natural Tropical Bathtub scaled

The takeaways from this design are the smooth oval shape of the tub and the faucet located on a separate unit, which keeps the lines clean.

The pebbles evoke a spa theme, as does the palm plant in the corner of the room. Varying textures on the walls and floors add to a natural theme, including the ladder towel rail which might suggest a tropical country vacation. 

These details could be replicated in a medium-sized bathroom. Perfect if you like outside-the-box design.

Clean and Crisp Bathroom Styling

 Clean and Crisp Bathroom Styling scaled

This bathroom is pristine. The porcelain is buffed and shiny. The sink shape is a miniature of the tub. Here, to continue the minimal theme, fixtures are chrome and plain mirrors, towels are fluffy plain gray and white. 

The bathtub is left simple with plain walls so that you can meditate in your own thoughts as you lie back and relax. The plants and the light wood bath tray add interest and introduce a touch of character and warmth.

Dutch Bathing Beauty 

This unusual, slightly off oval shaped bath has simplicity but is overflowing with style. To decorate, the copper faucet is casual yet elegant, and tones with simple accessories and the woven bath mat. All with a plain backdrop of classic white walls and floor.

The little milking stool with tall, sparse foliage in a plain vase speaks of times past in Europe, and adds history and character.

Bath Time Color

There are many ways you can introduce color into your bathroom, from accessories, linen and wall colors. This rainbow of colors will surely leave you bursting with inspiration.

Gold and Navy Bathroom Style

If you have a clawfoot bath like this, there are a couple of ways of updating it. The first is to add a gold faucet and gold shower. Gold is all the rage. 

The second is to paint the bath sides and you can use this step-by-step guide to ensure you use the right materials and get a professional finish.

Navy blue contrasts so well with the gold hardware including the claw feet on the tub. The tile is a lovely variegated gray on the walls and the geometric navy floor tiles are juxtaposed to attract the eye.

A simple neutral linen-effect shower curtain around the tub and an antique stool complete the classy look.

Turquoise and Pink Bath Time Fun

This Miami bathroom pulls out all the stops when going to color and fun. The pink walls and turquoise tiles are kept plain but accented by the unusual pattern covering the side wall and side of the tub.

The styling is finished with plants, including a hanging pot plant and the on-trend grasses. The pinks are echoed in the accessories. The metallic finish of a few of the items gives the surround even more sparkle.

Think about your bathroom artwork. This print takes all the color cues as if it were designed perfectly for the space so look for works that incorporate your colors.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bathroom Styling

The colors in this bathroom are sugary and delicate like a meringue or cheesecake. The elegance of the molding on the walls is retained by having been painted in a single pale pink color. The white of the fire surround and the flooring keep it classic.

The yellow claw foot bath tub gives a lemon zing to otherwise classic French styling. The folding chair painted in the same shade as the walls is a simple accessory for towels and to bring in that all important character.

Go Bright with Orange

This pumpkin shade claw foot bathtub packs a punch. Cleverly set against dark blue paneling, it pops! Artwork of different styles makes for a designer influence as do the sparse dried flowers.

Adding the ‘m’ to modern is the jungle-type plants, used by every designer this year to add fullness and life to any home look.

This surround goes bold in a different but equally striking way. The burnt orange of the tub is picked out in the flowers in the wallpaper. The aqua blue background is a direct contrast which makes the blooms come to life.

What breaks up this busy look is the black and white design flooring which matches the toilet. And a smart detail is the recessed shelf with the spiky pot plants. Truly an example of small being beautiful but still feeling spacious.

It’s All So Black and White

Monochrome Fashion

 Monochrome Fashion scaled

This tub surround has some fantastic design. The clean white of the tub is enhanced by the slate gray color tiles in herringbone design. The marble on the adjacent wall contrasts and adds a note of expense.

The faucet and towel rail are in the biggest trend, black. Use carefully and you can update an entire room. The moroccan style table complements the bath towel, and the marble of the wall is picked out in the candle.

Monochrome Claw Foot Tub

This black enamel bathtub surround has so many exciting details. The white subway tiles are a good backdrop for the black faucet and shower, the rails and accessories. 

The shower curtain is pretty and lacy, and the flooring is cute black and white flower mosaic tiling. The inset shelving is set off by, you guessed it, trendy pot plants. Have a look for dliecate touches you could place in your tub surround.

Modern Black and White Bathroom

This tub is solid, sturdy and for contemporary living and the faucet is in full gold effect. The subway tile provides a foundation for the abstract art and other design touches like the wooden towel rail and over-bath tray.

The Honesty stems in the glass vase adds organic interest and frames the look. Think about plants and flowers you have in your garden which could be kept in water or dried out like this.

Planting Ideas

Pot plants and stems are being used a lot in bathrooms so see if you can come up with imaginative ways for staging some greenery. The above picture takes an interesting concept of a hanging tray seen ordinarily in a garden room or orangery.

This white bathroom makes use of plants to create levels and stages. The macrame pots are hung at different heights and the trailing plant adds interest. Experiment with heights and layers to break up your bathroom.

Vintage Bathroom Looks

Classic Pink and Navy Bathroom

What makes this bathtub look vintage is not only the claw foot design but the colors and accessories. We’ve been all about the pot plants and jungle style for modern styling. Well, these hydrangeas evoke a more historical theme, perhaps an 1800s French chateau. 

The faucet is traditional design and the flooring is evoking nineteenth-century. Contrasting color choices maintain elegance. And the text detail on the hamper signifies in no uncertain terms that vintage look.

Dreaming of an Antique Tub

 Dreaming of an Antique Tub scaled

This bathroom design is one to get into if you’re wanting a tasteful classical look so let’s pick out the elements you can copy. 

The subway tiles are of a bygone era and set the scene with the antique claw foot bath. For a touch of panache there is a striking early twentieth-century light fitting which draws focus to the plasterwork above.

The ornate bench and the shabby style rug add to the worn, antique appeal. So you may think about repurposing items from other rooms you would not at first have considered as bath decor.

Romantic Bathing

 Romantic Bathing scaled

You may not have worn floorboards or a platform for your tub but this look can be surprisingly easy to recreate. 

The key elements are the embossed tiles, the round mirror, flowers and the varying height candles. If you were to add these to a simple white bathroom, you could easily replicate this look. You just need to add the petals to the water, lie back and relax!

Rusty Bath

 Rusty Bath scaled

What makes a room look uncontrived is not going over the top on matching colors and making placing look accidental.

The gorgeous rust-colored tub is both traditional yet modern. The wall and platform tiles are simple gray and then warmth and interest comes from the terracotta flooring.

Sage green is a classic country color so this speaks of tradition. And the couch placed casually in front of the ornate fireplace and the high shower curtain add romance to the look.

What if You Have a Small Tub?

This is where you can use storage and practicality yet still be very stylish. This small tub has shelving built in. In a bathroom, though narrow, it’s just the right size for your potions and lotions. Choose fabric storage boxes like these to tone in with your scheme.

The white tile with the white bathroom suite gives a sense of space. Pattern is introduced in the floor tiles. Again, there are nooks filled with delightful accessories to make the eye dart around the room. 

Opulence Overload

If you want to go all out on your tub surround, then this has everything. This bathroom has texture from a leopard print rug and not one but two other furs. It has gold in the form of the tub and the candelabra and baroque mirror ooze drama.

Vegetation is in abundance as well as flowers. With the exposed stonework you might think you’re in a supervillain’s lair. Be brave with texture, color and theme! Certainly not for the fainthearted. 

In Conclusion

You can take even the simplest plain white bathtub and give it a whole new theme with color and accessories. Think about how you like to feel in the tub and use busy colors and patterns if you want drama, or neutrals and monochrome for a peaceful sanctuary.

Little stools or chairs in your bathroom add character. Plenty of plants and foliage give you a true living space. Your faucet color is also important as is the other metal work so opt for one finish and repeat it throughout.

So, have your soft towels ready, light some of your carefully chosen candles and take a long, hot soak.