5 Materials to Never Use in Your Bathroom

Some things just aren’t suited for a bathroom. Here are 5 materials to skip if you’re redoing your bath.

In a smaller space like a bathroom, yellow paint can look too intense. Mirrors multiply the bathroom's artificial lighting, which magnifies the color. Image: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock

A clean, well-planned, and stunning bathroom is every homeowner’s goal. But creating it can be a bit of a sticky wicket. All that water, humidity, and artificial lighting, and those tight corners make the space a real challenge. Don’t make it worse by wasting money on materials that won’t withstand the task or will need replacing when they don’t work out. Dodge bad bathroom decisions by avoiding these five things:

1. Wallpaper

Bathroom with red wallpaperImage: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock

In a high-steam area such as a bathroom, wallpaper may start to peel in a few years, according to some designers. In fact, steam is used to strip old wallpaper off walls. Despite the many photos of stylish, wallpapered bathrooms in magazines, unless it’s a half-bath or guest bath that’s seldom used, skip it. Really want the unique look wallpaper provides? Try a solid vinyl wall covering instead. It won’t allow moisture to seep through.

2. Laminate Flooring

Love the look and affordability of laminate flooring? Use it in another room. Water and laminate floors don’t mix. Even tiny amounts of water will seep between the planks, causing them to expand, peel, swell, and lift from the floor. Even laminate manufacturers advise against installing in high moisture areas. The good news? There are plenty of other products out there that work extremely well in bathrooms. Take another look at linoleum. It’s eco-friendly, budget-friendly, and comes in a wide variety of looks.

3. Slippery or Glossy Tile or Stone

Bathroom with a slippery tile floorImage: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock

Many ceramic, porcelain, and stone floors will become slippery in wet conditions. The more polished a tile, the more likely it will become slippery when wet. Solution: Select your bathroom floor surface carefully, vetting each against slippery conditions. Look for tiles certified to meet slip-resistance standards specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

4. Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Man removing carpet from a home bathroomImage: Michelle Roth Writes

Carpet, while soft and comfy, isn’t ideal flooring in a powder room. Not only is the ick factor apparent, especially around the toilet, but mold and mildew can build up, which can cause health issues. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically advises against carpeting bathrooms to avoid mold exposure. If you really want the cozy touch of carpet in the bathroom, fluffy bath mats add color and comfort — and can be regularly laundered.

5. Yellow Paint

When selecting paint colors, remember that color will appear more intense on your bathroom walls than it would in most other rooms, especially if the bathroom relies heavily on artificial lighting.

“In that smaller space, where the mirror multiplies the impact of the lighting, the walls tend to reflect and magnify color from other walls,” says Amy Bell, an interior decorator and owner of Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, N.C. Be especially wary of yellow or other colors that contain yellow — even neutrals — as yellow can feel brash in a bathroom, and you won’t like what you see in the mirror. Instead, opt for grays with a hint of green or blue, which can feel spa-like.

Related: 20 Bathroom Ideas That Save Time and Money

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