Cottage bathrooms embody coziness and charm with their quaint, often vintage-inspired style. When designed thoughtfully, cottage bathrooms can be just as functional as they are adorable. From flooring to fixtures, every design choice for a cottage bathroom should exude warmth, comfort and simplicity.
Characteristics of Cottage Bathroom Style
Cottage bathrooms typically have the following design characteristics:
- Relaxed Color Palette: Soothing, muted colors like sage green, sky blue, and creamy whites are commonly used in cottage bathrooms. Pastels add to the light, airy feeling.
- Natural Materials: Wood, stone, wicker, and other organic materials give a sense of connection to nature. Weathered, distressed wood finishes are popular.
- Vintage Elements: Decor from previous eras, like clawfoot tubs, pedestal sinks, and chandeliers, evoke nostalgia. Reclaimed furnishing and antiques also fit well.
- Floral Accents: From floral fabric patterns to wallpaper to fresh flowers, touches of florals enhance the feminine, romantic vibe.
- Rustic Textures: Surfaces like beadboard paneling, subway tile, and textured stone add visual depth and appeal. Handcrafted pottery also brings organic texture.
- Plentiful Storage: Built-in cabinetry, shelves, baskets, and hampers maximize storage without clutter. Creative solutions hide messy bath essentials.
- Cozy Lighting: Candlelight, sconces, and lamps generate the perfect intimate glow. Natural light is welcomed through windows.
Cottage Bathroom Flooring Options
The flooring establishes the look and feel of a cottage bathroom. Timeworn classics or textured natural stone are ideal options:
Classic Hexagon Tile
Hexagon tile often comes in soft shades of blue, pink, yellow and white, zigzagging across the floor in a timeless honeycomb pattern. The geometric shape and vintage vibe pair perfectly with cottage style. Colors can be mixed or a single muted tone can be used.
Natural Stone Tile
Slate, travertine and tumbled limestone tiles in earthy gray and beige hues add organic texture. Stone varieties with visible veining, pitting and color variations enhance the rustic cottage charm. Mosaic stone tile patterns also complement the look.
Weathered Wood Planks
Reclaimed wood planks with visible knots, cracks, nail holes and faded stains embody the worn, vintage essence of a cottage bathroom. The organic grain and natural patina of salvaged oak or pine boards feels pleasant underfoot.
Classic Black & White Tile
For cottage bathrooms with modern farmhouse leanings, classic black and white tile in subway, hexagon or diamond patterns feels fresh. The high-contrast combo pairs well with vintage elements. Grout color should match the tiles.
Clawfoot Tub Surround
Positioning a rug around a clawfoot tub defines the bathing area and adds cozy texture. Braided, knitted or floral pattern rugs work well. Rugs with a rubber backing help prevent slips.
Cottage Bathroom Countertops & Cabinets
Cottage bathrooms feature homey furnishings and finishes for the vanity countertops and cabinets:
Butcher Block Countertops
Wood countertops bring organic warmth. Butcher block surfaces made from birch, oak, maple or hickory make unique vanities. Choose a style with visible wood grain or add a food-safe sealant.
Stone Tile Countertops
Honed marble, limestone or soapstone bring natural patterns and textures. Neutral, earthy stone colors complement the relaxed cottage palette. Avoid polished stones that may feel too sleek.
Cabinets with worn, chippy white paint or antiqued wood stain suit the vintage cottage aesthetic. Details like exposed hinges and visible wood grain add character. Open shelving offers handy display space.
Incorporating baskets provides rustic cottage storage for bath linens and toiletries. They can sit on open shelves, be mounted on the wall, or sit on the floor. Neutral tones are preferable to bold colors.
Cast Iron Sinks
A farmhouse-style cast iron sink makes a fabulous cottage focal point with its traditional curves and utilitarian appeal. White, black, or vintage nickel finishes offer versatility. They’re left uncoated for easy patina over time.
Cottage Bathroom Wall & Ceiling Treatments
Cottage bathrooms often have architectural accents and decorative details on the walls and ceiling to reinforce the cozy vibe:
Classic beadboard wainscoting with its distinctive vertically grooved pattern heightens the cottage charm. Tongue-and-groove planks with white paint suit the light and airy look. It can cover full walls or act as an accent.
Floral, botanical or toile de Jouy patterned wallpaper injects quintessential cottage prints. Used sparingly above a chair rail or vanity, colorful wallpaper can perk up plain walls or tile. Avoid large busy patterns that compete.
Exposed wood beams crossing the ceiling enhance the handcrafted cottage feel. Salvaged barnwood beams or distressed faux wood beams work well. Beam depth and finish should match the room’s rusticity.
Hanging pendant lights, like galvanized metal lanterns or seeded glass globes, provide cozy focal illumination. Vintage or reproduction pendants in cottage styles can replace an existing boob light.
Framed Botanical Prints
Black and white drawings or watercolor prints depicting flowers, plants and natural scenery reflect the cottage affinity for florals and nature. Group in asymmetrical arrangements for impact. Floating frames keep walls uncluttered.
Cottage Bathroom Fixtures & Hardware
Bath fixtures and hardware should be consistent with the cozy cottage design vernacular:
No cottage bathroom is complete without a statement clawfoot tub placed in a prominent spot to admire. The iconic tub suits cottage, farmhouse, Victorian and traditional spaces with its elegance. Floor-mount faucets preserve the vintage tub silhouette.
Curtains for Clawfoot Tubs
For clawfoot tubs lacking built-in shower enclosures, fabric shower curtains can provide privacy and style. Choose light, breezy cottage prints or lace curtains on straight rods reaching wall-to-wall. Avoid heavy shower curtains.
Featuring a basin atop a single pedestal base, these vintage sinks are ideal for small cottage bathrooms. Their compact size allows efficient use of space. Opt for pedestals in classic white, vintage nickel or matte black finishes.
Faucets mounted on the wall directly behind a pedestal sink or vessel basin preserve counter space in a cottage bath. Cross or lever handles in a polished chrome, brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze finish match the traditional vibe.
Vintage Lighting Fixtures
Salvaged or reproduction lighting, like crystal chandeliers, industrial pendants, or wall sconces with candle-style bulbs boost vintage appeal. Distressed metal finishes complement the timeworn cottage look.
Barn Door Accents
Barn doors crafted from reclaimed wood planks slide open to conceal toilet areas or airing cupboards. Rustic hardware like galvanized pulls, sliding door handles and hooks enhance the handmade farmhouse charm.
Above the vanity, round mirrors with simple carved wood or distressed metal frames exemplify cottage style. Their organic shape contrasts with hard tiles and angles. Opt for a sunburst motif mirror for a bolder statement.
Ceramic soap dispensers popping with cheery cottage colors or etched with floral motifs make hand-washing a delight. Use coordinating dispensers for soap and lotion. Natural woven pumps align with the cozy look.
Design & Decor Tips for Cottage Bathrooms
A few key design and decorating strategies help maximize the charming vintage appeal of cottage bathrooms:
- Incorporate pieces with history like an antique vanity, vintage signs or flea market finds to layer in nostalgia.
- Add textural interest with wicker baskets, woven rugs, fabric shower curtains, stone tile and wood cabinetry.
- Display collected treasures like shells, framed photos, and decorative bottles on open shelves to personalize.
- Maximize natural light with ample windows, transom windows or skylights to avoid a dark, cramped feeling.
- Inject softness with lace trims, floral motifs, cushioned seating and billowing curtains.
- Introduce black accents via lighting, mirrors, tile or half-walls to provide contrast with light walls.
- Zone areas with area rugs and privacy curtains to delineate spaces without closed-in dividers.
- Limit visual clutter by concealing necessities like toilet paper, garbage bins and cleaning items creatively.
- Hang a full-length mirror to visually expand a small cottage bathroom.
- Add ceiling beams or shiplap panelling on one wall to get the cottage look without overly rustic style.
Common Questions about Cottage Bathrooms
Cottage bathroom style brings up some key questions for those designing and decorating this charming space:
What colors work best in a cottage bathroom?
Soft muted colors like powder blue, sage green, primrose yellow, robin’s egg and pale gray capture the essence of cottage style. All-white with natural wood accents is also a popular combination. Use color in moderation against a primarily light backdrop.
What flooring is best for cottage bathrooms?
Vintage hexagon tile, natural stone tile, salvaged wood planks, and classic black and white tile perfectly suit the cottage bathroom aesthetic. Mosaic tiles and encaustic cement tile are creative options.
Should I get a clawfoot tub?
A clawfoot tub is a quintessential cottage bathroom centerpiece. The exposed tub legs showcase the ornate craftsmanship. Have it professionally refinished for a like-new look. Consider the extra needed floor space before installing.
How do I add storage to my small cottage bathroom?
Creative storage solutions like wall-mounted cabinets, freestanding furniture pieces, shelving, and woven baskets maximize space in cottage bathrooms. Install peg rails or hooks for hanging towels. Use space under pedestal sinks effectively.
What types of vanities work in a cottage bathroom?
Vintage restored furniture like dressers or cabinets repurposed make charming vanities. Butcher block and stone tile counters with distressed base cabinets also suit the look. Built-in vanities allow custom storage solutions.
Should I get a shower curtain or glass door for my clawfoot tub?
For easy access in and out, a shower curtain is recommended for a clawfoot tub instead of a glass door. Choose lightweight linen, lace or floral curtains. Install a curved shower rod to contain splashing. Add rubber bath mats inside and out of the tub.
How do I add vintage character to my new bathroom?
Incorporate pieces like an antique mirror, retro wallpaper border, or distressed wood sign to layer in vintage finds. Add classic fixtures like a clawfoot tub, pedestal sink or wall-mount faucets. Soft color schemes also impart a retro cottage feel.
Designing a Dream Cottage Bathroom
Cottage bathrooms exemplify coziness and charm. By thoughtfully incorporating vintage-style elements, natural materials and decorative details, you can create a cottage bathroom that both delights and functions beautifully. Key steps for designing a dream cottage bathroom include:
Evaluating Existing Elements
Assess which current bathroom elements align with cottage style, like subway tile walls or a porcelain pedestal sink. Determine which existing finishes detract from the vision and require updating, such as outdated flooring or lighting fixtures.
Planning Layout Changes
Consider any layout changes to support the cottage theme, like carving out space for a clawfoot tub or adding a window for natural light. Determine if plumbing can be moved to accommodate a sink relocation. Check for adequate space around fixtures and openings.
Selecting Fixtures & Materials
Choose finishes to create a seamless cottage look, like weathered wood flooring, marble hexagon tile, stone countertops and a wall-mount faucet. Source vintage or cottage-style lighting fixtures, mirrors and bath hardware. Opt for a clawfoot tub as a centerpiece.
Incorporating Storage Solutions
Add customized storage solutions to stash bath essentials attractively. Built-in cabinetry, freestanding furniture, woven baskets, and wall hooks keep necessities handy while maintaining a tranquil cottage vibe.
Pulling Together the Decor
Finish by decorating with elements that make it personally yours. Include floral accents, antique signs, framed nature prints, and collected treasures displayed on open shelving. Keep decor minimal to allow the vintage architectural details to shine.
Transforming a Basic Bathroom into Cottage Style
For those working with a completely basic bathroom, a mini makeover can transform it into a charming cottage oasis on a budget. Some easy DIY updates include:
- Paint the walls a soft color like aqua, light pink or sage green using satin finish paint. Replace boob light with a pendant fixture.
- Stencil a floral or botanical motif on walls for a handcrafted touch. Add beadboard wainscoting using pre-cut MDF boards.
- Change out dated faucets for vintage-style cross handles or porcelain lever handles. Install new showerhead and bath hardware.
- Switch standard mirrors for round or oval framed mirrors to soften look. Hang at eye level.
- Apply wallpaper border just under ceiling line and mirror edges for vintage impact. Choose floral or scenic designs.
- Replace plain window curtains with lace, cafe style or patterned cottage-theme curtains on rod extending fully across.
- Paint vanity cabinets in a distressed white or light tone and update with new cottage knobs. Add beadboard inside cabinet doors.
- Display collected curios, plants, ceramic vessels and family photos on open shelving to personalize.
With some creatively easy and inexpensive updates, you can give a basic bathroom a complete cottage transformation. Focus on elements that make the most visual difference for your budget and DIY skills.
Infusing Cottage Character into a Modern Bathroom
For those working with a contemporary bathroom, infusing select cottage elements can strike the right balance between modern and vintage:
- Incorporate subway tile or hexagon marble tile flooring and shower surround for vintage vibe. Use white grout.
- Opt for a wall-mount tub filler and handheld showerhead. Install vintage feet on a standard tub.
- Paint upper half of walls a light tone and use white beadboard wainscoting on lower half for contrast.
- Choose powder room vanity styles reminiscent of dressers, with legs and drawers in a contrasting finish from the white basin.
- Incorporate fabrics like patterned shower curtains, embroidered towels, woven rugs and lace window treatments.
- Add a carved wood mirror frame and vintage lighting fixtures like sconces or a chandelier for cozy accent lighting.
- Display collected finds like shells, books or flowers on open bathroom shelving built in or freestanding.
- Accent with touches of black and brass for contemporary edge, like matte black faucets, brass sconces or black framed prints.
Blending sleek finishes like quartz counters and geometric tile patterns with vintage elements can allow a bathroom to feel serene and elegant while still exuding cottage comfort.
Achieving a Cottage Look in a Small Bathroom
Small bathrooms can still embrace charming cottage style. Space-saving ideas include:
- Opt for a compact pedestal sink or petite wall-hung vanity to save floor space. Add narrow open shelving above.
- Install a space-efficient corner shower to free up room. Use a shower curtain and white tile walls.
- Choose slender transom windows, porthole windows or rectangular skylights to draw in natural light without taking up wall space.
- Incorporate a slim console table sink vanity with closed storage below and open shelving above.
- Opt for a long, narrow console floor cabinet rather than wide vanity cabinets to store towels and toiletries.
- Hang a full-length mirror on the door to add visual space.
- Zone areas with oval braided rugs surrounding the toilet and tub. Use wall-to-wall rugs at sink area.
- Visually expand space with reflective surfaces like subway tile and antique mirrors. Stick to light wall colors.
Thoughtful vintage-inspired cottage elements integrated creatively allow even the most pint-sized bathroom to possess outsized country charm.
Cottage Bathroom Checklist
Here is a helpful checklist of design elements to incorporate when creating the perfect cottage bathroom:
- Clawfoot tub or vintage-style tub
- Pedestal sink or wall-hung vanity
- Subway tile, hexagon or classic black & white tile floors
- Weathered wood plank floors
- Butcher block or stone tile countertops
- Vintage lighting fixtures like chandelier or sconces
- Round or oval frame bathroom mirrors
- Cast iron or country-style sink
- Wood beams on ceiling
- Beadboard wainscoting
- Botanical patterned shower curtain
- Wicker or fabric bath mats
- Ceramic vessels for bath accessories
- Framed nature art and prints
- Weathered wood vintage signage
- Macrame plant hangers
- Wicker or wood shelves or cabinets
- Farmhouse hardware and faucets
- Freestanding bath caddy
- White washed or antiqued wood tones
- Muted color scheme
- Minimal Patterned fabrics and wallpaper
- Fresh flowers
- Candle lighting
By incorporating these cottage bathroom elements that align with your particular space and style preferences, you are sure to create a cozy and charming oasis for bathing and getting ready. Enjoy the process of designing your lovely cottage-