Shabby chic style is making a big comeback in bathroom designs, and for good reason. This relaxed, vintage-inspired look can infuse charm and personality into even the smallest powder rooms. With the right combination of distressed finishes, floral patterns, and antique accents, you can create a shabby chic bathroom that feels cozy and inviting. Here are some tips for designing a bathroom with shabby chic style.

Choosing Fixtures and Hardware

The fixtures and hardware you choose will go a long way in establishing the shabby chic aesthetic. Look for:

  • Clawfoot tubs: An antique-style clawfoot tub is practically synonymous with shabby chic. The exposed feet give it a vintage feel. Opt for a freestanding tub in white, cream, or pastel blue.
  • Painted vanities: Wooden vanities with chipped paint or a distressed finish fit the style perfectly. Go for a soft color like robin’s egg blue.
  • Metal hardware: Vintage-style fixtures with an antique brass, bronze or nickel finish add to the timeworn look. Crystal knobs on cabinets give an elegant touch.
  • Slipper tubs: For smaller baths, consider a slipper tub which sits lower to the ground. Look for ones with ornate detailing.

Selecting Colors and Patterns

Shabby chic style dictates soft, faded hues and floral motifs. When selecting colors and patterns for your bathroom, consider:

  • Pastel palettes: Stick to light, airy colors like powder blue, lavender, sage green and pale yellow. They’ll make small bathrooms feel more open.
  • Vintage patterns: Use shower curtains, towels, rugs and wallpaper with florals, damasks, plaids or toile prints. Prefabricated decals can also add pattern.
  • Distressing and weathering: Pick paint colors meant to imitate timeworn finishes, or distress new cabinets yourself for a worn effect.
  • Color blocking: Use different pastel shades on each wall to add subtle interest. Try pairing pink with pistachio green or robin’s egg and yellow.

Incorporating Rustic and Vintage Elements

The shabby chic look is all about blending modern comfort with vintage charm. Incorporate pieces like:

  • Antique furniture: An old side table or dresser can serve as a unique sink vanity. Look for faded wooden pieces with character.
  • Architectural salvage: Use reclaimed corbels, molding or flooring with visible wear for an antiqued look. Vintage signs add flair.
  • Ruffles and lace: Adorn windows with lace curtains or ruffled cafe-style valances. Cotton lace shower curtains enhance the feminine vibe.
  • Chippy mirrors: Hang an antique mirror or distress a new one for some “shabby” appeal. Framed vintage prints also help set the mood.
  • Galvanized metal: Vintage galvanized buckets, bathtubs and accessories nod to cottage style. Use them for storage or cotton swabs.

Creating Cozy Touches

Don’t forget the final flourishes that make a shabby chic bathroom so welcoming:

  • Fresh flowers: A vase of peonies, roses or wildflowers brings nature in. Dried displays in chippy containers also work.
  • Candles: For an aromatic and cozy feel, arrange candles of different heights in vintage holders and lanterns.
  • Soft linens: Plush monogrammed towels, robes and rug cushions evoke a sense of comfort. Pull colors from the room.
  • Botanical prints: Hang framed vintage botanical prints to complement floral fabrics and wallpaper patterns.

With the right mix of vintage-style fixtures, antique furnishings, flowery patterns and cozy accents, you can give any bathroom a timeworn shabby chic makeover that’s nostalgic and charming. The distressed finishes and palette of soft pastels will make a small space feel serene. Just keep the look fresh and avoid having it appear overly busy or cluttered. With these design tips in mind, you can craft a flawless shabby chic bathroom sanctuary.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shabby Chic Bathroom Designs

What colors work best for a shabby chic bathroom?

Pastels and faded hues work perfectly to create a vintage shabby chic look. Good color choices include powder blue, lavender, light gray, sage green, pale yellow, soft pink and cream. Distressing white paint also fits the style.

What kind of tiles should I use in a shabby chic bathroom?

Subway tile, mosaic tile, hexagon tile, and penny tile are all great options. For floors, consider a tile with an antique, tumbled, or slightly imperfect look. Stone and marble tiles also pair well with shabby chic style.

How do I add charm to my shabby chic bathroom?

Incorporate vintage elements like clawfoot tubs, dressers as sink vanities, galvanized buckets, chippy mirrors, and distressed wooden signs. Florals, lace, ruffles and chandeliers add feminine charm. Candles, fresh flowers, and plush linens make it cozy.

Should the walls be painted or wallpapered?

You can use wallpaper or paint the walls. Toile, floral, or damask wallpaper fits the vibe, as do subtle color-blocked walls in pastel hues. Painting inside cabinets or doors in a contrasting vintage color is a cute touch.

What type of lighting works best for this look?

Chandeliers, sconce lighting, and vintage-style lamps pair nicely. Consider hanging cafe string lights or a crystal chandelier for a touch of shabby chic flair. Lanterns also work well.

How do I add vintage style on a budget?

Check thrift stores and flea markets for old dressers to use as vanities, vintage prints and mirrors, and unique accessories. Or distress inexpensive furnishings yourself using chalk paint. Saving on big-ticket items leaves room in your budget for smaller antique touches.


With the right combination of clawfoot tubs, distressed paint finishes, dainty florals, and vintage furnishings, you can create a shabby chic bathroom that exudes cozy antique charm. Pastel colors, lace accents, and candles enhance the feminine vibe. By keeping the aesthetic relaxed and avoiding clutter, even a small bathroom can feel like a spa-like retreat with this nostalgic style. Use these tips to design the ideal shabby chic bathroom sanctuary.