By Rachel Homer
These rustic bathroom ideas embrace natural materials and soft textures to create a homely, relaxing feel—the perfect setting for long, candle-lit baths in a countryside idyll (even if you live in the city). The antidote to a hyper-modern and clinical bathroom, rustic bathrooms are filled with distressed materials, mismatched accessories, and plenty of character.
"Nicknamed 'Cottagecore', the modern, rustic country look is a trend that draws inspiration from the traditional and picturesque English cottage and US farmhouses—and you can easily bring this style to your bathroom," Victoria Plum Content Manager, Adam Chard, told w&h. "Whether that is through wood paneling, antique-style taps, or woven basket storage, it’s vital to draw from trusted traditional looks and bring them up to date with a modern twist.”
Whether you're redesigning your space or want to work with what you already have by adding a few homely touches, these rustic bathroom ideas and decorating tips will help you get that farmhouse feel. If you're looking to give your bathroom a makeover, you may want to check out our guide on how to clean a bathroom and our handy list of bathroom storage ideas to get everything in order before you begin.
What makes a rustic bathroom?
Homespun and pared-back, rustic bathrooms have a warm and welcoming feel that starts with a few must-have features, according to our experts. The color palette is neutral, with accents of slate grey, warm brown, and sage green.
The typical rustic bathroom will have:
- A neutral back-drop—usually with pale toned walls and subtle tiles, or vintage patterns.
- Exposed features—think wood beams, brick or stone walls, raw plaster, and even visible pipe-work looks the part.
- Natural flooring—whether it's wood, stone, or a faux version, this too is part of the neutral back-drop.
- Wooden furniture—a muted palette needs to be warmed up and grainy timber furniture is the ideal choice.
- Textured storage—the more the merrier. Think baskets, boxes, and product dispensers made from natural materials such as jute, seagrass, wicker, bamboo, and linen.
10 rustic bathroom ideas
Whether you love vintage simplicity or prefer a modern look with natural accents, these rustic bathroom ideas will turn your space into a picturesque and rural retreat.
1. Create warmth with natural wood
Nothing says 'rustic' more than natural wood. So incorporate the organic material that never goes out of style into your bathroom via vanity units, storage, and shelving. If you are designing your bathroom from scratch, opt for wooden fitted units, that will show off natural grain and texture. If not, you can easily add wooden accents to the room with touches like a floating shelf or toilet seat, or accessories like bath trays, vases, and hand soap canisters.
If you're worried about your bathroom appearing dated with lots of wood, an easy way to add a modern twist is to add industrial accents. "Team wooden textures with matt black fixtures and fittings—a perfect way to introduce modern style to charming farmhouse vibes," says Rikki Fothergill, marketing executive at Big Bathroom Shop.
2. Use vintage-style frames for artwork
A simple way to give your space some rustic charm is to invest in some new artwork (this could be postcards, prints—or even old greeting cards that you already have in the house) and frame them in vintage-style, mismatched frames in your bathroom.
Not only will this add some warmth to the space, but it's also a great way to ignite your imagination when relaxing in the tub. Opt for neutral, earthy tones to keep in with the rustic trend and scenes that will encourage your mind to wander. When choosing photographs to frame, black and white will enhance the vintage feel.
3. Let the outdoors in
Plants can really transform an otherwise cold room into a lush, inviting space and will complement natural materials and wood accents perfectly. Whether you opt for mismatched succulents, towering ferns, or an on-trend cheese plant, greenery makes the perfect finishing touch when it comes to the rustic trend.
There are some considerations when selecting plants for bathrooms, as there's often less natural light, fluctuating temperatures, and a lot more humidity to contend with. Air plants—which are super low maintenance as they require neither soil, nor water—and tropical plants like gardenia, or aloe vera, will fare well in this environment thanks to their hardy exterior.
4. Use vintage tiles for walls or floors
Natural and textured walls can help to create an inviting and warming atmosphere in a rustic bathroom. Think rough muted tones, distressed vintage tiles, matt finishes, and noticeable paintbrush strokes. George Holland, bathroom design expert at Victorianplumbing.co.uk explains, “When going for a rustic look, it’s best to avoid the ordinary bathroom hallmarks. Bright white tiles, glistening chrome fittings, and matching furniture can all work against the homely, rustic look. Instead, it’s best to go for an eclectic blend of traditional bathroom fixtures and adorn the walls in organic, countryside hues.”
The raised texture of wallpaper-inspired tiles will bring bathroom walls to life. Set next to a terracotta-toned wall, as above, offers up a warm Mediterranean vibe. If you are after a traditional rustic wall, wood paneling or shiplap walls are the foundation of farmhouse decorating. These kinds of walls create a cozy cabin feel while looking fresh and clean, too.
Take a look at our guide to how to clean porcelain tiles, if you need some advice on maintaining this type of tile floor or wall.
5. Choose warm lighting
Harsh lighting and a rustic ambiance simply do not mix. Instead, opt for warmer lighting options, or lights with a dimmer switch, to set the mood. In keeping with the exposed pipes and distressed wood, minimal lights and lamps with exposed bulbs will create a modern look in a rustic bathroom.
Candlelight and rustic bathroom decor also go hand in hand, so make sure your bathroom cabinet is fully stocked with fresh and earthy scented candles. If you're in need of some inspiration, our best scented candle guide is full of ideas.
6. Opt for brass or copper fixtures
When it comes to rustic bathroom plumbing, lean toward traditional designs. For the ultimate weathered and lived-in look, choose metallics such as brushed gold and brass that have a matt finish.
Exposed plumbing is a bathroom trend that's here to stay—displayed pipework adds a suitably rugged and rural character to your bathroom. An oversized vintage metallic shower head will also evoke a nostalgic, farmhouse vibe, and suits rustic bathrooms flawlessly.
7. Try rustic window dressings
Ensure your rustic bathroom has optimum privacy and light control with a window dressing that complements your country-inspired retreat. Color and pattern might not be the first things that spring to mind when planning a rustic bathroom scheme—however, a roller blind with a natural design (such as plants, flowers, or bird print) can be an easy way to create a farmhouse look. Stick to earthy colors and pretty prints to embody the country style.
Shutters are also a great window choice for this trend. The best option is wood—our favorite natural material when it comes to rustic bathroom ideas. Before dressing your windows or installing new shutters, you may want to take a look at our guide on how to clean windows for a sparkling finish to get them spick and span before you begin.
8. Add natural texture with accessories
When it comes to adding rustic bathroom storage and accessories, look to vintage and farmhouse favorites that have plenty of natural texture. Think—fruit-crates, enamel jugs, jute, and wicker baskets—all of which will enhance the homespun character.
Display some of your nicest bathroom products on an open shelf ladder—and double up with an additional ladder to hang up towels. And, no rustic bathroom is complete without the obligatory wooden stool—look for a simple style and use it as bath-side storage for an easy and practical take on rustic. A peg rail is also another rustic bathroom staple that nails that distinctive country look. Once it's fitted, hang fluffy towels and natural sponges from the pegs to complete the look.
9. Install a roll-top bath
An inviting bathtub is a stand-out element that you can work all of your other rustic bathroom ideas around—get this anchor piece right and the rest will follow. Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs tells us, “Modern rustic bathrooms tend to avoid hard edges and lines in favor of softer, rounded, natural shapes and forms. Popular right now is beautiful ovoid, curved freestanding tubs. They’re perfect for creating a gentle, cocooning effect.”
And there are plenty of options for what roll-top bath you could go for. While a classic white country bath will stand out against a wood-paneled backdrop, a copper bath will also give your bathrooms a touch of rustic glamour.
And cast-iron free-standing baths can also work brilliantly to create a vintage feel. You could even upcycle one and paint it in whatever color you fancy—neutral shades would offer a more natural look. But, if you don't have room or the budget for a new roll-top bath, a wooden bath panel with vintage fixtures is a brilliant second option.
10. Choose natural flooring
As with bathroom walls, the flooring in a rustic bathroom should be welcoming underfoot too. Generally, you should stick to finishes inspired by mother nature—wood or stone both work well. Rougher natural wood flooring is a fabulous option—but the key is to embrace imperfections, so laminate wood flooring is a no-go. If you do decide on wood floors, keep it protected from splashes with mat or runner in natural materials, such as seagrass or jute. An original stone floor is also a great choice for rustic bathrooms, as the built-in character will add natural texture and charm. An uneven brick with texture looks perfectly imperfect and injects just the right amount of undone style into your bathroom.
If you are not lucky enough to have an original stone floor in your bathroom, cheat the look with a rustic effect tile—not authentic, but most definitely a cheaper option. The muted statement floor with Victorian-style pattern above definitely looks the part when teamed with a wood cladding bath panel and wooden furniture.
w&h thanks Rikki Fothergill, marketing executive at Big Bathroom Shop, Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs, and George Holland, bathroom design expert at victorianplumbing.co.uk for their time and expertise.
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