Get The Look: A Colorful Twist on the Classic Cottage Bathroom

Lately almost everyone in the design world is saying white bathrooms are on the way out. But after years of seeing nothing but white subway tile, pedestal sinks, and beadboard, it can be hard to know where to start building a bathroom that doesn’t rely on these cottage-style staples. Worse still, how do you add color to a cozy cottage bathroom when the style relies so heavily on white-and-more-white? The answer is simpler than you might think!

Classic cottage bathrooms are almost always depicted as all or nearly-all white, but with the popularity of more colorful bathrooms on the rise, it's time to re-imagine this iconic look (by Gina Sims Designs)
Classic cottage bathrooms are almost always depicted as all or nearly-all white, but with the popularity of more colorful bathrooms on the rise, it’s time to re-imagine this iconic look (by Gina Sims Designs)

How It Works:

This bathroom by Gina Sims Designs looks and feels just like a cottage style bathroom, but without any of the most iconic elements – and without a single speck of white. The trick? Instead of opting for all the go-to “must-haves,” look a few steps down the alternates list, and pump up the color. It’s not uncommon to switch from a pedestal sink to a white vanity, or a clawfoot tub to a pedestal tub, so even though they’re less iconic, these “alternates” will still give you that classic cottage feel. Instead of matching them to all that porcelain, though, you need to think outside the box. Wood, metal, stone, paint, and wallpaper will all give you a richer, more luxurious-feeling space. And if you choose your pieces right, you’ll be amazed by just how little of the cottage feel you lose.

Get The Look:

The trick to getting this look to work for you is to not be afraid to push the limits of what you think a cottage design is supposed to look like, but remember to give a nod here and there to a vintage style. For example, forget pedestal sinks and white vanities, and opt for something in wood, but make sure it has classic woodwork and hardware, and maybe a light coat of whitewash to give it that slightly homey feel. Then, look for a freestanding tub that has a roll-top silhouette, but done in a more interesting shape or material, like steel, and pair it with vintage hardware. Mixing metals will give your space a more modern feel, but using an old fashioned tub filler will help lock in that cottage feel.

Also, don’t be afraid to go bold with your walls and floors: wallpaper and colorful wainscoting will make your space pop, while opting for a light tan stone will add warmth to your space that porcelain tile always lacks. Accessorize with a mix of vintage and modern lighting fixtures, warm metal accent tables, an elegant area rug or runner, and decorative mirrors, and voila! You have a space that feels classic and cozy, but about a million miles away from a cold, stark white bathroom.

Adding color to a white bathroom can be as simple as adding a coat of paint, but don’t be afraid to experiment with bigger changes and bolder shifts. The result can be stunning, without losing what you love about a traditional cottage bathroom.