Rustic Bathroom Design

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To start off our new bathroom design series, Rosalind Croad kicks things off with a look at how to decorate your bathroom with a classic rustic touch.

She’ll take you through pros and cons of various bathroom flooring, materials, storage and fixtures and how to create a rustic bathroom decor.

Plus she has some great tips for us on choosing a bathroom color scheme and a really cool do-it-yourself faux painting technique to create a rustic paint finish to give things a little texture.

Natural rock walls and rough timber beams make for a cozy, rustic charm.

Rustic Bathroom Design

If the idea of a rustic bathroom conjures up images of a quick trip outside to a chilly wooden bench, or a tiny shower stall lined with cracked linoleum, better think again; rustic does not have to mean roughing it!

Bathrooms designed with a rustic sensibility are all about bringing the look and feel of the great outdoors inside, without sacrificing the tiniest bit of comfort or style.

Bathroom Decor with the Rustic Touch

By placing an emphasis on warm, earthy colors and natural materials, such as tumbled marble, local stone and wood, rustic bathrooms being the best of the outside world right into your own home. Rich colors and fixtures that look like they were handcrafted make the room seem like a cozy cocoon.

Finishing touches such as earthen pots, lots of greenery and a carpet thrown over a tumbled marble floor can reinforce a feeling of home-spun comfort and warmth. If you’re lucky enough to be secluded from your neighbors, large windows that offer views of sky, trees and wildlife will be the icing on the cake in your rustic bathroom design. You’ll enjoy long baths and relaxing time away from the daily grind.

How about a log cabin wall in your bathroom? Rustic is all about a natural look.

Rustic Bathroom Design Color Scheme and Materials

The gentle colors of nature such as sage green, warm terracotta and pale neutrals will give your bathroom its relaxing, outdoor atmosphere. However, it’s the textural effects that create the timeworn charm of rustic home décor. Softly color-washed walls have the old look of sandstone and white ceramic tiles are designed to resemble real terracotta. Painting to vanity unit and shutters with a distressed finish can give a deliberately shabby look.

Or opt for the glowing tones of the dramatic wood paneling to give the room a warm and welcoming atmosphere with ceramic tiles to lend a sophisticated feel. The absence of further color will reinforce the woody browns of this scheme and sweep your bathroom up with complete rustic romance.

Wood, stone and a polished steel sculpture of a Deer antler as towel rack give this upscale bathroom a distinctive rustic charm.

Rustic Bathroom Design Materials and Flooring

Keep the emphasis on natural materials when it comes to cabinets, counter tops and flooring, including many granite and marble options, a more neutral colored ceramic tile, or perhaps pine or oak wood with natural fiber rugs; the knottier the pine, the more rustic your bathroom will feel. Each option has its pros and cons, you can choose the perfect option for within your needs:

Ceramic Tile Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Enormous range of color, texture, styles, sizes and patterns.
  • Extremely durable
  • Easy to maintain, and easy to repair in small areas
  • Heating can be installed to warm the floor

Ceramic Tile Cons

  • Dropped objects can break on the hard surface
  • Grout can wear and discolor
  • Noisy
  • Slick, high-gloss tiles are slippery when wet.

Natural Stone Pros

  • Lends a natural feeling of substance and solidity to rustic style
  • Available in many colors and textures whether you want smooth or something a bit rough around the edges
  • The sky is the limit when it comes to inlay patterns, bullnose edges and other unique tile and natural stone design upgrades
  • Stone is easy to clean and maintain

Natural Stone Cons

  • Cost tends to be higher than for ceramic, but a bathroom is usually a smaller room, so installing a natural stone floor you like is probably worth the extra money in most cases
  • Can be cold on the bare feet, but a using warm throw rug adds warmth and textural contrast with natural stone

Pros of Real Wood

  • Warm, rich look
  • Many variations of grains and colors
  • Can be custom-colored, painted or stained
  • Moderate installation cost

Cons of Real Wood

  • Water damage, dry rot and board lift
  • Must be sealed and maintained

Rustic Bathroom Style Fixtures

This is the area that can be bent the most in your rustic bathroom design. Anything that looks hand crafted or made of natural materials such as marble, stone or wood will synchronize nicely with your bathroom design.

If you want to add some sophisticated touches to modernize your design a bit, gleaming chrome faucets and stainless steel vanity bowls will play nicely against soapstone and wooden countertops.

A bath with a wide rim will give a great spot to display plants, collectibles and accessories which in the rustic bathroom design are the miniature keys to its success.

Storage for Rustic Bathroom Design

Think outside the box when it comes to what you’re using for storage containers. Planning decorating details right down to the smallest touches will lend a rustic flavor to your bathroom.

Use vintage wooden trays for accessories and makeup, wicker baskets for toilet paper and towels, or even weathered flowerpots for housing bath and grooming supplies.

Rustic Bathroom Design Accessories

Have fun with you’re accessories and add personal details to create a homely rustic look. Decorative items, such as bird and ship ornaments, add individuality, which framed postcards introduce a touch of nostalgia.

Reinforce the rustic feel with driftwood frames, earthenware containers and simple packaged toiletries in natural colors. Shaker furnishings are great for any rustic scheme; a wooden rocking chair would combine comfort with style, while a peg rail would provide hanging space.

Pile on the rustic texture in mats, pots, sponges and loofahs. Glazed terracotta pots, slipware bowls and chunky natural-colored soaps will help further to create the rustic feel.

For extra outdoor authenticity, add items that come straight from the natural world, such as plants and pieces of driftwood. And if they’re in season, fresh sunflowers arranged in a toning pitcher add the perfect finishing touch.

Step by Step Instructions for Rustic Paint Effect

  • Select two shades of sand-colored emulsion, one light and the other several shades darker.
  • Apply the paler color and let dry.
  • Dilute the darker color with water until it is the strength you want, then using a wide brush and make criss-cross strokes to apply texture.
  • To distress wooden furniture in your bathroom:
  • Paint with a neutral shade, then rub with candle wax on areas that might suffer wear, such as panel edges.
  • Apply colored paint, then rub back the waxed parts with wire wool to expose patches of base coat.

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