Bring the Beach Home: 6 Coastal Themed Bathroom Ideas

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer — though it feels pretty official around here, especially if you’re stuck in traffic trying to get across the Cape Cod Canal or to your favorite spot on the North Shore. There’s nothing more lovely than summer in New England, so it only makes sense to want to bring home a slice of the good life to inspire you year round. 

To that end, we’ve put together a list of out favorite decorating ideas to add some coastal flair to your home, no matter how far from the Atlantic you live. Specifically, we’re talking bathrooms here. 

Why Remodel for a Coastal Themed Bathroom?

Your bathroom is one of the easiest rooms to remodel. For starters, it’s smaller than a bedroom or major public space, so it’s not likely to break the bank. Your bathroom is also self-contained, so changes you make in this room don’t have to blend in with the rest of your home’s decor — a slippery slope for anyone thinking of redecorating a living room in an open-concept house. Your bathroom is also a great place to introduce a little whimsy, and you can feel free to experiment more boldly here than you might in the rest of the house.

Not convinced? Mull over these 6 coastal decorating ideas to get inspired:

1. Wallpaper for Whimsy

You may not want to commit to a bold pattern elsewhere in your home, but bright wallpaper makes a fun statement in a small bathroom. Choose a fishy design for undersea fun, or opt for a nautical theme featuring anchors, ships, starfish or shells. If you’re not certain about covering all four walls, consider doing just an accent wall, or adding wainscoting to the bottom third of your walls and using paper above.  

2. Tile for Texture

Upgrading your shower or bathtub surround with new tile is a project that can really transform your bathroom. To channel the seashore, choose iridescent tiles that mimic the look of beach glass or the pearlescent interior of a seashell. For a beach glass look, stick to shades of aqua, green and blue; for shell-inspired decor, try sandy neutrals like tan, ecru and white that have a pearly sheen.

3. Hardwood for History

One of the joys of a beach cottage is that it feels like it’s been there forever. Hardwood floors are common, and they’re often rustic and well-worn. You can emulate this look in your bathroom by choosing floorboards that look the part. White paint or pickled finishes are traditional choices, but you can also choose dark boards for a more dramatic, modern look. 

3. Driftwood for Drama

Driftwood that has been smoothed by the ocean and bleached by the sun provides a sculptural accent to your bathroom’s decor. Mount interesting pieces that you find to create three-dimensional wall art, or purchase a mirror with a textural driftwood frame. The trick to using driftwood is to go big, making sure to hang your pieces where they will provide the most impact as a focal point for the room.


4. Cabinetry for Controlling Clutter 

The vanity is a central feature of any bathroom, and it’s crucial to have enough storage space to hold — and hide! — all of your toiletries and supplies. If you’ve been craving more space, now’s the time to replace your vanity with something designed to store everything. For a beachy look, consider white cabinets with distressing around the edges, or choose natural wood in light, honeyed shades.

5. Paint for Pops of Color

The very easiest way to introduce a new design element to your bathroom is to repaint the walls. When it comes to coastal style, choose your palette based on the colors you see naturally at the beach: tan sand, blue skies, aqua water, white clouds. For a somewhat moodier, modern look, you could add grays and greens instead. Paint the walls for a traditional take, or opt to do the trim instead to frame a pretty summertime view through your window.

Feeling bitten by the remodeling bug? New England Building Supply has everything you need to get the coastal bathroom of your dreams, from new flooring to beach-glass inspired tile. And if you’re thinking you’d like to take seacoast style to new heights in the rest of your house, be sure to check out our article about beachy kitchen design, too.

Happy summer!