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Elements Of A Stylish Contemporary Cottage Style Bathroom

Much of bathroom design has been trending toward a simpler, more classic cottage style. Like the kitchen, where an old fashioned farmhouse look is booming, homeowners are looking for bathrooms that combine a timeless appearance with a practical, down to earth design that’s convenient and comfortable to use. Every element of a cottage bathroom is one part style and one part functionality, making it the best way to get a posh, classy look that fits with a casual contemporary lifestyle.

Pedestal Sinks

A Simple Pedestal Sink Adds An Instant Touch Of Elegance And Sophistication To A Cottage Style Bathroom (by Kate Jackson Design)
A Simple Pedestal Sink Adds An Instant Touch Of Elegance And Sophistication To A Cottage Style Bathroom (by Kate Jackson Design)

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Pedestal sinks are the heart and soul of a cottage style bathroom. Various bathroom vanities will work, of course, but right now pedestal sinks are seeing a huge surge in popularity for a couple of reasons. While they obviously don’t come with any built in storage, they’re small and sleek, immediately evoking a classic style while offering the simple, streamlined lines that are more akin to modern design. Their slim shape makes them take up less space, both physical and visual, which can help make a small bathroom look and feel bigger, and the hard, non-porous porcelain surface is supremely easy to clean. Plus, the limited counter space means less clutter, as they simply don’t offer room to leave items laying out.

Built-In Storage

Basic Recessed Storage Creates A Casual Look And Feel, While A Few Hand Picked Antiques Can Dress Up A Cottage Style Bathroom (by Evens Architects)
Basic Recessed Storage Creates A Casual Look And Feel, While A Few Hand Picked Antiques Can Dress Up A Cottage Style Bathroom (by Evens Architects)

Unless you’re a true minimalist, the storage space on a pedestal sink – such that it is – probably won’t cut it. But in a cottage style bathroom, that works well, because integrated cabinets and furniture, especially built in storage pieces help enhance that classy, historical look. From recessed shelves to whole wall units or even just freestanding carts or petite antiques, having furniture in a cottage style bathroom is a really nice, Victorian touch that will make your bathroom feel homier. Utilizing your walls for storage is also a great way to get a lot of mileage out of a small space, and because pedestal sinks are so lean on their own, it’s easy to install a lot of it around one (or two, in a master bathroom).

Clawfoot Tubs

Retro Cast Iron Charleston Clawfoot Soaking Tub From Herbeau
Retro Cast Iron Charleston Clawfoot Soaking Tub From Herbeau

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Clawfoot bathtubs are probably the least practical entry on this list: they’re difficult to clean around and under, and can be more than a little tricky if you want to use them for both baths and showers. That said, there’s nothing that says cottage bathroom louder than a clawfoot tub, and the style is so classic and iconic that it immediately lends an air of old world sophistication to any bathroom, regardless of the decor. Add gold or brass feet and hardware and your tub is an instant, self-contained statement piece. Not, perhaps, the most practical, but definitely the easiest way to add a classy, sophisticated touch to your space that won’t feel overdone.

Porcelain Tile

Pristine White Subway And Hex tiles Make For A Beautiful, Bright, Open Space, Even With Minimal Natural Light (by Group 3)
Pristine White Subway And Hex tiles Make For A Beautiful, Bright, Open Space, Even With Minimal Natural Light (by Group 3)

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White porcelain tile – especially subway tile – is yet another ubiquitous feature of a cottage style bathroom that’s found renewed popularity in recent years. This distinctive tile is showing up in both bathrooms and kitchens, and is another great example of this fusion between style and functionality. Subway tile is classic and clean, simple and elegant, and despite the fact that it’s very white, the hard, nonporous surface is also incredibly easy to keep clean. A more traditional design would stick with white hex-shaped tile for the floor, creating a white-on-white look that’s bright and airy, but a more contemporary style might swap out for wood printed plank style porcelain tile, which offers the relaxed, natural look of wood while keeping that convenient, easy-to-clean, difficult-to-damage functionality of porcelain.

Walls

Pastel Paint Can Really Brighten Up A Cottage Bathroom, Giving It Character And Keeping The Space From Feeling Too Sterile (by Echelon Custom Homes)
Pastel Paint Can Really Brighten Up A Cottage Bathroom, Giving It Character And Keeping The Space From Feeling Too Sterile (by Echelon Custom Homes)

Where the walls in a cottage style bathroom aren’t covered in white subway tile, you’re likely to find either beadboard wainscoting or some kind of shiplap or other plank style wall treatment. Painted white, these have the same bright white, clean look and feel, but because they’re porous and organic, they can be a little less durable and more difficult to clean. Either way, in a cottage bathroom the wall treatment often stops at 1/2 or 2/3 height. This leaves the upper half primed for paint, and a simple coat of any pastel color (yellows, blues, and greens are the most popular) immediately softens the space, giving it an inviting, natural aspect that can make the whole bathroom feel more relaxed.

Lighting

A Petite Crystal Chandelier Can Instantly Change The Character Of A Cottage Style Bathroom, Giving The Whole Space A Posh, Elegant Air (by Brian Patterson Designs)
A Petite Crystal Chandelier Can Instantly Change The Character Of A Cottage Style Bathroom, Giving The Whole Space A Posh, Elegant Air (by Brian Patterson Designs)

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Now, lighting is where you can really dress up a cottage style bathroom. If every other element is at least sort of practical, the lighting is where you can indulge in a little glitz and glam to tie the whole thing together. A petite crystal chandelier wouldn’t be out of place with an elegant clawfoot tub and classic pedestal sink, and in fact gives both these elements a slightly more chic, antique vibe. On the other hand, if you want to play down the antique element for a more contemporary look, look instead for low key lighting fixtures, or even recessed lights. This will give your bathroom a more spa-like vibe, which is it’s own kind of dressy, but with a much more contemporary feel.

This new take on the classic cottage style bathroom isn’t exactly traditional, but if you’re looking for a way to get a functional, workhorse of a bathroom that combines old fashioned charm with contemporary appeal, this is definitely the way to go. What do you think of these cottage style bathrooms?