Rustic bathroom ideas – 10 ways to channel country charm into your bathing space

The rustic aesthetic guarantees a relaxed bathroom with all the rugged, rural feels

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Rustic bathroom ideas are trending again, and with very good reason. There’s simply no other bathroom design style that warms the cockles like rustic décor. Low-key, lived in and loved by many, isn’t it time you embraced rustic vibes in your next bathroom reno?

The most successful bathroom ideas focus on creating a relaxed atmosphere that immediately makes you feel comfortable – a sanctuary-style escape from the busy world outside. This is where the rustic look really excels, and why it’s so perennially popular around the globe.

‘There is a calmness that comes from all the natural materials and finishes used to achieve a rustic look,’ says interior designer, Louise Robinson. ‘Selecting bathroom fittings and accessories with a deliberately worn, rugged patina is also relaxing because you don’t have to be precious about keeping them pristine.’

Louise Robinson
Louise Robinson

Trained at the prestigious KLC School of Design, Louise Robinson worked for several highly esteemed designers before setting up her own sought-after studio in Muswell Hill, North London. Previously a Property Lawyer, Louise has a keen eye for detail and her relaxed interiors are always filled with colour, texture and interesting moments. 

Rustic bathroom ideas

A major benefit of the rustic look lies in its incredible design flexibility. Load up on the traditional fittings for a full-on farmhouse look, take it in a modern direction with an industrial edge or keep it simple with Scandi influences. However you choose to do rustic, we’ve outlined 10 key ingredients to make it work.

1. Work wood on the walls

steel bath in rustic bathroom with wooden walls

(Image credit: Future)

Cladding your bathroom walls in rustic timber panelling can create a cosy, cocooning atmosphere with luxury ski chalet vibes. Go for a bleached or limed timber to take it in a coastal direction, or rough-sawn timber to add an industrial design edge. 

‘Timber wall panelling is a great way to introduce another layer of interest and texture in the bathroom for a cosy retreat that feels both lived-in and stylish,’ agrees James Chapman, owner of Bella Bathrooms

Some of the best rustic bathroom wall panelling ideas have an authentic rough-and-ready aesthetic that’s been built up over the years, for example reclaimed scaffold boards or salvaged timber. Lock the moisture out by applying clear wood protector, like this one from B&Q, after installation. Alternatively, recreate the look of wall cladding with less effort by using timber-effect shower panels or bathroom wallpapers. 

James Chapman
James Chapman

As a City & Guilds qualified plumber since 1998, James Chapman brings more than two decades of home improvement experience as the owner and director of Bella Bathrooms. His passion outside work includes outdoor adventures and DIY projects. 

2. Choose living finishes

bateau bath in rustic bathroom with brass taps

(Image credit: Aston Matthews/Jake Easton)

Chrome taps and other ‘cool metallic’ hardware finishes can appear harsh in a rustic setting, which is why many bathroom specialists advocate the use of living finishes, such as unlacquered brass and bronze. Happily, this on-trend finish is now widely available across different types of bathroom fittings, from basin taps to shower enclosures, making it easy to coordinate for a cohesive look.

‘Unlacquered brass is not just a fixture, it's a living piece of your home that grows richer and more beautiful with time,’ adds James from Bella Bathrooms. To accentuate this natural aging process, James recommends pairing living finishes with soft, natural lighting and complementary earth tones that highlight the brass' evolving patina. ‘Unlacquered brass is not for purists, you have to be ready to embrace the beauty of change and the imperfections that come with it,’ he adds. 

3. Expose structural details

white bathroom with exposed stone wall and wooden vanity

(Image credit: Future)

If you are lucky enough to have structural beams and original brickwork that deserve to be seen, don’t be afraid to strip away years of cruddy plaster and tired tiles to reveal their raw beauty. 

‘There’s a story in every texture, especially when it comes to exposed beams and brickwork. Enhance these structural features using subtle lighting, positioned to cast gentle shadows and highlight their rustic texture and perfect imperfections,’ enthuses James from Bella Bathrooms. 

If you’re not blessed with period features, don’t be afraid to embrace artificial rustic elements, such as faux beams and antique-look brick-slips – just don’t overdo it. ‘Choose new rustic materials that resonate with the authenticity of your space, ensuring they complement rather than compete with the existing design narrative,’ advises James.

4. Add timber accents

wooden wall hung vanity in white bathroom

(Image credit: Big Bathroom Shop)

Few things say rustic like natural wood finishes, but you don’t have to go full cabin-fever to enjoy a touch of rustic luxe in your bathroom. Just one or two timber accents can be all it takes to enjoy the charms of rustic décor. It could just be a simple wooden footstool and towel ladder set against an otherwise crisp, white space – the results will be modern but comfortable.

‘Consider wood as an option when it comes to choosing your vanity unit and shelving, too, as they’re well suited to a rustic aesthetic,’ adds Rikki Fothergill, interiors expert at Big Bathroom Shop. ‘I’d recommend pale, warm shades of oak in smaller bathrooms to avoid overwhelming the space, with darker shades of walnut or dark stained timber more suited to larger spaces.’

Rikki Fothergill
Rikki Fothergill

Rikki is an interior design-obsessive with a keen eye for the latest trends and a wealth of experience from within the sector to provide expert styling advice on how to get the look.

5. Choose traditional sanitaryware

roll top in green bathroom with wood floors

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to selecting your sanitaryware suite for a rustic style bathroom, taking a more classical route with traditional roll-top baths, pedestal basins and close-coupled toilets will achieve design harmony. 

‘Traditional basins, baths and washstands are well suited to rustic bathrooms as they feel similarly authentic, particularly if you’re aiming for a cosy cottage or coastal look,’ agrees Rikki at Big Bathroom Shop. Contemporary sanitaryware can work well if you’re seeking a rustic bathroom along more modern, industrial lines.  

6. Go faux underfoot

rustic wood look tiles

(Image credit: Ca' Pietra)

Original wood flooring in the bathroom is perfect for a rustic look but not so perfect for busy family life. Your future self will thank you if you opt for wood-effect tiles instead of a wooden bathroom flooring idea.

‘Choosing a wood-effect floor tile over the real deal provides oodles of benefits including little-to-no maintenance – there is no sanding or sealing – as well as not having to worry about it getting wet. It can even be used within wet rooms and within shower areas so that your floor has a continuous run of tiles,’ explains Grazzie Wilson, Head of Creative at Ca’ Pietra.

Grazzie Wilson on sofa
Grazzie Wilson

Grazzie has worked in the interiors industry for more than a decade. At Ca’ Pietra, one of the UK’s leading stone and tile brands, she heads up creative, overseeing product collections as well as the company’s distinctive brand, look and feel. Her stylist’s eye and passion for the technical side of tiling is unparalleled. 

7. Get plastered

wet room with polished plaster walls

(Image credit: Quick-Step Flooring)

Hygienic, seamless and extremely beautiful, polished plaster has a hand-crafted textural patina that’s perfect for rustic spaces. ‘Plaster is big news in interiors, bringing both warmth and texture, it makes walls feel almost alive,’ says Grazzie of Ca’ Pietra, which has recently launched plaster-look tiles that are ideal for splash-prone areas. 

If you want the real deal, Venetian plaster requires waxing to seal out water, but most micro-cements and Tadelakt plasters are inherently waterproof, not to mention stain-resistant, UV-stable and easy to clean. Adding pigments allows customisable colour, and most types of polished plaster are suitable for use on floors, walls, ceilings and even furniture. 

8. Source vintage-look lighting

blue bathroom with wooden counter and glass pendants in front of mirrors

(Image credit: Future)

It doesn’t do to go too shiny and new when fitting out a rustic bathroom, so when it comes to bathroom lighting ideas, look to vintage or factory-style designs in finishes that will sit comfortably against weathered materials and natural surfaces. 

‘Sustainability takes centre stage in the rustic design aesthetic, emphasising the use of second-hand and repurposed items. The hallmark finishes of lighting to suit this trend include washed woods and antique brass, which together evoke a vintage and timeless ambience,’ says Julian Page, Head of Design at BHS. ‘Bathroom mirrors are best lit decoratively with matching wall lights styled on either side of the mirror for a symmetrical and balanced appearance.’

Julian Page
Julian Page

Head of Design at BHS for the past 23 years, Julian has witnessed lots of changes in lighting technology, from simple light bulbs to energy-efficient LED lights that can change colours and brightness with the touch of a button. As a designer, Julian stays up-to-date with all the latest trends, and his detailed knowledge, innovation and creativity in all aspects of lighting and the lighting industry are invaluable.

9. Pick a warm paint palette

pink bathroom with white tiles and wooden vanity

(Image credit: Valspar/@leanneandthecottage)

If you are now wondering what are the best wall colours for a rustic bathroom, the answer is simple. Warm shades, the cosier the better! For a calm, soothing space, painting the walls in a warm beige with pink or yellow overtones is the way forward, according to Sarah Lloyd, Paint and Interiors Expert at Valspar Paint.

‘Layering a mix of beige tones with gold or brass accessories and wooden flooring and furnishings will help achieve a rustic feel,’ she advises. ‘Shades of warm peach and terracotta are also toasty and inviting, especially in a rustic bathroom. Pairing the shade with natural wood fittings, stone basins, and green accessories will create an earthy, organic vibe.’

10. Add a sink skirt

sink unit with curtain and mustard tiles

(Image credit: Barlow & Barlow/Jonathan Bond)

Sink skirts lend rustic home-spun charm and are brilliant for bringing pattern and softness to your bathroom. 

‘They also have space-saving benefits, as there are no doors opening out into the room,’ adds interior designer Lucy Sear-Barlow, Founder of Barlow & Barlow, who used an upholstery fabric graded for outdoor use to keep toiletries and essentials neatly out of sight beneath the basin in this rustic bathroom. Made from durable polyester, it is a practical choice in humid conditions and easy to clean.

Lucy Sear-Barlow
Lucy Sear-Barlow

Lucy Sear-Barlow founded her eponymous interior design studio in 2013 after cutting her teeth at Cheshire-based decorator Mark Gillette. She works with her husband Joshua Sear, an architect and landscape designer, and the duo’s fearless approach to colour and pattern has made Barlow & Barlow one of the most exciting London practices to watch.


How can I make my bathroom look like a farmhouse?

Classic farmhouse décor is celebrated for its characterful features, such as exposed beams, inglenook fireplaces and flagstone floors. Luckily, getting the farmhouse look in the bathroom is more about enjoying the laidback essence of relaxed country life, than architectural features. 

The key is to focus on adding warmth and authenticity. Try to avoid an overly fitted look and matchy-matchy suites – freestanding sanitary ware with quaint cottage vibes is more suited to a rustic farmhouse look. Use vintage prints, antique rugs and enamelware accessories for extra rural charm. 

How can I make my bathroom look rustic?

Any bathroom can be given a rustic twist with ease; all it takes it natural materials, the more rugged and timeworn the better, and plenty of texture. Sisal baskets, rope hung mirrors, jute rugs, a rustic ladder or three-legged stool – there are so many ways to add a rustic touch. 

Keep the backdrop calm, perhaps with off-white or pale blue walls, tongue and groove panelling and whitewashed woodwork. Don’t be afraid to mix up styles – traditional finishes and fittings can combine very effectively with modern conveniences, such as a sleek walk-in shower screen and raincloud shower. Aged metal hardware, simple peg rail robe hooks and a wooden bath caddy can all evoke that cosy rustic atmosphere.

Linda Clayton

 Linda Clayton is a professionally trained journalist, and has specialised in product design, interiors and fitness for more than two decades. Linda has written for a wide range of publications, from the Daily Telegraph and Guardian to Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She has been freelancing for Ideal Home Magazine since 2008, covering design trends, home makeovers, product reviews and much more.