Nautical bathroom decor to add coastal style to your space

Be inspired by holiday cottages and days at the beach to create a fresh and relaxed nautical look in your bathroom

Bathrooms and the seaside go together like fish and chips. Give yourself an easy design win by using nautical bathroom decor in your wash space.

You can almost feel the sand between your toes and hear the lapping of the waves with a laid-back beach-themed bathroom. And, it's a look that suits your bathroom ideas perfectly, with distressed wood, nautical accessories and striped textiles. Go for blue and white, then mix in driftwood and wicker for a beachcomber vibe. Personalise the look with treasures such as postcards and photos to conjure happy memories of holidays past.

So even if you are fully land-locked, make the most of that coastal feeling with nautical bathroom ideas that will bring the coastal life inside.

1. Paint it white

attic bathroom with wooden flooring and blue bathtub

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alistair NIcholls)

When designing nautical bathroom decor, there should be two vibes aimed for above all else; relaxing and lived-in. If in doubt, opt for white bathroom ideas, and add weathered accessories that can be easily changed at the drop of a hat. 

Look for shabby, beachcomber style furniture, and add mirrors and picture frames with a driftwood-esque feel. If creating a bathroom from scratch, opt for wooden panelling to call to mind the fisherman’s huts of the British seaside.

2. Theme a small space

attic bathroom with white walls and black and white bathtub

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Brent Darby)

Take classic country style, add the feel-good factor of being beside the sea - and you'll end up with a scheme that's as emotionally appealing as it is visually. This is one look you can never tire of and is easy to adjust and develop. Add nautical bathroom ideas and seaside motifs to your room with a light touch – particularly in the bathroom, where they can look clichéd.

When working with small bathroom ideas, keep things simple. This compact under-the-eaves room has its smart boat bath centre stage. With natural light limited by a tiny window, this black-and-white scheme keeps things  simple and easy on the eye, while tongue-and-groove panelling boxes off the pipework while providing storage and display space. If you don't want to go too coastal, then look for nautical bathroom accessories that you can change easily. Pops of blue and red introduce a coastal theme perfectly in keeping with the panelling.

3. Decorate with nautical accessories

bathroom with white bathtub, wall panelling and deep red flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes)

Accessorise a neutral space with jolly nautical bathroom decor and accessories. This neutral palette has been used as a fresh backdrop for seaside-style towels, bathmat, artwork and decorative pieces. The window treatment is simple and provides a contrast to the ornate wooden painted mirror and distressed display cabinet. The rich red linoleum floor helps to anchor the scheme.

4. Paint in nudes

white bathroom with white sink and round mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Brett Charles)

Sandy tones and influences take this neutral bathroom to a seaside location without all the obvious blue and white nautical touches. Carefully chosen nautical bathroom ideas introduce the trend while retaining a calming neutral tone - perfect for a relaxing bathroom. 

A porthole-style bathroom mirror above the sink and large sand-filled vases both nod to the nautical but maintain the warm and calm effect of the wall and woodwork palette.

5. Decorate with different shades of blue

bathroom with white bathtub, tiled floor and wall panelling

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes)

Use blue bathroom ideas to add coastal character to your space. Using subtle touches of colour and minimal accessories is a great way to introduce elements of a trend without creating a themed room. 

Here, shells, starfish and a blue-and-white striped blind give the neutral bathroom a coastal feel, but only at its most mild. The paneling around the bath offers the perfect place to display accessories.

6. Work in raw materials

bathroom with wooden panelling on walls, floor and bath

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Brett Charles)

Evoke wonderful memories of summers spent in beach huts with a stunning photo of a seaside landscape positioned above the bath. Find a favourite picture and have it made into a large-scale print, flyposter or wall decal. Make sure that you seal it with varnish to ensure that it is watertight. 

Scour salvage yards for reclaimed wood to use for bath panel ideas as well as on the walls and floor. Don't be discouraged when sourcing salvaged wood - even when damaged, wood can often be restored to its former glory. Any dents and scratches become part of the patina of age.

Buy now: Similar Timber, B&Q

7. Opt for nautical accessories

bathroom with white bathtub and blue wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Brett Charles)

A porthole-style window (or perhaps a mirror that creates the illusion of one) is a perfect way to add a coastal feel to the architectural features of your home. Select painted wall panelling ideas for relaxed, East-coast nautical bathroom decor.

Choose a deep-sea blue for the walls immediately behind the bath. Add novelty anchor towel holders to create a quirky home for striped towels.

8. Acessorise the right way

bathroom with white bathtub and split window

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Oliver Gordon)

Combine maritime elements for a yacht-club-inspired look. Use smart stripes to add colour to the bathroom walls and team it with a co-ordinating rug for a cohesive and considered look. On the windows, opt for a Venetian-style blind to inject coastal-style, as well as to let light in without compromising on privacy. Complete the look with seaside-inspired accessories and rich blue linens.

9. Stick to a theme

bathroom with wooden panelled bathtub

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Scarboro)

Keep your base colour scheme neutral for effective nautical bathroom decor. White walls and floors will open up even a tiny room and give a feeling of a light and airy space. Choose accents of natural, earthy tones to warm up your room. Opt for wooden bath panels to shake-up a blue and white room.

10. Be inspired by nature

bathroom with white walls and tiny candle holders

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Trevor Richards)

Use the colours of nature to inspire your decorating scheme. Play with the sky, sea and sand to form a dreamy coastal colour scheme. A weathered, faded look is the essence of a coastal theme for your home, think bleached and dip-dyed linens and fabrics. 

Bring the colours of the seaside into your home and channel coastal chic with calming whites and cool shades of blue. Punctuate this nautical scene with candle holders and accessories in a similar colour palette.

11. Keep it authentic

bathroom with rough white walls and bathtub

(Image credit: Future PLC/ James Merrell)

Conjure up memories of faraway lands and fabulous seascapes with rustic Mediterranean-inspired nautical bathroom decor. Create a room that feels light, breezy and energising by day, but cosy and cocooning at night. Rough white walls and cool blue accents give this bathroom space it's cave-like, laid-back vibe. 

Here, a stack of boldly striped towels adds to the maritime mood of this simple but effective bathroom. Paint a vintage freestanding tub in an azure blue hue, then sand for an unpolished, weathered finish.

12. Conjure up holiday memories

bathroom with white tub and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Katie Lee)

Epitomise beach-hut chic with white shabby-chic bathroom shelving ideas and coastal-style accessories. Introduce elements of coastal living by using a few carefully chosen accessories. A drift-wood style ledge in front of the mirror creates a lovely display shelf perfect for shells and wild-flowers in simple jam jars.

13. Go nostalgic

bathroom with seaside themed wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Nigel Rigden)

Set a nostalgic feel with vintage-inspired, seaside-themed wallpaper and simple white-painted wooden furniture. Add an old-fashioned charm to your nautical bathroom ideas with charity-shop art and classic beachside plaques. 

Use a crate as a quirky box shelf to display personal objects and trinkets. Wooden crates don't have to be expensive and even less than perfect ones are easy to make pretty and practical.

14. Make it modern

bathroom with white walls and round mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Emma Lee)

Be invigorated by a stormy-sea shade or moody blue sky. Choose a St Ives-inspired fabric beneath the basin, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were on a permanent holiday while using it. To keep the look crisp, choose pure whites, not creamy, yellower shades, as these will look dirtier against the fresh blue tones.

15. Go all out

bathroom with coral print wall bathtub and sea urchins

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Paul Raeside)

Get a cheerful look with your nautical bathroom decor by using aquatic brights and create a dynamic scheme by covering a feature wall in reef-inspired bathroom wallpaper - a coral print will bring back that holiday feeling. Combine energising turquoise and verdant green for a vibrant, modern look. 

A bold palette like this lends itself to a scheme with a Miami beach vibe - think modern, stylish furniture and glamorous, white, high-gloss finishes. Calm the lively pattern by painting the adjacent walls in a soothing palette of white. 

Finish off the look with fabulous sea finds. Position them organically as though they've washed up on shore amongst coral and sand-beaten glass, as well as watery glazes and sea urchins for a super-chic stylised look.

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.