How to design the perfect beach themed bathroom

Coastal areas look stunning – the glistening sand, the cute little seashells, the sound of the waves, the trees flapping in the wind, the endless ocean… If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, we’re envious of you. However, if you’re not but would like that coastal ‘feel’ in your home, why not design a beach themed bathroom?

The beach theme is surprisingly simple, with very little clutter. You might think it’d be all about beach posters and little seashells placed here and there (which’ll take forever to clean), but it’s actually nothing of the sort. In this blog post, we’ll go over how to design the perfect beach bathroom – with ideas, tips, and dos and don’ts. When you decide you’ve enjoyed the beach bathroom for long enough and want a makeover, just click your way to our post about cheap remodel ideas!

Decide the color scheme

First things first, you need to pick a color scheme. This’ll help narrow down your color choices, themes etc., so you’ll have a clearer idea of what to do and/or buy.

There are two main color schemes you can use in an ocean themed bathroom: cool and warm. The cool color scheme will be all about water and aquatic life, while the warm theme will remind you of sun and sand. Depending on your personal preferences and what would match your home’s overall décor, pick the theme.

There’s a third option, but it’s not technically part of the beach theme – a nautical look. This’d use a lot of navy and white, and be more to do with ships and sailors. It’s pretty in its own way, but not quite what we’re talking about here.

Pick the colors

Depending on how obvious you want the theme to be, pick the colors. Generally, the darker the color, the more intense the effect. Using a color in a large area does the same thing.

For a cool tone bathroom, use blue, green and everything in between. You can use related shades like grayish-blue and yellowish-green, but your main colors should be blue and green.

For a warmer tone, go with a sandy, woody palette. So grays, browns, pale yellows, and related colors. Coral works excellently too! If you’ll have wooden furniture, make sure it’s aged so it looks ashy or gray. The floors could be vinyl with a wooden pattern.

If you’re finding it hard to decide which colors you want, you could try picking a beach instead. If there’s a beach you particularly love (stormy skies and gray water, lots of local flora and greenery, or maybe white sand and sapphire blue water), go with that. Look for high quality photos of the beach, and study them. See what textures, what colors, what shapes it has. Is it a windy beach? What kind of plants grow there? Is the water calm? Does the beach feel warm or cool?

Have lots of windows

A beach is a bright, happy place. We associate it with sunlight, pleasant weather, a cool breeze, and crystal-clear water. So a dull, dark, stuffy bathroom simply won’t do. Frankly, lots of light (natural light in particular) will improve the appearance of any bathroom, but it’s especially important in coastal bathroom décor.

You ideally want wide windows so it creates the illusion of space. They’ll also allow light and air in, which will work wonders for your theme. Once you’ve got these two down, a little use of glass, mirrors and colors will take you the rest of the way.

Find the right materials

Stone, wood, tile and glass are perfect for a beach themed bathroom. What you use will depend on your budget, but we’d recommend having a balanced mix of these. Stone isn’t necessarily expensive, and you can find some lesser-known varieties for very little! So if you want a smooth stone floor in the shower or a stone countertop, it’s totally possible.

You can use mosaic to create the impression of sand (lots of different shades) or water. A mat at the bottom of your bathtub will make the water look blue. Bamboo is another material you can try for a beachy, woody look. It has the perfect mix of wood and sand.

If you have lots of air and light, aged wood will work beautifully, and remind you of driftwood. Use light-colored wood. Little touches of tan and coral will work as highlights. These are striking colors so you want to use them in small spaces – think a hand towel or soap dispenser. Tan might work in the splashback area.

Glass is great, because it makes the space feel more spacious and airy. It’s used heavily in beach-facing homes, so using some in your bathroom (for example, in the shower door) will create a luxurious appearance.

Don’t clutter

When listing coastal bathroom ideas, we absolutely need to mention this one. Do not clutter. Beaches are large, empty, simple places. If you want a beachy feel, remember to keep the space very clutter-free, You don’t need knick-knacks. Everything (shampoo containers, toothbrushes, etc.) should be hidden inside a cabinet or vanity. If the vanity’s discreet without visible handles, that’s even better.

You don’t need décor items that’ll get in the way and gather dust. Your goal should be to create a beachy look with the items that need to be there, and avoid everything else.

Create a muted look

You don’t want anything particularly eye-catching, so make sure you don’t have anything with a glossy finish. The paint and tile should have a matte, frosted look. You’ll have to do some hunting, but the good news is that high-gloss is in demand, so these shouldn’t be too expensive.

You definitely want some texture to avoid creating a 2D look, but keep it minimal, breezy. Your faucets, towel hangers and other metal fixtures shouldn’t be large and shiny. Try to get discreet ones. As we mentioned in the last point, the handles should be inconspicuous. You could try getting them in a wooden finish so they fade in, or if you’re building new furniture you could try to build the handles into the door itself – i.e., gouge a little section out as a hand-hold.

Light fixtures, too, should be simple. Recessed lights would work well. If you want a softer appearance, try a couple plain lamps (small, white, unpatterned).

The curtains in your beach themed bathroom can be flowy and white for a romantic appearance, or for a ‘lawn chair and umbrella’ type feel you could get something with blue and white stripes. If you’ve covered the wood, sand and sun, you can get a curtain in dazzling blue or teal. Just make sure the tone (warm or cool) is consistent with the rest of your décor.

Accessories ‘shell’ the look

We’ve been saying all along that the bathroom needs to look quiet, muted, calm. However, if you find that it’s too subtle for your tastes and want to get a decorative accessory, just make sure the accessory is enough.

The last thing you want is a weak accessory that doesn’t quite make the theme obvious, but sits there in the middle without a purpose. You could try creatively using rope, or getting shells or a cute little starfish plushy. Just make sure it’s good enough, that it grabs people’s attention, so you don’t need another accessory to finish its job.

This was our list of beach bathroom ideas. We hope you found them helpful! For more ideas, tips and inspiration, feel free to scroll through our blog archives.