A beautiful coastal bathroom can almost whisk you away to your favourite seaside holiday destination. But if your own bathroom is less than inspiring, take heart. You don’t need to embark on a full scale renovation to create the luxurious beachy bathroom of your dreams, says interior designer, Dri-Glo ambassador and founder of House of Hanalei, Kathryn Barnes.
“A bathroom renovation does not come cheap, but there are certainly some updates you can make without breaking the bank.” All you need to do is get purposeful with accessories, and investing in coastal bathroom decor is a small, budget-friendly update you can make that will have a big impact. And making these updates is worth the effort, because the coastal look is timeless, says Kathryn. “Coastal bathrooms evoke a sense of calmness and tranquility, which people love.” Here she shares five of the most impactful ways you can use coastal bathroom decor to create a glorious, bathroom oasis.
1. Introduce colour
One of the distinguishing features of a coastal bathroom is the colour palette. But you don’t need to whip out a paintbrush or install feature tiles to bring calming seaside hues indoors. “When designing a coastal style bathroom, I gravitate toward neutral tones such as white and grey for hard surfaces,” says Kathryn. “I don’t like to incorporate too much colour, and prefer to keep more of a neutral base so the bathroom ages with the times.”
That’s good news if you currently have an all-white bathroom in desperate need of personality. “I like to bring colour in through manchester,” says Kathryn.
Towels are an easy, affordable way to introduce a coastal colour palette into your bathroom. Kathryn says the trick is to select towels that look luxurious and feel high quality. “To start, try building a ‘summer set’ for the warmer seasons and a ‘winter set’ for the cooler seasons,” says Kathryn. “I tend to gravitate toward soft blues and greens to mimic the ocean and create a cohesive, calming look.”
3. Focus on the focal point
Next, create a focal point by chanelling your efforts towards the bathroom vanity and mirror.
For the vanity, this can be as simple as investing in new cabinet handles or getting handy with a paintbrush, says Kathryn. “Updating the handles is a visually impactful, low-cost trick to updating the look and feel of your bathroom’s decor.”
Then, make sure the mirror matches the updated vanity. “One of my favourite updates is to upgrade the mirror to a more striking or larger design, says Kathryn. By doing this you turn a hum-drum item in the bathroom into a feature in its own right. “Bonus points if you can upgrade to a mirror with hidden storage to house toiletries and keep counter space tidy.”
Don’t forget to harness the power of scent to truly transform your bathroom into a calm oasis. Fragrances with a base of coconut, lemon, ylang ylang, cedarwood and sandalwood are all great choices.
5. Finishing touches
You can have the most beautifully styled bathroom in the world, but if the store-bought products you use have garish labels that clash with the aesthetic you’re going for, it will bring the look of the entire room down. “It’s all about the finishing touches,” says Kathryn, adding “I have always had a pet peeve with ugly toiletry packaging.”
There are a few ways to fix this problem. The first is to keep items with less-than-ideal packaging hidden from view, tucked away in the vanity or shaving cabinet. The second is to select products with beautiful (and preferably reusable) packaging. Another option is to invest in a matching bathroom set that you can top up as required, which is what Kathryn prefers to do.
“I like to think about every detail, including toiletries and accessories. Instead of using a generic branded soap dispenser, I love to display soap in a uniformed soap set, toothbrush holder and tray.”
Our top coastal bathroom decor picks
Cotton waffle bath sheet in seaspray, Dri-Glo
Kathryn says her go-to bathroom manchester brand is Dri-Glo, and she especially loves their cotton waffle towel range. “Their towels look luxurious and feel high quality but are also incredibly affordable.”
Castella ‘Madera’ European beech handle, Temple & Webster
Replace dated vanity handles with something modern, understated and classic coastal. This handle is made from European beech wood and is available in finishes including: brushed gold, matte black, polished chrome, polished gold and satin chrome.
Greg Natale ‘Avalon’ soap pump in navy, The Iconic
One of Kathryn’s favourite coastal style bathroom sets is the ‘Avalon’ range by Greg Natale. “The entire range is divine, with a distinctive arch silhouette and smooth matte finish. I love to use a complete set to give a bathroom a finished, tailored look,” she says.
Red cedarwood & suede handwash refill, ZeroCo
Clean your hands and care for the planet at the same time. ZeroCo’s red cedarwood and suede-scented hand soap smells divine, won’t strip your hands and you can purchase it on a subscription so you never run out of soap again. The refillable pouch is made from 40% recycled materials, and you can send the pouch back to ZeroCo to get refilled.
ADP ‘Glacier lite’ shelf vanity, The Blue Space
A touch of timber will add warmth and texture to a coastal bathroom. This Australian-made wall-hung design is sleek, modern and available in configurations ranging from 600mm width to 1800mm width. The elegant oak finish is durable and easy to keep clean.
Dri-Glo ‘Byron’ Australian cotton bath mat in linen, Harris Scarfe
Soft, absorbent and in a shade that subtly references the sand, this plush bath mat is the perfect addition to any coastal style bathroom.
‘Oceania’ room spray, Peppermint Grove
Scent is an important finishing touch, especially in the bathroom. This delicate, ocean-inspired spray by Peppermint Grove features top notes of peppermint, coriander and lavender to create a calming bathroom retreat.
Abbotson linen ticking stripe robe, Sheridan
No luxurious bathroom is complete without a comfy robe to wrap yourself in at the end of a long soak in the tub. This robe features a classic, coastal stripe and is made from 100% Belgian linen flax which has been pre-washed for extra softness.
Momo handles ‘New Hampton’ cup pulls, The Blue Space
In a classic, coastal Hamptons style bathroom, you can’t go wrong with polished nickel cup drawer handles. This style of handle is best suited to shaker style cabinet fronts but can work equally well with farmhouse, vintage and traditional cabinetry too.
‘Aberdeen’ round travertine bathroom tray, Adairs
Made from travertine stone, this tray will corrale bathroom toiletries together and add texture as well as a soft, sandy hue to your counter.