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Create a shabby chic bathroom

Transform your bathroom into a vintage escape from the modern world

Blog
Wednesday 24th October 2018

Shabby chic bathrooms blend the classic styles of vintage and rustic to create a comforting, homely room that you’ll want to spend hours in. Whether your bathroom needs a complete redesign or you just want to add a few touches, shabby chic will immediately soften the room and make it more welcoming.

In the interiors world, shabby chic has been around for a while, with its relaxing combination of vintage, country and French styles giving your home a welcoming sense of comfort. But nowhere is it more suited than the bathroom, where it can create a peaceful sanctuary from the modern world.

 

From the soothing palettes of the walls to the delicate accessories, getting the shabby chic look exactly right isn’t easy, but it can be hugely satisfying as you build up your bathroom to become a perfectly coordinated haven of tranquility.

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Setting the scene

The walls of your bathroom will set the tone of the room and to get the shabby chic style you should work with a neutral palette of off-white or soft pastel tones. If you prefer tiles then go for the small, rectangular Victorian style and think about only tiling halfway up the wall.

Scandinavian tongue and groove boards also look great in a shabby chic bathroom, especially if they’re painted in a delicate cream, while many people like having feature wallpaper in their bathroom, attracted by floral designs that add an element of interest to the room.

Soak in style

The bath is always the centrepiece of any bathroom (the clue’s in the name), and a well-chosen bath will pull together the style of the entire room and make it all work. The classic shabby chic bath is a freestanding roll-top or slipper, with ornate feet and Victorian taps.

 

The days of scouring antique shops or scrap yards for a classic roll-top bath are long gone. Now, almost all bathroom showrooms will feature a number of freestanding baths made from a variety of materials, such as steel and plastic. For true authenticity, go for a cast iron bath, which has the advantage of retaining the heat and ideal if you like a really long soak. But good luck – finding an affordable cast iron bath in good condition is a tough task.

Stand up chic

Of course, a freestanding bath can be tricky to use with a shower, but one option is to install a circular shower rail with a curtain that hangs inside the bath. Sticking with the shabby chic theme, you should chose a traditional shower mixer such as the Mira Virtue Mixer Shower with matching traditional style bath taps. These ornate Victorian style fittings wouldn’t look out of place in a 19th Century bath house, but have state of the art thermostatic controls that belong firmly in the 21st.

A celebration of storage

In a shabby chic bathroom you have more freedom with furniture than a traditional bathroom – as long as it’s distressed and vintage. So cabinets, shelves, chests of drawers, tables, chairs, even dressing tables can all happily work together to create a more comfortable living space, as well as provide as much storage for towels and toiletries as you need.

The key to coordination is to not coordinate. Look for vintage items in different styles made of different woods that create an overall eclectic style, giving your bathroom heaps of character and individuality. And don’t forget the decorative mirror to admire yourself and your bathroom in.

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Pay attention to accessories

With shabby chic, attention to detail is vital, with everything from the door handles to the soap trays being delicate, feminine and, of course, vintage. Look in antiques shops and second hand markets for small glass bottles and jars, as well as baskets and candle holders.

With all that furniture and shelving, you should have no problem finding a place for all your accessories, but take care not to overdo it. It’s a fine line between carefully coordinated shabby chic and back street thrift shop. One final trick is to hang small curtains in front of an open cabinet or bathroom sink to make a real feature and a delicate alternative that can hide away clutter and pipes. 

Compare contemporary and traditional styles with our exclusive feature on bathroom design.

Is your bathroom a shining example of shabby chic? We’d love to see it. Share your pictures with us on Facebook or Twitter.