Getting rustic right is tricky – and there’s a fine line between rough-hewn and rundown – but stick to a few basic rules and you can enjoy one of the most timeless interior trends without compromising on modern styling. Perfect for a bathroom retreat you won’t want to leave.
What does rustic really mean?
A mix of authentic beauty, natural materials, outdoor charm, rough textures and uncomplicated style, rustic interiors are all about keeping it real. Inspired as much by the rise of luxury glamping, Scandinavian minimalism and American cabin culture, the modern, millennial rustic trend draws from many different inspirations but adds a touch of vintage charm.
The bespoke cabins of Soho Farmhouse, in Oxfordshire, are the perfect inspiration – and anyone who wants to get the same look at home (without the celebrity waiting list) has plenty of options to choose from. The rustic trend is easy to achieve in any room of your house – but there’s no better fit than the bathroom.
Accessories are one of the easiest places to start. Whilst you don’t want your bathroom to look cluttered, small interior items like baskets, shelves, pots and stools are a big part of perfecting the trend. Colour and texture are important, and you should always stick to natural materials like wood, wicker, copper and brass – all in neutral, natural tones.
Part of the charm of a rustic interior is its quirkiness – as well as its “used” look – so look for second-hand items in charity shops, antique centres and boot sales, as well as on eBay. Using old floorboards for shelves, rickety wooden step ladders for plant displays and used jam jars for soaps and cotton buds are all great ideas – and a quick look on Pinterest should give you plenty of inspiration.
Again, there’s a fine line to walk between a chic rustic bathroom with a few carefully upcycled ornaments and an overstuffed bathroom full of old junk, so it’s important to pick and choose your accessories with a clear view of how they’re going to fit into the overall design.
As you start thinking bigger, your palette needs to stay the same. Whatever applies to a wooden shelf and a woven wicker basket is the same for the walls, cupboards and bathroom furniture. Contrast textures like rough saw timber with polished concrete, and unpolished copper with woven fabrics – but don't introduce any bold primary colours, shiny steel or flat plastics.
eBay is a great place to find bigger items like vintage vanity units, mirrors, stools and towel ladders, and you can complement your finds with modern bathroom furniture as long as you stick to the same rules of authentic textures, colours and materials.
When it comes to the plumbing, go for traditional styles in exposed brass and get broad showerheads, bulky taps and chunky ceramic sinks – with a clawfoot bath being an essential if you have the space for it. Avoid anything that looks too modern, with sharp edges, sheer plastics and stainless steel being the best ways to confuse the look.
Let the light in
The more natural light you can use, the better, so that means making as much of the windows as you can – with adjustable blinds instead of frosted glass and fabric curtains or wooden shutters where possible. When it comes to electric lights, you should either try to hide your bulbs by recessing them into the ceiling or make them into an accessory by picking antique cage shades, industrial copper mounts – all with filament bulbs. Above all else, avoid florescent tubing!
Find the right traditional shower for your new rustic bathroom at Mira.