From high-end to laid-back, updated to old-fashioned, indoors to out, these coastal bathrooms are filled with smart and stunning design ideas.
Catch A Wave
Transform your bath into an at-home spa by emulating nature. The blue tiles pictured here bring to mind the undulating waters of the sea, and the palms visible through the plantation shutters truly bring the outside in.
Idea Spotlight: A folding luggage rack is a perfect tub-side spot for holding towels, books, and small potted plants when not in use.
This striking powder room is covered in an intricate ikat wallpaper from Quadrille Fabrics. Designer Mark D. Sikes added a single glass cone vanity sconce about the mirror for balance. “It’s very simple in form, which makes it perfect against all of that pattern,” he says.
Idea Spotlight: Hang a rattan mirror to add natural texture to a heavily patterned room.
Painting your trim a vibrant hue “is like putting a picture frame around your view,” says designer Anne Maxwell Foster. And no view is better than a beach view.
Idea Spotlight: Match your trim to your wallpaper for a winning combination. Start with the standout pattern first, and then take it to your local paint shop and have them recreate your favorite hue
This Florida cottage is no stranger to recycling. The beadboard paneling pictured here used to be part of the porch—and now serves as a fun splash of color.
Sleek and Subtle
The pewter-finished soaking tub and marble flooring make a charming pair and lend an air of sophistication to this chic bath. Plus, the frosted-glass chandelier provides a visual link to the ocean. “It reminds me of sea glass,” says designer Julia Starr Sanford.
Idea Spotlight: Thin linen draperies hung from the ceiling afford instant—and luxurious—privacy (and make the room feel sky-high).
Afyon marble tiles and an abstract chandelier are the stand-out centerpieces of this slick bath. And just through the door, an outdoor shower is shrouded in privacy thanks to a bamboo-and-stone colonnade.
Idea Spotlight: Large mirrors help make any space look bigger. Here, the oversized pair accentuates the view out the windows.
These bright tiles from Fireclay Tile offer an alternative way to incorporate color into your bath. The stark white surroundings ensure the bold shower steals the show.
Idea Spotlight: Pair a patterned tile with a patterned wallpaper. They don’t have to share the exact shade, but they should be in the same color family, as pictured here.
Next to Nature
Two worlds collide in this nature-inspired bath. The indoors and outdoors mesh seamlessly through the ceramic flooring and wooden and woven furniture, not to mention the open-air shower.
Idea Spotlight: Install a barely-there glass wall to protect from the elements without taking away from the outdoor spa-like aesthetic.
Embrace the quirk of oddly shaped spaces by playing up their lines rather than distracting from them. Bamboo matting makes the angled ceilings pop, and a pair of triangular windows echo the roofline’s shape.
Idea Spotlight: In a compact bath, continue the shower’s tile over the vanity, too, for a space that feels cohesive.
In this master bath, a deep, freestanding tub overlooks the grassy dunes, making it a serene escape.
Pretty tile work on the floor adds a graphic element to the space and is reminiscent of a rug.
A gorgeous tile floor in a spectrum of ocean-going blues and greens takes center stage in this Long Island master bath.
Simple shades in a neutral color give the space a spa-like feel.
The floor and walls in this Fire Island bath are clad in Carrara marble tile by Ann Sacks to resist trapped moisture and tracked-in beach sand. The cool, monochromatic color scheme gives the room a soothing, spa-like feel.
For a touch of whimsy, the homeowner converted a 1960s chrome dental cabinet into a stylish perch for towels and toiletries. The sink is by American Standard.
Earthy and Modern
This Malibu master bath got an ultramodern update grounded in clean rectangular lines that are repeated in a trio of casement windows and the translucent shower stall. Blue-green Esmeralda onyx shower walls and semicircular sconces dial up the drama by highlighting the home’s 1960s pedigree.
Give your bath a touch of glam by hanging a chandelier, like this Gianni Seguso one.
Soft white walls and a warm wood floor give this Western Washington master bath an upscale lodge feel. The Cheviot Products soaking tub casts a minimalist but striking silhouette.
Nautical illustrations that flank the window give a coastal feel to the space, as does the collection of starfish beneath the vanity.
Blue and green accents liven up this pretty white bath. The room appears loftier thanks to the vertical boards and painted ceiling.
Don’t be afraid of pattern. The Osborne & Little fabric valance adds visual appeal and mimics the colors in the floor tiles.
The freestanding tub splits our Daniel Island Showhouse master bath in half—with a vanity on each side—to ensure there’s plenty of room for cohabitating morning routines.
The soft blue shade (Sherwin-Williams’s Mineral Deposit) on the vanities is a great fit for both feminine and masculine sensibilities.
In the guest bath of the Rosemary Beach Ultimate Beach House, an oval mirror is suspended in front of the window so as not to sacrifice the natural light for function.
The overhead rain-style showerhead and handheld sprayer are all controlled digitally, so guests don't have to fumble with unfamiliar fixtures.
The shutter-inspired, slatted detail on the tub surround of our East Beach Ultimate Beach House lends a touch of island style.
Made from square tiles in different sizes and colors, the bath’s mosaic floor is a fresh update on a classic checkerboard pattern.
Create the ultimate picture of relaxation by positioning the tub for water views. Opaque roman shades can provide privacy when necessary but still allow light to filter through.
When using wood in moisture-prone areas like the bath, opt for teak. One of the densest woods available, it won’t warp or rot from excessive moisture.
A sunken Japanese soaking tub looks supremely serene. Creamy stone on the floors and walls, and a simple wood vanity topped with a glass-bowl sink contribute to the spa-like setting.
Filter light without sacrificing privacy by installing a wall, window, or roof of Lucite or frosted glass.
Using a variety of materials makes a monochromatic room more interesting. Combine reeded wood cabinets with smooth painted pieces, iridescent tile with honed stone. And mix your finishes―satin nickel faucets and aged bronze light fixtures, for example.
This style move rocks! A “moat” of smooth river rocks surrounds this freestanding tub, drawing even more attention to its gentle curves and sleek style. The effect is pure Zen.
Let an old beach house speak for itself. Rather than replacing dated fixtures, call attention to them. Porcelain sinks and tubs can be re-glazed for a fresh (and inexpensive) new look.
If you love a vibrant color but fear that it may upstage the room, paint it on a single wall. When tempered by neutrals, the color should accent rather than overwhelm.
Turn your bath into a work of art. Whether used on a tub, floor, countertop, or backsplash, lustrous mosaic tiles make a splashy statement.
To give the space a one-of-a-kind makeover, hire a professional to design a graphic motif or a mural. No matter what pattern you choose, the result will be eye-catching.
Vanity With Flair
Let a show stopping sink take center stage. Set a colorful bowl atop a vintage washstand, or mount it on a counter as an attention-getter.
Hang deep medicine cabinets above the washstands to hold all of the necessary bath supplies.
Forget a quick rinse in an outdoor shower―opt for a long soak under the stars. Turn a private deck into an outdoor bath with a freestanding tub and pedestal sink for the ultimate alfresco experience. A flea-market stool can keep accessories nearby.
Add personal style to a claw-foot tub with a colorful hand-painted design. Or use wire and hot glue to frame a mirror with a collection of found driftwood.
Unpainted, unfinished wood recalls bygone beach style―imagine a Key West cottage in the days of Hemingway. The look is authentic, natural, and beach-chic all at the same time.
Open shelving doesn’t have to look messy. Conceal your necessities in woven baskets and use clear jars or hurricane vases to hold bath beads or beach finds.
Maximize the square footage of a small powder room with sliding or pocket-style doors and you won’t have to plan around door clearances.
Turn a bathroom mirror into a work of art by attaching crown molding or replacing the glass within a picture frame.
Opt for a pedestal or wall-mounted sink in close quarters. Your bath will look and feel more spacious.
Use inexpensive woven baskets for under-sink storage. They’re an attractive solution for rooms lacking built-in closets and medicine cabinets.