Made popular by the beachy vibes of Netflix’s Grace & Frankie and all those #CoastalGrandmas trending on TikTok, the ‘by-the-sea look’ in home decor is everywhere these days, including bathrooms. In Muskoka we call it the by-the-lake esthetic.
To achieve beachy vibes in your bathroom, focus on colour, light, and elements found in seaside communities.
Marc Schenker of the Glorious Co calls it minimalistic elegance. “Every aspect of this design trend,” he says, “is intended to provide escapism and reprieve—whether visual or spatial—from the stresses and rigours of everyday life.” Coastal design is a style influenced by nature and the moods you feel at the beach. It feels clean, beautiful and airy — not filled with clutter, kitsch accessories, or over-the-top blue walls.
The following elements can be used together to create a relaxing space that gives you that by-the-lake look.
Coastal and lakeside communities are filled with natural colours — ranges of blues, greens, and neutrals. These colours are easily incorporated into a bathroom to give the space a retreat-like feel.
“Nautical themes are most often interpreted with the use of calm, soothing colors in creams, light browns, pinks, sea foam greens, white, pinks and blues,” says Maria McCutchen at Nimvo. “If you want to create a deeper, richer theme, use darker blues and richer browns in your design.” The most quintessential nautical bathroom contrasts blue walls with white trim.
On the other hand, you can paint in whites or neutrals to create the nautical flair, explains Jennifer Ebert at Ideal Home. Keeping the colour scheme nude, reminiscent of sand, is elegant. If you love blue and white, paint the bathroom walls white, and add blue accessories, fixtures and linens.
“Keeping the colour scheme nude, reminiscent of sand, is elegant.”
Gray is another option, writes the team at counter tops and tiles provider WOMAG. It pairs well with natural materials common in beach homes such as distressed wood.
Greens, yellows, or even reds are also viable options if you want to break conventional beach-style norms. Interior design writer Deirdre Sullivan gives examples of how to incorporate different patterns and colors in a beach bathroom. The looks range from tropical and retro to coastal charm and pristine white.
It is important to choose what you personally enjoy as long as the colour scheme complements the lighting, fixtures and other design choices in your bathroom.
When we think about the beach, we might first imagine the blues of the sky and water meeting on the horizon, but then our mind goes to the other details, such as driftwood, palm trees, pebbles and kelp. These natural materials influence the flooring and accessories you choose to incorporate into your coastal bathroom setup.
Reclaimed Wood & Driftwood
Wood is one of the most popular materials to use in coastal bathrooms to give the space a more warm and natural atmosphere. Kara Ladd at Elle Decor says that using reclaimed wood and white marble textiles, for example, makes for a “clean contrast just like a wood dock against a white sand beach.” Wood can be used as flooring, a bench or other accessories.
You may be tempted to use synthetic materials but the designers at Decor Aid recommend using natural material. “Wood, cotton, and jute will work to add a touchable sense of luxury to coastal decor while providing a comfortable and cozy energy.” The amount of natural materials you use can vary depending on your preferences. You can choose to use shiplap for your bathroom walls or you can use natural materials you’ve collected on vacation to make your own beautiful accessories.
Simona Ganea at Homedit offers ideas of how you can use driftwood to make beautiful and trendy decorations for your home. Many people choose to use a coastal style in their home because of all the memories they have from the beach. What better way to bring style and emotional satisfaction together than by seeing your collected materials on display in your bathroom?