French country bathrooms – 13 ways to capture this elegant yet rustic look

Create elegant spaces full of glamour, romance and rustic charm with these inspiring bathroom schemes and expert tips

French country bathrooms
(Image credit: Drummonds, Zardi & Zardi, photograph Mike Garlick / L.B. Copeland, photograph Adam Kane Macchia / Blanc Marine Intérieurs, photograph Maxime Desbiens)

French country bathrooms are characterized by their elegant blend of classic design with rustic features, infused with a touch of glamour and luxury. As private rooms where we can truly relax and unwind away from the stresses of modern life, bathrooms are spaces where we should feel free to be indulgent in our decorating, creating spaces that make us feel good. 

Perhaps this is why we’re seeing more and more homeowners channeling the romantic European look in their wash spaces to bring that luxurious holiday feel. Luckily you don’t need a historic château en Provence to capture this elegant bathroom look. Below we share design ideas and tips to get you inspired.

13 French country bathrooms to inspire a rustic remodel 

French country style has become synonymous with relaxed elegance. A beautiful mix of refined and rustic, old and new, with a dose of faded grandeur, French country decor is a popular look for all sorts of rooms, but it works particularly well in a bathroom, after all if any room deserves a little luxury it’s the bathroom. 

‘French country bathrooms are about pared-back glamour – think wood, vintage art, terracotta tiles and neutral color schemes,' says Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at Ca’ Pietra. 'One of the reasons I love this style of bathroom is because there are lots of textures at play with different materials, yet they all work together to create the chic look we expect from a French-inspired aesthetic.'

Whether you're looking to update an existing bathroom or embark on a new country bathroom design, these beautiful rooms and expert tips are a great place to begin.

1. Choose a luxurious roll top bath

Bathroom with Zardi & Zardi wallpaper and the Drummonds Swale bath

(Image credit: Zardi & Zardi / Drummonds / photograph Mike Garlick, styling Alyce Taylor)

No French country bathroom should be without an elegant roll-top bath. The perfect centerpiece for a luxurious bathroom scheme, all sorts of designs are available from lustrous copper tubs to cast iron designs that can be painted to suit your scheme. In this beautiful bathroom, the Drummonds Swale roll top is perfectly paired with Zardi & Zardi’s Leeds Castle Aubusson – Espalier wallpaper, inspired by a historic tapestry from Aubusson, France, to create a space brimming with timeless elegance.

‘The Swale cast-iron bathtub has the grand elegance of a freestanding bath with traditional ball and claw feet but offers a more compact footprint,’ says James Lentaigne, creative director at Drummonds. ‘To capture the rustic French mood of this bathroom, the exterior is painted a fresh white and paired with Mull classic bath taps in antique brass finish.’ 

2. Incorporate antiques

Elegant French-style bathroom with shutters, roll top bath, antique furniture and chandelier

(Image credit: Kristin Mullen Interiors / photograph Nathan Schroder)

Decorating with antiques is a wonderful way to bring unique charm to interiors plus they have beautiful patinas and stories to tell. Interior designer Kristin Mullen cleverly integrated romantic antique finds into this luxury bathroom to create a space with plenty of texture and interest that remains bright and airy.

‘We included many elegant antique elements to elevate and bring warmth to the room, as well as to achieve the effect of relaxed sophistication. We anchored the Waterworks cast iron slipper tub with European-inspired shutters that can be left wholly open, or the lowers can close for privacy,' says Kristin Mullen, founder of Kristin Mullen Designs

'An Italian chandelier dances over the tub and matching vintage Brazilian commodes with a gorgeous blue-gray patina were built into the wall. We used antique doors to conceal linen storage, while an antique mirror glistens over the sink.'

Kristin Mullen headshot
Kristin Mullen

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kristin Mullen founded Kristin Mullen Designs in 2007 after renovating and decorating her own home sparked a passion for a new career. Working on projects across the US she aims to create timeless spaces that work in harmony with the architecture and her clients’ lifestyles. Her elegant style is influenced by her travels in Europe, England and Asia, and while it is rooted in classic design principles, she isn’t afraid to introduce modern elements and a touch of whimsy. 

3. Embrace rustic surfaces

White bathroom with terracotta floor tiles and a freestanding bath

(Image credit: Ca Pietra / photograph Chris Snook)

Whether on the floor or wall, bathroom tile ideas are an easy way to inject character into a bathroom no matter the size and terracotta designs are perfect for capturing that rustic European feel. 

‘While some elements of the bathroom will bring drama and glamour, you’ll also need to consider the rustic elements,’ explains Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at Ca’ Pietra on creating a French country look. 

‘One of our favorite ways to add this in is through tiles, in particular the use of terracotta tiles. They have a warmth and simplicity that fits naturally with this style of bathroom.’

4. Introduce a vintage floral wallpaper

Bathroom with block printed wallpaper

(Image credit: L.B. Copeland / Adam Kane Macchia)

Bathroom wallpaper is a wonderful way to instantly transform small bathrooms and powder rooms into head-turning spaces. Here Louise Copeland, founder of L.B. Copeland, chose an aged floral paper to bring a romantic vintage feel. 

‘The wallpaper, from Jasper, is printed but made to look like an old, imperfect, Indian Block print,' says Louise Copeland. 'The tea-stained ground of the paper makes it look aged, so it was the perfect fit for this almost 200-year-old house. We wanted something fresh but that in no way felt new.'

Louise Copeland headshot
Louise Copeland

Louise Copeland, founder of L.B. Copeland, creates sophisticated and timeless interiors for modern living. Her career began in Jackson, WY, followed by pivotal years in New York City where she collaborated with renowned international fabric and furniture houses. This experience paved the way for a five-year tenure with the esteemed AD100 Designer Steven Gambrel. Louise went on to found her design firm L.B. Copeland Interior Design in San Francisco before relocating to NYC in 2017. Now based in North Carolina, she works on a wide array of residential projects across the US from Greenwich, CT to Miami, FL.

5. Choose classic fixtures and fittings

Elegant white bathroom with antique mirrors, brass wall lights and a light blue vanity unit

(Image credit: Design by Blanc Marine Living, photograph Maxime Desbiens)

Choosing traditional furniture and fittings is a great way to tap into the romantic French country aesthetic. Featuring mirrors and a double vanity with elegant, elongated proportions, alongside a classic lantern-style ceiling lamp and shaded wall lights, this space by Blanc Marine Intérieurs oozes classic elegance.

'This bathroom is in a Victorian home so it was important to keep the design elements traditional,' says Laurence Pons Lavigne, lead designer and co-founder at Blanc Marine Intérieurs. 'The bathroom presents a timeless style in a soft color palette with classic elements alongside modern hexagonal floor tiles.'

6. Add a traditional washstand

Bathroom with wooden vintage-style washstand

(Image credit: deVOL Victorian washstand)

If space is at a premium an open washstand makes a great alternative to a vanity unit as it will make the space feel open and airy without encroaching on valuable floor space. With its pleasing proportions, traditional turned legs and marble top, the wooden Victorian washstand from deVOL makes a fitting piece for an elegant French country bathroom or vintage bathroom, especially when paired with traditional brass fixtures. 

Inspired by historic designs, it pairs beautifully with antique finds as pictured here and can be painted in Mushroom, Printer's Black or pretty Princelet Pink, perfect for a romantic Parisian scheme. 

7. Choose a warm neutral palette

Neutral bathroom with paneling and roll top bath

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Decorating with neutrals is a go-to for a relaxing and timeless bathroom. For a welcoming space that doesn’t feel too sterile, opt for stoney neutrals over stark whites. Here the interior designers at Sims Hilditch chose Farrow & Ball’s Shaded White for the walls, layered with the deeper ‘Bone’ on the bathroom paneling which helps anchor the lofty space. 

The designers also introduced soft ambient bathroom wall lighting to contribute to the warm atmosphere. ‘Using a limited color palette added a softness to the room and some clever consideration given to lighting allows the light levels to be adjusted depending on the bathroom use. Nobody wants to lie in the bath with a light shining directly in their eyes,' says Gemma Holsgrove, studio director at Sims Hilditch.

'By selecting fittings that are timeless in style along with some clever positioning of antiques, our thoughts travel to times gone by. Artwork is cleverly positioned that should you choose to lay in the bath in the direction that does not look out the window, you can enjoy a beautiful oil painting instead.'

8. Combine different materials and texture

Elegant bathroom with grasscloth wallpaper and traditional vanity unit

(Image credit: Kristin Mullen Interiors / photograph Nathan Schroder)

All too often bathrooms can end up feeling cold and clinical due to their multitude of hard surfaces. The key to creating a bathroom that doesn't feel sterile, according to many interior designers, is to layer different textures and tones throughout, just as you would in other spaces in the home. The idea is beautifully demonstrated in this bathroom by Kirsten Mullen which brings together glossy bathroom wall tiles, textural wallpaper, warm brass, distressed wood and linen all of which combine to bring softness and depth. 

'We gave this bathroom an upgrade with a yummy oatmeal grasscloth wallcovering to add subtle texture to the room,' explains Kristin Mullen. 'The weathered antique mirror and charming lantern sconces pair nicely with the aged brass hardware. The charming Swedish bench gives the space an extra dose of warmth.'

9. Introduce rustic salvaged pieces

Bathroom with sinks mounted on a vintage pine dresser base

(Image credit: BC Designs / photograph Darren Chung)

Repurposing vintage furniture is a wonderful way to a create fun, unique and affordable focal point in a bathroom. 'It is also a great way of giving furniture a second life and saving it from landfill, which is so much better for the environment,' says Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs.

Here sinks from BC Designs have been cleverly mounted onto an old pine dresser base to create a double bathroom vanity with plenty of patina and storage which is complemented by glazed handmade wall tiles and a rustic terracotta floor. 

10. Pair wallpaper with paneling

Bathroom with a veined marble vanity unit, marble floor tiles, floral wallpaper and painted paneling

(Image credit: Interior by Plaster & Patina, photograph Amy Bartlam)

Chintzy floral wallpapers are perfect for injecting a touch of drama into practical spaces like bathrooms which can often be forgotten when it comes to decor. Used wall-to-wall ornate prints can be overwhelming and impractical but pairing wallpaper with lower paneling is a great way to protect walls and temper the decorative designs. Interior designer Alexandra Azat of Plaster & Patina strikes the balance perfectly in this beautiful bathroom.

'We chose a more modern yet romantic black and white floral pattern wallpaper from Magnolia Home in order to soften the very rectangular wainscoting design that we mimicked from elsewhere in the home,' says Alexandra Azat. 'The woodwork color chosen is called Dropcloth by Farrow and Ball, and it was strategically chosen to warm up the wallpaper and the Carrara marble mosaic floors.'

Alexandra Azat profile image
Alexandra Azat

A true believer in following her passion, Alex launched her first creative business, Blush Event Designers at the age of 23, where she created spaces for a discerning clientele ranging from BVLGARI to Aaron Rogers.  After purchasing her first historic home, built in 1915, and turning it into the home of her dreams, a passion for interior design was ignited. After a 15-year career in the luxury event space, she pivoted her company to focus on interior design and in 2019 launched Plaster & Patina. Today she specialises in respectfully breathing new life into old homes and in transforming newly-built properties into homes with soul.

11. Consider window treatments

Small bathroom with open brass washstand and sheer cafe curtain

(Image credit: L.B. Copeland / photograph Adam Kane Macchia)

Window treatments are an important consideration in any bathroom, providing essential privacy. For a pretty French country feel you can't go wrong with classic wooden shutters, but sometimes these can feel too heavy for a small space, instead a cafe-style bathroom curtain reminiscent of a Parisian cafe can make a pretty finishing touch. Here Louise Copeland chose a ditsy sheer which softens the space whilst the brass washstand keeps it feeling open and airy.

'The window in this bathroom is quite low and so we didn’t want to cover it completely and block the beautiful view outside. Instead, we applied a sheer drape with a contemporary print to make the traditional window treatment more updated, making the curtain as short as possible while still providing privacy,' explains Louise Copeland.

12. Inject French country decor into a powder room

Powder room with grey Cole & Son wallpaper, stone sink and ornate mirror

(Image credit: Kristin Mullen Interiors / photograph Kerry Kirk)

You needn’t have a grand château-sized bathroom to capture the romantic French country look as proven by this beautiful powder room from Kristin Mullen Designs. With its paneled wallpaper, rustic reclaimed stone sink and glided mirror this small space is full of French country bathroom inspiration. 

‘For this powder bath, we created an aged and refined look with this wonderful Cole & Son paneled wallpaper,' says Kristin Mullen. 'I love a trough sink in a powder bath and came across this one in Europe. Marrying the rusticity of it with a little glimmer from the Louis Philippe mirror brings the design together in a way that feels fresh, yet timeless.'

13. Style with rustic accessories

Small bathroom with wood a Nkuku Sukha Mango Wood Bath Bridge

(Image credit: Nkuku)

If you’re looking to update an existing bathroom then simply adding in a few rustic accessories can be enough to bring a space to life. Pieces made from natural materials like wood and rattan are perfect for adding instant warmth, as are aged antique finds. Here a wooden bath bridge, hammered soap dispensers and storage jars from Nkuku are the perfect finishing touch to this simple country scheme.


What is French country style?

French country-style interiors are loved for their blend of classical features and rustic surfaces infused with a touch of glamour and luxury of bygone eras. The look is both romantic and refined yet with a relaxed, organic softness introduced through weathered patinas and characterful historic features. 

Wall paneling and floors paved in rustic tiles or wooden planks make a great foundation for the look. For those lucky enough to have a historic property with original stone or timber features, these should be preserved and celebrated within the bathroom design. Think elegant roll-top baths, traditional fixtures and upcycled antique furniture alongside finishing touches like chipped French antique mirrors, and of course, what French country bathroom could be without an elegant chandelier?

Classic floral prints and vintage textiles are a great way to bring softness and romance to bathrooms which can so easily feel clinical and cold. 'Wallpapers are a wonderful addition to a French country bathroom, consider a pretty toile design or a floral wallpaper for a pared back and subtle approach to adding pattern to your scheme,’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene

What are the best colors for a French country bathroom?

Decorating with warm neutral colors is a popular choice for those looking to create a French country look in a bathroom. French country interiors are all about embracing rustic original features and warm neutral shades are a beautiful complement to the plethora of rustic stone, wood and brass finishes. 

Soft duck egg tones, blush pinks and sage greens are perfect for injecting romance and creating a tranquil atmosphere. However, that’s not to say you can’t incorporate dark colors, charcoal grays and dark browns can be wonderfully atmospheric and chic in a bathroom, plus they work especially well in small bathrooms to bring a touch of unexpected drama.

'Emulating the style of a French country bathroom is all about adding a light and muted palette to create an elegant yet relaxed feel,' advises Ruth. 'Soft muted blues, warm greys and stone colors such as ‘French Grey’, ‘Grey Stone’ and ‘Rolling Fog’ paired with rustic wood finishes and crisp white details will combine to deliver a stylish and comfortable scheme.'

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.