Cottage bathroom ideas – design inspiration for rural homes

Fall in love with these rustic designs, ideal for creating a relaxing bathroom sanctuary in a cottage

Cottage bathroom ideas
(Image credit: Future/Chris Everard)

Cottage bathrooms are renowned for offering quaint proportions and quirky alcoves, so it can be a challenge to create a bathing suite that feels really special.

But, just because your cottage bathroom is small, that doesn't mean that you have to compromise on style. From perfectly proportioned bath tubs to stunning loft conversions as well as design ideas and expert advice, we've rounded up the very best cottage bathroom ideas that are sure to inspire your own project.

See: Bathroom ideas – winning ways to get a charming, characterful look

Maintaining the character of your cottage home is key in designing a cottage bathroom. Making a feature of beams, panelling and original flooring, and opting for neutral pieces and complementary materials lets your cottage bathroom's stunning character take center stage. 

'Entertaining spaces are usually where people tend to focus their attention,' explains Neptune Fulham’s Home Designer, George. 'But, actually, it’s rooms like restrooms, bedrooms and home studies that can make the biggest difference to your day-to-day life.' 

This is perhaps most true of the cottage bathroom, which offers a private sanctuary, shut off from the world. So giving it the attention it deserves will create a space where you can really relax. 

Cottage bathroom ideas

Read on to discover how to transform your cottage bathroom into your dream sanctuary. 

See: Cottage decorating ideas – charming ways to get a characterful look

1. Install a roll-top bath to instantly give your cottage bathroom the period treatment

cottage bathroom ideas freestanding bath

(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer)

The roll-top bath is an iconic piece that will add authentic appeal to a cottage bathroom. With its sweeping curves and ornate feet, this bath is a classic luxury fitting. We love the soft sage shade of this understated slipper bath. 

Choosing a bath that stands on feet, rather than the floor, helps to make the room feel larger, as it keeps your beautiful flooring on show, rather than boxing it off. This is ideal for cottage bathrooms, which are often on the smaller size. 

If you face the challenge of undulating floors, then look for a roll-top bath with adjustable feet which are essential for levelling your bath. 

2. Give your cottage bathroom personality with a bespoke colored bath

orange bath in a blue panelled cottage bathroom

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

The bath is the largest piece of furniture in the cottage bathroom, and gives you space to be bold. Opting for a shade like this rich orange color, adds instant warmth to the room and immediately draws the eye to its stunning silhouette.

If you want to give your roll-top bath a statement update, its fairly straightforward. 'It’s essential that you remove any rust with a proprietary rust remover before painting, then need to prime your bath with an oil-based metal primer.' says Lauren Foulds, Product Manager at Heritage Bathrooms. 'Regardless of whether your bath is older or a new investment, paint it with acrylic, polyurethane or epoxy-based paint for added durability.'

Alternatively, for a stress-free color experience, opt for a pre-painted bath – there are endless shades to choose from. 

3. Brighten your cottage bathroom with a mirror

basin in rustic cottage bathroom with blue walls and mirror

(Image credit: Fiona (bowen) Walker-Arnott T/a Fwa Photography)

'If your space is on the smaller side, mirrors are a great way to create an illusion of more room. You want your cottage bathroom to be bright and airy, so placing a mirror opposite a window is an effective way of reflecting any natural light that comes in,' Scarlett Blakey, creative partner of Ophelia Blake Interior Design.

4. Careful planning helps you make the most of small spaces

cottage bathroom ideas small pink tubby too bath in a cottage bathroom

(Image credit: Albion Bath Company)

With a tiny cottage comes an even smaller cottage bathroom. But even the smallest space include the luxury of a bath. Measuring only 4ft in length, Albion Bath Company’s Tubby tub is the perfect solution for cottage bathrooms. 

Although small in stature, it is deceptively deep, easily allowing an average-sized person to fully submerge themselves. Pair with an over-bath shower to create a versatile design that offers both the day-to-day practicality of a shower, while still maintaining the luxury of bathing.

See: Cottage curtain ideas – inspiration for a pretty, cozy home

This feature was created by H&G's sister brand, Period Living magazine 

Subscribe to Period Living for more inspiration  Period Living is the UK's best-selling period homes magazine. A subscription provides you with all you need to know about caring for and improving a traditional house and garden.

5. If you're short of space create a luxurious cottage bathroom in the attic

cottage bathroom idea alridge house bathroom in loft extension with freestanding bath and beams

(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer)

Many period homes have a downstairs bathroom, but you can add an extra bath by considering converting the loft into a master suite, to provide you with the benefit of an extra bedroom and en suite, without having to sacrifice space elsewhere. Install a roof window to flood the room with natural light.

6. Use patterned tiles to add personality to a cottage bathroom

green tiled cottage bathroom with beamed ceiling

(Image credit: Bert & May/Marina Denisova)

'Cottage bathrooms often have a quirky character all of their own, which will encourage you to express your creativity and personality.' says Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May

'Pattern and texture add interest, and our encaustic tiles have a chalky finish, which look particularly striking when combined with raw plaster and natural materials that lend themselves to the cottage aesthetic. Alternatively, colorful gloss tiles laid in a herringbone pattern will add character without overwhelming the space.'

Don't miss our cottage lighting ideas for pretty, practical solutions.

7. Use dark colors to create an intimate atmosphere

small cottage bathroom painted in a dark purple color

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

'Dark colors work particularly well for a small  cottage bathroom with little light as this will make the room feel more intimate and relaxing and draw the eye away from the size.' says Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at Farrow & Ball 'Rich warm tones such as Brinjal are ideal for creating a cosy atmosphere, perfect for a cottage bathroom.'

8. For a unique feel, choose a bathroom wallpaper

Cottage bathroom ideas

(Image credit: Future/Chris Everard)

Embrace the vintage charm that is integral to the quintessential cottage-look with a floral print. Many of us would never think of wallpapering our bathroom, but it's been done to great effect in this cottage home. This wildflower print adds a beautiful burst of color and pattern and draws the eye to the statement piece of the room.

Alternatively take the cottage wallflower feel to blinds, to evoke a similar cottage bathroom ambience.

9. Use window treatments to create a private sanctuary

cottage bathroom ideas vintage style bathroom with freestanding bath

(Image credit: Future/James French)

Being able to shut off from the world is essential in creating a soapy sanctuary, but bathroom window treatments can be challenging as curtains and fabric blinds don’t stand up well to the damp conditions. Louvered shutters are an ideal solution, being impervious to water and providing privacy, whether open or closed. 

10. Complement your home's natural materials with a copper bath

cottage-bathroom-ideas-william-holland-copper-bath-in-cottage

(Image credit: William Holland)

A copper bath is a stunning addition to any home but will particularly shine in a cottage bathroom. Its polished exterior ages gradually over time, transforming from a deep pinkish hue to a warming red-brown, that will complement you home's original charm. 

Plus, copper’s inherent properties means that it heats up faster and retains its warmth longer than enamel or acrylic tubs. The deep style of this bateau bath with artisan tin interior from William Holland allows you to fully immerse yourself for the ultimate soak.

See: Traditional bathroom ideas – timeless styles and classic decor inspiration

11. Pick a soothing color scheme

cottage bathroom ideas

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Cottage bathrooms are sometimes a little dark and cool feeling, so it is important to consider the color scheme really carefully. Grey bathrooms are, of course, classic and elegant, but picking a warm shade is vital; and accessorizing the grey with warmer colors in the same tone will add extra warmth.

12. Add pretty decorative touches

cottage bathroom ideas

(Image credit: Christopher Drake for Carlos Garcia Interiors)

Cottage bathrooms are all about the detailing – whether a pretty light fitting or a printed fabric skirt on a vanity unit, antique furniture or a characterful mirror frame. Note, too, in this bathroom, how muted the colors are – this approach to a color scheme will create a more traditional, authentic look for a period cottage.

Find more decorative inspiration from our take on the renewed trend for frills and ruffles in interiors.