When you're looking for country bathroom ideas, take your cue from the property and its setting. For rural homes, that can mean considering any quirky angles and unusual proportions into account when planning the layout of the bathroom.
The best rural bathrooms incorporate materials and textures that reflect the construction of the building, and also the rural views outside the window. So while you'll find luxe finishes and hotel-style fittings, wood, stone, plaster and panelling are all key features of a country bathroom.
We've put together expert tips and style advice, from taps, tiles and tubs to basins, showers and vanity units. Soak up inspiration from our gallery of country bathroom ideas, and read our tips from interior designers and bathroom experts to help you pin down the best look and layout for you and your home.
- Read this: Traditional bathroom ideas – timeless styles and classic decor inspiration
1. Add character with wallpaper
Outsized floral wallpapers are wonderfully nostalgic and visually soften the hard surfaces of a bathroom. Modern ventilation standards and improved paper quality means the danger of peeling is vastly diminished.
If you’re still concerned, follow the lead of this bathroom by using panelling to keep wallpaper safely above the splash-zone.
‘One of the greatest advantages of choosing classically shaped sanitaryware is their interesting silhouettes,’ adds Charlie Williams, Interior Designer at Heritage Bathrooms. ‘Pitched alongside patterned wallpaper, the curves and details really stand proud.’
2. Make architecture the feature
When architectural features such as beams cut across your bathroom, use them to help define the space and dictate the position of sanitary ware and services.
Here, a shower is tucked into an awkward corner, leaving the rest of the room free for the basin, bath and toilet.
The natural wood has been sanded back to give a paler finish that would suit a country coastal property. Driftwood wall art, plus soft cotton accessories and baskets from The White Company, continue the theme.
Add tumbled flagstone flooring and a hand-carved stone basin for extra layers of texture and interest.
3. Match the tub to the size of your space
A freestanding bath is a classic in country bathrooms, and can feature in a smaller ensuite as well as a larger family space.
‘With careful planning, even the smallest of bathrooms can play host to a freestanding bath’ says Phil Etherden, managing director at The Albion Bath Company. Our compact Tubby Too design is available in three lengths – all comfortably deep – and looks just as elegant positioned against a wall as it does in the middle of the room. Combine with one of our overhead shower systems for day-to-day practicality’.
4. Highlight your layout with tile
Showers are often tucked at the back of the bathroom out of the way, but they can still make an impact. Placing tiles in an unstructured format is a brilliant way to achieve a softer, more fluid injection of colour – and add modernity to a traditional country bathroom.
Here, tiles from Bert & May are carried vertically and horizontally, drawing the eye into the room and putting the shower firmly in the spotlight. Hexagonal tiles are ideal when connecting two materials. Pair pattern with plain to really emphasize shapeliness.
The undulating design creates a stunning backdrop for the bathroom suite – here, a mix of contemporary and period-style sanitary ware from BC Designs.
5. Choose aged brass fittings
Create an instant vintage look without the wait for your country bathroom via aged brass fittings. The finish replicates patina that has built up over time and will add natural warmth to the coolest of bathrooms.
If you want the aged effect to stay arrested in time, go for a lacquered finish. Unlacquered taps will continue to burnish during use, going darker where you touch them most as the metal reacts to the natural oils in your skin.
Here, aged brassware from Catchpole & Rye stands out beautifully against a clean white backdrop. Notice how the white has a shaded tinge – this works well in country cottages, as it is softer than brilliant white and a little more authentic. Slaked Lime by Little Greene is a similar off-white
6. Add a curtain and a comfy chair
Flashes of vintage print will always look decadent in a country home, and the bathroom is an ideal place to be brave with bolder patterns. ‘A show-stopping shower curtain can be all it takes to bring a pop of Technicolour flair to a classic bathroom,’ enthuses Jamie Watkins, Co-Founder of Divine Savages.
In this bathroom, belonging to Collette Vernon of The Vintage Trader, a blush pink velvet armchair continues the colour story, while providing a comfortable place to lounge after a soak.
The chequered floor beneath the bath makes a bold statement but is also linked colour-wise to the shower curtain, which helps to prevent a potentially jarring pattern clash.
7. Create a lighting plan
A country bathroom in a period property may feature small windows or be shaded by trees outside, making the room darker than desired. In the early planning stages, it is important to get placements right, including light sources.
‘The most overlooked part of planning a bathroom is all the different types of lighting needed,’ says Marketa Rypacek, managing director at Industville. Ensure you have overhead lighting, as well as task lighting around the mirror. Consider where natural light comes into the space and remember that all bathroom lighting needs an appropriate IP rating.
Here, the natural textures of exposed brick and reclaimed wood bring a warmth that offsets the brightness.
8. Consider a wet room
While a wet room may be a more expensive option when designing a bathroom, it can be a worthwhile investment. It creates a seamless look that makes the shower area an integral part of the space and will give your bathroom a luxe, rustic vogue finish.
The main cost is tanking to make the area waterproof but the result is a roomier space, as you don’t need a closed-off shower enclosure. Instead, you can have the same flooring throughout and a frameless shower screen to contain splashes without feeling too restrictive.
9. Line the walls with reclaimed wood
This stunning bathroom has been installed in a renovated barn that links to a thatched stone cottage in Oxfordshire that dates back to the 1530s.
It is owned by interior designer Bee Osborn, who has combined classic detailing with a modern country aesthetic. In the bathroom, reclaimed wood from an old schoolhouse clads the walls and brings a Scandinavian feel to the space.
‘The extension has such extraordinary proportions that bring a contemporary elegance,‘ says Bee. ‘The en-suite bathroom links to the main bedroom. Both clad in reclaimed wood, the modern-rustic main suite has added a touch of boutique hotel-style glamour.'
10. Scale up your suite
A larger country home is your opportunity to indulge in a suitably fabulous bathroom space.
‘To achieve a real sense of grandeur, products should be on the larger side. It’s your opportunity to show off, so splash out on the extras – traditional country décor is all about the detailing, on coving, dados, sanitary ware and lighting,’ says Yousef Mansuri, Head of Interior Design at CP Hart.
‘The most iconic feature of a traditional bathroom is still the classic cast iron freestanding bath, and if you’re really going for high impact, make it the centrepiece of your room,’ he adds. Yousef recommends doing this by literally positioning the bath centrally in your bathroom, but if the layout doesn’t comply try crowning the bath with a statement mirror or chandelier above.
11. Make the most of the view
In this country home, interior designer Henriette Von Stockhausen kept everything simple yet elegant, and using heritage-style fittings was key. ‘No trends, just classic detailing combined with antiques,’ says Henriette.
‘The view here is stunning so we raised the platform to make the most of the vistas across the gardens while at the same time making installing the new waste pipes much easier.’
The reclaimed wooden floor was crucial for adding warmth in the high-ceiling space. ‘The most important thing for me in any bathroom is to make it feel like a room. I love to add art, rugs and curtains, just as you would anywhere else in the house,’ adds Henriette.
This is the Aurelius Slipper Bath, from BC Designs. Traditional Bath Shower Mixer, Perrin & Rowe. Imperial Astoria Deco Large Basin Stand Chrome with Astoria Deco Large Basin, Imperial Bathrooms. Design by VSP Interiors.
13. Reinvent Victorian style
Tap into the Victorian era’s love of decorative detailing for a country bathroom with added period glamour.
This collection by Burlington echoes the prettiness of antique wrought iron but, made from aluminium, is far more practical. ‘Go for a simple monochrome scheme to ensure ornate fittings remain timeless,’ suggests Faye Froy, Marketing Manager, Burlington. ‘You can also take it in a more contemporary direction by combining with on-trend dark painted walls.’
Don’t forget the impactful presence of a high-level cistern. Perched on elegant filigree brackets, a traditional cistern can turn this bathroom staple into the main event.
Carrara marble top basin washstand, wall lights, mirror, high-level WC and cistern, Bateau bath: all Burlington.
14. Add gold accessories
In this serene modern country bathroom, traditional tongue and groove panelling is given an elevated look when paired with gold accessories.
‘If there is one room that needs a little luxury, it’s your bathroom,’ says Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One Bathrooms. She recommends using wall-mounted furniture to keep floor space clear and sticking to a neutral palette if you want an elegant spa-like finish. ‘This helps avoid breaking up the room with different colours, which will make it feel boxy,’ she explains.
And don’t be shy of adding a little glamour – it’s these brushed gold fittings that really make this bathroom shine.
15. Make a practical bathroom look pretty
The perfect family bathroom combines practicality with an attractive look that fits the decor of your country home.
Here, a small area of traditionally patterned tiles gives the bathroom a fabulous heritage feel. At the same time, it defines the shower area and elevates an otherwise neutral space without unsettling the sense of balance and calm.
‘Natural materials, like wood, are the perfect backdrop for busier heritage patterns,’ adds Mark Findlay, Founder of luxury vinyl flooring company Harvey Maria. ‘Pale coastal tones, with lots of knots and grain, work beautifully to create an elegant, rustic feel.’
The floor shown here is realistic wood-effect vinyl, which is a more practical option near a walk-in shower and offers excellent grip for wet feet.
Likewise, a centrally placed bath makes it easy to reach and look after little ones at bath time.
16. Add storage with a vanity unit
‘Choosing a vanity unit comes down to storage preferences. Go for a large cupboard style for towels and cleaning products or one with smaller drawers for make-up,’ says Ellis Dean Odey, creative designer at Catchpole & Rye.
With its distinctive bow front and marble counter, this beautiful handcrafted piece has a stylish French look. Use it as a starting point for your decorating scheme and build your look around it with traditional sanitary ware.
Make sure you choose a vanity unit that will not overcrowd your bathroom. You should be able to open and close cupboard doors and have free passage around the room.
Wood, preferably from a sustainable source, is a great option as it’s hardwearing, will cope with changes in room temperature and humidity, and if you want a different look down the line, it could be painted.
For their practical but opulent feel, marble and stone tops are both lovely choices.
17. Zone your bathroom space
When you're redesigning a bathroom, it's worth reconfiguring it into zones. You could have the shower and bath on one side, with the basin and loo on the other, so that someone could pop in and brush their teeth while you’re doing bath time with the kids, for example.
‘Choosing to have a wet room can actually be hugely beneficial when wanting a bath to sit in the same space,’ says Sally Cutchie, marketing manager at BC Designs. ‘If you opt for a painted bath, use exterior eggshell paint as this is extra durable around water,’ she adds.
18. Put up panelling
Wood panelling can protect walls from splashes, while giving a softer look than tiles. It provides an opportunity to add colour to the bathroom, too.
In a small or awkwardly shaped room, paint the panelling a darker colour and the walls above a lighter shade. This will 'lift' the ceiling and appear to open up the space.
Toning the colour of the panelling with the flooring will give a sophisticated finish.
19. Turn up the drama with tiling
Play up the contrast between period country architecture and modern graphic pattern with a tiled wall that adds wow to the bathroom.
'We felt this house could take strong shades and pattern,' says homeowner. 'So we felt confident to choose bold tiles from Bert & May for the bathrooms that were playful and fun.
The tiles are reflected in the mirror opposite, bringing a hint of pizzazz to the plainer side of the room.
20. Lay down a rug for colour and comfort
In this rustic bathroom bolthole, original floorboards are painted a soft sage green and topped with a rug for comfort. Curtains and wallpaper in complementary tones create a wraparound feel that adds to the air of serenity.
It's the contrast of the vintage roll-top tub with the gleaming chrome bath filler that really makes this room stand out, and gives this covetable bathroom a contemporary country edge.
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