Cottage Bathroom Design Ideas

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What does a modern cottage bathroom look like? Where do you source all of the tile, light fixtures, faucets, cabinets, and decor?

Come along and explore with me. I’ve made a couple of mood boards to get started on this design process.

In the meantime, the crew is coming tomorrow to demo our shower. Yikes!

New year, new “old house”problems

We started the new year with a bang here, by discovering a leak in our shower. Now to be fair, any age house could end up with a plumbing leak. We’ve just had more than our fair share of water problems in the eighteen years we’ve lived here. Is there a ” fair share” of leaks in a house? Ugh!

So suddenly, we’re needing to choose shower tile, flooring, faucets, etc. I’ll share my mood boards below. I don’t want to show you the ugly parts first!

bathroom mood board black and white and brass
bathroom mood board gray and white and brass

The elements in the mood boards are exactly the same, except for the flooring. One has a black and white. The other one is a gray and white.

We haven’t sourced anything yet, except for the two vanities, and the shower wall tile. I absolutely love the taller, wood cabinet. However, I’ll have to see what I can find that’s similar. That one is eight hundred dollars. Like all of our projects, I’m keeping it as budget friendly as possible.

Of course I knew that all of these bathroom elements are quite expensive. That’s why we haven’t updated it until now!

The before

Now I’ll show you where we’re at with this bathroom. I warn you, it’s not pretty!

The bathroom is long and skinny, has ALL of our bedroom closets, and yes, seven foot ceilings! I can only assume that’s why there is a step down shower. It does fill up with water, like a tub. However, it’s freezing (below ground) in the winter.

We just had the water heater replaced, so the door and frame are removed. You can see the “lovely”, taped on trash bag next to it. A girl (and guy) have to take a shower one way or another!

Believe it or not, we actually made some improvements to this bathroom, many, many years ago! When we moved in, it was carpeted, cultured marble countertop, and a huge, unframed mirror.

We added the tiled countertop, and sinks that I found on Craigslist for twenty five dollars each. We added shiplap to the sink wall and installed the oval mirror medicine cabinets.

As you can see, we’re very short on storage. I really wanted a long, solid surface countertop, with a tower. My hair stood on end when I saw the prices of a seven foot vanity with solid top!

Design challenges

Budget is always the challenge, am I right? At this point, we’re putting matching vanities on each side, with a tall cabinet in between. But we’ll see how that goes.

So far, sourcing a twenty four inch wide, wood cabinet, has proved difficult. They either look like melamine, or they’re eight hundred to fourteen hundred dollars.

Another issue is the lighting above the mirrors. I don’t have much clearance for the medicine cabinets to open because of the low ceiling (which isn’t going to change). I might change out the mirrors, if I find the extra storage cabinet that we dearly need.

Then of course, there is this step down shower situation, as well as lack of functioning bathtub. I can’t fit a tub anywhere, unless I lose precious closet space. We also can’t make the shower level with the floor, due to the low ceilings again!

Some days I just dream of remodeling a typical, builder beige house! The luxury of eight foot ceilings. Ha!

Most likely we’ll do what we always do. Work with what we have ,and make it the best possible version of it’s odd self.


There are a lot of challenges in our Cottage primary bathroom. The construction is unusual, to put it mildly. Sourcing of budget friendly materials will be difficult, due to the non-standard sizes and configurations. Some DIYs will surely ensue!

A neutral, but interesting and functional bathroom, is the goal.

Stay tuned for more developments in our cottage style bathroom.

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  1. Hey, Tanya! When doing DIY projects, it’s usually at one’s free time, which we seem to have little of! I like your sense of taste, girl! Hang in there! You’ll get that bathroom done!

    1. Hi Kristi,
      Thanks for the encouragement! I’m used to projects taking awhile (years of experience, ha)! Thankfully we have another bathroom to use during the process. Hope you have a great rest of your day.

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