You Asked – How to decorate a bathroom rustic

How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice with plenty of visuals via
I get lots of emails behind the scenes. And I tend to answer lots of questions the same way. Zipping an email back has been a pretty standard thing.

Rather than hiding all those valuable answers, I thought I’d bring a few of them to the blog every now and then, in hopes that the advice could help you as well.

Ready for the first? Let’s play…

You Asked – How to decorate a bathroom rustic.

Denise's bathroom before

Denise Burkett wrote me in early February, after my salvaged farmhouse bathroom reveal. I guess I somehow convinced her that I actually knew what I was doing (because I kinda don’t!) because she asked me what she could do to enhance her own bathroom. 

Also a lover of junkish stuff, Denise started incorporating some rustic wood into her mix, but still wasn’t ‘sold’. She just quite frankly wasn’t loving her space and asked me how she could take this rustic thing to the next level.

Rather than tell Denise EXACTLY what to do to her room, I thought I’d take another approach. This is what I would suggest to anyone wishing to redo a bathroom.

You Asked - How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via

Define your style

For this blog post, I opened up a drawing program called Olioboard, so I could offer some kind of visual. I played around with elements and tones I loved, to get a feel for some kind of direction. 

I quickly found I was really drawn to a fresh, crisp neutral background, some kind of wall treatment that offered character, wood tones, eclectic accessories and a hefty touch of black. 

Start with a clean slate and ‘pretend’ you could have anything you wished in your room. What would you choose? Search Pinterest or pick up magazines and start to recognize your style.

What I did:

I didn’t use Olioboard for my own bathroom. I studied the room until I visualized exactly what I wanted. Then started in. I’m fortunate to be able to see something before it’s finished, but realize not everyone can.   If you can’t, use resources that will help guide you.

You Asked - How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via

1. Can you morph your vanity? Or does it need replacing?

A vanity is the main staple to most bathrooms and is the one thing that will suggest what style you’re going for. 

Salvaged vanity / How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via
What I did:

I detested my own old vanity so much, I had it brought to the curb with no replacement in sight. I was willing to go without just to get it out of the house. Drastic? Yes.

But with good reason. It was so big, that it made me detest the room. Once that thing was out, I started to see a glimmer of hope. And that’s when a friend offered me his pedestal for free he had stored in a barn. I took him up on it and fell in LOVE with the room immediately!

But then opportunity knocked and I got to play with a brand new vanity instead that was way more productive. So I made it my own by adding elements I loved.

If I hadn’t ditched that vanity then, I would still be hating my bathroom today. If you flat out don’t like it, let it go.

But if you like the bones of the vanity, try morphing it. If it doesn’t turn out, then get rid of it. 🙂

Salvaged Farmhouse Bathroom / How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via
2. Your mirror or lights don’t have to match.

Once you have a vanity look in place, it’s time to shop for a mirror. Don’t settle until you find something you love OR you know you can make it into something you’ll love.

What I did:

My vanity came with a matching mirror. But rather than leaving it the way it came packaged or getting another, I built on it. I LOVED the fact that the lines were super basic because that made morphing it all the easier.

And just so you know? I had NO idea the vanity nor mirror would be finished like they are. Once they were in place in the room, I just started playing with things I had and stopped when I liked what I saw.

As for lights? I already had a pretty nice light set, but one day they’ll be replaced with something more junk style.

Accessorize with elements you love / How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via
3. Accessorize with things you LOVE.

What you put in the bathroom next will make or break it. Much like wearing an outfit you don’t like, if you load your room up with meh kinda things, your room will also turn out meh. Choose things you really love.

Accessorize with elements you love / How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via
What I did:

I went into my archives (junk stash) and carried a whole pile of stuff upstairs. It was borderline hoarder dangerous for a good week. But I kept swapping out things, dry fitting them into the room until I could fall in love with every little nook and cranny. Right down to the quirky checkerboard toilet paper holder. 🙂

Board and batten attic towel wall  / How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via

4. Treat your walls.

Now that you have a look in mind, it’s time to think about how they’ll look in your space. Are you happy with plain drywall or would you desire some character built in with either a feature wall or more?

What I did. 

I knew I wanted to hide the popcorn ceiling so the ceiling planks went up. 

I knew I wanted the window changed so I transformed it with a farmhouse window trim.

I knew I needed more towel room so that one wall became a floor to ceiling board and batten attic wall with hooks galore. 

Once all those permanent changes were in place, it made all the rest of my choices sing all the louder.

Love. Every. Square. Inch. If you have the choice.

– – – – –


Establish a look you love.

Replace your vanity if you can’t morph it.

Decide on a mirror and lights that marry the vanity well.

Collect accessories you love.

Consider floors, ceilings, walls and other permanent finishes.. love them or redo them?


How to decorate a bathroom rustic / decorating advice via

How to decorate a bathroom rustic is all about adding rustic elements you love. That’s it!

What suggestions would you have for Denise?

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Categories: DIY, Full Rooms, Furniture, Junk Drawer, Reclaimed wood projects, Staging / decorating, Window treatments
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15 thoughts on “You Asked – How to decorate a bathroom rustic

  1. You are an amazing “Junkaholic” ! Love all your post and look forward daily to what is next. Thanks for inspiring this lady in Virginia!!

  2. Donna ~ I absolutely love your bathroom! You did a marvelous job of making your vision a reality. I do have a question. You might have posted it before, but if you have I’ve forgotten. Do you mind to share the wall color? Thanks!

    • Hey Jeannie! It’s by Cloverdale Paint in Canada called Bamboo Beach, but mixed to half the colour strength.

      Your question fits right in… this is actually my #1 asked question! 🙂

  3. It suddenly occurred to me looking at these pics of your bathroom transformation again…you have a doorknob now! (giggle…) 😀

  4. Love your rustic bathroom. We are going to give our bathroom a makeover this Spring. Thanks for sharing yours…it has given me some great ideas.

  5. OMG I love this so much and it looks so much like my own bathroom. I have been wondering what I could do with my “popcorn” that would look fab and you just gave me the greatest idea lady. Thank you so much! My tub is where your window is and I have a sky light instead of a window but the ceiling suggestion was the inspiration that I needed. Do I need the husband for this job? I can run a few tools but I make him very nervous with the skill saw. LOL Thanks again!
    PS I will also try Olioboard. Thanks

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