Nautical Cottage Bathroom

I’ve been busy packing up and getting the cottage closed up, ready for winter, then traveling halfway across the country back to the Midwest to settle back into life here. But before I left Maine, there was one more project I wanted to tackle this summer. The builder’s grade bathroom needed some personality. Creating a nautical cottage bathroom on a budget was my goal and it was pretty easy with a few simple tips…

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

In the before pics you can see it’s a nice, usable bathroom, albeit a bit, (LOT!) boring.

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

So taking a cue from my cottage kitchen, ‘Easiest DIY Beadboard Ever‘ project.

Shopping links for this project are located at the end of this post.

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

I decided to use the rest of the roll of beadboard wallpaper in the bathroom for a simple nautical cottage bathroom mini makeover. (I’m not kidding! One roll of wallpaper was EXACTLY what I needed to do the backsplash in the entire kitchen, and the wainscotting in the bathroom!)

With just the lower section wallpapered, it would add some character, yet leave the top sections of the bathroom walls as they were in the fairly new painted neutral tan color. Making this a super easy quick project… (great, more time for the beach!)

First thing I did was to measure up from the floor 3′ and then mark a level line across the room using a level and pencil that looks like it really needed to be sharpened. A level is super important for this chairrail line to be level in the room.

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

Next step for the nautical cottage bathroom makeover was to size the walls where the beadboard wallpaper was going. This is just simply done by painting on the milky white sizing, that dries clear.

Here’s a tip: although it dries clear, it is also a bit tacky in a rubbery kind of way, and it’s shiny when it’s dry. So you do not want to get the sizing up on the wall or trim where you’re not going to cover it with wallpaper. (when it’s wet, you can easily wipe it off if you accidentally budge it over the line… just don’t let it dry there)

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

I allowed the sizing to thoroughly dry before I wallpapered. (to see more details about the beadboard wallpaper process, check out the kitchen beadboard post)

I must admit, me working on projects at the cottage take me so much longer than normal… I just putz along, setting tiny goals each day, to still allow me time to go to the beach in between. This was an early morning walk on Kennebunk Beach.

nautical cottage bathroom

Then once the sizing was dry, and I got back from the beach…

This is what it looked like after the wallpaper was up:

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

And behind the toilet:

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

I planned on painting the beadboard wallpaper, but it needed to thoroughly dry, idealy, at least overnight. So while that was drying, I focused on a few other details in the room.

The light fixture over the sink was OK, but the glass globes that came with it, were just way too fancy of a style for the simple nautical cottage bathroom look I was going for:

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

With a simple shade change the fixture seems to fit in with the look much better:

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

I painted the beadboard wallpaper a light grey color with 2 coats of a latex eggshell finish paint.

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

Time to take a break while the paint dries…

This was a sunset drive a couple miles north of the cottage:

nautical cottage bathroom

Then a few more details for the bathroom.

I found this chrome over the toilet shelving unit that we desperately needed for extra bathroom storage for us and guests but it was a bit too ‘chrome-ish’ looking. The pair of wooden, or are they bamboo?, bins, fit perfect side-by-side on the shelf and offered just a nice touch of natural wood feel, plus hold all the toiletries better than the slat shelves alone, and keep them a bit more camouflaged from view, yet easily reachable for the on the go lifestyle at the cottage.

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

Lastly I added a simple white molding to the top of the beadboard wallpaper.

This striped vintage oar for holding towels and the striped shower curtain add to the nautical cottage feel too.

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

On a recent visit to the ‘White Columns’ museum I picked up this Will Cunha print of Kennebunkport in the clearance section of the museum gift shop. I took it to Michael’s and had them frame it.

Michaels Framing

Then instead of putting it behind glass, I had them treat the print directly with ‘Print Guard’ in a canvas finish. (it’s like a giclee finish and is available in 3 different textures, plus is UV resistant)  This was a great choice for the bathroom too, because it gives the print better resistance to humidity.

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

This print now hangs over the chrome shelving.

It’s a simple basic bathroom…

Nautical Cottage Bathroom

But who says it needs to be boring? The simple nautical cottage touches are just enough to add a bit of interest, but not be overwhelming or obnoxiously kitchy…

Shopping Links:

Did you know I now offer e-decorating? I can help you with your decorating needs via email, without having to step foot in your home. If you’re interested in more information, visit my e-decorating site: Frame and Frills. I’d love to help you with your project!

Here are more bathroom re-do projects I’ve worked on:

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and now Instagram!  I appreciate you reading along.

This post is linked up at the following other sites: Home Stories A to ZA Stroll Thru LifeSavvy Southern Style

Reader Interactions


  1. Phyllis E says

    Wow, Liz, you must have been reading my mind—this post is very timely for me!! Just the other day I was searching through your blog to see some pictures of your cottage bathroom and couldn’t find any. I want to “update” my bathroom by doing it in a “vintage” coastal cottage style ( I mentioned that in another comment on an earlier post) and I was looking for inspiration and tips. I saw the powder room in your Farm house, but couldn’t find info on your cottage bathroom,lol- until today?.
    Also – thanks for the fabulous tip about treating prints to protect them AND make them look like canvas— I was just wondering if their was some way to make a print look more like an old painting and be able to protect it without glass–how cool is that– you must have been reading my mind!
    Thanks again.

    • Liz says

      That’s fun Phyllis… we’re ‘in the groove’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ And thank you for the tip of the email subject line from the other day… did you notice today’s was like what you suggested? I really appreciate tips from readers on how to make this site more user friendly. I can so easily just get focused on my side of it, so any input from you is so very helpful! Keep ’em coming. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Phyllis E. says

        Funny– I didn’t even realize it, but I guess that is why I clicked on it right away to open it, LOL!! Usually I look at emails at home on my lap top, but this time I was actually looking at it on my phone at work during lunch and that must be why I clicked on it right away, without even thinking about it! I got so excited to read the title— it was exactly the type of thing I have been looking for so I had to open it right away! I didn’t write the comment though until I got home. Thanks so much for putting the title in the subject post–it will be so much easier to come back and find this post when I am at Michaels trying to remember, “Now what was the name of the treatment for prints that Liz was talking about in that post about the bathroom….ha, ha!”

  2. Donnamae says

    Wow Liz….impressive! I especially like the oar made into a towel rack…..clever. Your builder basic boring bathroom is now anything but….say that 3 times! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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