Nautical Cottage Bathroom Simple Upgrade

5 Materials
8 Hours

Hi, I'm Liz from the DIY & decorating blog Simple Decorating Tips.

This post is how I invested very little money to change a builder's grade bathroom into a more nautical cottage style in our Maine coastal cottage.

The builder’s grade bathroom in our cottage in Maine needed some personality. Creating a nautical cottage bathroom on a budget was my goal and it was pretty easy with a few simple tips…

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

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

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.

Next step for the nautical cottage bathroom makeover was to prep or 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)

 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 linked above).

Then once the sizing was dry, this is what it looked like after the wallpaper was up:

And behind the toilet:

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:

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

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

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 bins I found at Target 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.

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.

Also, I had this Will Cunha print of Kennebunkport framed at Michael's:

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.

This print now hangs over the chrome shelving.

It’s a simple basic 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…

Be sure to stop by Simple Decorating Tips and check out the page I have with all the posts I've written about the coastal cottage in Maine... including decorating the cottage and visiting places in Maine.

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Liz at Simple Decorating Tips

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Sunny
    on May 18, 2019

    Hi, is the wallpaper textured or simply painted to look like beadboard? Love the look! Thanks!

  • Sherry
    on May 19, 2019

    Love what you did, looks great. How did you do behind the toilet area, did you have to remove it?

    • No, I didn't remove the toilet... Only the lid of the tank, then the wallpaper will carefully slide behind the tank and I only needed to cut around the water inlet pipe.

Join the conversation

3 of 5 comments
  • Jokarva
    on May 19, 2019

    Very nice! I love that beadboard wallpaper, so easy to use and looks great. One warning for anyone who has of ours couldn't keep his claws off of it, and we had to keep the powder room door closed after putting it up or it would have gotten shredded.

  • Maureen
    on May 27, 2019

    Very cute makeover!!

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