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A Tranquil Bathroom Refresh Without Remodeling

If you resisted the trend towards gray hues these past few seasons, this post is for you. Warm tones are back and looking fresher than ever.

This is good news for those of us who have homes with brown and beige color schemes from the early 2000s. Take my primary bathroom, for example. While my heart ooohed and aaaahed over the beautiful gray marble splashed across Instagram and Pinterest, my head couldn't get behind the cost and mess to rip out tile and start anew. We had to remodel our bathroom in 2011 due to a water leak and I was NOT looking forward to the disruption again. You can see what I mean:

old glass block shower
Glass block made the bathroom look dated

bathroom remodel in progress
The mess from remodeling was definitely not something we wanted to deal with again!

At that time, we replaced the clunky glass blocks and dated aluminum framed shower. With the walls and ceiling both painted in the same beige tone as the tile, I had what I hoped would be a neutral base for updates later.

So how do I make my beige bathroom leap into 2021? Accessories, of course!

I collected photos of what I liked about the trends I'm seeing and made a list of what they had in common:

- Natural, earthy elements

- Lots of texture

- Touches of inky charcoal, ivory and muted rusty red

- Classic, vintage-inspired details

Now the fun part: shopping! As usual, I started with the rug. I really wanted a vintage vibe, but typical bath mats were leaving me uninspired. True vintage rugs can be pricey, and I wasn't convinced they'd last in regular contact with damp feet. However, I was underwhelmed with the traditional bathroom rug choices...I just didn't see anything truly unique that would give me the updates I wanted. I switched gears and went a different direction with two layered rugs.

vintage style persian rug gray blue red rust ivory

I found this printed rug by Loloi and loved it immediately. Because the design is actually printed on the rug, the image looks like an authentic vintage piece. I love the faded colors and the pattern, and it's surprisingly absorbent. This rug isn't listed for wet areas, but the smooth pile and polypropylene looked like they could handle some water. The price was reasonable so I knew if I was wrong, I wouldn't be out much money.

My verdict? Love it! I've used it daily for five months and it still looks new. I tried it in my kitchen and mudroom and it looks great in there too. The rug comes in other colors and patterns so I may buy it again in the future.

See that white jute rug peeking out behind it? The printed rug looked a bit small, so I layered a simple indoor/outdoor rug underneath. It adds nice a texture that's often missing in heavily-tiled areas like bathrooms.

faux vintage look bathroom rug loloi chris loves julia clj

Next I looked to the colors in my rug for cues on the towels. Because I have so much beige already in my bathroom, I chose charcoal and ivory towels for contrast. To add more texture and interest, I swapped out traditional towels for these turkish bath and hand towels:

turkish beach bath towels gray ivory

turkish hand towels gray ivory bathroom decor

The bath towels are listed as beach towels due to the size, but since I wanted something large, they worked perfectly. Unlike regular towels, they get softer and more absorbent the more you wash them. I machine wash and dry mine on the delicate cycle and they shrink a bit, so the size worked even better.

I've used them by the pool too. They're thinner than standard towels so you can use them as a sarong or swim cover-up as well.

Details matter, especially in a neutral color scheme. Plastic drug store bottles were spoiling my vibe: thank you!

I didn't want to buy a product just because of the bottle (although yes, I've done that plenty of times). Instead I got some amber glass bottles and jars to decant my products into. I can buy the larger size refill packages and store them out of sight...bonus!

amber glass bottle

I used my old-school Dymo labeler for a retro vibe. I may make custom vinyl labels when I have some time. The woven tray corralled other tub essentials and added more of the earthy texture I was going for.

neutral bathroom amber glass spa vibe hearth and home tray

We added a sliding barn door in 2018 and I still love it. It adds so much character and much-needed architectural interest, plus it looks great from the bathroom or bedroom.

white sliding barn door modern farmhouse fixer upper

We had ours custom made by a local contractor due to the size of the door opening, but we based ours off an unfinished door from Amazon. You can click the sliding door image above for the link similar to ours.

We had ours painted to match our trim. Make sure to measure the width of your door opening including the trim so your door covers the whole thing.

modern farmhouse sliding barn door vintage boho style

I'm still on the hunt for artwork and lighting, but I'm happy with the direction I'm headed. Best of all, the updates could be added quickly as opposed to a full bathroom remodel.

You can click any of the images above to link directly to the products or click below for each item (as an Amazon affiliate, I earn a very small commission of your purchase...thank you!)

Indoor/outdoor woven rug (linked to a similar rug, mine is out of stock)

Paint colors: Sherwin Williams Latte (walls) and Alabaster (trim)

What do you think? As always, I welcome your comments and ideas!




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