Before and After: Nautical Bathroom Decor + Paint Color

LAST UPDATED: Jan 25, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Oct 30, 2019 | By:

See how we transformed a dark, dated bath with fresh new nautical bathroom decor in this bathroom refresh with a beautiful blue hue!

nautical bathroom with blue vanity brass faucet round rattan mirror flowers and hand towel

The guest bathroom at the lake house we dubbed Calm Water Cottage was charming and in good working condition. However, as we updated the spaces around it with new lighting, carpeting, paint and modern decor, I felt it too needed a little refresh.

I wanted it to be lighter, brighter and a bit more modern, which has become the theme for updating spaces at the lake house! When designing a space, I consider the spaces around it.

The lower level modern living room and Coastal Modern Living Room upstairs both have pops of navy, while the adjacent guest bedroom has pretty florals in periwinkle hues.

dark plaid bathroom

I love working with what we have when at all possible! We updated to create a nautical bathroom without reworking electrical or replacing the vanity. In fact, it was paint that offered the biggest transformation.

This nautical bathroom makes a great refresh for any builder grade bathroom. Painting the overlay vanity is quick, easy and inexpensive and makes it pop!

Over the years, we’ve created a spa bath for guests, a charming guest bath, this Budget Half Bath, and a powder room with brick flooring.  Designing bathrooms is challenging, fun, and oh-so-rewarding!

Nautical Bathroom

blue vanity in white bathroom

The first step to a nautical bathroom is finding the right blue hue! Blue is the quintessential color associated with all things nautical. Living lakeside, it’s the perfect fit for our lake cottage bath. It’s a timeless classic!

Each weekend we’re at the lake the girls beg us to go to Ace. Sure, the staff is incredibly friendly and the girls love seeing the store’s pup, but they know what lies ahead – suckers!

girl with sucker in her mouth in front of paint cards at hardware store
girl petting dog

We used Clark+Kensington Evening Calm 36B-6 to make it feel light, fresh and nautical..

Painting a cabinet like this can make such an incredible impact with very little time and investment. Be sure to read my comprehensive posts on furniture paint and how to paint without sanding!

clark and kensington paint color palette

During the day, Evening Calm is bright and cheerful – a perfect pairing to the floral wallpaper just outside the doors. In the evening, it feels calm and welcoming, just as the name suggests.

a look inside a white and blue bathroom from nearby bedroom

Evening Calm is warm, minimal and has dusty tones. It evokes the feeling of slowing down in today’s modern world – which is exactly what the lake house is all about!

blue vanity in white bathroom with nautical bathroom decor

Painting a vanity makes a big impact without a lot of effort. It set the tone for this nautical bathroom refresh. You can easily paint a bathroom vanity using liquid sandpaper simply remove hardware first, apply, allow to dry and paint!

Nautical Bathroom Decor

I take a “less is more” approach. A few nautical nods go a long way – especially in a small space such as a bathroom. Here are a few nautical bathroom accessories to consider:

nautical bathroom accessories including brass boat cleat and no diving floor mat
  • Boat Cleats – they make great towel hooks! They are available in both solid brass and stainless.
  • Anything with an anchor on it!
  • Nautical Rope – incorporate this easy DIY Nautical Rope Vase, a toilet paper holder made with rope or add a rope knot door stop.
lake bathroom with brass rattan and flowers

Nautical Bathroom Accessories

I’ve long dreamed of replacing the tile floor with a tile mat that said “no diving”. However, to keep this refresh quick, easy and budget friendly, I had a bath mat monogrammed “no diving” instead! The color is a perfect match to Evening Calm and ties it all together.

girl diving into bath tub on no diving floor mat
no diving bath mat by tassel shower curtain

Classic white towels always work well in a nautical bath, but stripes are always right, too!

girl hanging white towel on brass boat cleat

Anything in brass, chrome or basket weave tends to lend itself well to the style as well.

Find this simple, clean-lined modern brass faucet here. The pretty nautical-inspired light fixture is also surprisingly affordable!

nautical bathroom accessories

If you want to mix another color into your bathroom accessories, red makes a great accent. I wove it in with the hand soap and lotion labels.

Nautical Lighting

There are so many fun nautical lighting options – in fact, I struggled choosing just one!

brass nautical light bathroom sconce with girl in mirror reflection

You can never go wrong with brass, chrome or copper for nautical lake or beach style.

Select anything that looks reminiscent of a ship or nearby ports. Some examples include a beacon sconce, passageway lighting, navigation lights, etc.

blue vanity brass hardware round rattan mirror lake or beach bathroom

How Evening Calm Feels

  • cheerful
  • warm

Styles It Fits

  • modern
  • country
blue vanity in nautical bath with double nautical light fixture

Let’s do a little before and after, shall we?

green and maroon plaid builders bath

To give this space a complete makeover, we removed the light fixture, towel bar, shower curtain rod, faucet, and knobs. Then we stained the Tile Grout white. This made a huge impact with very little effort.

Don’t want to paint/stain your grout? Try my natural grout cleaner instead.

blue vanity in white bathroom with nautical bathroom decor

The wallpaper was removed and we painted the walls Clark+Kensington Designer White 1066. It has a high LRV to reflect the light and immediately made the space feel larger.

To make an impact, we painted the vanity with Clark+Kensington Evening Calm36B-6. Once it was dry and the paint had cured, we added new hardware.

girl looking into round rattan mirror with nautical light overhead

The round rattan mirror above added interest and texture and of course nautical lighting with warm bulbs makes the vanity pop. If you love this rattan mirror, don’t skip my posts about Rattan Beds!

Easy peasy! In fact, this transformation took place in just two days!


nautical bathroom decor
girl diving into bathtub

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