Interestingly, the comeback of the century is actually a comeback from last century and partially the century before that. One of the most popular interior décor styles in the current era is a mixture of old and new.

In this style, recycled and upcycled pieces from the past mix with the light, airy, and muted colors of the present. Fabrics, patterns, and ornate designs from the traditional French world spill over into the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens of North American homes from the countryside to the heart of the urban center.

You’ve seen this style. You know this style. You want this style. But how can you get it? I’m here to walk you through how to bring the elements of country cottage, French country, and shabby chic together into what will be a peaceful, tranquil, and comfortable bathroom. You are the luckiest of all the people who’ve visited this website because you have found yourself smack in the middle of one of my most favorite design styles.

It’s All About Mixing it Up

Don’t be afraid to mix things from different eras and different styles. In fact, that is a big part of what makes this style so unique. So long as your pieces match your color scheme, you can get away with including almost anything in your design. A word of caution, however – be careful not to include too many pieces which are similar to each other. You want keep an eclectic appearance – a mishmash of old and new; multiple patterns and textures.

Color Is Key

If you want to create this style you need to be willing to experiment with color while remaining married to a muted or pastel color pallet. Most of your pieces should be white, off-white, light blue, light green, light yellow, light pink, or light purple. Of course, every now and then you will need to bring in a punch of darker colors. I like to bring in this punch of color with my accessories. For example, in a bathroom, I would use white tile, a white tub, light-colored towels, a light-colored shower curtain, and a bright bathmat or some bright, fresh-cut flowers. The trick is to make sure that your bright punch of color is simply a brighter shade of a color you have already used.

A variant of this style pulls in darker elements of the country farmhouse style. While maintaining much of the same appeal as this style, it pulls in darker colors such as olive greens, burnt oranges, and dusky reds for a warmer feeling. Keep in mind that these two styles may not mix well in the same room, but you can use each of them in different parts of your home without it feeling like a confused mess of style schemes.

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Let the Old Shine Through

The most genuine way to create this style is to find old pieces of furniture and make them new again. It’s really interesting the amount of work people go through to make things new yet old all at the same time. The problem with furniture and decorative pieces that actually are old is that they usually don’t have the light and airy contemporary colors this style is known for. So, many people will find an old piece at a yard sale, strip it down with sandpaper, apply a lighter, more contemporary color and then rough it up with a little more sandpaper. This technique makes it look old, yet new.

The great thing about the current market is that companies are beginning to understand this style trend. It isn’t uncommon to find brand new pieces of furniture and décor which already have this style applied to them. Back when I began creating spaces with this style I actually had to go around to yard sales and used-goods stores, purchase these items, and do all the work myself. I have to tell you, although I still take pride in creating a piece myself, it saves me a lot of time and work when I purchase pieces which already match my plan.

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Upcycle, Recycle, and Do it Yourself

Another great way to bring this style into your space is to use items (new or old) for purposes other than their original intended purpose. Part of the vintage inspiration for this style is the fact that people who owned country homes didn’t often have much money. This meant that they had to get creative in how they used things. A jar from a used candle becomes a vase. Old door knobs become a place to hang jewelry. Jars from preserves become storage containers for everything from cotton swabs to hair clips. Broken dressers become bathroom cabinets. Even if you don’t have much around that you can re-use, try to find interesting uses for the new things you do purchase.

You can also use stools as places to set things next to your bathtub. You can use old milk crates for towel or toilet paper storage. Small wooden ladders are often used in bathrooms as places to store things as well. You can even use ladders as places to hang towels. It’s all about getting creative with how you use the things you buy.

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Textures and Patterns

Textures and patterns are very important to this design style. Let’s begin with textures, because they are, by far, one of the most important elements in this style. You want many different textures in your room. For example, you will want to mix genuine dark woodgrain (usually on the floor) with painted wood (on the walls or cabinetry). Tile can add another layer of texture. Trim work can add further texture – allow your wall trim, baseboards, and crown molding to have some shape and style, and don’t be afraid to include a chair rail in your room. Beadboard, usually painted white or cream, is another way to bring the texture of wood into the room without making the room feel dark.

Bring pattern in through any linen in your room as well as any tile. In a bathroom, for example, you can include a floral print on your shower curtain. In a bedroom, you can bring the pattern onto the window curtains or bedspread. Keep these patterns somewhat muted and light. Choose patterns which utilize pastel colors and layers of similar colors to keep the busy print from overtaking the room.

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A Few Ornate Vintage Pieces

Let me begin this section by stating that these pieces do not actually need to be vintage, simply vintage inspired. Don’t worry about spending hours perusing your local flea market for a good vintage find. Instead, you can simply purchase a few ornate pieces with a vintage charm. The vintage charm can come through sweeping curves, spirals, and bronze finishes.

Major Suggestions for Bathrooms

I want to take a few moments to really bring this all together and give you some tips about how to create a bathroom with the eclectic mixture of the country cottage, French country, and shabby chic styles.

Bathtub – A clawfoot bathtub isn’t a must in this type of bathroom but it can lend greatly to the overall design. In fact, if you do include one, it will be the one piece that really defines the room and the style the best. Also, you can purchase a faucet, showerhead attachment, and feet (for your clawfoot tub) which all pull in the vintage charm we talked about earlier.

Textures and Patterns – I would love to suggest a wooden floor, since dark wood floors are important in this design style, but I understand how easily that type of floor can be destroyed in a bathroom. If you want to use tiles on the floor, I suggest some sort of ceramic tile. Try to find something basic in terms of color – white is usually best. The same applies for your wall tiles.

If it is within your budget, bring some pattern into the room by purchasing small tiles and creating a pattern with them. Personally, I love the appeal of a chevron pattern in the tilework of this style of bathroom. If possible, bring in some brick. One brick wall will add some warmth to your bathroom without detracting from the style. In fact, it can add a little more old-world charm.

Old Meets New – Look for pieces with vintage flair but contemporary or pastel colors. They are out there, trust me, I have reviewed many of them for this website. Think about bringing this aspect of the style in through your cabinetry, mirror, faucets, and shelving.

Upcycle – I encourage you to use things for purposes other than their intended uses. In my own bathroom I have used preserves jars to hold my hair clips. I have taken a leftover piece of wood, painted it, roughed it up with sandpaper, added some clear coat, screwed on a few mismatched drawer handles I purchased, and attached the whole thing to the wall. In case you haven’t guessed, I use this as a place to hang my jewelry. I also attached some wire to a few of those preserves jars and hung them from the knobs as well.