DIY · Home & Garden

Cottage Bathroom Refresh | Mini Bathroom Makeover

Tour our cottage bathroom mini makeover. A few simple switches transformed this small bathroom into something more sophisticated while keeping its humble roots.

A mini cottage bathroom makeover happens after adding a new light fixture and hardware, along with new wall art, all pictured in this small pristine white bathroom.

After renovating our small cottage bathroom last fall, which you can read about right HERE, something still wasn’t quite right. After putting in a lot of hard work over the month, I was done with making tweaks though. I had to just let things be for a while. I’m so glad I did, too.

Letting it sit for months allowed me to critically examine it and truly figure out what was so “wrong” with it. 

It also allowed me to hone my own personal decorating style and finish other decorating projects around the home. My style has evolved drastically over the last couple of years since we moved into our home. 

It evolved from a modern farmhouse/cottage style to more colonial rustic to now a more traditional style–pulling from influences from the Arts and Crafts period in the early 1900s and the traditional English Cottage style. 

Now, I am trying to perfect this, adjusting it to fit into a mid-century home. 

A before photo of a small cottage bathroom shows a missing light fixture, black painted wood towel racks, and cheap wall art.
Before, a less-coordinated bathroom has its old Hollywood-style light fixture removed.
An updated cottage bathroom has gold hardware, a Miss Mustard Seed landscape art print, and a vintage-style art fixture.
After, the updated bathroom has gold hardware, a Miss Mustard Seed landscape art print, and a vintage-style light fixture added.

I am still all about the cozy-cottage-country feel. But as I’ve studied our house more and really found my own preferences, I’ve discovered that this is what truly speaks to me and what feels right in this home. 

Contemporary just isn’t my thing, and any style older than the early 1900s just looks really weird and off in our home. Believe me, I love the styles and architecture from the Victorian era, but that just wouldn’t make sense with all the straight lines and lower ceilings that are typical in a 1950s ranch house. 

The Arts and Crafts bungalows of the early 1900s are an easy choice of inspiration for this wannabe cottage of ours.

Anyway, I am so thankful I waited several months before adding some finishing touches to it to make it truly beautiful. 

Had I not waited, I would’ve ended up with another mini refresh six months or year from now. 

Plus, I just have more decorating experience now. 

I can’t wait to show you exactly how we pulled off this small cottage bathroom makeover. Between changing a light fixture, replacing the art, and switching out some hardware, it has made a world of a difference. It’s still our quaint white cottage bathroom, but it has a bit more sophistication that had me pulling from some more artistic sources than previously. All with less than $200 to spend. 

Here’s how we made over our cottage bathroom this summer…

A new bathroom makeover has new hardware, art, and vanity lights.

Cottage Bathroom Mini Makeover

Lighting

It was so obvious from the get-go that these terrible, outdated Hollywood lights above the medicine cabinet had to go. I would have loved to burn them…. 

Don’t worry, they were most certainly tossed. Only appropriate for a vanity in a dressing room on a set, I replaced them with something more fitting for a cottage bathroom. 

First, I began a search for antique-style bathroom light fixtures. I know many would have loved to hunt for a true antique, searching for a bargain high and low. This is not something I usually want to mess with when it comes to light fixtures. Although originals are stunning once cleaned up, the quality is usually not as high as modern light fixtures today. 

I did, however, still have a budget to stick to. So I veered away from places that specialize in creating period specific fixtures. I just wanted something that was my style and would look good in this small cottage bathroom. 

A vintage-style light fixture is black with milky white lights characteristic of early 1900s schoolhouses.

I found this antique-style light fixture HERE and absolutely love it. 

This light fit the price range I had in mind and emulates the early Arts and Crafts period lighting I love so much. It was also cohesive with our black antique-style floor register and toilet paper holder. It complements the other hardware in our country cottage bathroom well.

Installation

To install, we needed to seal the hole in the wall and reroute the wires a few inches higher into a new hole.

Using a drill attachment, we were able to successfully cut a new hole in the wall that would fit the new light fixture while also giving enough space between the medicine cabinet and light. This now allows the cabinet door to seamlessly open and close. 

My husband then installed anchors and secured the lighting, reattaching the old wiring through this as he went. 

To seal the old hole, my grandpa came over and helped me patch it using a self-adhesive patch that he covered with spackling paste. After two coats of this and a new layer of paint, it was good to go. No sanding was required since we already have such textured walls (much to my dismay) in there. We mirrored this same look when applying the spackle. 

A antique-style light fixture is charming in a small white cottage bathroom after its makeover.

Hardware

I already know what you’re thinking. That all the hardware should match. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t. Truly.

Now, should all knobs, pulls, and handles on cabinet doors in the same room have matching (color) metals? Absolutely–but you can play around with different styles on them if you like. 

That being said, you can mix and match metals within a room if they’re on different pieces.

A newly makeover bathroom shines with its new vintage decor.

It’s nice to play around with mixing different metals in the same room for a cohesive look. Please don’t be afraid to try this. 

For example, the light fixture, floor register, and toilet paper holder are all a matte black color. Yet all the hardware on the vanity/sink and bathtub are nickel, and still the antique gold looks wonderful on the art frame and the towel racks. 

It all still looks put together. All without being too boring, too.

If you stick with one metal only, you risk oversaturing your bathroom with one single element. This in turn can look cheap and tacky. 

A gold towel ring look new and improved after replacing a black painted wood one.
A new gold towel bar looks elegant on  a white wall.

You can find the gold towel ring HERE and the gold towel bar HERE.

Art

We cannot forget the art. Art can pull the eye in immediately when styled correctly, or subtly play in the background, careful not to distract from another piece taking center stage.

Art can be the one thing that hones the entire style of the room. It can be the difference between a European farmhouse and an American country cottage. Similar styles, but still different enough.

I replaced the cheap IKEA garden herbs framed poster with something smaller and less overwhelming. Now this wall has a simple 8×10 landscape art print by the one and only Miss Mustard Seed. I then added an antique-gold frame to complement the new towel hardware. 

You can find the art print HERE and the frame HERE.

A landscape art print by Miss Mustard Seed is framed in an antique-style gold frame on a bathroom wall.
A Miss Mustard Seed landscape art print is perfect for this small bathroom space.

Whatever you do, don’t skip the art. Original oil or watercolor paintings are fabulous. But don’t underestimate a print… especially if it’s from a wonderful artist. If that’s all that currently fits your budget, then go this route.

Some of my favorite artists I’ve discovered from Etsy and Instagram. Don’t shy away from these places to get inspired. Stick to what you’re drawn to and try to match the color scheme somewhat when selecting art.

A Miss Mustard Seed landscape art print sits above a toilet in a small bathroom.

Although you may not need to match every single color, it is good to stick to earth tones, for example, if that’s what’s going on in the rest of the room, too. 

I prefer landscapes, but occasionally I am drawn to a portrait of an unknown person or still images of fresh produce. There are so many ways artists turn seemingly mundane objects into wonderful art pieces that can hang on your wall. 

For inspiration, peruse Pinterest by searching “vintage art prints,” “European landscape art,” or “still image art prints” to start.

Final thoughts…

Believe me, I still have a short list of one-day additions to the bathroom. Tile the shower walls, sand the textured ceiling and walls completely smooth, change the mirror to the medicine cabinet. But for now this is just right. It’s simple but enough to catch the eye. 

When people use the bathroom, I want them to think Wow, they really put some thought into this… down to the smallest detail.

A small white bathroom has been refreshed with new pieces to complement a recent renovation.

More Home Makeover Inspiration

Boho Office Makeover

Simple Hallway Refresh 

Traditional Cottage Dining Room  

Fall Patio Refresh  

Small Bathroom Makeover  

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