Get Your Fill of Shiplap and More with These Wainscoting Bathroom Ideas
In the bathroom, wainscoting is mostly found in rustic, farmhouse-inspired designs. But wood paneling can really be adapted to nearly any style preference—even if your space is modern or boho and maximalist. The size of your bathroom doesn’t matter either. As you’ll see, even a small bathroom can use wainscoting with the right creative configuration. So if you’ve fallen in love with this look, these 13 ideas will get you started on applying this type of paneling to your own bathroom. You’ll also learn tips for getting the size, color, and texture just right for your space.
1. Surround the bathtub.
No need to slap wainscoting all over the place in your bathroom. Simply placing it all around your bathtub like @cwcincy did here is a nice way to make your tub the focal point of your bathroom.
2. Choose a soothing color.
Many examples of bathroom wainscoting feature white panels set against a white or very light wall. It’s a look that works well for a clean, modern vibe. But we love how @thehouseofplaid chose to use a calming green hue for their wainscoting in the bathroom. It’s a perfect choice for the gray-toned wooden vanity and black-rimmed mirrors.
3. Install it at the top.
Most examples of wainscoting in a bathroom feature it at the bottom two-thirds of the wall. But this bathroom from @intrimgroup does the opposite, with wainscoting installed above the tiling instead of below. It makes for an attractive and interesting look.
4. Add hooks for storage.
If you choose to install wainscoting in your bathroom, don’t forget to include a small ledge at the top like @hilltophome192 did. This allows you to add hooks to the wall for handy storage of items like towels and robes.
5. Mix eclectic colors.
There’s no rule that says you have to stick with one color when it comes to wainscoting in the bathroom. As exemplified in this Australian home, the right color combo—in this case pastel green, peach, and yellow—can complement one another perfectly, no white paint necessary.
6. Slap on shiplap.
A classic example of shiplap paneling can be found in this New Orleans cottage. What makes it stand out so beautifully is the ultra rustic vanity and incredible wood floors. The mashup of the cactus and porthole-like mirror give it a vintage Texas beach house vibe—who knew that could be a thing?
7. Blend it in.
You can still enjoy the lovely texture of wainscoting in a bathroom that already has quite a few patterns going on, as seen in this Charleston home. The vanity and shower curtain introduce splashes of bright colors, but the white beadboard paneling is a gentle, grounding touch that keeps the scheme from getting too busy.
8. Up the walls.
If space is limited, take note of how this Dutch farmhouse incorporated paneling in the bathroom. Rather than wrapping it around the walls horizontally, the owners installed it up the slanted ceiling and around the dormer skylight.
9. Add a splash of nautical navy.
This Michigan home used bathroom wainscoting to create nautical vibes with navy paneling and a porthole-inspired mirror. A few smart design choices can turn your bathroom into a sea escape—all without actually heading to the coast.
10. Shower in style.
Wrap your shower surround in wainscoting, like this Portland home did for an original look that beats any shower curtain. It provides a tasteful farmhouse appeal that doesn’t feel kitschy or outdated in the slightest.
11. Try different configurations.
If you like different kinds of wood paneling, don’t be afraid to try two types in one room. Shiplap up top and wainscoting down below creates a unique contrast in this coastal cottage in Australia. Both paneling treatments are white, but the use of two styles still breaks up the wall and gives it personality in a minimalist way.
12. Spotlight your tub.
Wainscoting in the bathroom can serve as a brilliant background for a gorgeous tub installation. The white clawfoot tub plays perfectly off of the teal blue beadboard in this English pub-turned-home, while the brass rim mount adds a handsome, warm touch to the space.
13. Keep it on the cabinets.
Wainscoting doesn’t need to cover your bathroom’s walls. This eclectic example in a New Jersey loft shows how big of an impact paneling can make when it’s featured on a vanity, too.