Yellow Submarine Bathroom Decor by Rebecca Huang
While pregnant with my first daughter, I was fascinated with the idea of creating a unique, kid-friendly bathroom space where she and I could laugh and play together. I searched for months, poring through high-end catalogues and DIY Pinterest boards until I found my own perfect nautical collection. I thought it was absolutely precious. My daughter agreed. As an infant, her eyes went wide to take in all the details on the hooded towel I wrapped her up in each evening. She loved playing “I spy” with fish on the shower curtain during potty training. And now, as an 8-year-old, she’s developed names, personalities, and elaborate backstories for the sea creatures on her coral reef bath mat and entertains her little sister with them every chance she gets.
Putting together your own collection of nautical bathroom decor may be the most fun decorating project in the world. You get to add whimsy, imagination, and color to every last nook and cranny without worrying about big expenses like furniture, fixtures, or paint colors. Simply swap out your accessories, and you’re done—however, as much as my 8-year-old loves her bathroom set, I’m not sure she’ll ever want to say goodbye. Read on to dive into my top three strategies for mastering the art of children's’ nautical bathroom decor.
This option is perfect for busy parents who want a “get it and forget it” decorating experience. There are so many options today for kid-friendly, high-quality bathroom collections. Your only problem will be choosing just one! When you decide on a collection for your child’s bathroom decor, you’re essentially doing all the work in one fell swoop. Choose a design you like (for example, my girls love Amy Schimler-Safford’s colorful illustrations of coral reefs) and then select a handful of corresponding pieces to deck out your bathroom.
You don’t have to purchase every single item by any means—just get the main pieces taken care of. That will make it much easier to finish your bathroom design with just a couple supporting items. For instance, If you purchase a gorgeous mermaid shower curtain, bath mat, and art print by the same artist, you could then supplement with bright textiles and counter accessories in a shade pulled directly from the artwork. Done and done.
The shower curtain is the most visually impactful element in the bathroom. A fantastic shower curtain can easily become the cornerstone and foundation for the rest of your design, which is why this option starts here. Find a children’s shower curtain in a nautical print you adore and pull a few shades from it as an overarching color for guide the supporting items. If you fell in love with Kyle Reed’s vibrant boat-themed shower curtain, you could then purchase towels in light watery blue, find some navy bath mats, and accessorize your walls with some kid-friendly DIY personalized art in turquoise and white. Even though all items were purchased separately, this option leaves you with a sophisticated and cohesive bathroom design.
Alternatively, you could pick a shower curtain with a wide variety of colors. Pull a different color from the artwork for each element of decor, and create a bathroom space full of colorful contrast. If I were redecorating my girls’ bathroom, I would definitely start with another really colorful underwater themed shower curtain and pull colors from each of the fish to deck out the rest of the room. Think deep violet towels, lime green bath mats (with bright blue borders if I could find them), DIY painted wall hooks in orange, pink, red, and goldenrod, and some handprint wall art in yellow and light green. This option lets you have fun hunting down each of the different elements, creatively putting everything together into a lively bath time experience.
Under the Sea Menagerie by Emily Dove
This final idea is the most challenging to put together, but it also allows your creativity to truly shine. When working from an art piece as inspiration, you have a lot to consider—you can pull any of the shapes, textures, stories, or themes to explore in your kids’ bathroom. An art print isn’t nearly as visually imposing as a shower curtain, so you have a lot more freedom to play and explore which specific elements you’d like to highlight in the room as a whole.
Start with an inspired and imaginative piece of children’s wall art, with multiple colorways and a clear theme—like Emily Dove’s Under the Sea Menagerie. For this approach, I might craft my own shower curtain from fabric in a dark shade of steel blue, accenting with thin horizontal trim in coral, pink, and white. To me, this is a perfect way to emulate the texture of the little fishes in front of the big dark whale. From there I’d collect a mix of coral, dark steel blue, and turquoise towels. Finally, I would mix and match toothbrush holders, bath mats, and the other bathroom accessories based on the gorgeous color scheme of this artwork. Personally, I really want to try this approach using Alexandra Ball’s Ahoy There Mr. Turtle (which I would totally hang in my own master bath).
You can put your entire heart and soul into decorating this nautical bathroom space on your own (and it might be a ton of fun), but as with everything else in parenting, your kids need to see your buy-in before they’ll truly commit to loving anything new. Especially if your toddler is in the midst of potty training, welcoming a new baby into the house, or starting a new preschool, this could easily be one more new thing they’ll need to get used to.
Involving your child in the selection process for your new design is a great bonding experience for both of you. Together you can use the whimsical decor items you chose for storytelling in the bath, practicing counting while potty training, and learning colors during the morning rush. The more excited you are to engage with them and their new decor, the more they’ll love it—and the more they’ll want the bathroom to stay this way for years to come.
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