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What is a Southwestern Style Bathroom, and How Can You Create One

Embark on a journey through the rich tapestry of Southwestern style, a fusion of Native American and Spanish influences. Characterized by warm, earthy tones, rugged textures, and artisanal crafts, this design style tells a story of heritage and the serene beauty of desert landscapes.

Blog | Bathroom
Southwestern bathroom style remodel
Celine Polden

As we delve into the heart of what makes a bathroom not just a functional space but a personal retreat, this article guides interior designers seeking to infuse the soul-warming hues and textures of the Southwestern palette into their bathroom designs.

Explore the essence of a Southwestern-style bathroom, from the terracotta tiles underfoot to the hand-painted Talavera above the sink. We aim to educate on what a Southwestern-style bathroom truly is and offer insightful steps on how to artfully create one, ensuring that each design reflects both time-honored traditions and contemporary comfort.

What Are the Characteristics of the Southwestern Style?

Southwestern style often incorporates the rustic allure of adobe architecture, with its stucco walls and rounded corners reminiscent of the pueblos, alongside the ornate detail of Spanish colonial wood carvings and ironwork. Interior spaces pay homage to these influences through the use of natural materials such as clay, wood, woven textiles, and leather, evoking a sense of connection to the earth and the handcrafted artistry of its people.

Patterns and motifs are drawn from Native American iconography, while the color schemes reflect the warm, inviting tones in Spanish design. This interplay between cultures creates a design ethos that is both comforting and visually dynamic, offering a sense of authenticity and timelessness that is the hallmark of Southwestern style.

Southwestern bathroom style colors

What is a Southwestern-Style Bathroom?

A Southwestern-style bathroom is a symphony of color and material, a canvas where each element contributes to a cohesive theme rooted in regional charm.

Color palette

The color schemes of a Southwestern-style bathroom draw from the natural palette of the desert landscape and sky, featuring terracotta reds, cactus greens, earthy browns, and sunset oranges, punctuated by the vibrant turquoises reminiscent of traditional turquoise jewelry. These warm and inviting hues are often balanced with neutral tones, such as sandy beiges or soft grays, to create a space that feels both grounded and alive.

Color palette southwestern bathroom style


Materials are pivotal in crafting an authentic Southwestern ambiance within a bathroom. Walls and floors may showcase the rustic elegance of terracotta or Saltillo tiles, while countertops and vanities might boast the natural beauty of travertine or slate.

Reclaimed wood can be used for cabinetry or exposed beams, adding a touch of ruggedness, while hand-painted ceramic tiles with intricate patterns and vivid colors inject a dose of Spanish flair. 

Southwestern style materials

Decor items

Decor plays a crucial role in emphasizing the Southwestern aesthetic. Woven Navajo rugs can add warmth and texture to the flooring, while plush, brightly colored towels bring comfort and a pop of color. Wall art, such as paintings or tapestries featuring Southwestern landscapes, pottery, or motifs, helps tie the theme together, ensuring every angle reflects the style's heritage.

Accessories might include handcrafted pottery or baskets and, for a touch of whimsy, figurines of iconic Southwestern fauna like the roadrunner or coyote.

southwestern bathroom ideas

Fixtures and finishes

In terms of fixtures, Southwestern-style bathrooms often incorporate sinks and faucets that have an antique or hand-forged look. Hammered copper sinks are particularly coveted for their artisanal feel and their patina that ages gracefully over time.

Faucets in oiled bronze or wrought iron finishes complement the warm undertones of the color scheme, while understated, mission-style hardware and towel bars can maintain a classic and functional look.

By choosing fixtures that resonate with the craftsmanship and earthy materials of the Southwest, designers can create a bathroom that is not just a place of utility but a sanctuary of style.

southwestern style bathroom decor

How to Create a Southwestern-Style Bathroom

To create a bathroom in the Southwestern style, it is important to meticulously plan the layout and carefully select elements that reflect the region's vibrant colors, earthy materials, and artisanal details. This process involves everything from using advanced planning tools to choose the right fixtures to sourcing unique decor that brings the essence of the Southwest into your space.

Planning and layout

Creating a Southwestern-style bathroom is an endeavor that marries meticulous planning with the joy of design.

A thoughtful plan is essential; utilizing bathroom planning software can be particularly beneficial. These digital tools allow interior designers to visualize the space, experiment with different layouts, and place elements such as bathtubs, vanities, and shower enclosures in a virtual environment. By experimenting with various configurations, designers can ensure the functionality of the space while embedding the aesthetic qualities of Southwestern design.

Creating a mood board within the software is beneficial, incorporating the chosen color schemes, materials, and decor items to see how they work harmoniously.

Southwestern bathroom style layout

How to transform your bathroom in Southwestern style

Transforming an existing bathroom into a Southwestern sanctuary can be achieved by following a structured step-by-step guide.

Begin by establishing the foundational elements. Paint the walls in warm, desert-inspired hues.

Progress to the flooring phase. Upgrade the flooring with natural stone-patterned tiles reflecting Southwestern motifs, or terracotta tiles to set the tone.

Choose a vanity crafted from natural wood to enhance the organic feel. Top it with a vessel sink made of copper or stone for a touch of authenticity.

Integrate fixtures that complement the rustic Southwest character. Consider finishes such as matte black or oil-rubbed bronze to harmonize with the overall aesthetic.

Southwestern bathroom design

Southwestern bathroom style on a budget

Achieving this look on a budget is entirely feasible by seeking out affordable alternatives. Instead of splurging on high-end natural stone, consider using high-quality laminate or ceramic tiles that mimic the appearance of natural materials. Opt for painting techniques that give the effect of stucco or adobe on walls instead of actual plasterwork.

Search for second-hand fixtures and decor at thrift stores, flea markets, or online marketplaces that often carry unique, budget-friendly finds with authentic Southwestern flair. 

Bathroom details southwestern

Sourcing decor and materials

To source authentic Southwestern-style materials and decor, local artisan shops and regional markets are excellent places to start, as they often carry items crafted by artists whose work is steeped in the cultural traditions of the Southwest. Online retailers specializing in Southwestern decor can also be valuable resources, offering a wide array of items from textiles to ceramics. 

Don't underestimate the power of DIY projects. Many elements of Southwestern design can be handcrafted, adding personalized charm to the space. By embracing these strategies, designers can create a Southwestern-style bathroom that is both authentic and aligned with their client's budget and vision.

bathroom design ideas

Create Your Own Southwestern-Style Bathroom

Creating a Southwestern-style bathroom melds heritage with functionality. Bring your vision to life using the RoomSketcher App, allowing you to confidently explore and execute your designs. 

So, embrace the spirit of the Southwest, where every tile, towel, and tap tells a story, and create a space that is truly a work of art.

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