There are many ways to add rustic, cottage-style charm to a bathroom, but there’s none better than using natural, weathered wood. There’s something about the sight of aged, graying wood that speaks of hominess on a fundamental, almost subconscious level. Why? Maybe because most cottage-style homes in this country are older ones, and weathered wood speaks to a kindred sense of elegant decay. Maybe it’s old picnic benches, your uncle’s deck, or your grandma’s kitchen table. Whatever it is, it’s a feeling that’s pretty deeply ingrained. So if you want to get a relaxed, slightly aged, maybe slightly vintage cottage style bathroom, you really can’t beat weathered wood bathroom vanities to do the job.
By itself, wood is a powerful design material. Sure, most bathroom vanities are made of wood in some form or another, but solid wood vanities are relatively rare. The vast majority of wood bathroom vanities are made with whatever’s available. That means that while they might have the structural integrity, strength, and durability of wood, they don’t really do much to showcase the material. More still are made of MDF or plywood, both of which have their place, of course, but neither can be made to look like the real deal. If you want a truly rustic vanity, you’ve got to opt for a bathroom vanity like this Toby vanity from Sagehill Designs – that’s either made out of solid wood, or at the very least has real wood veneers designed to highlight the wood grain.
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For the best weathered wood bathroom vanities, you want to look for a manufacturer like Herbeau that uses high quality woods. A good rule of thumb is, if they don’t specifically list what kind of wood they’re using, it’s probably a mixture of what’s available, and probably not ideal. Herbeau’s Celine Vanity is made from solid ash constructed to emphasize the natural wood grain for maximum homey effect. And because the wood is simply treated (or even left unfinished) the already slightly rustic appearance will age naturally with your home over time – a feat most modern vanities wouldn’t be able to pull off.
Another good idea is to look for weathered wood bathroom vanities that are made out of reclaimed wood. This is like the rustic, cottage equivalent of high quality exotic wood veneers, only the value comes from natural weathering and variation (like knots, cracks, and striations that are otherwise considered undesirable!). That means you’re looking for vanities made either of wood that’s been reclaimed or repurposed, or at the very least that’s been artificially distressed to produce the same weather-worn finish you’d get from genuinely aged boards. Weathered wood bathroom vanities like this Savannah vanity come standard with unique natural variations and patterns that are purposefully removed from mass-produced vanities.
That said, if opting for traditional materials and methodology puts weathered wood bathroom vanities out of your reach, be aware that you don’t necessarily have to opt for the most authentic materials to get the look you want. I’m actually a big fan of this rustic-looking Casual Elements vanity from Sagehill. It’s a huge step down on the price scale without sacrificing what makes weathered wood bathroom vanities so beautiful. But instead of being made from choice hardwoods throughout, it’s made with a solid oak construction covered in fine oak veneers, so you get the finest wood grain patterning – and a slightly aged, weathered look – at a much lower cost.
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Weathered finishes are important, too, especially if you aren’t inclined to let weathered wood bathroom vanities continue to mature on their own. Even a subtly distressed finish on a light wood vanity like this Regency Place can give it a soft, inviting appearance that makes it perfect for a cottage style bathroom. This can also be a good choice for a bathroom that sees a lot of hard use – such as a child’s bathroom – as the finish is more likely to stay in good condition. As with fine furniture, the highest quality wood is best reserved for use with a more careful touch.
Hand painted designs are another way to enhance the old fashioned appearance of weathered wood bathroom vanities. This Flora 200 Vanity from Empire Industries is a brilliant example, with slightly faded floral hand painted detailing that melds beautifully with the rustic antique finish. The soft floral design gives the vanity a lovely heirloom quality, maintaining the appearance of age while actually being a bit better sealed than most of the other vanities on this list. Hand painted vanities rely more heavily on high quality finish work than the natural weathered appearance of wood, but the effect is similar, with subtle worn spots designed to make it look like it’s stood in place for a hundred years.
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Of course, there is something about the way that wood weathers naturally that can be imitated but not quite recreated. Personally, I believe that showcasing natural wood grain is the best way to add warmth and charm to any bathroom – cottage style or otherwise. This Vigneron Vanity is delightful in its simplicity, with a warm oak finish and layers of interplaying wood grain to give your bathroom the kind of natural, rustic charm you just can’t find anywhere else. What kind of weathered wood bathroom vanities are you looking for? Do you care more about the wood grain or the weathered appearance?
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