Contemporary bathrooms emphasize clean, simple lines and open, uncluttered spaces. The first one is more or less easy to attain – after all, it’s sort of built into the furnishing. But keeping clutter at bay in any room of the home – especially one as frequently used as the bathroom – isn’t quite so easy. It’s why choosing the right bathroom vanities is so important – and why, even with the best laid cabinetry, it’s sometimes a good thing that master bathrooms are kept separate. For real people in a real bathroom, keeping everything neat and tidy 24/7 isn’t really feasible, but balancing a casual contemporary style and embracing your clutter can be.
Out In The Open Isn’t Always Bad
The first step towards getting style in your bathroom that will still look good the day after you clean is to embrace some of your clutter. This might sound strange, but while hyper modern design emphasizes strict showroom cleanliness, more casual contemporary spaces work well with small, homey touches. I like open style bathroom vanities like this Priva Vanity from Empire Industries because they blend a simple transitional style with a roomy drawer and counter top storage for two, but leave a large open space beneath the cabinet for combination storage and display.
Shop Bathroom Vanities by Empire Industries:
Display Your Everyday Items
I know what you’re thinking – not all that stuff you stow in your closed bathroom vanity cabinet is something you want on display. But certain items – like towels or rolled washcloths, spare toilet paper rolls, decorative containers of gauze or cotton swabs, or even oft-used bottles of soap or skin care products – have their own homey aesthetic value when left on display on an open bathroom vanity like this 72 Inch Priva (or the slightly smaller 60 Inch). More personal items can be stored in decorative baskets, while smaller items fit easily in the many multiple drawers. This is a technique often employed in bathroom vanities used in hotels or spas, as it not only makes important items easy to find, but helps underline the sense of an inviting, relaxing bathing space via the seductive quality of puffy white towels.
Dress Up Your Toiletries
Routinely setting out items, or putting mundane items in decorative containers, defeats clutter proactively, turning things you’d normally have to find a place for into your actual bathroom decor. Plus, cleaning becomes more akin to an act of restocking – less about putting away and more about ensuring there’s always enough of everything. Of course, you’ll still need to make sure that things like a hair drier or nose hair trimmer are put away between uses, but that’s another reason I like open bathroom vanities like this Clementina from Virtu USA: they almost always have plenty of drawers. While big things – like towels or hair spray bottles – are cumbersome to store in drawers (but look great on display), little everyday items are easily kept on hand and nicely hidden away.
Shop Bathroom Vanities by Virtu USA:
A Clean Look Isn’t Just About Clutter
That said, having a bathroom that looks clean isn’t merely about literal tidiness. Intentionally exposing some of your oft used items is a great way to disarm the desire for perfectly cleared spaces. But having an open, inviting look is about your use of space, too. This Haley Vanity from Ronbow doesn’t have the advantage of the slat-board style storage shelf the other bathroom vanities here have, but it does have another feature in common: all that open, empty space underneath the main body of the vanity. This use of white space helps open up the bathroom, making it seem larger, brighter, and more inviting – especially when paired with light walls and lots of natural light.
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What About Smaller Spaces?
To a certain extent, this is something that can work well in a small bathroom, too. Having wide open bathroom vanities (like this Parsons Vanity from Sagehill Design) paired with lots of white space is a great way to make a small bathroom seem larger than it is. That said, doing so is at the expense of storage space, which can be a big drawback if you have a lot of stuff to store and not a lot of extra room to do it in. Even so, I really like this look – with decorative storage containers underneath and, perhaps, a medicine cabinet or other wall mounted storage to pick up the slack.
Shop Bathroom Vanities by Ronbow:
Finally, while most of the bathroom vanities on this list are a little, well, monochromatic, considering the color of your vanity is an important step to building a casual contemporary bathroom design. Dark wood is a good, modern-leaning choice (and one common in contemporary and transitional bathroom vanities), but you shouldn’t discount other options, including white. I’ve gone on about white bathroom vanities before, but while this London Vanity from Design Element has a very similar style to the other vanities I’ve mentioned here, it has a very, very different look. White is an excellent color both for tricking the eye into seeing “clean” and for amplifying both natural and artificial light – a great way to brighten and visually clean up your bathroom, even if you happen to leave some of your toiletries showing.
Shop Bathroom Vanities by Design Element:
How do you balance cleanliness and clutter in your bathroom? Is it more important to have a low-maintenance design or the pristine cleanliness and privacy of a spotless space?