There are two schools of thought when it comes to choosing a bathroom vanity. First is the belief that they should be more like kitchen cabinets – built in and designed primarily for utility. On the other end of the spectrum are those who believe that bathroom vanities offer a somewhat rare opportunity to personalize and dress up a space that’s frequently composed of fairly generic elements. For those in the second camp, style and unique design take precedence, and bathroom vanities are as much objet d’art as they are built for utility.
How To Find A Beautiful Bathroom Vanity (In A World Of Boring Cabinets)
Most bathroom vanities aren’t terribly interesting to look at. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing – many vanities are built for utility, while others are made to match a specific type of decor. But even very lovely, well designed pieces tend to have something of a sameness to them – similarities in size and shape, color and design, that prevent them from really acting as a focal point. To turn a bathroom vanity into a statement piece, you need to look for one that’s dramatically different.
An overwhelming majority of bathroom vanities are either rectangular or square in shape. From antique double vanities to the most compact wall mount vanities on the market, 90 degree angles are the default and then some. The corollary of this, of course, is that simply choosing a non-square cabinet is one of the simplest ways to make a statement with your bathroom vanity. Rounds and triangles are the most common alternatives, and even something as simple as this conical Leonie vanity will draw the eye and act as a focal point of the space.
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The use of real wood has started to go out of vogue in the furniture making world, and this includes bathroom vanities. Of course it’s still possible to find solid wood bathroom vanities, and many models are still at least made with wood frames, but many more are painted or made of MDF or particleboard. Few bathroom cabinets highlight the natural beauty of wood and woodwork. For a style that will stand out, look for bathroom vanities like this Legacy vanity with beautiful patterned wood veneers.
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Bathroom vanities are occasionally painted – sometimes a solid color (and sometimes even a bright one) and sometimes with pretty little floral work or other antique-inspired detailing. But it’s rare to find one with a design that’s meant to draw the eye, and that can make all the difference. This La Cabana vanity is square and perfectly ordinary… except that the maple wood panels on front alternate in a checkerboard pattern which is brought out by a simple whitewash. There’s even a subtle checked design on the sides of the vanity, too, which gives this otherwise simple piece a delightfully playful signature style.
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Very few bathroom vanities have textured surfaces. Now, sure, many of them have carved wood detailing along the legs and corners, and not a few use weathered paint or wood to add visual interest, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Rather, I’m talking about vanities that cover the front face with intricate raised pieces, either elaborate woodwork, or for something a little more modern, something like the vanity above, done with a raised, studded diamond pattern finished in a glossy black. This stands out for its sheer uniqueness, and will draw the eye to its intricate detailing.
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Ultimately, the best way to get a bathroom vanity that will work as a stylistic focal point of your bathroom is to look for one with a stylized design. That can be the strategic use of shape, color, woodwork, or really any other element that makes the vanity dramatically different from the norm. Take this Ka vanity; modeled after simple Japanese brush strokes, it has a totally unique aesthetic element that will put it at the forefront of any space it’s in – and it doesn’t look a bit like your average bathroom cabinet.
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What design elements are most important to you when choosing a new bathroom vanity?