Yesterday I talked about how black and white bathroom vanities, done right, can help create a striking, modern bathroom. But a high contrast design isn’t just for a cutting edge aesthetic – it can work well for a more traditional design as well. If you’re looking to create a timeless style, especially in a more contemporary home, opting for a black and white bathroom vanity is a great way to give conventional styles a contemporary edge and keep your bathroom both cozy and up to date.
This is probably the most common black and white combination in terms of bathroom vanities, and one you see quite often in a turn of the century style home. Simple, beadboarded white bathroom vanities like this Cottage Retreat Vanity from Sagehill Designs mesh well with country cottage, seaside simplicity. But adding a black vanity top adds sophistication, and that little bit of contrast keeps the vanity from blending in to a matching wall treatment. The addition of a little bit of black makes the vanity pop, without losing the lightening, brightening effect of the white finish that’s so desirable in a smaller, older bathroom. Plus, the black tile floors here are a non-traditional choice that really makes the vanity shine.
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White vanities made for a compact cottage style bathroom are a dime a dozen, but it’s worth noting that this combination of white vanity and black vanity top works well with other styles, too. I especially like this Le Manns Vanity from RonBow, which offers a slightly-simplified version of an incredibly traditional design, but instead of showcasing the wood, it’s finished with a simple, straightforward white and topped with a solid black. This is great for a smaller, contemporary space, as it has all the airs of tradition without the busyness of a bare wood grain. The simple white face helps reflect light and can make a room seem larger, while the black vanity top adds back a little of the antique sophistication and helps dramatically set off the vanity itself.
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Bathroom vanities that are mostly black have a similar but opposite effect. Obviously, a black bathroom vanity won’t help a room look larger the way a white vanity can. But when you take a traditional design you’d expect to see in white in a turn of the century bathroom and paint it black – like this gorgeous Lutezia Modernique Vanity from Porcher – the result is striking and contemporary while still paying homage to a traditional design. Pair it with a pedestal-style sink basin, and suddenly you’ve got a totally traditional piece that’s nothing if not contemporary.
The same trick works for larger bathroom vanities, too. This Black Vanity from MBM is utterly elegant, dressed up by the simple black finish but simplified from a more traditional cherry or mahogany. This makes the best of both worlds, giving you a sophisticated finish that works equally well in a contemporary bathroom or a more elaborate setting like the one above. But it’s the pure, brilliant white counter top that really makes this vanity, catching the eye and giving a single, clean counterpoint to this bathroom’s patterned wallpaper, heavy window dressings, and elaborate decor.
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Now, traditional black and white bathroom vanities usually only use contrast between the vanity and vanity top, leaving the real play of shape and color to more modern designs. Still, if you love love love the style but want to pull it off with a traditional design, something like this Aubrey Vanity from Cole+Co fits the bill. This vanity chest is based on an ultra-traditional bombe chest design, with all the gorgeous, detailed woodwork you’d expect from an antique replica, but the bold black and white stripes are nothing if not modern, with a glamorous style you aren’t likely to find elsewhere – either from more traditional designs or even more modern ones.
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What About Weathering?
When it comes to modern high contrast design, I would never ever never recommend anything less than a smooth, unblemished, maybe even glossy white or black finish. But traditional design leaves a little more wiggle room, with beautiful pieces like this Torino Vanity. Gently weathered to have little peek-throughs on the edges of the woodwork, this vanity has a slightly more casual, less black-tie finish to it that’s great for an older or more casual design. The white vanity top (in this case a white marble with grey veining) helps keep the slightly rugged vanity looking clean and polished, giving you the appearance of age without making the vanity look old or overused.
No matter what your personal style, adding contrast to your color scheme is a great way to make your bathroom more interesting. Black and white bathroom vanities are the easiest way to explore this style, and have the added advantage of producing a clean, polished, sophisticated style no matter how you combine the two elements. Do you like this contemporary twist on traditional bathroom vanity styles? Would you ever try a black and white bathroom vanity?
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