Natural wood is making a big comeback in bathroom design, from wood floors to barn beam ceilings and everywhere in between. Whether to create a slightly natural vibe, a nautical theme, or even an antique, shabby chic style, wood is showing up in all the traditional places, as well as a few you wouldn’t suspect. Wood bathroom vanities are especially trendy right now, with a strong emphasis on unique and unusual wood styles and wood veneers. If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, we’ve got a quick look at some of the trendiest finishes.
Wood veneers can be used on bathroom vanities for a variety of reasons. Historically, veneers have been used to make a cheaper wood look like a more expensive type of wood, and this is often still true – especially if the “wood” being covered over is MDF or plywood. But even high quality solid wood vanities are being veneered fairly often these days, not because the underlying material is cheap, but because other types of wood are more attractive, and often more rare. Exotic woods are both more expensive and less suitable for construction, making exotic wood veneers a nice compromise between appearance and quality.
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Patterned Wood Veneers
This is especially true of vanities that display patterned wood veneers – an especially hot trend right now. A veneer, generally speaking, is a thin layer of wood affixed to the main structural pieces to improve their appearance. Patterned veneers are specifically made from wood that has a unique wood grain – like “burl” or “crotch” patterning. Rather than using simple solid patterned sheets, the trend right now is to arrange multiple veneer pieces to make a more intricate pattern, like the elegant tree-ring style above, or the repeating triangles used to create this beautiful starburst design.
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Rustic Wood Grain
Conversely, I’m starting to see a lot of vanities that use veneers to create a more rustic, rugged appearance. Rather than a smooth, polished pattern, these veneers showcase a more standard wood grain, and often exhibit signs of weathering or other wear and tear. For example, this Moria vanity is made of solid birch, which is a perfectly lovely wood (more on this in a moment), but uses walnut veneers to create a darker, more rustic, earthier appearance. These can be more or less weathered, but work especially well to highlight the natural aspect of a bathroom, even without many other wood elements.
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Another big, big trend I’ve been seeing lately is a shift towards natural wood bathroom vanities – that is, vanities made of wood that’s allowed to fade to a natural silver-gray tone. Most bathroom vanities are stained and sealed to stay looking the same for years, but these vanities more strongly resemble the weathered wood you might find outdoors, like a years-old deck or picnic bench. The color has bleached to a sophisticate gray, creating a “found” appearance that’s a perfect pair for increasingly popular shabby chic bathrooms. Those from James Martin Furniture are thoroughly finished and sealed to prevent water damage, but are left unstained to showcase the full, natural beauty of the wood.
Similarly, there’s also been a surge in popularity of blonde wood bathroom vanities. This is probably the trend that’s easiest to trace, too – right back to Nordic style spa bathrooms. Light colored woods help create an open, airy, natural feel, and the shade is so strongly associated with saunas that even a little bit of it goes a long way toward creating that simple, relaxed spa vibe. Birch, white oak, white pine, and cedar all work well, though which one you should look for depends a little on the application. A nude oak is a good choice for bathroom vanities, while shower floors and sauna walls should be left to more water-friendly materials like cedar or hemlock.
From sophisticated patterns to relaxed, natural styles, wood bathroom vanities are seeing a huge surge in popularity. What styles and patterns appeal most to you? Let me know in the comments!
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