Bathroom vanities come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles – from antique to modern, plain wood and just about any paint color, there are so many options out there it can be a little difficult to choose. That said, I’d like to take a moment to stand in defense of the white vanity: simple, clean, light, and bright, white vanities are supremely versatile and work well with just about any decor. From casual, airy cottage or seaside styles to bold, high-contrast modern design, white vanities are always in style, and can hugely change the look and feel of your bathroom. So what can a white vanity do for you?
Because vanities tend to be the largest (or nearly largest) fixture in any bathroom, a white vanity will give any bathroom a clean, pristine feeling. Put simply, no matter what the design of the rest of your room, a white vanity can open up the space it’s in and help reflect light, making the space seem bright and airy. Where bare wood can look regal and impressive, a white finish has its own more subtle sophistication – something like Cottage Retreat is understated but classic. Adding that little burst of light and freshness – like pressed linens or a blank canvas – a white vanity can help make a small bathroom seem larger, and a larger space feel warm, relaxed, and inviting.
I’ve talked quite a bit about country cottage and seaside style bathrooms, and this is really the best example of what a white vanity can do, especially since they’re really the cornerstone of this aesthetic. A vanity like this Seaside is perfectly suited to a New England style summer retreat. The beadboard design is all casual American style, and paired with matching accents on the walls throughout the bath is a great way to evoke a beach side cottage without all the wind weathering. But most importantly the bright whitewashed white will help intensify the room’s natural light and enhance the impression of a sunny summer afternoon.
One of my absolute favorite things about white vanities, though, is that they work with absolutely any color scheme. Whether you opt for a red-white-and-blue colonial/americana theme, your favorite sunny beach inspired pastel palette, or something subtle like this princess limestone, a white vanity will both accentuate the style and blend with it. As you can see, this Victorian vanity picks up some of the pale sage of the walls and the limestone while also visibly reflecting the light from that big beautiful picture window.
But while a white vanity in a predominantly colored bathroom might absorb or reflect individual colors, one in a dominantly white bathroom will make any accent color pop. This bathroom is on the extreme end of that contrast, using thick black and white stripes and reflective black counter tops for a bold, utterly striking look. The white vanity – similar to this 60″ Adler – not only provides the perfect contrast to make this design pop, but also provides the perfect counterbalance. Paired with the matching white paneling on the walls and tub, the white here helps keep all that black in check, keeping the room light and airy (like those curtains!), and the little pops of pink make for a stunning color contrast. Be aware, though, that proportionally the more black you have in a black-and-white bath the more modern the look, and the more closed the space. Even opting for the ultimate bold design choice of solid black walls, I’d stick with a snow-white vanity and white crown molding to keep the color contained and the room from feeling like a cave.
Of course, you don’t need a lot of contrast for a striking look. All white bathrooms can be pretty stunning, too, and while modern designs tend to toe the edge of sterile, not all white bathrooms have to look like a hospital. This spa-style bathroom is white on white on white, but plays up pattern and texture to make the space look inviting rather than ultra-hygienic. From the white paneling and beautifully veined carrara marble on this 72″ Premiere vanity to horizontal white wall tiles, white honeycomb floor tiles, elegant crown molding, and even the towels and flowers, just about everything in this bath is white, but the many multiple shapes and materials turn this bathroom into a lush, tactile experience while keeping that light, bright, open feeling.
I will admit, though, that my favorite white vanities are those that are just a little bit weathered. Technically that might make them off white vanities, but that little bit of aging and creamy on a vanity like this Basin Vanity or this Tesla Buttercream makes it the perfect pair for a regal, classical roman or Victorian styled bathroom. The slight off white tone makes it a perfect pair for luxurious marble and travertine tiling, while the slightly distressed finish helps offset and counterbalance some of their shine. The subtle weathering lends antique authenticity to any period design, and the white base color not only comes with all of the benefits I’ve been talking about, but also eliminates the struggle to coordinate wood tones. Many antique styled vanities are made of real wood or with real wood veneers which can be difficult to match across brands, and can make color coordinating a little more difficult, while a white or even off-white vanity will match with just about any palette.
If you’re worried about how to keep all that white looking as pristine as it does in a magazine, opt for one like this Premiere white vanity from the Wyndham Collection that has a special waterproof coating. This will prevent water damage – the greatest enemy of any piece of furniture in your bathroom – and help keep your vanity from aging. As a bonus, certain finishes are ever-so-slightly glossy, which makes them easy to clean and less prone to stain. The right white vanity, especially when paired with an eco-friendly non-porous counter top, is not only a beautiful finishing touch to a grown up bathroom but also hold up well in the rigors of a bathroom for kids.
Are you struggling to find the right vanity for your bathroom? What’s your ideal style and color scheme? What about size restrictions? Let me know in the comments – I might be able to help you find your dream vanity!