One of the biggest problems with modern bathroom vanities – and, really, modern bathroom design as a whole – is that the minimal design and industrial palette tend to err a little on the side of stark, cold, and even sterile. That said, if you give your bathroom design a creative eye, it’s more than possible to create a modern decor that’s warm and inviting rather than a little alien. The best, most important first step is to choose modern bathroom vanities that are either made from solid wood, or have a natural wood finish.
All too often, “modern bathroom vanity” has come to mean vanities that are made of MDF or plywood, and finished with a simple (sleek, yes, but often boring) black or espresso finish – no wood grain or, at best, a very minimal “faux” grain, and a palette that’s both dark and a little bleak. Swap that to a vanity with a still-dark but more colorful finish like that on this Red Oak bathroom vanity from Vigo Industries and you’ve already got something that’s equally dramatic, but not quite so cold. Plus, the deep cherry color adds a touch of sophistication, where a more conventional “espresso” finish can look cheap or mass produced.
If you’re really sold on dark brown modern bathroom vanities, look for one that’s either made out of solid hardwood, or at the very least one that does a fair job of replicating a natural wood grain, like this Ebony Petit vanity. It’s made of engineered wood, but unlike your standard solid-colored espresso finish, this one creates a believable grain on all the visible surfaces. This is important for a couple reasons – first, it gives a greater degree of variation in color, which can help make up the monotony of a fairly monochromatic decor. Secondly, though, and maybe more importantly, having a prominent wood grain can really be the most stunning feature of a modern bathroom, especially if the rest of the bath is all straight, unbroken lines and solid colors.
Don’t believe it makes that big a difference? Take a look at this WC817 vanity from Legion Furniture – it’s about as simple as vanity construction comes, even among modern bathroom vanities, but the dramatic, eye-catching wood grain really sets this vanity apart and gives it a unique character. It maintains all the sleek lines of your average modern bathroom vanity, but adding even an artificial wood grain makes the piece infinitely more visually interesting, and adds both contrast and color for an incredibly dramatic look.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t personally prefer the real deal. Especially if you’re looking to add a little warmth to a modern bathroom, you need modern bathroom vanities that have just a drop of homey in place of the showiness. I find that natural wood is inherently “warm,” especially those with light or golden finishes like this Natural Pine vanity. They’re a great way to not only enhance your natural light, but give the impression of a warm, golden glow to your space – quite the opposite of most modern bathroom vanities.
In fact, the right solid wood modern bathroom vanities can even give your bathroom the relaxing air of a spa style bathroom. This Desert Sand vanity is perfectly simple and streamlined, with a very modern countertop complete with integrated sink, but because it’s made from the same light, unfinished wood typically found in a spa or sauna, it has a a much more inviting appearance. It’s a nice twist on a conventional modern bathroom design – one that makes for a much lighter, airier space while still retaining all the advantages of a minimal aesthetic.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that a lighter wood has to be casual, either. This Pasadena vanity from James Martin is nothing if not sophisticated, combining a very traditional antique wood with a strikingly geometric modern design. Here, the shape of the vanity alone is what keeps it looking modern, and even so the combination of natural wood and aged hardware creates a really elegant, ever so slightly antique appearance that would be a perfect pair for an industrial inspired modern bathroom. Of any of the vanities on this list, this one really showcases just what a difference a natural wood grain can make in a modern bathroom.
All that said, I’ll admit there is a place for both darker wood and faux finishes in some modern bathroom vanities… given that they’re not in a bland or solid color. In fact, I’m a particular fan of this WC020 vanity, not the least for all the different, varied wood tones. The though the overall design is quite similar to the Natural Pine vanity above, the distinctive wood grain with the sharp, contrasting colors results in a look that’s much more dramatic, allowing the color to warm up the bathroom but keeping from making it too casual.
And while I (clearly) tend to err toward modern bathroom vanities with lighter or golden tones in the quest to create a more inviting modern bathroom decor, all wood – and even good fake wood – has a beautiful natural luster. Take this Washington double vanity from Design Element – it has dozens of gorgeous, warm toffee colors in a natural wood grained pattern. Even though it’s dark, the variation in color and the lighter, warmer shades help warm a typically cool palette, while the alternating horizontal and vertical wood grain helps adds some variety and shape to the simple, minimal lines that are emblematic of modern bathroom vanities.
So if you’re in the process of building a new modern bathroom, and you’re looking at modern bathroom vanities, keep in mind that having a wood finish, rather than a solid one, can go a long way towards creating a more inviting bathroom. Whether you opt for a light honey maple or a dark cherry or mahogany, modern bathroom vanities with wood finishes offer a whole new level of design sophistication and beauty above and beyond the merely average.