Long time blog readers will know I have a conflicted relationship with modern bathroom design. I like my bubble baths cozy and relaxing, and a minimal, industrial, modern bathroom design can all too easily feel cold and sterile. But what I do love about modern design is that it has so much more room for creativity and playfulness than any traditional decor. So despite my recalcitrance to adopt concrete floors and glass tiling, I can admit a certain affection for modern designer bathroom vanities, especially ones with metallic accents. They’re a little bit different, a lotta bit daring, and, most importantly, creative in a decor that mostly thrives on sameness.
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So what’s the hubbub? Traditional and antique bathroom vanities tend to abide by some unwritten rules: they’re almost exclusively made of some kind of wood, with a few simple silhouettes that are embellished by detailed wood working. Typical modern bathroom vanities usually come in a limited range of colors, are often made of MDF, and are fairly pretty plain and rectangular. Modern designer bathroom vanities casually toss such distinctions out a window. Take this Silver Vanity from Legion Furniture. It adopts a fairly traditional antique form, but then turns the design on its head by covering a rather traditional oak body with silver foil. The luxurious metallic finish takes this vanity entirely out of the realm of the expected, and turns it into an excellent focal point for a highly designed bathroom.
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In a piece of furniture that has a strong tradition of being made exclusively of wood, even small metallic accents can elevate something relatively ordinary into something with designer quality to spare. This Jamestown Vanity is a good example. Without the metal insets, it’s a rather average modern bathroom vanity. But the mirrored metallic drawer fronts add a dimension of depth that puts is solidly in the realm of designer bathroom vanities. It may not be immediately obvious from the photo, but having a reflective surface in your bathroom – or better yet, lots of them – plays great visual tricks on the eye and can help add gorgeous visual complexity to your room, even if the surfaces themselves are relatively simple.
…Then again, if you add a little detail to the reflective surfaces, or set them at a variety of angles as on this New Hollywood Vanity from Cole+Co, you get an even more dramatic effect. Again, this vanity adopts a rather traditional form, but the reflective surfaces make it more abstract and slightly jarring. From a design standpoint, this is a perfect vanity for a stark black and white bathroom, a modern take on a vintage style, or even just a good option if you plan on reaccessorizing your bathroom frequently. After all, designer bathroom vanities that (literally!) reflect the rest of your bathroom can never clash with your decor.
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Of course, metallic accents on designer bathroom vanities can be a little more subtle, too. This Natasha vanity from Decolav is modern from head to toe without any metal accents at all, from the minimized silhouette-cutout legs to the tiger-striped wood paneling. But the belt-like handle on the front drawer is the perfect finishing touch, adding just a hint of masculine, industrial steel to an otherwise very delicate vanity. The contrast is creative, eye catching, and a great design compromise to balance out the feel of a master bath.
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Metallic accents are actually pretty common in designer bathroom vanities, if only because they’re incredibly flexible and play well with other materials. This Jakarta Vanity from Sterling Lighting is much more traditional than the other vanities I’ve mentioned here, but has a sleek, glossy modern finish that makes it an excellent choice for a designer bathroom. Here, the metallic accents act like the leaded seams in a piece of stained glass, only instead of framing glass, they frame lustrous, honey-toned stone. The design is simple but utterly sophisticated – definitely a piece you could build a bathroom around.
Not only do various metals play well with other materials when it comes to designer bathroom vanities, but they’re also quite versatile on their own. Even a single type of metal can come in a variety of finishes, and with a wide range of techniques for etching, aging, bending, shaping, staining, or otherwise altering the appearance and shape of metal, even a single sheet can be finished with an amazing variety of two dimensional patterns and three dimensional shapes. This Addison Vanity is a stand out example, with nine raised drawer faces in three distinct patterns, all made out of the same satin nickel. Again, this is a great way to add depth and texture to a modern bathroom where both are all too often lacking.
Ultimately, though, sometimes you just have to admit that there’s nothing more fabulous than gold. This aptly named Marilyn Vanity is one of those pieces of furniture that just makes you feel special every time you use it. It’s about as tasteful as a vanity covered in precious metals can be, with a simple, glamorous sheen that hearkens back to the heydays of Hollywood. Of course, designer bathroom vanities like this demand equally opulent bathroom design, but this sure isn’t a bad place to start.
What are you looking for in designer bathroom vanities? Do you like the idea of metallic accents or outright metal finishes, or would you prefer something a little more traditional? Let me know in the comments!
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