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Shaker Bathroom Vanities For A Contemporary Bathroom

In a time where manufacturers are capable of resurrecting any furniture design from almost any point in history, it isn’t much surprise that some older styles are making a comeback. At the forefront in bathroom and kitchen cabinetry is a revival of the Shaker style. Shaker bathroom vanities in particular are finding a new home in warm, casual contemporary bathrooms, with their elegant combination of sturdy construction, simple lines, and warm wood tones.

What Are Shaker Bathroom Vanities?

Metro Traditional Bathroom Vanity From Kaco
Metro Traditional Bathroom Vanity From Kaco

The Shakers were am ascetic religious group that immigrated to America in the 1770s. Among other things, they were brilliant craftsmen and furniture makers. Their furniture reflected their way of life: it was simple, functional, and made to last. Though many more ornate and decadent furniture styles have come and gone since then, Shaker style furniture – including Shaker bathroom vanities – have made a major comeback in recent years. Their simple lines and high functionality matches nicely with a modern design and an overall more casual mentality.

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Simple Lines

Milano Wood Bathroom Vanity From RonBow
Milano Wood Bathroom Vanity From RonBow

Perhaps the defining characteristic of Shaker bathroom vanities is their simplicity. Made with simple lines, clear angles, and sturdy planks of wood, Shaker design is not complicated, but it’s immediately identifiable. Typically, cabinet doors are framed with a raised rectangle of wood ornamented with very simple circular door pulls. Shaker bathroom vanities are primarily wood bathroom vanities, where the wood itself is really allowed to shine without any other ornamentation.

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Locally Sourced Materials

Chatham Shaker Vanity From Hardware Resources
Chatham Shaker Vanity From Hardware Resources

Like furniture made during the American Craftsman movement, Shaker furniture was made locally and by hand, with an emphasis on natural, locally-sourced materials. Contemporary Shaker bathroom vanities aren’t often made by hand (very little furniture is these days, unfortunately), and can be made from material from a variety of sources depending on the manufacturer. But even with the changes of the last 250 or so years, Shaker furniture still emphasizes the woodwork, showing off the grain and warm honey colors that stand in sharp contrast to modern espresso brown MDF.

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Comfortable Country Design

Bay Pointe Bathroom Vanity From SunnyWood
Bay Pointe Bathroom Vanity From SunnyWood

In fact, because Shaker bathroom vanities put such a strong emphasis on natural materials and vibrant, golden wood tones, they make a very nice contrast to similarly minimalist vanities in a more modern style. While modern design is often a bit cool and even sterile, Shaker bathroom vanities add warmth and rustic country style comfort to a contemporary space, while still maintaining the sleek, polished finish and smooth straight lines of a more modern aesthetic.

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Durable Shaker Design

Golden Oak Shaker Bathroom Vanity From Legion Furniture
Golden Oak Shaker Bathroom Vanity From Legion Furniture

One of the hallmarks of Shaker furniture is quality construction. Now, if I’m being honest, Shaker design was so good and had such a powerful influence on the way furniture is made today that you’d be a little hard pressed to find furniture that isn’t made with similar solid jointing. But even still, Shaker furniture in general and Shaker bathroom vanities in particular are really designed to last. If you don’t know much about furniture making, be sure to look for cabinets that feature dovetail jointing at least in the drawers if not in the entirety of the vanity, as this method ensures added strength and durability.

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Old World Style For A Contemporary Bathroom

Madison 48 Inch Bathroom Vanity From Avanity
Madison 48 Inch Bathroom Vanity From Avanity

In modern design, there are really two camps: those that are going for a sleek, chic, urban decor, and ones that hearken back to a simpler, more natural time.  The latter shows up in many ways, from Asian inspired bathrooms to luxurious spa designs and even outdoor bathrooms. Shaker bathroom vanities fit well in this camp, since after all the design is from a simpler time and based on furniture used by people that lived simpler lives. I especially like this look paired with other natural wood or stone accents, and lots of open white space to create a clean, slightly rustic look.

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What do you think of Shaker bathroom vanities, or Shaker furniture in general? And when it comes to a modern design, do you prefer yours with a hint of city or a little old world country twist?

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