I’m a big fan of shabby chic decor – I like the look of weathered furniture, roughed up antiques, and flea market finds – especially in bathroom design. But if I’m being totally honest, a weathered white finish is a big toss up, with a very fine line between an aged finish that looks stylish and “found” and one that just looks beat up and dirty. As well as white usually works in a bathroom decor, chipped white paint isn’t always such a good look for a clean, water resistant space like a bathroom. Instead, I prefer the look of a weathered black finish – specifically weathered black bathroom vanities.
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White has a tendency to gray or yellow and lose its luster with age, and while this might work in a larger, sun-soaked space like a living room or sun room, in a small bathroom it can make your design look smudged and dirty. Of course, a weathered white finish can be done well, but generally speaking black ages better, and is a lot more fool-proof. Typically, black won’t fade or change color, instead thinning or wearing away in some places to expose the wood beneath.
This produces a much more subtle appearance than you’d get from a white bathroom vanity. Rather than visible chips, cracks, and crackles, weathered black bathroom vanities are aged with a gentler hand. Finishes applied in a thinner layer and worn down produce blacks with a greater depth and a sense of layering, with lighter and darker spots that give the impression of a very old, hand applied finish. Most commonly, black finishes are worn away at prominent edges, which mimics the wear and tear of old, oft-moved furniture.
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Emphasis On Woodwork
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This wear-through to the wood beneath can also be used to emphasize the woodwork on a black bathroom vanity. While some weathered vanities are only distressed around the corners, careful designers will also wear away the raised edges of any detailed flourishes, from the elaborate floral carving above to the simple wood paneling below. Because black doesn’t reflect light as well as white, solid black vanities don’t show detailing quite as well, but the added contrast of the exposed wood will help make fine details more vivid.
A Little Bit Dressy
Black is a bold color choice in any room. The dark color stands in sharp contrast to the light, bright spaces that are so popular in current home design, but that same contrast gives them a slightly modern, rather formal appearance. A single solid black piece of furniture like a bathroom vanity acts as a simple but assertive statement piece. Where white vanities have a sort of casual country vibe, black vanities produce a much more elegant atmosphere even paired with exactly the same decor.
A Little Bit Casual
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On the flip side, enough aging can give weathered black bathroom vanities like this Adams sink chest a very cozy, casual quality. The color itself is rather formal, but the obvious wear and tear makes it look more like a piece that’s been reclaimed, repurposed, or inherited rather than dressed up for show. This is perhaps the best alternative to a weathered white for a shabby chic bathroom decor, as it combines the playfulness of a dresser-like design with the accessibility of the intentional wear and tear.
Not Too Dark
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Black bathroom vanities destined for a highly modern bathroom tend to be sleek, glossy, and very, very black, maximizing contrast to create a daring modern style. But weathered black bathroom vanities are softened somewhat by their age, with less showy matte finishes that still have elegance and authority, but aren’t quite so edgy. A very lightly distressed black finish works especially well on transitional bathroom vanities, as the color lends them a contemporary feel while the aging, even without much woodwork, evokes a more classic vibe.
What do you think of these weathered black bathroom vanities? Do you like a shabby chic decor, or do you prefer the modern edginess of a black vanity?
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