Spa style bathrooms have become hugely popular in the past few years; I’ll be honest, I’m a big sucker for the style myself. These hotel-inspired bathrooms are all about relaxing, unwinding, and getting back to nature. They have a warm, inviting feeling, lots of natural light, and tactile elements that create a lush, bright, open space. Natural wood is instrumental in creating this effect. Want to borrow the look for your own home? Natural wood bathroom vanities are a good place to start; they offer perhaps the easiest (and least risky) way to incorporate wood into a spa style bathroom at home.
Many luxury hotel spas feature natural wood in one way or another. From smaller accents to all-over surfaces, natural wood plays a prominent role in the aesthetic. The problem with this for a home spa is simple: wood simply doesn’t stand up well in wet conditions. Some types of wood are better than others, but the better it is, the proportionally more expensive it is. Wood bathroom vanities are one of the few ways to circumvent this problem.
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In a spa, wood has to stand up to constant moisture – whether a decorative shower floor or a sauna enclosure. But bathroom vanities are mostly removed from the worst of the abuse; they only have to battle with humidity rather than more direct contact with water. That means bathroom vanities don’t need to be made of special wood to be well-protected against moisture. Use anything but teak in a shower floor and you’ll likely have a problem; but a well-finished solid oak vanity (like these ones from James Martin Furniture) should last you a lifetime.
Blonde-toned wood bathroom vanities work especially well for a few different reasons. First, the unstained blonde wood evokes the honey toned cedar, fir, and spruce used in Nordic style saunas. Of course, these woods are chosen for their moisture-friendly properties. But the style is so ubiquitous that it readily evokes the healthful relaxation and pampering of a high end spa. The good news for you? Even one central feature made out of natural wood can help you “borrow” the style for your own space.
Nordic spa bathrooms work best with lots of wood paired with light stone or ceramic tile. Both setups can help amplify the brightness of a bathroom, making it feel large and open. On the other end of the spectrum natural wood bathroom vanities – even the same – vanities can evoke an Eastern style. Now, actual Asian bathrooms are less likely to have wood elements. But many Western luxury spa baths adopt an “oriental” style, combining light wood with other natural features, especially river stones, lagoon-like soaking tubs, and live plants or trees to create an earthy, almost elemental feel.
This highly tactile element is actually one of my favorite features of spa style bathrooms. Plush terry cloth robes on your skin; the slightly rough feel of wood underfoot; breathing steam deep into your lungs; and sliding down into a tub full of piping hot water are all crucial parts of the spa experience. It’s also part of why wood is such a ubiquitous material in a spa style bathroom. Natural, light wood bathroom vanities lend to the ambiance, with a smooth, clean, unfinished look that emphasizes the simplicity and physicality of the space.
Wood bathroom vanities are also a great way to draw a sense of nature into your bathroom space. Especially paired with green accents, like tile, towels, or fresh or potted plants? A blonde wood vanity can help blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. If you have large exterior windows (or better yet, ones that look out on a private garden), unfinished, natural wood acts as an intermediary between the wild growth of the garden and that scrubbed-clean feel you want from a bathroom.
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