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Mediterranean Style Bathroom Vanities: A More Exotic Antique Vanity

If you’re planning on building a Mediterranean style bathroom, it’s important to choose the right bathroom vanity to compliment its distinctive, slightly exotic style. Antique vanities inspired by French and British designs are the most commonly available, but don’t really have the right old world vibe to match the style of their warmer southern neighbors. Instead, look for bathroom vanities with a slightly more rustic, weathered finish and a stronger focus on elaborately detailed woodwork.

Castilian 36" Single Bathroom Vanity 160-V36-ACG from James Martin Furniture
Castilian 36″ Single Bathroom Vanity 160-V36-ACG from James Martin Furniture

Victorian style bathroom vanities are practically defined by their floral and scalloped seashell detailing, and many French-inspired antique pieces use similar vines and flowers to accentuate their woodwork. But in a Mediterranean style bathroom, you want to go bigger, bolder, and oftentimes more abstract. Hefty geometric carvings are simpler and more assertive, with a more masculine appearance that’s better suited to¬† a Mediterranean style bathroom.

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Balmoral 48" Bathroom Vanity From James Martin Furniture
Balmoral 48″ Bathroom Vanity From James Martin Furniture

Bold starbursts, carved legs that are more intricate than the conventional bun feet or Queen Anne legs, and lots of intricate, and geometric detailing are all more at home in a Mediterranean style bathroom than subtle florals. Especially in bathrooms with a lot of intricate tile work, you want the woodwork on your vanity to reflect the geometry of the mosaic tile. Both Moroccan and Turkish inspired bathrooms make use of colorful, starburst patterned tile called zillij, and a bathroom vanity that mimics the pattern can really help ground the design.

Mykonos 72" Double Bathroom Vanity With Mirror 550-V72-CIN from James Martin Furniture
Mykonos 72″ Double Bathroom Vanity With Mirror 550-V72-CIN from James Martin Furniture

Moroccan bathrooms also make extensive use of wooden latticework called jali screens. These can be carved with broad geometric shapes or smaller, more delicate and lace-like detailing, and are used to create screens between spaces, cover windows, or simply decorate the walls or ceiling. Mediterranean bathroom vanities or mirror frames with similar woodwork can be used to supplement or substitute these elaborately carved wood screens.

Palm Beach 48" Single Bathroom Vanity 420-V48-DKA from James Martin Furniture
Palm Beach 48″ Single Bathroom Vanity 420-V48-DKA from James Martin Furniture

Bathroom vanities with very detailed inlaid woodwork work well in a Mediterranean style bathroom, too. These are different from vanities with traditional veneers – even patterned veneers – in that they use different types of wood (or differently finished wood) inlaid in small pieces to create a more intricate image. Once again, these nicely echo the beautiful mosaic tile work that’s so closely associated with a Mediterranean style, and have a beautiful, hand-made antique quality that fits well with a slightly more glamorous Mediterranean style bathroom.

Briggs 42" Sink Chest Bathroom Vanity Set 11.22.275542.64 from Cole and Co
Briggs 42″ Sink Chest Bathroom Vanity Set 11.22.275542.64 from Cole and Co

That said, Mediterranean bathrooms tend to emphasize natural building materials, like soft, sandy travertine or even adobe walls. These have a sun-drenched, earthy quality to them that reflects the lush coastal environment of the region. And while many Mediterranean bathrooms have a very posh, sophisticated look, others emphasize a simpler, more old fashioned style that hearkens back to ancient, stone-hewn architecture. For this type of bathroom, look for a much more rustic bathroom vanity made of weathered wood with a distinctive, natural grain.

Malibu 48" Single Bathroom Vanity From James Martin Furniture
Malibu 48″ Single Bathroom Vanity From James Martin Furniture

Finally, while many northern European inspired antiques put a lot of emphasis on intricate metal door and drawer pulls, for a Mediterranean style bathroom, aim for a bathroom vanity that uses wood hardware instead. Again, this is part of emphasizing the more rugged, rustic look of the Mediterranean style, but carved wood pulls (or even simple wooden knobs) also have a nice feel to them that underscores the very tactile element of this type of bathroom. Plus, especially if you do opt for a lot of intricate, colorful tile work, sometimes a simpler bathroom vanity can help ground the design and keep it from being visually too busy.

What do you think of these Mediterranean style bathroom vanities? Do you like the slightly more rugged, exotic look of this type of antique? Let me know in the comments!

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