Traditional bathroom vanities are a dime a dozen; even across different brands, they tend to be fairly similar in design, with floral or scalloped shell woodworking and maybe some decorative feet and antique hardware, with very little flair or innovation. To get a really elaborate, ornate look, you need to go a step further and find vanities that have really unique or unusual design features or elements that set them apart from the same old traditional bathroom vanity.
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Practically all traditional bathroom vanities feature some kind of ornate woodwork, usually along the top edge just below the sink, along the bottom edge of the cabinet (including the feet) and up and down along each corner. But they usually have very simple flat or raised panel cabinet doors that have little more than a decorative frame or two. A vanity with intricately carved cabinet doors immediately stands out as more elaborate, and as a more genuine old world look and feel.
Most traditional bathroom vanities are made either of solid wood or a wood composite; it’s fairly rare for vanities in this style to use mixed mediums. That said, introducing a non-wood element into a traditional vanity is a great way to give it that more luxurious, opulent look and feel. Bathroom vanities that feature tooled leather panels on the doors and drawer fronts are a great example, as they add a unique and distinctive texture to a vanity that enhances the surrounding woodwork.
Leather might seem like an odd choice for a bathroom, but the deep, rich color blends beautifully with the dark woods commonly used in a traditional style and can help give a bathroom a heftier, more masculine look and feel. Because the leather panels have to be held in place, usually by brass tacks, these bathroom vanities not only have the added style of textured tooled leather, but are also attractively dotted with metal studs that help add an extra level of detail to the design.
Metal and enamel panels are another rare but beautiful accent that can really enhance traditional bathroom vanities. Like leather paneling, these metal sheets are usually applied to the cabinet doors (though also sometimes to the sides of the vanity) and have etched or engraved designs that are often much more elaborate than a plain wood panel would allow, and have an obviously metal sheen. Copper is a common choice, again because it meshes well with the deep red-brown tones of mahogany or cherry wood, but enameled surfaces can add a little extra variety in terms of color and tone.
Traditional bathroom vanities that lean toward the antique end of the spectrum tend to have more decorative legs and are generally lifted up a bit higher from the floor, more like a chest than a cabinet and with a distinctly French rather than English flair. But most cabriole style legs, even very tall ones, tend to be fairly simple on contemporary reproductions. Replacing carved wood legs with sculptural metal ones dramatically alters the style, making it both more intricate and more eye-catching, and giving the vanity something of a Parisian cafe flair.
Last but not least, simply breaking away from the same old square or rectangular shape is a great way to make a bathroom vanity look and feel more opulent and luxurious. Squared off cabinets are far and away the most common, so something as simple as clipping off the corners or rounding out the edges can make a vanity feel unique and distinct. This simple change in design also opens up the possibility for different types of drawers or cabinets, which can give the vanity a more furniture-like look and feel that can really enhance the decadent feel of a very opulent traditional design.
If you want your traditional bathroom to feel extra luxurious, opting for a bathroom vanity that’s slightly out of the ordinary is a great place to start. What do you think of these lavish traditional bathroom vanities? Let me know in the comments!