White is the traditional color of cottage style bathrooms, from pedestal sinks to beadboard to subway tile. But lately the classic white-on-white bathroom has been falling a bit out of favor. If it isn’t done just right, too much white can make a bathroom feel sterile and too bright, especially if you don’t have a good source of natural light. The good news is, there are other ways to warm up a cottage style bathroom without losing that bright, inviting look. One of my favorites is to opt for a bathroom vanity with a natural wood finish. Not only does this offer a little more storage space than the conventional pedestal sink, but it adds a warm, rustic touch of color that can make a white bathroom feel much homier and more inviting.
Why Light Wood?
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The point of having so many white fixtures in a cottage bathroom is to make what is often a small space seem bigger. Lighter colors reflect light, and the eye perceives bright spaces as being cleaner and larger. And this works, too – white bathrooms with lots of natural light have an airy, relaxing feeling, at least when they’re done right. But light wood can have a similar effect with a much smaller margin of error: a white oak, birch, or natural finished ash wood will reflect light nearly as well as a solid white finish, but with a soft golden tone that will make the space feel warmer, even without the help of sunlight. That means a wood bathroom vanity won’t skew blue or sterile looking the way white porcelain can under artificial lighting.
Moving Away From Modern
Subway tile, hex tile, pedestal sinks, and beadboard are all very traditional materials that make for a classic cottage bathroom. But homeowners and designers alike are starting to put a stronger emphasis on natural materials – especially reclaimed wood – and moving away from the more modern feel of a white on white decor. Swapping out a pedestal sink for a natural wood vanity is a good way to keep your bathroom on trend while still keeping that relaxed cottage style.
Make It More Traditional
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Farmhouse and cottage style bathrooms have been seeing a renewed popularity in recent years, and are gradually taking on a more rustic, earthy appearance as well. To that end, look for bathroom vanities made of wood with a natural or weather-worn finish. Adding just that little bit of roughness and texture adds to the appearance of age, and gives the space a well-loved, old fashioned quality that’s very cozy and inviting. For extra impact, look for vanities that have a simple, rustic design and hand made quality to them – nothing too fancy, just artisan style craftsmanship.
Furniture Style Bathroom Vanities
Getting this look and feel is much easier if you think of bathroom vanities not as cabinetry but as furniture. Pedestal sinks are aesthetically pleasing, true, and functional, of course, but they’re also very clearly a bathroom fixture. Using a wood bathroom vanity designed to look like a table or washstand immediately infuses the bathroom with a relaxed, homey, old fashioned look and feel that’s much more inviting. I particularly like bathroom vanities that have wood tops rather than stone or porcelain ones. Though they may be a tad more difficult to maintain (as you’ll need to be careful to keep them fairly dry), pairing them with an elegant white vessel sink really drives the washbasin look home.
If space is a major issue for you – as it often is in cottage style bathrooms – consider opting for a bathroom vanity with a slim profile. These are shallow rather than narrow, extending only about half as far into the room as a standard vanity. This simple design change can significantly increase the amount of space there is to move around, and even allow you to upgrade to a full vanity from a compact wall mounted sink in a really small bathroom. As a bonus, these shallow bathroom vanities typically come with integrated porcelain counters and sinks that are strongly reminiscent of farmhouse style kitchen sinks. This is a great way to get that down-to-earth, homey, slightly rustic look that can really warm up a cottage style bathroom and make it shine.
What do you think of these petite wood bathroom vanities? Do you like the look for a cottage style bathroom?