Gray bathroom vanities are one of the hottest items in bathroom design this year. I’ve talked a bit elsewhere about why this look is an especially good match for a transitional design, but the truth is, this color is showing up all over the place, in vanities that range from very modern to more traditional than you might expect. Technically gray is a neutral color, which means it can blend well with a lot of different designs, but it has a lot more personality than your average beige or brown, which makes it stand out in just about any setting.
Though most gray bathroom vanities are transitional in style, it isn’t hard to push them the rest of the way into contemporary or modern territory. Simplified surfaces, streamlined lines, and a little extra touch of gloss on the finish make for a very sleek, modern looking gray vanity. Less assertive than a black finish and less sterile feeling than a glossy white, a modern gray vanity combines a relaxed, neutral feel with a subtle industrial edge that’s reminiscent of concrete or steel, but not quite as hard or cool. Depending on the look you’re going for, a modern gray vanity can easily skew either way – to a very cool, chic style, or something a little more natural and neutral, depending on the shade of gray and your color and material choices elsewhere in the bathroom.
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Transitional bathrooms are where gray bathroom vanities really shine, and the style you’ll find them in more often than not. Shaker style gray bathroom vanities are particularly popular this year, but any vanity that combines simple lines with a subtly classic feel will work. Open shelf vanities are another common option in this style, particularly when they echo the simple design of Shaker cabinets. What makes gray vanities work so well with a transitional decor is that changing the base tone of the gray finish can dramatically change the feel of the vanity. Both the color and the style respond well to subtle changes in the surrounding bathroom, which means they work well with a wide variety of in-between styles.
You won’t find a ton of traditional gray bathroom vanities – if only because a gray finish alone makes the vanity feel more modern – but they are out there if you care to look. In general, gray vanities that are traditional in style are either very posh and sophisticated (more Hollywood glam than Louis XV), or a little rough around the edges, with the feel of reclaimed antiques rather than reproductions. The latter is probably the more common of the two, and is a nice pair for a more elegant industrial style bathroom.
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A “transitional” style also doesn’t have to be divided straight down the middle between traditional and contemporary. While most transitional bathrooms aim to strike a balance between the two, mixing and matching them is becoming increasingly popular. For example, the bathroom above combines traditional wainscoting with very modern accent furniture. Even the vanity itself walks the line between the two, sporting a fairly traditional overall design, but very modern cabinet fronts and hardware. The beauty lies in the contrast and interplay between the two, while the solid gray finish on the vanity acts as a sort of anchor smack dab in the middle that holds the look together.
Spa Style/Natural Minimalist
Typically, spa style bathrooms are all about natural wood. White on wood with a touch of green and sandy stone undertones is the most conventional way to go. But mixing this popular combination up with a gray bathroom vanity that’s either contemporary or transitional in style is a great way to get a look that’s a lot more striking. Particularly when paired with warm whites, lots of natural light, and a touch of warm-toned wood, a gray vanity can feel very crisp, clean, and elegant without being overly posh or too cold or sterile. Since gray is still a neutral color, you’ll get the same relaxing natural vibe you’d find in a more conventional spa bathroom, but with a slightly more precise, finished feel.
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Weathered wood has been getting a lot of attention across all walks of interior design lately, and while the growing prevalence of the color gray is certainly a separate trend, there is some interesting crossover. Grayed, intentionally aged wood is usually pretty rugged and rustic, while solid gray vanities are usually pretty sleek and clean. Adding a wood grain print to a contemporary gray vanity is a great way to evoke that antique, industrial feel in a way that feels fresh and new. A faux gray wood pattern can be more or less stylized (some of them can actually be quite realistic), and are perfect for putting a slightly more modern twist on a grungy industrial style.
Gray is a surprisingly versatile color, and one that looks like it’s going to be sticking around for a while. But what do you think? How do you feel about the rising popularity of this unconventional neutral?