Luxurious bathrooms have become something of a haven from daily life – a spot to slow down, relax, and unplug for a little while. Recently, bathroom design has started to reflect that in an interesting way: by shifting to earthier, more natural designs. While white and gray have reigned supreme for the past few years, natural wood bathroom vanities are starting to make a comeback in a big way. “Natural wood” doesn’t just mean one thing, though; different wood tones can produce very different atmospheres purely from subtle shifts in color and texture.
Learning To Love (Oak) Again
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A big factor in the mad dash away from wood finishes in recent years has everything to do with one finish in particular: golden oak. The hippest, most must-have material of its heyday, golden oak now feels incredibly dated, and the best stop-gap solution in the meantime was to simply paint over it. But with a little time and distance, oak itself shouldn’t be a dirty word. In fact, more muted oak stains have come back around to the forefront of design, because they have a great natural, neutral feel that helps promote a spa-like atmosphere.
Pay Attention To Your Base Tones
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These days every manufacturer has their own take on natural wood bathroom vanities, with differences in wood tone and texture that range from subtle to significant. But if it’s all oak to you, there’s still one very important color aspect that’s worth paying attention to: the base tone of the wood. Specifically, you want to pay attention to whether the wood skews warm (with yellow, orange, and red undertones) or cool (with a hint of blue, purple, or gray).
Warm-Toned Wood For A Nordic-Inspired Spa Bath
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Warm-toned woods can help enhance the light in your bathroom, making your space feel lighter, brighter, and a little bit cozier. Light, warm-toned, naturally-finished woods have also long been used in the building of saunas, so even if you aren’t constructing one yourself, choosing natural wood bathroom vanities in similar colors can help impart that traditional inviting, spa-like feel on your space.
Cool-Toned Wood For A More Subdued Natural Feel
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That said, bright, cheery wood finishes can feel out of place in an otherwise very modern bathroom. Cool-toned natural wood bathroom vanities are actually becoming even more common, especially ones with minimalist modern designs. These vanities have a similar natural feel (and often put a strong emphasis on the wood grain), but blend more easily with a modern palette. Particularly if you’re still recovering from golden oak fatigue, light wood with cool, gray undertones will probably be a lot more appealing.
The Perennial Popularity Of Weathered Wood
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Rough, rustic, reclaimed, and otherwise weathered or aged wood is one of those elements that, just when it seems like it’s on its way out, it starts to come back in vogue. Right now, it’s a staple of the rising popularity of natural wood bathroom vanities – both ones made of actual weathered wood and ones with printed laminate finishes. The emphasis this go-around is on the visual (rather than physical) texture of aged wood. Because it’s used primarily on very simple, modern vanities, the wood grain itself is the visual focal point to underscore that natural feel. Many vanities even use a touch of whitewash to help bring out the wood grain.
Wood (Or Laminate) With A Smooth, Polished Finish
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On the flip side, warm-toned woods are a little more likely to be sanded smooth and well-finished (or laminate made to look like it is). This is because the “natural” feel of these vanities comes more from the color of the wood than a heavy focus on the grain. Because wood grays naturally as it ages, lighter, brighter wood feels a little fresher and livelier. If cool-toned weathered vanities have a sea-kissed, beachy feel, warm-toned natural wood vanities are better for creating a look that’s lush and vital – they can stand up to white walls, pair beautifully with live plants, and won’t make your space feel grimly rustic if you decorate with wood from head to toe.
If you want to add a little touch of nature to your bathroom, a new wood bathroom vanity might be the way to do it – just be aware that the type and color wood you choose, even if they’re in similar families, can have very different impacts on the look and feel of your space!