You’ve been thinking about updating the bathroom vanity, but if you are like most people, there are a few big questions you still have to answer. Hopefully you’ve already answered the question of what size bathroom vanity you need – generally a great starting point. Next, you might want to round out your decision with other considerations like whether you need double or single vanity, what style you prefer, what sink design is ideal, what vanity base and top you love, and other major questions. For all this and more, you can pay our Bathroom Vanity Buying Guide a visit.
This leaves just one major last decision – color! Although you might be certain that hot pink or turquoise isn’t for you, deciding on a more contemporary color scheme can be a challenge when you want to retain a particular style or move forward with a new look. Narrow your choices by using the color wheel to guide your decision.
Conventional Color Schemes
Most designers choose black, neutral, monochromatic, or analogous color schemes and advise against other wheel combinations that have the potential to get too busy for a clean look.
Picture the potential color-onslaught created by square, rectangle, or triadic color schemes – regardless of how they pivot on the color wheel – for instance. Here you begin to understand that less is generally more when it comes to bathroom color schemes.
Yet, of course, with a creative mind and the right eye, there are exceptions to every rule. So try not to let our recommendations box you in, but rather, give you a starting point for building on the ideas offered here.
There’s much to love about neutrals — you can go cool or warm, modern or classic, and you don’t have to worry too much about your pieces going out of style or falling off the trend list. Neutrals allow you to explore subtle textures and tones and create a space that speaks to the holistic look you often see in magazine photos. Look for a vanity in beige, ivory, taupe, black, or shades of gray or white. Because these tones are so popular, you’ll have options in all shapes and sizes.
The finish is another important consideration. (See our Insider’s Guide to Shopping for Bathroom Vanity for more ideas down this road.) A smoky-gray vanity finished with a white pickling stain has a different style than a smoky-gray vanity finished with clear gloss. A matte finish on deeply saturated tones such as slate blue, sea green, plum, or beige allows a hint of color without overpowering other elements at work in the room. You might try a dark-brown floating vanity with a wood-panel finish and frosted glass doors. Once combined with a white quartz countertop, platinum sink fixtures, and a deep porcelain bowl, the vanity moves up a level on the luxury meter, so bring in the fluffiest towels you own. If you like neutrals but don’t want to lose your cottage or country style, look for beveled doors, rustic finishes, and decorative elements that capture romantic charm.
The American auto manufacturer Henry Ford once said “any color, as long as it’s black.” This sentiment of this clever adage holds true in a new spirit as retailers are bringing black to the forefront of showrooms and catalogs. A black bathroom vanity installed on a floor of white tile or stained cement opens up possibilities for modern or art deco decor throughout the room. Try a circular framed mirror over the sink, geometric wall art, and an abstract floor rug or shower curtain for a theme of 1920s class and elegance. Remember also that black doesn’t have to dominate the room.
As negative space, a black vanity can step back from other elements and let you showcase a tub, window, or light fixture. On the flip side, a black vanity can claim attention, especially if it’s an interesting oval or oblong shape. To make the most of the dark drama, contrast the vanity against metallic wallpaper, a floral rug or shower curtain. The classic pairing of black and white might be the yin and yang that opens you up to new design possibilities and helps you find your style. A black vanity with gold cabinet hardware or sink fixtures, for example, is a contemporary combination that reflects the very best about your taste.
Bathrooms with monochromatic (one color) schemes stand out in their sophisticated simplicity and are probably the best approach for creating a calm and relaxing spa-like environment. With a single color or set of similar tones as a guide, your vanity can claim attention with its shape and style instead of eye-catching color. In a white bathroom, a high-gloss floating vanity with double sinks highlights a large circular unframed wall mirror. Try a model with wood-panel doors to ensure your guests know where to find the towels! Tones and textures are important in single-color spaces, so try to create depth with all elements — lighting, fixtures, and textiles. Strike visual interest by installing a pale-gray matte-finished vanity against a wall subtly printed with a decorative mural, tiles, or wallpaper.
Bring in a fern, lantern, and a bowl of pure white soaps and let the light and shadows wander. Remember to work the floor into your design plan. As one of the largest planes in the room, it should be part of your scheme: A vanity that closely matches the floor in color creates fluidity in the space, whereas a vanity that contrasts the floor can bring the eyes upward to land on wall mirrors or windows.
An analogous color scheme, one that uses two or more hues sitting closely together on the color wheel, is your chance to put color to work. Earth tones are popular in analogous schemes — a gray, brown, and light green palette is one example — and you’ll have a wide choice of natural wood vanities in every catalog or showroom. If vibrant and bright is more your style, try a watercolor effect with shades of blue, green and yellow. Contrast your colors with a white vanity in a matte or gloss finish and enjoy the cheer every time you enter the room.
An analogous scheme of lavender, rose, and baby pink can play off gold fixtures, a vintage mirror, and other shabby chic elements. If you’re working with a black or dark vanity, bring in grays and light blue to make the room more exciting. Your vanity might be the richest color in the room, drawing the eye its way, or it might subtly blend into a wall painted with metallic stripes or florals. Experiment with wall tiles printed with monotone designs and decor pieces like textured vases and storage baskets. Position your light over the vanity to wash it with brightness and show off the sparkle of a quartz or marble countertop and the high shine of chrome fixtures.
Complimentary colors, as opposites on the color wheel, can illustrate that opposites do indeed attract. However, it’s not uncommon to find examples of bathrooms that have made an attempt to utilize complementary color schemes and failed spectacularly (from an aesthetic perspective). So, in cases of bathroom design, proceed with caution when exploring complementary color combinations in the bathroom.
In the picture provided, you do get one view into a color combination that worked with orange and blue fusion. Note how darker blue occupies the majority of visual space, while the brighter and lighter orange is used for an accent sparingly. This is a good rule to go by when working with complementary colors in the bathroom.
With a clear commitment to a color scheme, you’ll find it more fun and easy to shop for the perfect vanity. Assess all aspects of the bath — wall paint color, natural light sources, house plants, light fixture finishes, sinks and countertops — and find a color and finish that accents what’s best about the room. You can surround your vanity with colors and shades that suit the scheme and play with tones and textures until the style is just right. Browse through our collection for a selection of vanities in all price ranges, shapes, and themes. There’s no better way to take your bath from expected to exceptional than a new vanity!