By Ande Waggener
When it comes to bathroom design, wood has an obvious role to play. Generally used in traditional bathroom vanities, flooring, and frames, in some sense, wood is as common as any other material that’s frequently seen in bathrooms.
Sometimes, wood can even be the bathroom, as in the bathroom in this rustic log cabin:
This kind of wood bathroom style is pretty specific, though. When it comes to this much wood, generally you either love it or hate it.
So what’s the big deal about wood in bathroom décor? How, without going over the top, can it step out of the mundane into the magnificent?
When wood is used in atypical ways in a bathroom, it adds a level of sophistication and interest that can elevate any bathroom into something far beyond the ordinary. Sometimes masterful uses of wood involve architectural details that require a reasonably serious money and labor investment, and sometimes wood touches can be simple and inexpensive. From the more involved to the easy-peasy, here are eight ways you can use wood to turn your bath from blah to beautiful.
1. Add Wood Beams to Your Bathroom Ceiling
Often overlooked as a potential bathroom design feature, the ceiling is a place where you can create some pretty powerful impact. Even something as simple as horizontal beams can rescue a plain bathroom and turn it into a showplace.
With enough ceiling height and space, more creative beams can really pack a punch.
2. Extend Wood Flooring Up Part of The Wall for Dramatic Impact
With just a bit more of the wood you use on a bathroom floor, you can create a serious wow moment in your bathroom. Simply choose part of your wall space and run the flooring up the wall. The flow created by this technique creates a sense of peace that contributes to a spa-like sense of relaxation in the bath.
3. Instead of Ordinary Vanities, Use Butcher-Block or Wood Slab Bases for Sinks
Whereas the basic vanity, no matter how lovely, can be a bathroom décor feature that disappears into the backdrop, a butcher-block style wood base or a wood slab acts as a stage on which even the most basic bowl sink can stand out.
4. Match Wood Wall Treatments to Wood Tub Surrounds
A powerful unifying technique in bathrooms that creates a crisp, clean effect is to use the same wood design as a tub surround and on at least one bathroom wall. This use of wood must be done carefully. Too much of the same wood design can overpower a bathroom turn it into an ugly sister of a seventies wood-paneled family room. Less is more here. Leave the rest of the bathroom free of wood, and this design feature will be an attention grabber.
5. Use Unusual Wood Furniture That Acts as Art in The Room
Bathroom furniture is usually pretty predictable. The plush vanity seat, maybe a single antique chair, an armoire, or a set of freestanding shelves. These typical bathroom furniture pieces can add design flair, but they do little create a stand-out bathroom.
Wood, however, has some amazing tricks up its sleeves. Carved or formed by a master, wood can be turned into furniture that’s as much about art as it’s about function. Place such a piece in your bathroom, and you can almost hear bathroom aficionados applauding.
6. Match a Wooden Sink Base to a Wooden Toilet Seat
When I was growing up, my mother, in an attempt at creating a high-end look in our bathroom, spent $50 on an oak toilet seat. I’m dating myself here, but in the early 1970s, that was a lot of money to spend on a toilet seat. Unfortunately, instead of creating the sophistication my mother was hoping for, the toilet seat stuck out like a beach bum at a black tie dinner. The rest of the bathroom was pink tile; the oak toilet seat, although pretty in and of itself, did nothing for the room.
Wooden toilet seats, however, can have the kind of effect my mother was going for. All you have to do is match the wood to another feature in the room. The most effective match is with the sink base, whether it’s a slab like in the bathroom below or whether it’s a traditional vanity. Extending a beautiful wood finish to the toilet makes the toilet less toilet and more furniture.
7. Add Reclaimed Wood Touches in Small Doses
Without breaking the bank, you can add a wow to your bathroom by using reclaimed wood in limited areas. Try using reclaimed wood as a mirror or wall hanging frame. If you then run just a bit of that same wood (treated for water-resistance, obviously) through your tile areas, you create a unifying design feature that becomes the focal point of an otherwise simple bathroom.
You can also use reclaimed wood as the base for a stool or in creating a narrow counter for bathroom accessories. Again, pairing two touches of reclaimed wood expands the effect of the wood so that it impacts the bathroom as a whole.
Also, you can use reclaimed wood to form the kind of sink base discussed in #3 above.
8. Use Wood in Accessories in Unusual Ways
Although you can easily run out and buy a polished wood tray or wood bowls to add to your bathroom décor, such wood accessories don’t have much power to change a bathroom design. Unique bits of wood, however, such as the tree trunk slice on the counter below, are so interesting that they alone can prop up an otherwise basic bath.
You can also use a warped piece of old wood as a base for a collection of spa essentials.
As you can see, clever uses of wood can add awesome ambiance to a bathroom. And given the nearly endless variety of wood colors and textures available, you’re sure to find something that suits your personal style.
Have you found a unique way to use wood in your bathroom? What wood touches have you used to give your bathroom a leg up to luscious?
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com