Replacing a bathroom vanity is one of the biggest renovation projects you’ll face as a homeowner. And that’s not because it’s particularly difficult to do or (in the grand scheme of roof repairs and water heater replacements) even all that expensive. So what’s the big deal? Whatever vanity you choose will be with you for years, weathering daily use as the centerpiece of your space. That means that in addition to prioritizing storage and usability, you also need to think about how your vanity will look five or ten years down the line. Rather than chasing trends, choosing classic vanity paint colors can help you get a timeless look that will last.
White Bathroom Vanities
White bathroom vanities are the ultimate classic, and easily the most common both in homes and stores. Unfortunately, that means people tend to get overloaded on them periodically – and this is one of those times. After years of sitting comfortably on top, white vanities have pretty abruptly lost popularity in favor of wood vanities. But as anyone who had or grew up with golden oak cabinets knows, when a particular shade of wood gets very popular, it’s very easy for it to become badly dated. The same isn’t true of a crisp, clean white finish. Even if it’s not the most popular choice right now, I’d venture to say it’s the safest one long-term. As long as you’re mindful of style and hardware choices and accessorize well, white vanities are the true neutral; they can change with the times without needing to be replaced.
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Black Bathroom Vanities
Can’t stand the idea of opting for a white vanity? A matte or semi-gloss black paint is your next best choice. This might seem counterintuitive; after all, black is a bold color, and can feel like a too-daring choice. But I’m not talking high-gloss, avant-garde modern black vanities. Instead, black is most timeless when you lean into a transitional style; something with a simple, homey design that wouldn’t be out of place in a cottage or farmhouse bathroom. That dollop of traditional aesthetic can tone down black paint and give it almost the same timeless feel as white paint. If white rules cottage and farmhouse style, switching to a black vanity will give you a subtly more industrial twist. The two aren’t perfectly interchangeable, but if you want a look that’s timeless, but with a slightly more contemporary edge? A black finish is the way to go.
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Gray Bathroom Vanities
In all the time I’ve worked in the design world, gray cabinetry has had the fasted rise-and-fall cycle of any trend I’ve seen. In just a few years, gray went from the most in-demand color to one of the most reviled. But if you still like gray, it isn’t a bad choice for a vanity paint color. Rather, I think gray cabinets are like a song you hear too often on the radio; over-saturation burnt out its welcome prematurely. I still hold that gray vanities have a lot of design advantages, not the least that they can coordinate well with just about any color scheme. Just make sure not to use too much gray elsewhere in the bathroom; a gray vanity is easy to decorate around, but needs added colors to really shine. Bonus: if you’re shopping a gray vanity right now, you can probably catch one on clearance.
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Blue Bathroom Vanities
If you’ve been browsing vanity paint colors, you might be surprised to see so much blue. As of this posting, there’s a bit of a glut of blue vanities – despite the color being less conventionally timeless. But while this surge in popularity is certainly a response to Pantone’s color of the year for 2020, I hesitate to call blue vanities “trendy”. At the very least, I think this slightly oddball paint choice will stick around. Why? Because despite being closer to a primary color than a neutral one, deep shades of blue have a classic, unobtrusive feel to them. Blue is a common color in bathrooms, and dark blues evoke Cape Cod style bathrooms – aka, the source of most cottage style elements. Blue vanities are a fun, low-risk way to add color to your bathroom in a way that will age well and blend with most color schemes.
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Choosing Non-Standard Vanity Paint Colors
If you’re shopping for vanity paint colors – aka, no wood or veneers – white, black, gray, and blue are the most common options, in that order. But you can find vanities in almost any color. Red, orange, and green are slightly more common, but the only limit is how hard you’re willing to look. That said, other colors are uncommon for a reason. While neutral paint can weather big design changes elsewhere in the bathroom, a really colorful vanity will have to be at the heart of all your other choices. Even a mellow forest green needs thought and care to execute well. On the other hand, if you put an unusual color in the spotlight, it won’t ever look dated. There’s no trend for it to outlast! So while neutral paints are timeless because they blend into the background, an unusual choice can be just as long-lived.
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Make Sure You Can Update The Hardware
Whatever paint color you choose, you should also be mindful of the accompanying hardware. Specifically, whether or not you can replace it yourself. As designers have scrambled to find replacements and updates for white bathroom vanities, there’s been a lot of metaphorical spaghetti thrown at the wall. Much of it has involved innovating with hardware: mixing and matching metals; swapping silver tones for gold or black; choosing bold or distinctive pulls; or even getting rid of the hardware all together. So if you want to make sure you get the most life out of your new vanity, I suspect that having updated hardware will be almost as important as a timeless paint color.
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If choosing a new bathroom vanity weren’t hard enough on its own, having to best-guess long term design trends is certainly a frustrating cherry on top. But choosing vanity paint colors in timeless neutrals and trendy elements in easier-to-change parts of the space is a good way to ensure you’ll get a look you’ll love for the long haul.
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