Beautiful furniture pieces are no longer the exclusive province of the living room, dining room or bedroom. Bathroom furniture has become mainstream. The trend of using cabinets designed for other rooms in the home for the bath became increasingly popular around 1990. At that time, designers and homeowners frequently converted antique cabinets, armoires and étagères into bath furniture, but they soon discovered that moist environments aren’t the best for family heirlooms or other expensive pieces of wood furniture. Bath industry manufacturers responded by producing furniture specifically for the bath environment. This furniture addressed not only climatic conditions but also functional concerns that account for storage requirements, supplies, traps, drains and other components necessary to bring and remove water to and from faucets and basins.
The trend toward outfitting bathrooms with beautiful furniture reflects the changing dynamic of baths, especially the master bath. The master bathroom has become a room that provides a refuge from the frenetic pace of daily life. The bath is a haven where families can make unique design statements and enjoy spa-like experiences. It is a place where individual family members can steal a few minutes all their own to relax and rejuvenate.
We are helping design bathrooms furnished with sofas, comfy chairs, benches and other pieces that extend the living area into the bath. Wood tones add warmth and serve to contrast with the white ceramic and acrylic surfaces of tubs, basins and water closets. With this transformation, the standard white vanity has given way to elegant and expertly crafted furniture pieces that create the look and feel of stress-free luxury. The increased popularity of bath furniture also corresponds to the growing size of the bathroom. In the last two decades, the size of the master bath has climbed by an average 180 square feet. Today, in larger homes master baths can exceed 300 square feet. We are seeing a trend that moves away from filling master baths with built-in cabinets and countertops. Instead our customers prefer freestanding étagères, cabinets, armoires, wall-hung vanities and toilets, seating areas and storage pieces.
Function is another critical factor. A beautiful bathroom is an organized bathroom. We understand that for most of our customers, time is their most precious asset. Their days are hectic. We realize that our clients don’t have time to search for their favorite tube of lipstick or wait for their curling iron to heat up. Bath furniture manufacturers offer storage solutions and convenience features that include interior adjustable shelving, pullout trays, interior lighting, hairdryer/curling iron holders, interior electric receptacles, USB port charging stations and drawer dividers.
Maintenance is another factor that we address for our clients when helping design a new bathroom. The legs or base of the furniture placed in front of the baseboard might create a gap between the wall and the cabinet. This may not be a concern aesthetically, but it does create a challenge for cleaning. The issue may be addressed if the furniture has a solid base that can be notched around the baseboard to eliminate the gap or notch the baseboard to dead end into the base of the cabinet. In larger baths though, many homeowners are opting for separate spaces with different vanity types, styles, and heights for individual grooming stations. In these circumstances, there are opportunities to distinguish two spaces by specifying mirrors, sconces and other types of lighting. A common practice to help separate space in the bath is to use wall mirrors, armoires, étagères, ceiling-hung mirrors or a wall of mirrors.
Furniture made for the bath typically accounts for fixtures and plumbing. The height of the piece also will influence the plumbing fixtures needed to meet a customer’s goals. Cabinets less than 34 inches tall may be best served with a vessel-style sink. Another critical factor is the furniture finish. High-quality furniture made exclusively for the bath is typically finished with materials that prevent water damage and are constructed with moist environments in mind.