While modern vanities might be useful and space-efficient, there's something lost in contemporary furniture styles. The intricate scrollwork, rich wood, and thick marble of ages past are currently out of vogue, and if you want to create an aura of class and charm in your bathroom, you'll need to look to the past for solutions. As you set up an antique bathroom that a Victorian duchess would be envious of, your first step might be to find a luxurious old vanity to sit at the center of your bathroom. As you search for the perfect vanity to make your antique bathroom dreams come true, keep these simple tips in mind.
Themes of a Perfect Antique Vanity
Before you select a specific vanity to put in your bathroom, you should become acquainted with the varying themes that good antique vanities should have. Not all vanities will perfectly line up with the following ideals, but if you can find a vanity that hits all of these points in succession, you'll be one step closer to achieving an authentic antique bathroom style.
It's the Bombe
The word "bombe" is French, and it means "curved." Many different types of furniture can be bombe, and a piece of furniture achieves this effect when it bulges out in the front in an attractive style. Most pieces of bombe furniture also curve out on the sides, and they taper down at the top and bottom. They usually have legs, and marble tops are common in bombe furniture offerings.
The bombe style originated in the 1600s in France, and genuine antique French bombe vanities generally have ball-shaped feet. This style remained popular over the following centuries, and newer pieces of bombe furniture may have longer legs with clawed feet. Bombe vanities can have all sorts of different finishes, and you might be able to find a piece of bombe furniture that is painted in chinoiserie style, which became popular in France at the same time as bombe furniture. This style mimics Chinese aesthetics, and it usually features intricate floral patterns.
Go for a Photo Finish
While you might not be particularly proud of the wood that you use in modern vanities, antique vanities usually contain high-quality hardwood like cherry, mahogany, or teak. When your wood is beautiful, you'll want to show it off, and that's why making sure that the wood on your vanity is perfectly finished is so important. If there are any nicks or scratches in the varnish on your wood, you should have it refinished, and you can often even work out significant dings and scapes in the wood itself with the right tools.
Damsel in Distress
If you're investing in a truly ancient vanity, then it's only natural if it has endured significant wear and tear. However, a beat up look is part of the appeal of an antique vanity, and a little bit of light damage looks perfect when you pair it with an equally vintage mirror.
Slather It in Marble
Marble countertops haven't truly gone out of style, but they were much more the rage in decades past. It's hard to find an antique vanity that doesn't have a marble top, and there are plenty of different types of marble to choose from. If you end up feeling like the marble that your vanity currently features isn't the right color or style, you can always call up a local stone company and replace it with something better.
Make It Leggy
Modern vanities often go all the way to the ground, but in the past, these pieces of bathroom furniture were almost always poised on top of legs. The type of leg you choose makes a big difference in the overall appearance of your vanity, and you might want to choose a claw-footed style if you want to go for an imposing look. However, ball legs and straight legs are also available if you want to make your vanity look more traditional.
Now that we've covered the elements that your antique vanity should incorporate, it's time to look at a few specific styles that you might want to use as you pick out the right vanity for your bathroom. Some of these styles may be replicated in more modern vanities, but they only look right when they're truly vintage.
Sit in the Lap of Luxury with a Stool
Most modern bathroom vanities are designed with space constraints in mind, but one way that you can show off all of the room in your bathroom is to invest in a vintage vanity with a stool. In most cases, these types of vanities have little alcoves where you can store your stool when it isn't in use, and while these stools were usually stationary when they were first made, many are augmented to feature casters for easy rolling action.
Relax in Your Bathroom with a Colonial Cane Front
There's something about cane fronts that perfectly evokes the vibe of the South Pacific, and if you want to evoke the style of a colonial gentleman's club, choosing an antique vanity with a cane front might be the perfect way to go. These vanities usually feature dark wood, and many of them have small drawers for stowing grooming equipment and toothbrushes.
Bring the Old World Home with a Half-Circle Marble Masterpiece
Wow the guests who use your powder room with a semi-circular vanity with a beautiful, dark marble top. If you want to truly invoke the spirit of the old world, cover it with Dark Emperador marble, which you can only find in Spain.