When we moved into our house, I wondered if the bathroom vanities were supposed to match. They didn’t. Was this something I needed to correct?
Bathroom vanities in a home should not match. However, you can match select components of bathroom vanities to create a consistent and unified feeling in a home. Bathroom vanity components include the style, color palette, countertop material, fixtures and backsplashes.
Kathleen Stacey Finley is a Bathtubber contributor and designer in Austin, Texas. She explains:
“It’s very uninteresting if the bathroom vanities match. If someone has the time or money to remodel two bathrooms, or if they’re designing a whole new house, the vanities should have something to do with each other like similar colors but different styles. It’s boring and spec-housey to have them match exactly.”
This brings us to why realtors or contractors might try to persuade you to stick with matching bathroom vanities.
Why Contractors Want You to Match Vanities
If you’re checking out new homes, a realtor may try to convince you that matching vanities are on trend for the new year. Similarly, a contractor may try to sell you on the same concept.
Don’t buy it!
Homeowners remodeling for resale will put in matching vanities with matching vanity countertops because it’s cheaper and easier for them.
The remnants from a slab used in the kitchen can be put onto the bathroom vanity without having to reorder from the stone yard. Doing this saves a contractor time and money.
Match Bathroom Vanity Elements
The truth is that bathroom vanities do not need to match the other vanities in the home, and when they do, it can create a less upscale feel overall.
That said, bathroom vanities need to feel consistent with the decor in the rest of the house. You can connect your bathroom vanity to the rest of your home in these 5 ways:
1. Match Bathroom Vanity Styles
One way to unify bathroom vanities throughout the house is to use the same style. If you’ve got a rustic look, purchase different bathroom vanities that all have a rustic style. While you don’t need to use the same style throughout an entire home, you probably want to connect a master bath and bedroom with the same style.
You may also want to extend a certain style throughout a particular floor or area of the house.
That said, you don’t have to stay rigid about style, even within one room. Bathroom designer Kathleen Stacey Finley says, “You can mix elements of different eras–a bathroom stool from the 1970s, a vanity from the 1920s — as long as they have something to do with each other, like the texture, the color, or the shape.”
So be sure your bathroom vanity is related somehow to the sinks, faucets, showers and lighting, but they don’t all strictly need to fall into the same style category.
2. Match Bathroom Vanity Color Palettes
While you should stick to the overall style in the home, you can enhance the flow and cohesiveness by using the same color palette in the bathroom vanity as in the adjacent room or hallway. Bring one main color from “outside” to the bathroom vanity, and then introduce some variations throughout the rest of the bathroom or with the vanity countertop.
So if the hallway carpet is slate grey, you might consider a slate grey quartz countertop on a white vanity. And then use a lighter grey tile for the vanity backsplash.
Matching Small Bathroom Vanities
Of course, you’ll need to consider the size of your bathroom. If your bathroom is next to a kitchen and the kitchen has dark-colored cabinetry, this presents a tricky situation—but one that can be overcome!
You won’t want to bring in the dark color from the kitchen to the bathroom, because the bathroom will feel smaller. Instead, ask yourself how else you can connect your small bathroom to the kitchen.
“If you have a small bathroom, completely avoid dark colors. More than any other kind of small rooms, small bathrooms need to be light-colored. Otherwise, they’ll feel stuffy,” says Bathroom Designer Kathleen Finley. “Instead, to connect your bathroom and kitchen, you could use a similar size and pattern of tile on both kitchen and bathroom backsplashes. Or maybe the hardware on the cabinets could be similar.”
3. Match Bathroom Vanity Countertop Materials
Vanity countertops do not need to match—even in a bathroom with two vanities. However, in that case, you might want to use similar cabinetry and choose complimentary vanity countertop materials in the same color. Similarly, a kitchen countertop does not need to be made of the same material as a bathroom vanity, even if the bathroom opens to the kitchen.
However, the materials should complement each other.
4. Match Bathroom Vanity Fixtures
Bathroom vanity fixtures like sinks and faucets do not need to match from one bathroom to the next, but doing so can deliver a subtle message of unification throughout the house. Even two vanities in the same bathroom can have complimentary fixtures with different finishes, so long as the bathroom vanities are made to feel related in some way.
5. Match Bathroom Vanity Backsplashes
Create a subtle feeling of unification from one bathroom to the next by using similar vanity backsplash elements. For example, you might have an 8-inch tile backsplash above each bathroom in your home and each bathroom might have a Roman faucet. The tile in each bathroom, though, can be different.
You might choose to incorporate an interesting backsplash material in each bathroom vanity—or at least on the vanities on the same floor of the house. Instead of a tile or granite backsplash, you might use a mirrored bathroom backsplash for the two bathrooms on the same floor of a minimalist styled home.
Or, in a master bathroom, you might use a mirrored backsplash that matches the mirror in the master bedroom.
I recently wrote a post introducing the wide variety of bathroom vanity backsplash styles, including mirrored backsplashes. This post also explores 9 great backsplash vanity materials. If you’re remodeling the bathroom, I strongly suggest reading this post. I guarantee it will spark some exciting new ideas for your bathroom vanity backsplash.
What If You Can’t Agree on Anything?
If you and your spouse or partner don’t agree on how to style the bathroom, start by discussing the bathroom vanity.
Let’s say one of you loves modern farmhouse decor and the other wants a nautical theme. At first, it might seem there is no resolution to be had.
But what is it about the farmhouse look that you like? Is it the distressed wood and spackled paints? Okay, and what is it about nautical that your partner can’t let go of? Is he a die-hard sailor?
Now think about how to compromise. What about a white distressed bathroom vanity with grey quartz countertop and a mirror with a sailor’s rope border?
Once you agree on how to design one bathroom vanity then try your hand at the second bathroom. Then extend your new-found decor love throughout the other rooms in your home. Sometimes bringing together varied tastes can result in the most creative bathroom designs, as long as the elements are somehow related.
The One Exception to the Rule
But what if you love the look of matching vanities in your bathrooms? Or what if you want your bathroom vanity to exactly match the adjacent kitchen counters and cabinets?
This is your house, right? You live in it.
Yes, you might have visitors now and again, or even quite often. And yes, these visitors might prefer bathroom vanities that don’t match in their own homes.
But really, if that’s what you love, that’s what you should have and enjoy.
Until it comes time to sell.
Are Matching Bathroom Vanities Necessary for Resale?
When it comes time for resale, you want to give your house an upscale feel. For that reason, if you have two bathroom vanities that match, consider switching out one of them. Or at least paint one of the vanities a different color and switch out the faucets.
You’ll still have matching countertops and matching bathroom vanity styles. But chances are that the bathrooms are far enough apart that visitors will feel satisfied the bathrooms are somehow related, but not disappointed that they are the same.
The small investment you make in changing the look of one of the vanities will help give your house a more custom feel. And hopefully, when the house sells, you’ll realize a good return on the investment. (By the way, if you are preparing a house for resale, check out Will a Tub Add Value to My Home? Hint: the answer can depend on your zip code.)
Just Be Sure Your Bathroom Vanity Relates
In conclusion, matching elements of bathroom vanities to other bathroom vanities or kitchen cabinets and kitchen countertops can provide a unified feeling to your home decor.
Use bathroom vanity styles, color palettes, countertop materials, fixtures and backsplashes to unify your bathrooms with each other, as well as with the rest of your home.