The bathroom is often the first room that homeowners will address when they are considering remodeling or upgrading their homes.
Along with the kitchen, the bathroom holds the esteemed position of being among the most important rooms in a house.
Whereas the kitchen area encourages communal gathering, recreation, and productivity, the bathroom is the locale that cultivates relaxation, peace, and the kind of serenity that only comes from being alone with your thoughts, far away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Savvy homeowners are well aware of the imperative value of upgrading their bathrooms. They are keenly aware that bathrooms hold a certain power and sway with home buyers. The power of bathrooms is significant in that they can serve to create excitement within prospective buyers or destroy interest altogether.
However, homeowners aren’t always upgrading their bathrooms with the intention of selling or boosting the resale value of their homes. In fact, many homeowners are upgrading their bathrooms for far more personal reasons. Among those reasons, homeowners cite health and relaxation as being a primary concern.
In today’s modern times, people are increasingly bogged down with responsibilities and chores at work and home as well. As life becomes increasingly more hectic, stress and anxiety can come to weigh down people in significant ways. Homeowners are responding to this issue by remodeling their homes, starting with the bathroom, with the intent of creating spa-like sanctuaries that they can escape to and unwind.
Bathroom renovation plans almost always address the immediate concerns of creating plenty of space and choosing the perfect tub, sink, and shower. Countertops, tiling, and hardware are also readily addressed. However, it is the bathroom cabinets that often go ignored and neglected. Sadly, cabinets are often left in as-is condition, with an emphasis placed on fixtures, hardware, and tiling.
The reality is that bathroom cabinet are among the most important features of any well-designed bathroom. Beautifully crafted cabinetry can help to create a space that is aesthetically pleasing but also highly functional. The beauty and functionality of quality cabinets can actually have a transformative effect on the entire bathroom.
While the exterior of the cabinets showcases eye-pleasing details like polished wood and handcrafted knobs, the functionality within the interior of the cabinets is equal, if not more important. Cabinets hold the toiletries, tools, lotions, and potions that people use every day to clean, groom, and beautify themselves.
Without cabinets, homeowners are left to store items on countertops, which results in unsightly and unappealing clutter and visual chaos. Within the confines of cabinets, bathroom-dwellers are able to securely and safely store their belongings out of the way and completely out of sight.
Unarguably, cabinets are an essential item of any great bathroom and are an investment that is worthwhile and necessary regarding adding both aesthetic and functional value. Read on below for a comprehensive primer on the different types and styles of cabinets, their finishes and colors, and additional information on backsplashes, which are a gorgeous way to add unique splendor to your bathroom, but are often just as neglected by homeowners as cabinets.
1. Flat Style Cabinets
Flat-style cabinets are a stylishly simple design option for fuss-free elegant styling. Minimal hardware and detailing are used on flat-style cabinetry, thus making it an excellent choice for modern, contemporary, and industrial-styled bathrooms. Typically constructed of wood or budget-friendly laminate, and offered in a wide range of colors and sheens, flat-style cabinets are the preferred choice for many homeowners looking for a simple and affordable way to upgrade cabinets.
2. Distressed Style Cabinets
Distressed-style cabinetry offers an intentionally weathered vintage look that is chic and singularly unique. The rugged look of these cabinets is perfectly accented by sleek accents like brushed metal counter accessories, clear crystal lighting, and large gleaming mirrors.
The weathered look is achieved with special distressing techniques and delivers just the right amount of patina to make these cabinets perfect for bathroom styles including, but not limited to, cottage, shabby chic, farmhouse, and eclectic.
3. Beadboard Style Cabinets
4. Louvered Style Cabinets
Louvered-style cabinets are instantly recognizable by their slatted construction. The slats used in the Louvered style do not overlap; rather, each slat is placed near the next, creating enough space to offer ventilation. For homeowners who require ventilated cabinets, a Louvered style is a fantastic option that is the perfect marriage of timeless form and distinctly unparalleled functionality.
5. Shaker Style Cabinets
Shaker-style cabinets hold the distinction of being the most popular style of cabinetry used in kitchens today. The utilitarian styling and clean lines of this style of cabinets make them perfectly appropriate for bathroom settings as well. Shaker styling is highly versatile due to its simple yet elegant aesthetic and would be a fantastic addition to bathroom types such as traditional, contemporary, eclectic, transitional, and more.
6. Inset Style Cabinets
Inset-style cabinets are distinct from other cabinet styles due to the level of precision craftsmanship required in their construction. The drawers and drawer headers featured in inset cabinetry are measured and cut with laser-sharp precision to create a perfectly fit within the frame opening. This cabinet style is one of the most expensive on the market, but for those who can afford it, the expert craftsmanship involved ensures a durable product that will last forever.
7. Thermofoil Style Cabinets
Ironically, Thermofoil does not contain metal or foil. Rather, Thermofoil is a process involving thin layers of vinyl or another type of plastic coating that is vacuum-pressed atop medium density fiberboard and baked under high-temperature heat to create an impenetrable seal. Thermofoil cabinets are budget-friendly, easy to clean and come in a wide range of colors and simulated woods. As such, this cabinet style remains extremely popular.
8. Custom Style Cabinets
Custom-style cabinetry offer homeowners the ability to be involved in the design process and have their cabinets built to their exact specifications and specific space and sizing needs. Many people ought for custom cabinetry when they have various-sized cabinets with different angles, or if they desire a specific wood, finish, or type of detailing. Also, many opt for custom cabinets when they want a personalized design that features their own individual touches and is reflective of their personalities.
|Paint provides an opaque-colored finish
|Stain applications enhance the natural beauty and character of wood while offering rich color and dimension
|Provides a light, semi-transparent color that is applied atop finished base coats of paint or stain, to add depth and dimension
|Achieves the same look as painted, glazed, or varnished finishes but contains no volatile compounds and emits no toxic fumes or chemicals
|Applied on painted, stained, and custom-finished cabinets, varnish adds a resistant layer of protection. Available in traditional formulations or tinted options
|$80 – $150 per linear foot
|$50 – $75 per linear foot
|$50 – $75 per linear foot
|$1500 for 72” of bamboo cabinetry
|$350 – $500 per cabinet
Patterned Bathroom Cabinets
1. Patterned Glass Bathroom Cabinets
Patterned glass cabinets are detailed in a beautifully dainty way and would be a perfect addition to cottage style, shabby chic, farmhouse, and eclectic style bathroom designs. The versatile aesthetic of patterned glass cabinets lends itself well to traditional and transitional design concepts as well.
2. Tiled Mosaic Bathroom Cabinets
Mosaic bathroom cabinets are a wonderfully colorful sight to behold. Replete with vibrant colors and interesting shapes, this ornate style would go very well in a Mediterranean-themed bathroom or even in a bathroom styled in an eclectic manner.
3. Mirrored/Etched Bathroom Cabinets
Mirrored cabinets are fantastic design elements for any bathroom décor. The clear glass mirrors provide ultimate versatility such that these cabinets would blend in perfectly with virtually almost any style of décor, from transitional, modern, and contemporary, to eclectic, industrial, and even shabby chic or cottage style.
4. Tiled Mosaic Bathroom Cabinets
Lattice cabinets are part quirky, part sweetly feminine, and all parts unique. The lattice effect can be achieved via overlay, paint, or stencils. It’s an affordable and highly effective way to add intricate detailing and visual interest to any bathroom. Decorative lattice would work very well in a shabby chic or cottage-style bathroom in addition to transitional and eclectic styles.
5. Stenciled/Painted Bathroom Cabinets
Stenciled cabinets are beautiful, unique, and full of personality. The arts and crafts vibe of these cabinets lends itself well to Craftsman style or farmhouse-style bathrooms. Rustic, down-to earth, but rich with individualism, stenciled cabinets are an affordable and easy way to add a visual boost to the interior of any bathroom quickly.
Most Popular Colors for Cabinets
Cabinet doors come in every color, sheen, finish, and pattern imaginable. Classic neutrals like beige, white, black, and brown are readily available in a variety of tints and hues. Bolder choices like orange, purple, and yellow are also available to home decorators who desire stronger and more individualized colors for their decorating needs.
A survey of 273,770 bathrooms yields valuable consumer data about recent cabinet color choices made by home decorators. From that data, the top 5 color choices for bathroom cabinets have been compiled into charts and graphs shown below.
Most Popular Backsplash Materials in Bathrooms
Backsplashes were once regarded as design elements that were purely functional and utilitarian in nature. However, in recent years, backsplashes have come to be regarded as integral parts of decoration and renovation schemes. In the past, backsplashes were used to protect from stains and splashes. Now, backsplashes are used to transform entire rooms, in addition to being an opportunity to express creative individuality and personal style.
Many home decorators consider backsplashes to be a form of “home jewelry,” used to beautify and transform rooms in powerfully striking ways. A wide range of materials like tile, wood, and marble are used in an array of vivid and neutral colors to add visual and textural contrast to neutral spaces. Bathrooms are particularly benefitted by the color contrast and textural interest provided by expansive backsplashes.
Read on below to see some of the most popular materials used by home decorators in bathroom backsplashes today.
1. Tiled Backsplashes
Far and away, tile has been the perennial favorite in backsplash material choices for home decorators everywhere. The perfect intersection of form and function, tiled backsplashes offer optimum style and versatility along with practicality.
Available in gleaming solid colors as well as printed patterns made to mimic the look of wood and stone, tile is also scratch, heat, and water-resistant and easy to clean. Repairs are relatively easy, like a scratch, chip, or crack simply requires a replacement tile.
Tile’s versatility lends itself well to decorating schemes of all manners. Perfectly at home in all bathroom style concepts, tile is found in modern, industrial, country, rustic, transitional, traditional, and eclectically styled settings.
Pros: Easy to clean; wide range of patterns, colors, textures, and prints; the perfect marriage of form and function; easily repairable
Cons: Tiles must be replaced when damaged and requires extra matching tiles on hand
2. Stone Slab Backsplashes
Stone slab backsplashes offer immense natural beauty within bathrooms. Providing a unique rustic and organic look, the stone slab imparts an aura of customized luxury that is highly unique and difficult to find in other backsplash materials.
The clean and unbroken lines of stone slab make this material a preferred choice among home decorators looking to accent their contemporary, minimalist, or transitional bathrooms. At the same time, the rustic, organic feel of stone makes it a perfect addition to a variety of other bathroom styles like eclectic or Mediterranean.
Pros: Wide expanses of unbroken lines are perfect for modern bathrooms and home decorators looking for a highly unique option; incomparably durable and will last forever; requires little maintenance; easy to clean.
Cons: Requires professional installation; costly; heavy;
3. Glass Backsplashes
An increasingly popular choice, glass is a ubiquitously used material in bathroom backsplashes. Immensely beautiful, glass is a gleaming accent material that is perfect in all rooms of a home, particularly bathrooms.
Highly versatile, it can be used to decorate for a modern look, provide a clean, relaxing feel perfect in beach themes, or add a polished look to tie together eclectic-themed bathrooms. Tempered glass is the preferred choice among home decorators, as it is harder than ordinary glass and less likely to scratch or chip.
Pros: Can be easily modified; digital prints and screen-printed options are common custom choices; easy to clean; highly versatile; wide range of patterns, colors, textures, and prints
Cons: Expensive; requires professional installation for precision fit; difficult to repair
4. Mirrored Backsplashes
The gleaming crystalline beauty of mirrored backsplashes is immense and incomparable. Wide expanses of unbroken lines give mirrored backsplashes a look of customized luxury. The overall aesthetic is versatile; this material can be easily used in modern bathrooms, as well as cottage and shabby chic.
Mirrored material can be interpreted to a home decorator’s very specific and individual taste. With a practiced hand, this material can be decorated with sweetly romantic accents or minimalist accouterment that matches the clean and unbroken tone. With no other backsplash material can you find this look of luxury.
Highly reflective, the surface bounces light about, making rooms feel larger than they really are.
Pros: Strong and durable; easy to clean; make rooms feel larger; available in large lengths to create a seamless look and feel
Cons: Cannot be used in high heat situations; expensive; requires professional installation for precision fit; difficult to repair; requires regular polishing to remove smudges
5. Marble Backsplashes
The natural beauty of marble is hard to beat. Marble is luxurious and epitomizes elegance, timeless design, and taste. Higher-end bathrooms frequently use marble as a design material, and in recent years, marble backsplashes have widely grown in popularity.
Not for those home decorators for practicality and utility, marble is a material that is easily scratched, with a highly porous surface that requires regular sealing for protection.
Perfect for those looking for a highly unique design option for their backsplashes, marble features natural color variations, veining, and streaks throughout.
Pros: Epitomizes high-end luxury; highly unique with natural variations; versatile aesthetics appropriate for a wide range of bathroom styles and settings
Cons: Requires consistent and periodic sealing and resealing; requires professional installation; costly; prone to scratching
6. Brick Backsplashes
Brick backsplashes have grown in popularity over the past few years. With their various shades of rust, bricks work fantastically when juxtaposed with crisp white color contrasts. Bricks also offer a lot of versatility and work excellently in a multitude of design themes. A backsplash made of brick material would be perfectly appropriate in industrial, modern, and contemporary bathrooms and could even be worked into and seamlessly blended within shabby chic, cottage, and transitional styles.
Pros: Versatility means it can be dressed up or down and used for an old-world feel or to accent contemporary settings; easy to install; affordable.
Cons: Hard to cut; requires a specially designated saw for cutting; can prove to be difficult to match due to the multiple hues found in bricks; hard to clean; Absorbent and highly porous
7. Window Backsplashes
Window backsplashes are a relatively new design concept that has been readily embraced by home decorators. The growing popularity of window backsplashes can be attributed to their many benefits in terms of creating airy and open settings.
Window backsplashes provide opportunities for fresh air and much-needed ventilation in bathrooms. Backsplashes constructed from windows also provide plenty of natural light, which serves to make rooms feel larger and more expansive. The copious amounts of light give smaller bathrooms an open and airy feel.
Pros: Provides maximum levels of light and offers an airy and open aura to a bathroom; enlarges small spaces; provides a view of the outside
Cons: Hard to keep clean as glass windows are exposed to the elements from the outside; high visibility from the exterior of the house; limited design and color options
8. Wood backsplashes
Wood backsplashes are the perfect addition to bathrooms featuring the Craftsman, Farmhouse, or Rustic styles. A backsplash designed with wood elements offers a rustic aesthetic that is practical and functional but also uniquely chic in a down-to-earth and fuss-free kind of way. While not nearly as popular as backsplash materials like tile, stone, or glass, a wood backsplash is definitely worthy of consideration.
It can offer a unique vibe to a bathroom with a high level of visual interest through textural contrast. Consider using copious amounts of fresh, clean, and crisp white to offset the earthy and rustic tones of a wood backsplash, for a polished and tied-together look that is perfect for transitional settings.
Pros: Versatile looks make it appropriate in nearly all bathroom styles and settings; can be dressed up with polishes and accents or dressed down and kept raw and unfinished for a more rustic look; affordable; easy to clean and maintain
Cons: Wood backsplashes look best in large and expansive designs with copious amounts of material involved and can prove to be costly; raw and unfinished wood can be hard to keep clean and free from stains; difficult to replace when severely damaged
9. Slate Backsplashes
The main selling point for slate is its unmatched level of beauty that cannot be found in any other backsplash material. Featuring an abundance of natural and rustic colors with plenty of variation throughout, slate is a unique material that perfectly accents a wide variety of bathroom styles.
With its mixtures of rust, olive, taupe, and grayish hues, slate offers a palette that serves to tie together the elements of bathroom environments perfectly. Using rust-colored accents like the bowl-style sink shown above can work to bring out the natural beauty of the colors within the tiles.
Waterproof, stain resistant, and easy to clean, slate is the perfect marriage of form and function while also providing copious amounts of unparalleled natural beauty.
Pros: Natural beauty with a mixture of earthy colors that is easy to match throughout bathrooms; waterproof; stain resistant; easy to clean
Cons: Brittle nature of slate makes it prone to chipping; can break with a strong force; requires regular sealing for protection; heavy; requires special tools and professional installation
10. Cement Backsplashes
Definitely rarer options exercised by home decorators, cement backsplashes are a study in adventurous decorating and can provide immense architectural payoffs.
Beautifully seamless with unbroken lines and large expanses of smooth and cool gray color, the cement backsplash is truly original.
Cement is highly affordable and customizable through tints, stencils, and paints. Stains are also often used to mimic the look of granite or natural stone. Unadulterated cement provides a cool swath of color that is appropriate for a wide range of settings including but not limited to, industrial, modern, contemporary, and transitional styles.
Pros: Extremely hard material; tough and durable; stands up to wear and tear; highly customizable; affordable; unique
Cons: Susceptible to stains; requires regular and consistent sealing for protection; high levels of maintenance
Top 10 Most Popular Bathroom Backsplash Materials with Notes
|Bathroom Backsplash Materials
|Stain applications enhance the natural beauty and character of the wood while offering rich color and dimension
Wide range of wood choices is available like red oak, white oak, hickory, cherry, hard maple, birch, ash, and pine
|Provides ventilation, and natural light, and helps to give bathrooms an open and airy look and feel
A unique way to accentuate a bathroom and obtain a view of the outside world and home exterior
|Highly unique naturally varied coloring makes slate a desirable design element for home decorators
The beautiful mixture of natural rust, taupe, olive, and gray tones are a great opportunity to provide copious amounts of subtle yet striking colors
A highly customizable design material for backsplashes that works perfectly in modern, contemporary, and industrial-styled bathrooms. Can be stained, glazed, stenciled, and painted for personality and individual preferences
Strong, durable, heavy, and solid
|Delightfully unexpected brick backsplashes offer bold color, rustic appeal, and unique design opportunities, and can transform bathrooms in rarely seen ways
Variations in color and rugged surfaces make brick fun and exciting to work with
Easy to dress up or down; can provide an old world feel as well as be used to accent contemporary and modern design settings
|Top-of-the-line design material that epitomizes elegance, class, and timeless appeal
Commonly used in high-end bathrooms
Large backsplashes composed of marble provide wide expanses of clean and unbroken lines that are breathtakingly beautiful and aesthetically striking
|Highly reflective; provides an open, airy, and expansive look and feel
Can help to make smaller bathrooms appear larger
Gorgeous design aesthetic that works perfectly in nearly all design settings from modern to traditional
Easy to accessorize with lots of interpretation and design opportunities
|The perennial “tried and true” favorite material in backsplashes for home decorators everywhere
An immense range of colors, patterns, and variations available for purchase
Highly customizable with paints, stains, glazes, and stencils
|Achieves the same look as painted, glazed, or varnished finishes but contains no volatile compounds and emits no toxic fumes or chemicals
|Beautifully gleaming design and accent material with high levels of versatility
Can create a modern look, or accentuate many other bathroom design settings
Tempered glass is recommended above all other glass varieties as it is less likely to scratch or chip
Easily customizable with digital prints and screen-printed options
By the Numbers: Most Popular Backsplash Materials for Bathrooms
Can Bathroom Cabinets be Painted?
Just about any surface can be painted. It’s important to make sure that the cabinets are in good shape before any painting project. Sometimes, especially in bathrooms, cabinets can become damaged by water or moisture.
If you are thinking about painting your bathroom cabinets and they aren’t in the best shape, replacing them might be a better option. Not only will the new, painted finish not hold up very well, but any hidden water damage in bathroom cabinets can create areas where mold and mildew can grow, causing health issues for some people.
Can Bathroom Cabinets be Refaced?
Refacing bathroom cabinets is an economical way to give the room an entirely different look. During the refacing process, you have the option of refacing the old cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and cabinetry, or you can have new doors and drawers installed over the existing cabinet.
A traditional overlay will resurface the existing doors, drawer fronts, and the other exposed parts of the bathroom cabinet. Or you can have a full overlay where new doors and drawer fronts are fashioned to entirely cover the cabinet itself.
With refacing, you can choose from many different finishes, materials, and colors, changing the entire style of your bathroom without the expensive cost of replacing the cabinets. You can also add new hardware to complete the look. Decorative knobs handle, and hinges are an ideal finishing touch for refaced bathroom cabinets.
Can Bathroom Cabinets be Restained?
Bathrooms are the most commonly used room in the house and take the most abuse. Wood bathroom cabinets will begin to show some wear over time. And if the wood is still in good condition, it can be restained.
There are some handy products available for simple touch-ups if the wood gets scratched or the finish is wearing off in places. Or you can have the cabinets refinished. It can be a process, especially if you are tackling it yourself. But it is a fairly economical way to breathe new life back into your bathroom cabinets.
How Tall are Bathroom Cabinets?
Vanities can range anywhere from 30 to 36 inches tall. The standard height measures 32 inches. Some bathrooms are also designed with other cabinet features like dressing tables or closet areas. Those heights can vary depending on their use. And bathroom cabinets can easily be built for heights better suited for wheelchairs.
How Deep are Bathroom Cabinets?
You can always have whatever size you need to be designed for your bathroom. The most common standard depth for bathroom vanities is 21 inches. But if you are working with a smaller bathroom, you can also find pre-constructed sizes as small as 12 inches deep. Wall cabinets will typically fall into the same depth ranges as vanities and can be custom-fit to any bathroom.
Can Bathroom Cabinets Go to the Ceiling?
Bathroom cabinets can be installed to reach the ceiling. The only real drawback would be if you wanted to use crown molding on the bathroom ceiling. But having bathroom cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling is a great way to add attractive storage space, especially if you are dealing with a smaller bathroom.
How Long do Bathroom Cabinets Last?
Most bathroom cabinets are designed to last for many years, maybe even for the life of the home. Unfortunately, the damp conditions in bathrooms can cause any cabinet material to lose some structural integrity over time.
Buying quality-made cabinets and having them professionally installed by someone experienced with bathroom cabinets and moisture barriers is the best way to get the most out of their lifespan.
Can Bathroom Cabinets be Painted?
They can be painted. And the process is fairly simple. Make sure that the cabinets are thoroughly cleaned and dry. Lightly sand the surface to remove some of the old top-coat and create a little grit for a new primer and paint to adhere to, and thoroughly clear away any sawdust with a dry brush followed by a wet sponge.
After it’s completely dry, apply a solid coat of primer, preferably one designed for wet areas. Let the primer dry for a few hours, and it will be ready for paint. Two or three coats of high-quality, bathroom paint will work, with light sanding between each coat. And finish it off with a few applications of a sealer designed specifically for bathrooms. You can either do the work yourself or hire a professional.
What Materials are Bathroom Cabinets Made From?
The most common types of materials used to make bathroom cabinets are hardwoods, plywood, and MDF, also known as medium-density fiberboard. MDF is manufactured by bonding thin layers of wood fiber mixed with wax and resin.
Natural hardwoods like oak, maple, or cherry are the most popular material used for bathroom cabinets. They will typically last the longest and are the most durable in bathrooms if they are installed correctly, sealed with a protectant, and maintained.
MDF cabinets are a little more durable than plywood because of the way that they’re made. But, if damaged, they can be difficult to repair.
Plywood is a viable and cost-effective option if it’s maintained properly. And in some cases, plywood can withstand the moisture in bathrooms better than hardwoods and MDF.
Some bathroom cabinets can also be a combination of materials, with the cabinet itself being constructed of plywood and the doors and drawer fronts utilizing hardwoods.
Can Used Bathroom Cabinets be Sold?
If the cabinets are still in good shape, with no water damage or cracks, they can be sold. While it may take some time to find a buyer who has a bathroom where the cabinets will fit, selling old bathroom cabinets is a great way to help the environment by keeping them from ending up in landfills.
Newspapers still place ads for used items for sale. And the internet has a booming community of buy-and-sell websites where almost anything can be sold.
Can Bathroom Cabinets be Recycled?
Unfortunately, bathroom cabinets cannot usually be recycled. Most recycled wood is ground up and used for mulch or in other eco-friendly production processes. The different chemicals in bathroom cabinets have toxins that cannot be removed, making them undesirable for recycling.
Natural wood is very recyclable as long as it hasn’t been stained or treated with a sealer. But almost all bathroom cabinets won’t fall into that category.
MDF cabinets cannot be recycled because of the wax and resins that are used in the manufacturing process. And the glue used in both plywood and MDF cabinets isn’t able to be recycled.
Bathroom cabinets also cannot be burned because of the chemicals in the stains, sealers, and glue. The only way to keep them out of a landfill is to find a way to reuse them.
Can You Use Bathroom Cabinets in a Kitchen?
Bathroom and kitchen cabinets are designed a little differently for specific uses. And their sizes aren’t quite the same. The biggest difference is the depth of the countertop. Kitchen cabinets tend to be 24 inches deep while bathroom vanities are 21 inches deep, which could pose a problem.