Whether it’s floorboards, panelling, storage, accessories or even the bath itself, wood is now one of the most popular materials for your bathroom. Its natural texture and warmth create a cosy, welcoming space – whatever the theme.
As a material for interior design, wood has never gone out of style, but high humidity has kept it out of the bathroom. However, advances in timber production and waterproofing have made it the ideal material to add a sense of luxury and spa-like style to your bathroom.
But before we get too excited, we need to answer one question:
Is wood waterproof?
On its own, no. The humidity and moisture in the average bathroom is more than enough to seep into natural wood and cause damage that ranges from a build-up of mould to the entire floor becoming split and warped. But if you choose natural or engineered wood that’s been specially treated against moisture, everything should be fine. Just remember to clean up any water spills and keep your bathroom well ventilated.
Floored by wood flooring
The floor is one of the best ways to add wood to your bathroom, and there is a huge range of waterproof floorboards on the market that will make a striking addition to any space. The beauty of a wooden floor is its warmth, not only in the physical comfort it gives to bare feet but the soothing look it offers. Choose a light wood such as pine or bamboo if you need to add brightness to a dark bathroom, or a dark wood such as walnut or teak if you want to make a dramatic, on-trend statement. Either way, your bathroom will be transformed into a warm, welcoming space with a practical, durable floor.
Wooden wall panelling
One of the most attractive and popular ways to use wood in the bathroom is by adding panelling. With a few packs of tongue-and-groove panelling and a bit of imagination, your bathroom theme can become traditional, coastal, luxurious, industrial or even oriental.
Wood panelling is the ultimate in flexibility. You can use it horizontally, vertically, diagonally, half-height, full-height or just on the ceiling. However you use it, consider the amount of space you have and the look you’re going for. Too much panelling in a small space can dominate the room, while too little in a large space can make it feel insignificant.
A few tips to get you going include using tongue-and-groove panelling to hide storage, the cistern or even the bathroom door; painting it a darker shade than the walls to break up the bathroom scheme and draw the eye; and considering horizontal panelling in a small space. And if it’s a Regency look you’re after, go all out with floor-to-ceiling panelling and travel back in time a few centuries.
Vanity units and countertops
While there’s no shortage of wood vanity units, cupboards and cabinets made especially for the bathroom, a more bespoke solution is to create your own unique piece from reclaimed wood. A good carpenter will be able to make you a storage solution to fit any space, giving you a beautiful focal point for your bathroom as well as the basis for an entire theme. If sourcing reclaimed wood or distressing new timber is a DIY job too far, go on the hunt in second-hand or charity shops for pieces of furniture you can upcycle.
Alternatively, a wooden countertop makes a real statement when contrasted with a gleaming ceramic sink and sparkling chrome taps. However, if you choose natural, untreated wood, you will have to protect it from the inevitable water splashes using a waterproofing treatment such as Tung oil or epoxy resin. Ask your carpenter which will give the best finish in your bathroom.
Quick and simple ways to add wood
You don’t have to go all out with wood panelling and countertops to bring a bit of the outdoors into your bathroom. Just by adding a few wooden accessories you can give the room a natural, lived-in look that offers comfort as well as practicality. A wooden ladder is a great way to store towels, especially if space is tight, while smaller accessories such as a wooden bath mat or table can add a sense of luxury to any bathroom.
But one of the best ways to bring nature into the bathroom is to use nature itself. A few luscious pot plants will not only transform your bathroom into a spa-like space, they will also absorb excess moisture, cut down bacteria and improve the air quality. Try tropical plants such as orchids, which thrive in a humid atmosphere, while gardenias, azaleas and asparagus ferns all love bright rooms.
A tub made of wood?
Believe it or not, you can relax in a wooden bath or wash in a wooden sink. In fact, cedar and other hardwoods have been used for centuries in Japan to make ‘ofuros’, deep soaking tubs. There are plenty of wooden baths and sinks on the market and, while they may not be cheap, they are certainly conversation pieces, as well as beautiful alternatives to acrylic or steel.
Of course, you might struggle to find a shower fitting that’s made out of wood, but there are plenty that will complement the look you’re going for. Try the Mira Realm for the perfect combination of traditional styling and modern technology.
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