Why Wood Works in the Bathroom

Don’t be afraid of choosing the warmest, most versatile material for your bathing space — wood in the bathroom can work wonders!

Laying a wooden floor or covering surfaces in wood used to be a decor no-no in the bathroom. But modern sealants and paints and superefficient ventilation systems mean you can now embrace your inner Scandi by welcoming the tones and textures of wood. Check out these schemes for inspiration.


Hardwood floors. Whether restored, recycled or installed new — hardwood floors have become one of the most popular choices in every area of the home, and the bathroom is no exception. With a few extra precautions, wood floors can perform as well in bathrooms as they do everywhere else. Wood is fine in bathrooms, you just have to dry water off of it rather than letting it sit, but you should do that anyway, and in return you get the warm and inviting look of hardwood.


A touch of rustic. In an old, beamed home, you can tap into the woody feel without going too back to nature. In this bathroom the house’s own bones are complemented by touches of wood— the chair, the bath panel — that strike just the right balance between traditional and contemporary.


Ribbon of wood grain. Still nervous about using too much wood in a damp room? Fear not — a wide ribbon of wood-veneered storage softens up this pristine and angular bathroom, but rarely comes in direct contact with water. It’s a lovely mixture of materials.


Refresh an old favorite. Tongue and groove paneling is a tried and tested way to clad bathroom walls to hide a tangle of pipes. If you’ve gone for this practical option, you can move with the trends by repainting the paneling as color fashions come and go. This season, gray is still going strong …


Modern lines. This sleek horizontal paneling adds real depth and originality, fashioned into the door and walls. On a practical note, dark wood needs to be well lit to bring out its drama.


Steal style from the sauna. This bathroom has taken a style tip from the steam room — a slatted bench — then used the wood theme along the bath panel and in a striking arch over the basin. This structure provides storage and adds richness.


Say it with sleepers. This bench, flooring and console are reminiscent of satisfyingly chunky-feeling reclaimed railway sleepers, but with a sleeker finish. When properly treated, rich boards can retain their beauty without warping or staining. Sensibly, though, this design incorporates tiles in a similar format for areas that will get plenty of wet footprints.


Mix with metal. This industrial-feeling bathroom is decorated in tiles and wood that fit the style of this converted stable block. The bands of weathered metal that run across the equally worn boards would also look striking in a loft en suite, particularly if the wall wasn’t butting up to the shower.


Don’t be afraid of the dark. The curved wall of the bathroom-based sauna sets the tone for this room’s wood theme: dark, rich and smooth. The same wood continues in the vanity unit and storage over the basins, making the entire space feel luxe rather than rustic.


Wraparound. A powder room can happily work the wood trend, with walls covered in veneer sheets that showcase a beautiful grain.

This room has tiles on the floor, but you could go the whole way and create a warm-hued cocoon. The illuminated inset shelf is a lovely addition to prevent the feeling of a below-deck cabin.


Surround a sink. A chunky length of wood works as a surface for this bathroom’s basin and continues up the walls. Regular oiling will keep the wood protected and in good condition, while a deep basin helps keep splashes to a minimum.


Would you go for wood in the bathroom? Share your thoughts and photos in the comments below.