Wooden touches can really add an organic and natural look to any bathroom space, and there are a variety of options to choose from.
With a variety of shades ranging from bright and airy, light coloured shades, all the way up to boisterous and dark tones there are plenty to choose from.
Walnut is one of those, and it can work as either a great standalone product, or as part of a full bathroom scheme. In this guide, all the key questions about this beautiful dark, rich tone, plus bathroom ideas on how to incorporate walnut into your space, are answered. This includes what it is, the types of walnut, and how it compares to other wooden tones and colours.
What is Walnut & is it a Type of Wood?
Walnut itself is a fruit of a tree from the plant genus Juglans in the form of the edible nut that is eaten every day. However, like most trees, most people refer to it by the fruit – in this case the walnut tree. As such, though it is not technically the wood, many people refer to walnut in both colour and in timber terms as walnut based on it coming from this tree.
The timber is made from a variety of different walnut trees from around the world, all with different shadings and properties. However, the two most common that can be found across Europe are English Walnut and Black Walnut, although the latter is also readily found in the US. The former has a lighter brown colour, while the latter has a more premium, darker colour.
By and large, a lot of bathroom furniture products are unlikely to be made from pure walnut, and is much more likely to be either a veneer added to a material like MDF. This is a slim, thin covering made from the material that is finished on the front of a unit.
In some cases, this may be as simple as just representing the colour or tone of the finish than the material of the product. As such, if a solid walnut bathroom item is on the list, then it may be difficult to source one unless bespokely made or created, and may come at a higher cost, reflecting both the uniqueness and workmanship. Additionally, the look is incredibly hard to replicate, and so is not widely available as a cheap or regular off-the-shelf finish.
What Colour or Finish is Walnut?
From a paint perspective, those walnut tones offered tend to be more of a creamier, brown colour providing a more neutral look.
However, when it comes to the wood – which is what many people tend to look for - walnut is a rich, dark brown colour lighter than mahogany but of a deeper shade than oak. It has a chocolatey look that intertwines with elements of other colours within the grain itself, while the edges of walnut tends to be lighter, with all areas – in some cases - having a marble-like grain. The actual final colour tends to depend on the type of walnut used in the product or veneer finish, or even the interpretation of the brand if it is just described as walnut based on the colour rather than the material itself.
As a dark wood, it tends to be one that people steer away from in bathroom spaces, yet it shouldn’t be one to be afraid of. In fact, when it comes to a bathroom space, this darker tone can really complement paler shades, providing a sumptuous Autumnal look.
Is Walnut A Hardwood or Softwood?
The wood from the Walnut tree is a hardwood material, which makes it ideal for using in a number of different applications including bathroom furniture. They have a denser texture, which helps create longer-lasting, more durable and appealing products.
Is Walnut Currently on Trend?
Wooden tones very much remain on trend because they provide numerous benefits when it comes to bathrooms:
- They offer a natural, authentic look that works with many different styles
- It can be used to create a spa-like or homely feel
- It is incredibly versatile, and can work a variety of different colours
However, when it comes to particular wood tones or colours these do change over time. In the case of walnut, this was once a fairly popular finish. According to Google AdWords, searches for walnut bathroom furniture have dropped from around 220 searches a month in 2019 to just 110 in 2022 on average, a drop of 50%.
Compare this oak bathroom furniture, which has grown from 320 searches a month to 480 (+50%), and everyday coloured bathroom furniture, then it is more of a niche taste in the current climate. Nevertheless, that isn’t to say it isn’t worth investing in – it is still very much a versatile finish to work with.
What Colours Go With Walnut?
Walnut can suit a variety of bathroom spaces. Its velvet, dark graining, lends itself well to being incorporated into traditional bathroom spaces (think industrial style with bright metallics), boutique hotel style, rustic bathrooms or even farmhouse style bathrooms. This includes a more darker, bathroom theme with more intense lighting and even a touch of exposed brick.
Additionally, it can just as easily translate into modern spaces around simple, minimalist fixtures and fittings. So what colours does walnut work with?
As walnut is a dark colour, it pairs well with lighter colours. However, if you are looking to keep your space adaptable, then neutral colours such as white, magnolia and creams are complementary colours to walnut finished items.
Dark and Moody
Many people steer away from darker colours, as it can be quite overpowering, bordering on gloomy if the lighting isn’t right. Yet this should not be a deterrent. In fact, this dark on dark – think lighter browns, red-browns and even black can provide a decadent backdrop that provides a luxe hotel-look.
Golds and Brasses
As a darker colour, when it comes to brassware then bright colours like golds, brasses and even copper can provide a rustic look alongside any walnut bathroom item or unit. This pairs naturally with the lighter graining of the veneer or finish.
Adding natural colours to the space can really bring out the authenticity of the wood. Using forest-themed colours such as greens, beige, grey and brown helps to recreate the woodland and forestry look. This can especially work well when incorporating plant-life and other woodland touches into the bathroom space.
If playful is more the style you are aiming to achieve then walnut works just as well with brighter colours, and you can use colour wheels to build schemes that complement this colour. As brown is a mixed colour between the primary colours, red and blue, then you will be looking at colours that fit a similar theme.
As such, as well as greens, think lighter blues and aquas to create a look of wood on water, burnt orange, or even purples and indigos. If opting for a more monochromatic look, even a play on different shades of browns and beiges is an option.
Bright colours does not have to be huge swathes but could be simple accents and decorative touches around the room, alongside much plainer and simpler colours like white.
What Other Considerations Are There With Walnut?
There one major factor to consider when it comes to incorporating walnut in a space is mainly the lighting since it is such a dark colour:
- Offer as much light as possible: imperative that light is provided either through spotlights or through natural light. This will offset some of the darkness, and remove the possibility of a dark, dingy space
- Glass – Avoid blocking out light using frameless glass in shower enclosures, and keeping windows unobstructed
- Downgrade to just a Walnut Countertop – If entire walnut fixtures and fittings are too powerful for, compromise by investing in a walnut countertop, which is offset by another colour
- Mirrors – Use mirrors to expand the room, as well as reflecting light around the space.
- Avoid placing in direct sunlight – As a wood, walnut has a downside in that direct sunlight can bleach the wood
- The Environmental Impact – As walnut trees take a long time to mature, there is an environmental impact to using the material. While the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) see the European Walnut as of least concern from extinction, some varieties are incredibly at risk. As such, it is always worth checking the source of walnut materials, and checking for any sustainable credentials such as FSC accreditation.
Is Walnut More Expensive Than Other Finishes?
Walnut as a wood finish is more expensive than a lot of other finishes. This is partly due to demand in the market, but also as a result of supply. According to woodworkingclarity.com, this is due to its scarcity and growth rate compared to other types of wood. In terms of bathroom furniture finishes, walnut is a more expensive finish than many other plain or coloured units. As already referenced to, it is quite a hard product to create on a mass scale unless naturally used, and due to this is not as widely available as other wooden looks.
How To Take Care of Walnut Furniture & Is It Water Resistant?
Like all wood types, walnut is not completely resistant to water damage, and heavy or regular exposure to water can cause damage. It is always worth following any manufacturer advice in respect of care and protection of the product, in order not to void the warranty.
However, the general consensus amongst the woodworking community is that walnut is one of the better wood types for resisting water. It has a wood durability classification of Class 3 (moderately durable) , which means it can generally last around 10-15 years. To protect it longer term, it may need treatment and protection to retain the look and prevent any long-lasting damage.
Walnut Bathroom Ideas Images & Pictures
Walnut is a durable and versatile option for any bathroom space. It can add an authentic look to both modern and traditional spaces alike. If you are looking to build wood tones or walnut into your bathroom space, and would like some ideas, get in contact with our experts or book a 3D bathroom design appointment to get your space visualised.