When bathroom furniture gets wet

The moisture in the bathroom can be a problem for furniture. The water droplets from the washbasin, WC, shower, bathtub spread in the bathroom and result in high humidity, which can damage the furniture if it is not made to suit bathroom conditions. And airing the bathroom is not enough on its own.

If the humidity gets to the wood, the affected areas can start to swell. But damp wooden panels on bathroom furniture can also change shape. In the very worst case, drawers and cabinet doors may no longer fit properly. But you can prevent all kinds of trouble in the bathroom by choosing the right furniture.


There are two relevant factors when choosing furniture for the bathroom: the material the furniture is made of and the surface of the bathroom furniture.


Wood is the most common material used for bathroom furniture. And it comes in various forms: plywood, chipboard, MDF boards or solid wood. Depending on its composition, wood will react differently to moisture in the air and thus varies in terms of suitability for bathroom furniture.

  • Plywood is probably the best choice. It changes its shape far less than solid wood because it is glued crosswise. Swelling due to the humidity is not nearly the issue it is with other wood. The material is also very resistant to bending and easy to screw together; in other words, it is a functional, good choice for bathroom furniture.
  • MDF boards consist of decomposed wood fibres that are mixed with glue and pressed. The surface is beautifully smooth which means it is good for foils and varnishes. However, they are much heavier than chipboard and also more expensive. They are pretty water-resistant and are thus perfectly suitable for use in bathroom furniture. Mould or swelling are not an issue with good foil or varnish.
  • Chipboard in its raw form is unsuitable for bathrooms because it swells irreversibly when exposed to moisture. This can, however, be avoided with good surface sealing. A set of bathroom furniture made of chipboard is thus basically not a bad idea. Ultimately, it depends on the quality of the processing.
  • Solid wood, however, expands rapidly when exposed to moisture. Not even the best construction measures can change that. Moreover, it is relatively expensive. We would therefore advise against bathroom furniture made of solid wood.
Geberit Selnova bathroom furniture


Because the wooden materials that can be used are not terribly attractive and even in an ideal case are still sensitive to water in the air, they need coating. There are all kinds of different variants.

Foils are the simplest and also the least expensive. The quality is a decisive factor. Cheap foils on bathroom furniture are sensitive to scratches and tend to peel off. And then the water can damage the furniture. High-quality, thick foils, on the other hand, such as the ones Geberit uses, are robust and easy to maintain.

  • Melamine is a laminate made of resin, decor paper and a transparent top layer. The material is very robust – and thus a good choice for the bathroom.
  • Real wood veneer is glued onto chipboard or MDF boards as a layer of wood around one millimetre thick. It looks very similar to solid wood furniture. With a veneer, the furniture is less expensive but more stable than when it is made of solid wood. Naturally, the front made of real wood has to be coated, varnished or whitened, otherwise it is sensitive to the high humidity in the bathroom.
  • Varnish provides the popular high-gloss effect for bathroom furniture. This is expensive, however, particularly because of the elaborate procedure used: after varnishing, the surface has to be ground and polished. This makes the side cabinet scratchproof and waterproof.
  • Glass has the well-known advantage that it is completely insensitive to moisture. When it comes to bathroom furniture, glass is usually combined with an MDF board or chipboard which is usually painted white, black or anthracite grey. The glass provides the high-gloss effect and gives the bathroom furniture extra protection against moisture.