There are several things you need to think about before you choose a bathroom vanity. First, consider the size of your bathroom, then the vanity’s position, its material, and your personal needs and requirements. Then you can make decisions about its style, different shapes, types, and colors. It is often the centerpiece of your bathroom and it is something you use daily, so it is not as simple a decision as it may seem at first.
Let’s go through all the things that you need to consider, step by step, to make sure that your final choice will bring you satisfaction.
SIZE AND LAYOUT
How well does your current vanity (or sink) fit your needs in terms of size? Measure the one you already have first, and with your current needs in mind, see if or how any change in size could help you make better use of your space. It is important to consider the width, but also height and depth, as well as its distance to surrounding walls or closets. Measure your bathroom and consider several layout options.
Important things to pay attention to when deciding on the layout:
- Plumbing location
- The position of electrical switches and outlets, so they are not blocked or hard to reach
- How much floor space you have, with doors and shower doors opened, as well as vanity doors or drawers, to make sure that your vanity is not too big.
- The distance between the sink and the wall: you should have enough room to move comfortably
- The distance between the cabinet and the toilet bowl should be at least 18"
- List the items that you need to store in your vanity to get a better picture of your actual storage needs
- How frequently do you use each of these and which items need to be at hand, depending on the layout?
- Count how many of them need access to electrical outlets and how many you might need to use at the same time
- How many people need to use the vanity? How would they organize their personal items?
- Do you have items such as hair straighteners that need to be put away while they are still hot?
Smaller, single sink: For smaller bathrooms, guest baths or powder rooms, the range usually goes from 20” to 36”. Although less generous in storage space, a well-designed smaller vanity will still be more practical than a vanity that takes up too much of the room.
Medium, single or double sink: Starting from 42", the countertop has more room for things like makeup, soap dispensers, toothbrush holders and it can also be used comfortably by two people. For bathrooms with a few more inches to spare, or those more comfortable with a double sink, there are vanities with a double sink already starting at 44". However, if what you are looking for in a vanity is primarily storage space, opt for a single sink and a wider cabinet as some of the space might be taken up by plumbing. For example, a 54" single sink vanity might be a better match for you than a 48" double sink.
Large, double sink: Depending on your bathroom size, storage requirements, and the size of your household, vanities can go up to 72" and provide you with two sinks as well as ample storage and counter space. This size is perfect for a master bathroom.
The height of most vanities usually falls somewhere between 32" and 39". The ideal height should be that which is most comfortable. Children’s bathrooms will naturally need a shorter vanity, while taller adults might need to consider a vessel sink or simply a taller vanity. Also, whatever the height of the vanity, vessel sinks, and even semi-recessed ones will typically add a few inches to the countertop.
If you’re buying a vanity without a countertop, that is another thing that needs to be measured. The countertop needs to be 1 inch wider and 1 inch deeper than the cabinet.
If you're purchasing a vanity without a top, you’ll also need to measure for the countertop. Measure the width and depth of the vanity cabinet. The vanity top should be 1 inch wider and 1 inch deeper than the vanity cabinet.
To ensure you have enough floor space, pay attention to the depth of the cabinet you’re buying. Also, remember that you will need to open the drawers or cabinet doors and have enough room to move around the vanity. A smaller cabinet that is easy to access will be more practical and easier to organize than a larger one that takes up too much floor space and limits your movements.
Vanities come in several different styles. The two basic types are freestanding and built-in vanities. Freestanding vanities are convenient for smaller spaces, while those that come built in with other cabinets are convenient for larger spaces, offering you more storage and countertop space. Freestanding vanities come in different styles, each of them suited for different style, storage, and space requirements.
Perfect for a large bathroom, built-in vanities are usually positioned in two ways:
Kept in a single horizontal line on one wall, this layout is simple and keeps all of your things in one place.
The galley layout, an efficient way to use the space, especially if you several people need to get ready for the day at once.
The L-shaped layout is also ideal for a master bathroom, as it can provide enough room for two, but it still divides the bathroom in a way that gives each person an additional sense of own personal space.
Freestanding vanities are better for smaller bathrooms, as they still have the necessary storage space and they hide the plumbing. If you want to create the impression of spaciousness, freestanding vanities that come with legs can help you achieve this, as they do not completely interrupt the floor visually.
If you want your vanity to give away an impression of stability and durability, freestanding vanities that come with very short legs or without them might the right choice.
Floating or wall-mounted vanities create a more modern look, keeping the floor space uninterrupted and creating a sense of lightness. For those that don’t need a lot of storage space and aim to create an airy, clean atmosphere, some vanities also come in styles without cabinet doors, following the open storage approach. However, in this case, it is important to consult a professional that can confirm that your wall can handle the weight of a floating vanity.
If you are aiming for the impression of spaciousness and lightness, you should also take a look at different console vanities. They provide storage space, but they don’t seem heavy or overly imposing. They also come in many charming varieties to provide your bathroom with an even more relaxed, yet stylish look.
Powder rooms or bathrooms with very limited space will benefit from a corner vanity. A smart way to make use of your space, corner vanities can satisfy your needs in terms of storage, as well as style. They also offer an interesting space to experiment with mirrors, wall art, and other bathroom decorations.
Once you’ve decided on the type of cabinet you need, it is time to decide if you want to buy a vanity with a built-in countertop or buy the top separately.
Buying a vanity with a built-in top assures that the top fits perfectly and it saves precious time. On the other hand, a separate purchase enables you to choose the material, the style, and the color if you need it to be more in tune with your specific design ideas. When it comes to materials, you can choose between granite, marble, cultured marble, solid surface, tile, quartz, and even concrete. As some materials are heavier than others, it is important to ensure that your vanity cabinet can easily support the countertop.
After you decide on the number of sinks, there are also a few other things to consider if you are buying a sink separately. Make sure that it fits inside of the cabinet, taking into account the position of the cabinet doors, shelves and the height of the plumbing. Also, depending on your needs for height, cleaning, and appearance, there are several types to choose from.
Recessed or under-mount sinks are the most common type of sinks on vanities. They are mounted underneath the countertop. They are practical, easy to clean and reach.
Vessel or above counter sinks are perfect for those who want something out of the ordinary. Vessel sinks come in many different styles, materials, and sizes. The possible downsides are the added height of the sink, which may be inconvenient for children (also depending on the height of the vanity). Another thing to consider is the distance between the vessel sink and the wall, as if they are installed too close, they may be harder to clean thoroughly.
Drop-in or semi-recessed sinks are somewhere in between recessed and vessel sinks. They can draw attention to the vanity like a vessel sink, but without too much added height. They may also be more difficult to clean than recessed sinks as dirt can sometimes settle on the protruding parts. However, the visual appeal can often be worth that little bit of extra caution and effort.
It is also important to consider the type of faucet your vanity is designed for.
The two basic types of faucets are:
- Widespread: looks like all the parts are separate and requires three holes in the vanity.
- Single-hole faucets: Everything is in one place, the handles or handle and the spout.
Also, it might be useful to consider the height of the faucet, following your personal needs and preferences.
Depending on the size of the vanity, your practical needs, and aesthetic preferences, you might opt for each one of these faucets. It is important to consider how you use the faucet (for example, if you need to wet your hair, a taller one might be more convenient). On the other hand, lower faucets often mean less splashing and easier maintenance.
Contemporary or modern style vanities are characterized by sleek, straight lines, natural materials, geometric patterns, and elegant simplicity. This style aims for a non-imposing, light atmosphere, without any unnecessary embellishments. There is a lot of emphasis on using different materials to achieve the best results in terms of appearance and practicality. Some of the materials, such as engineered wood, are a highly practical blend of natural and manufactured materials, yet they retain their natural, welcoming look. Hardware is often black, silver, or white.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are traditional style vanities. They are far more ornate, often exuding a sense of luxury. They are striking and voluminous, and even the materials themselves seem heavier. They also rely on natural colors and materials, lines that are not as clean and simple as those on contemporary vanities, and often intricate decorative elements. Hardware often relies on bronze and golden colors. If you want something that
Transitional style vanities seem to incorporate the best of both worlds: the warmth of traditional, classic vanities and the sleekness and elegance of more contemporary ones. If you are looking to bring your bathroom up-to-date, this is a great place to start. Transitional style vanities offer you more freedom when experimenting with the rest of the bathroom, making it easier to incorporate other elements that you like best from both traditional and modern styles.
Even if the rest of your house is a certain style, remember, you can still experiment a little in the bathroom and do something completely different to freshen up the style. A simple place to start is the vanity, which can transform the whole room. And in the vast variety of styles and types to choose from, the best designs will be those that you find most soothing and welcoming.