How To Choose A Bathroom Vanity
It’s not always the most glamorous part of a bathroom remodel, but choosing the right bathroom vanity can make or break your bathroom’s design. If it’s placed awkwardly in a traffic route, uses poor or mismatched materials, or doesn’t have enough storage, the rest of your bathroom will suffer.
Access – Choose a spot for your vanity that won’t mess with your bathroom’s traffic flow or block the bathroom door or shower door swing. Think about cleaning and about the vanity door swing space, too. Good questions to ask, include: “Are the surrounding areas accessible for cleaning? If the vanity has doors, is the space around the vanity adequate for foot traffic when they are open?”
You should take other architectural features into account when deciding on a spot, too. Make sure that any windows nearby will allow for a mirror and wall cabinets above the vanity.
Plumbing – If you need to change your bathroom’s plumbing to install your new vanity, it’s going to account for a chunk of your budget. Even switching from a traditional floor-mounted vanity to a wall-mounted version will mean rerouting pipes and drains.
Vanities are placed in environments that are humid, wet and busy. The materials that make up your vanity of choice should be able to stand up to such an environment. Wood veneers, laminates and thermofoil tend to work well in bathrooms. Wood should be properly sealed and lacquered.
You may want to avoid pressed MDF too, since it’s susceptible to water damage.
Look for a durable vanity top as well, and try to avoid anything with hard-to-clean grout. If you’re replacing other bathroom finishes, consider choosing your vanity top first. It’s so much easier to find a tile and cabinet to match a unique countertop than trying to find a top to match a unique tile.
Taking account of what you truly use will help you decide how much storage you’ll need in your new vanity. Take inventory of what you store in your current vanity. Organize everything by what you’ll need to have in reach and what you’ll just need to have nearby.
Using vanities with drawers can provide a good amount of storage, since they take advantage of the often-unused space around plumbing.
If you’re stuck with a small vanity cabinet, consider adding extra cabinets that rest on the counters.
Scale – Your vanity size should always make sense for your bathroom’s size. Cramming a huge vanity into a tiny bathroom doesn’t make sense, no matter what your storage needs are.
For regularly used bathrooms, we recommend starting with a vanity that’s a minimum of 21 inches deep and 24 inches wide.
Height – Consider who is using the vanity to decide on the proper height, too tall or too short can be equally frustrating. Traditionally, 32 inches is the go-to height measurement for bathroom vanities. But some designers disagree with that measurement due to modern sink styles.
The variety of vanity designs today makes it easy to find what you need in terms of design and storage, but many designers still recommend looking into a custom design for greater efficiency. Custom vanities are not always more expensive than store bought.
Don’t forget that your bowl doesn’t have to be in the middle, a sink bowl that’s slightly off center allows for more countertop space. Consider your bowl size, too. Bigger, deeper bowls can mean less mess to clean up.
Putting electricity in the cabinet box can be a nice touch as well — if you want to keep hair dryers, toothbrushes and other necessities ready to go. Having a custom vanity design can help you consider all of the small details that often get overlooked, like features that work whether you’re left-handed or right-handed.
Of course, choosing your vanity materials, style and design has a lot to do with how you feel about your home, too. A custom-designed vanity in the master bathroom of your “forever home“ might make sense, but a store-bought vanity could work just fine in the guest bathroom of a home you plan to sell down the road.