7 Expert Tips To Choose A Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom vanities are an essential part of a modern home. They are both practical and attractive, often acting as the central feature of the bathroom, therefore choosing a style and design that perfectly complements your bathroom and the rest of your house is super important.

Below, we offer some expert tips to help you decide on the best options to make the vanity uniquely yours, from the size and style of it to the specific features you should consider.

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How do I choose the size of my bathroom vanity?

Choosing a size is usually the first step to purchasing a vanity for your bathroom. Knowing exactly how wide and tall you want it will then allow you to determine the placement of your vanity, what features it will include, and, most importantly, what your budget should be.

  • Consider if you would like a single-sink or double-sink vanity - single-sink vanities can range from 24 inches to 48 inches in width, while double-sink vanities are usually 60 inches to 72 inches in width.
  • Have the top of your vanity counter hit somewhere between your hip and lower chest for easy access - most vanities will be between 32 inches and 36 inches tall.
  • Match the depth of the vanity to the total space in your bathroom - average vanity depths from front to back are typically between 20 inches and 21 inches for bathrooms averaging 40 square feet but can range from 14 inches for much smaller bathrooms, to 72 inches for joint or master bathrooms.

How do I determine the placement of my bathroom vanity?

Believe it or not, the placement of your vanity can really make a huge difference. Having it hidden behind a door will make the bathroom look weirdly empty from the outside, while putting it somewhere in the middle of the room may make navigating the bathroom awkward, so plan wisely!

  • A vanity shouldn’t make navigating the bathroom difficult; walk around the space to work out your ‘typical route’ and avoid placing the vanity in areas that you walk through. You don’t want to be constantly bumping into it!
  • Doors and walls can limit the space available, so try to place your vanity in the central area of the bathroom, away from the door and against the widest wall.
  • Make sure that your vanity will not block access to anything important such as the shower or toilet; plan to leave about 20 inches of space between the edges of your vanity and anything surrounding it at the very least.
  • The easiest way to determine if your vanity will fit is to use painter’s tape to mark out the rough dimensions along your placement area. It will also help you visualize how that space will look when occupied by a vanity.

What features should my bathroom vanity have?

A bathroom vanity is much more than just a sink with a mirror above it – it’s where you will get ready in the morning or before parties, and it’s where you will keep all your toiletries and towels. So, make sure that the features below not only look great but also cater to your every need.

Sinks

Consider how many sinks you really need; multiple sinks are a great way to ease that morning traffic, especially in big families, but keep in mind that they significantly reduce countertop space. It’s recommended that double-sink vanities have around 5 inches to 7 inches of space between each sink, so make sure to count that into your total measurements!

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Countertop space

If you plan on storing toiletries or makeup at your vanity, you will probably need a little more counter space than just a sink. Aim to have 5 inches of countertop space on either side of the sink at the very least.

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Cabinets

Under-sink storage will allow you to keep spare towels, bathrobes, and even toiletries in an organized environment, without taking up space elsewhere. Consider purchasing cabinets with lockable doors to ensure small children or pets can’t easily access anything inside them.

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Mirrors

Whether for practicality or aesthetic purposes, mirrors are one of the main components of a vanity. You can choose from simple designs (traditional bathrooms) to abstract shapes (contemporary and whimsical decor) to even mirrors with built-in lights to suit your needs.

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How should I mount my bathroom vanity?

This is mostly determined by the amount of space you have available in your bathroom, as well as how large your vanity will be.

Freestanding

This is the most common type of vanity. It resembles a chest of drawers, stands on its own legs, and is the best option if you want maximum storage space.

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Wall-mounted

This type of vanity opens up some floor space in smaller bathrooms by hanging or “floating” on the wall.

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Corner-mounted

This is the best option if you’re looking to save space. With a 90-degree angle at the back, this type of vanity fits perfectly into one corner but is much smaller than average.

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What sink options are there?

Although many ready-made vanities already come with a sink, some of you may want to complete your vanity from separate cabinets, sinks, and mirrors. This means that, when purchasing cabinets, you need to already know what type of sink you will be installing – it’s never fun to find out that the cabinet of your dreams won’t be able to accommodate the sink you just bought!

Recessed

These sinks are designed to be installed under the top of the counter, with no visible exposed edges. This makes the countertop very easy to clean and appeals to a minimalistic aesthetic. Recessed sinks are found most often in ready-made vanities, as installing them separately involves a lot of work and modification.

Semi-recessed

These sinks are mounted directly into an opening on the counter, with their edges resting over the top of the opening. They are also known as top-mount or drop-in sinks and can be purchased both in ready-made vanities and separately.

Countertop

These sinks simply rest on top of the counter surface and tend to be the go-to option these days for stylish bathrooms across all decorating schemes. Once again, these can be purchased both in ready-made vanities and separately.

What style should I choose for my bathroom vanity?

The style of your vanity should complement the rest of the bathroom décor; if you are undecided, consider a contemporary style as it is the most universal/neutral style, and therefore can match almost any décor. Here are some of the most popular bathroom vanity styles you can pick from:

Contemporary

This style is simple, involves relatively minimalistic designs, and a neutral color palette that can fit with most other styles.

Modern

This style incorporates bolder design choices, such as bright or unusual colors, along with sharper angles and more abstract shapes.

Traditional

This style most often involves classic yet detailed designs with carvings and patterns, and usually sticks to a neutral color palette, like the contemporary style.

Rustic

This style places a huge emphasis on the beauty of nature, using materials such as raw wood, metal, or stone.

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What materials should I pick for my bathroom vanity?

There is a wide range of materials you can use for the base cabinet and sink of your vanity. Once again, you will need to consider whether the vanity is supposed to serve a more practical or aesthetic role in your home in order to make the best choice possible.

Hardwood

This is a type of high-density wood, usually sourced from trees such as mahogany, maple, or oak. Hardwood is a common base cabinet material for those wanting something sturdier, with a rustic or traditional style.

Manufactured wood

This is a type of man-made wood, which is usually much lighter in density than hardwood. Although disliked by some for being less sturdy, this is the perfect material for those wanting a more modern or contemporary style for their bathroom.

Metal

Metal can be used for both the base cabinets and sinks. This is perfect for those wanting a bolder, modern style for their bathroom, and is greatly favored for how easy it is to clean. If not cared for properly, however, the metal may become discolored or scratched; purchase special nonabrasive cleaning cloths and cleaning solutions that do not contain bleach to avoid this.

Glass

This is another great sink material that fits perfectly into more modern styles of bathroom and is once again very easy to keep clean. It is, however, the most fragile material, and therefore is not recommended for people living with small children, or those who are simply clumsy!

Ceramic

Ceramic is the most common sink, versatile material and can be made to fit absolutely any style of bathroom and any base cabinet material. It is one of the most long-lasting materials you can use for your sink.

Stone

Perfect for achieving a rustic aesthetic, stone sinks (or even ceramic sinks styled to look like stone) are becoming increasingly popular. Like ceramic, they are quite sturdy and can last much longer than other sink materials.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.