Selecting the right vanity is one of the most important decisions when remodeling a bathroom or building a new home. The vanity sets the tone for the whole space and serves as the focal point, so it’s essential to choose one that fits your needs, design style, and budget. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing a bathroom vanity.
Bathroom Vanity Styles
Bathroom vanities come in a range of styles, from traditional to contemporary. Consider what design aesthetic you want for your bathroom. Some popular vanity styles include:
Traditional style vanities have an elegant, timeless look with ornate decorative details. Design features include arched panels, carved legs, and marble countertops. The cabinets often have raised or recessed panels on the doors and drawer fronts. Traditional vanities work well in classic, old-world style bathrooms.
Contemporary vanities have a sleek, streamlined look. They typically feature simple cabinet door styles with clean lines and minimal ornamentation. The countertops are usually solid surface materials like quartz or marble. This modern style is ideal for current, trendy bathrooms.
Transitional vanities blend elements of traditional and contemporary styles. They often have clean lines but with some decorative details such as glass knobs or arched panels. Transitional vanities provide a bridge between classic and modern design.
Rustic style vanities have a natural, earthy look using materials like wood, stone, and metal. Features include visible wood grains, uneven surfaces, and hardware with an aged patina. Rustic vanities are perfect for a cozy cabin or farmhouse style bathroom.
Coastal vanities have a relaxed, beachy vibe with details like whitewashed wood, sea glass accents, and weathered finishes. Shaker style cabinets painted soft white or blue work well. Coastal vanities are ideal for bathrooms with a nautical theme.
Once you decide on a vanity style, the options for customizing are endless. Mix and match details like finishes, hardware, and countertops to create a look that reflects your personal taste.
Bathroom Vanity Shapes
In addition to style, consider the shape of your vanity. Here are some common options:
A single vanity has the sink basin on one side. It’s usually 36-42 inches wide. Single vanities work well in small bathrooms or powder rooms.
A double vanity has two sink basins side-by-side. The standard width is 60-72 inches. Double vanities are convenient for busy households and master suites.
A wall-mount vanity hangs directly on the wall with no cabinet below it. This open and airy look provides a lighter visual impact for small spaces.
Corner vanities are triangular or pie-shaped to fit in a bathroom corner. They maximize space in small square footage.
A pedestal vanity has the sink basin on top of a central pedestal leg. There are no cabinets or drawers. The minimalist design suits smaller powder rooms.
Vessel vanities have an above-counter sink that sits on top of the vanity surface like a bowl. The exposed sink highlights the countertop material.
Once you select the vanity shape, decide on size. Measure your bathroom space carefully to ensure your vanity will fit proportionately. Scale is especially important in a small bathroom.
Bathroom Vanity Tops
Bathroom vanity tops play a big role in the overall look of your vanity. Here are some popular options for vanity countertops:
Granite is a natural stone that provides an elegant, timeless look. It comes in many colors and patterns from dramatic dark greys to muted beiges. Granite is durable, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean and maintain.
Marble is a classic material often seen on high-end vanities. It has beautiful veining and tones that range from bright white to charcoal grey. Marble requires regular sealing to prevent etching and stains.
Quartz is an engineered stone that’s durable and low maintenance. It resists scratches, stains, and water damage. Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns for maximum customization.
Butcher Block Countertops
Butcher block offers a warm, organic look, especially on rustic or farmhouse style vanities. Butcher block countertops require regular oiling to prevent water damage and staining.
Laminate is an affordable option that comes in many colors and patterns. The material is easy to maintain but can scuff or scratch over time. Laminate works well for rental or budget properties.
Concrete is having a resurgence in modern bathrooms. It can be stained, polished, or stamped to achieve varied looks. Concrete is durable but prone to staining if not sealed properly.
When selecting a countertop, consider your budget, bathroom style, and maintenance requirements. Visit home improvement stores to view different options in person.
Bathroom Vanity Cabinets
The vanity cabinet houses the plumbing and provides storage for bathroom essentials. Here are key features to look for when choosing vanity cabinets:
Common vanity cabinet materials include wood, laminate, and metal. Wood options range from oak to mahogany in a variety of finishes. Laminate is affordable and comes in many colors. Metal cabinets provide a sleek, modern look. Consider moisture and durability when choosing cabinet materials.
Cabinet Doors and Drawers
Vanity cabinet doors can have simple flat panels or elaborate raised panels for a more formal look. Drawers provide convenient storage for items like makeup and perfumes. Full extension drawers are easy to access all the way to the back. Soft-close hinges prevent slamming.
Look for vanities with open shelves or drawer organizers to customize the interior storage. rollout trays, tip-out bins and built-in slots for essential bathroom items. Adjustable shelves allow flexibility.
Hardware makes a big impact on the overall vanity design. Satin nickel, chrome, brushed nickel and bronze are popular finishes. Glass, crystal or brushed steel knobs provide modern style. Wrought iron, ceramic or wood knobs offer traditional charm. Match the vanity hardware to other bathroom fixtures for a cohesive look.
When evaluating bathroom vanity cabinets, check that doors and drawers align properly when fully closed. Look closely for any gaps, chips or scratches in the cabinetry. Carefully assembled, quality wood cabinets will last for years.
Bathroom Vanity Sinks
Choosing the right bathroom vanity sink is critical for functionality and design. Consider these factors when selecting a sink:
Common materials for bathroom sinks include porcelain, ceramic, enameled steel, and glass. Porcelain is durable, easy to clean, and available in many colors. Ceramic also resists chipping. Glass vessel sinks are beautiful but more fragile. Enameled steel provides a vintage look with more prone to chipping and dents.
Sink Shape and Size
Vessel, pedestal and undermount sinks come in round or oval shapes, while self-rimming sinks have rectangular shapes. Measure your existing countertop space or vanity width to determine the ideal sink size. Sinks generally range from 24 to 32 inches wide.
Number of Faucet Holes
Check that your sink choice matches the number of holes needed for your faucet. Most sinks require 1 to 3 holes for the faucet handle(s) and mixer. Vessel sinks may not need any holes drilled into the countertop.
Drain placement can vary from rear, center or side locations. Make sure the drain position will work with the vanity cabinet width and plumbing. Center drain sinks allow for flexible faucet placement.
An overflow drain helps prevent water overflow. Built-in overflows provide a more streamlined look compared to exposed overflow tubes. Check local plumbing codes to see if an overflow drain is required.
Test sinks in person at showrooms. Look for quality construction and thick, durable materials that feel solid. Avoid sinks with cracks, chips or uneven surfaces.
Faucets for Bathroom Vanities
With so many options available, choosing the right vanity faucet can be overwhelming. Keep these tips in mind when selecting a faucet:
Choose a faucet that fits the number of existing holes in your sink or countertop. If you want a wall-mount faucet, make sure your plumbing allows the needed modifications.
Common faucet styles include centerset, widespread, and waterfall designs. Centerset faucets have handles and spout all in one unit for simple installation. Widespread faucets have separate spout and handles for flexible placement. Waterfall faucets have an elongated arched spout.
Popular faucet finishes include chrome, nickel, bronze and black. The finish should coordinate with other hardware and fixtures in your bathroom design. Oil-rubbed bronze and vintage nickel work for traditional bathrooms, while matte black and polished chrome provide a modern look.
Single-Handle vs. Two-Handle
The number of handles is a matter of personal preference. Single-handle (lever style) faucets allow you to control water flow and temperature in one unit. Two-handle faucets allow you to adjust hot and cold water separately.
Touch-activated faucets turn on with just a tap or hand motion. Touchless faucets are convenient if you often have messy or wet hands at the sink. Voice-activated models provide even more high-tech functionality.
When purchasing a faucet, check for WaterSense certification. WaterSense faucets use at least 30% less water than standard models, saving water and energy. Be sure to coordinate your faucet with your sink choice during the planning and design process.
Lighting for Bathroom Vanities
Proper lighting is essential for tasks like shaving, makeup application and hair styling. Evaluate these lighting options for your bathroom vanity:
Pendant lights installed directly above the sink provide both ambient lighting and task lighting. Opt for multi-bulb fixtures to prevent shadows. Gooseneck designs allow you to adjust the direction.
Wall mounted scone lights flanking the vanity mirror is a classic, space-saving choice. Sconces cast even lighting and prevent shadows. Just make sure they don’t obstruct storage cabinets.
Under Cabinet Lighting
Strip lighting installed underneath cabinets illuminates the countertop work area without glare. Under cabinet lighting works well for single sink vanities.
Vanity Mirror Lighting
Built-in lights around the mirror offer even illumination ideal for grooming. LED vanity mirror lights usually have adjustable brightness levels for customization.
Strategically placed windows and skylights allow natural light into the bathroom. Sunlight reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day.
Dimmers give you flexibility to adjust the lighting for different tasks and times of day. Layer ambient, task and accent lighting for the best vanity illumination. Consult a lighting designer if needed.
Bathroom Vanity Mirrors
The vanity mirror ties the whole look together and makes a big impact in a small space. Consider the following when selecting a mirror:
Measure the total width of your vanity cabinets. Choose a mirror that stretches across most of the vanity for proper scale. Centered mirrors with 5-10 inches of countertop showing on each side provide the most balanced look.
Square and rectangular mirrors work well above single and double sink vanities. Uniquely shaped mirrors like arched, oval and round can mirror special vanity shapes like vessel sinks.
Mirrored cabinets help extend storage. Simple frameless mirrors have a clean, contemporary look. Ornate wood or metal frames suit traditional bathrooms. Match the finish to other hardware fixtures.
Look for mirrors with built-in defoggers to prevent fogging and ensure clarity in steamy bathrooms. Heated and anti-fog mirrors use this helpful technology.
Mount the mirror on the wall above the vanity countertop for use while standing. Opt for a tilting medicine cabinet style mirror if using the vanity while seated. Place the bottom edge of the mirror 40-48 inches above the finished floor for universal use.
Proper bathroom mirror placement, size and lighting will help make your daily grooming routine easier and more pleasant.
Additional Vanity Storage Solutions
No matter how spacious the vanity cabinets, most bathrooms can benefit from extra storage. Here are some options:
Freestanding cabinets provide flexible additional storage space. Try a tall narrow cabinet next to the vanity for toiletries, towels and toilet paper. Shorter hutches offer a surface for decor.
Wall mounted medicine cabinets or glass front cabinets add storage without taking up floor space. Store items you use less frequently up and away.
Under Sink Storage
Add rolling trays or stackable bins that slide under the vanity cabinet for items like cleaning supplies. Door mounted racks on the cabinet interior also help maximize space.
Customize vanity drawers with compartments for toiletries, makeup, hair products and other essentials. Dividers, trays and inserts keep items neatly organized.
Floating shelves mounted on the wall provide display space in the bathroom. Use for rolled towels, decorative plants or other accent items. Just don’t overload the shelves with too many heavy objects.
Take time to organize the bathroom cabinets and drawers to best suit your needs and lifestyle. Add hooks, bins and shelving to maximize every bit of available space.
Bathroom Vanity Ideas by Budget
Bathroom vanities are available at nearly every price point to suit any budget. Here are some ideas organized by budget ranges:
$300 – $700
The budget range of $300-$700 offers simple vanity styles and smaller sizes better suited to powder rooms or secondary baths.
- 24-30 inch single sink vanity with cultured marble top
- Simple shaker style cabinet with laminate finish
- Pedestal sink or wall hung vanity for a minimalist look
$700 – $1200
With $700-$1200, you can get a quality vanity for a main bathroom or master bath.
- 30-36 inch single vanity with solid surface quartz top
- Double sink vanity with granite or marble top
- Transitional style vanity with wooden cabinet doors
- Ceramic undermount rectangular sink
$1200 – $2000
In the $1200-$2000 range, you’ll find high-quality vanities with premium features and finishes.
- Solid wood double vanity with custom cabinetry
- Elaborate framed mirrors and sconce lighting
- Natural stone countertops like granite or marble
- Curved front drawers with soft-close glides
$2000 – $4000
For luxury master bathrooms, spend $2000-$4000 on stunning vanities with custom details.
- Exotic woods like teak or mahogany
- Full overlay cabinets with intricate carvings
- Oversized double vanity with Calacatta marble top
- Floating vanity with polished stone vessel sinks
The over $4000 price range offers true designer vanities with the highest grade materials and workmanship.
- Hand crafted antique inspired cabinets
- Rare imported stone tops like blue onyx
- Multiple compartments and drawers for built-ins
- Hidden storage cabinets for clutter-free look
Set your vanity budget early, then allocate for top quality fixtures and hardware. Beautiful bathrooms can be created at any price point with good planning and savvy furniture finds.
Should You Buy Stock, Custom or Semi-Custom Vanities?
Vanities are available as stock, semi-custom or fully custom. Assess these options when choosing your vanity:
Stock vanities come ready-made with set dimensions and configurations. They’re the most affordable option but offer limited sizes and material choices. Stock vanities are readily available at home improvement stores.
Semi-custom vanities offer some size variations and material options at a moderate cost. You can select finishes, hardware and tops while the cabinet construction remains standardized. Many retailers like Lowe’s and Wayfair offer semi-custom lines.
Fully customized vanities are hand crafted to your exact specifications. With endless options for sizes, layouts, materials and details, custom vanities fit your space and style perfectly. Custom vanities are the most expensive but provide quality craftsmanship.
If you have a standard sized bathroom, a quality stock vanity may suffice. For larger, irregular spaces or upscale remodels, custom vanities are worth the investment. Talk to a kitchen and bath designer to determine the best vanity type for your needs and budget.
Hiring Professional Help for Your Bathroom Vanity
Some key professionals can help with your bathroom vanity installation:
Hire an interior designer to conceptualize the overall bathroom design aesthetic, select vanity styles and finishes, and source cabinetry and fixtures. They can provide 2D floor plans or 3D renderings to bring the space to life.
Kitchen and bath designers have specialized expertise in residential spaces like bathrooms. They recommend vanity layouts suited for your routines, help with measurements and technical specs, and manage the ordering and installation.
A professional plumber is needed to disconnect existing plumbing and faucets, install new drains and fixtures, and