Updating a bathroom vanity can breathe new life into an outdated bathroom. With so many options available, from materials to styles to storage solutions, choosing the right modern bathroom vanity can be overwhelming. This extensive guide will walk you through the process of selecting and installing a new vanity that fits your needs and design aesthetic.

We’ll cover how to determine the right size vanity, choose complementary materials like marble or wood, incorporate modern colors and hardware for a contemporary look, add clever storage with drawers and cabinets, install vessel sinks or undermount sinks, add mirrors and lighting, and DIY the installation or hire a pro. With the tips in this guide, you’ll be equipped to give your bathroom a stylish and functional vanity update. Let’s get started!

Determining the Right Size Modern Bathroom Vanity

When updating your bathroom vanity, the first decision is selecting the right size. Here are some tips for choosing a vanity size that fits your space and needs:

Consider the Dimensions of the Bathroom

Take measurements of your bathroom’s size and layout. Make sure to measure the width of the space where the vanity will be installed. Standard modern bathroom vanities range from 24 to 72 inches wide. Make sure to leave at least 21 inches of clearance in front of the vanity for comfort.

Factor in Your Needs for Storage and Surface Space

Determine your needs for storage and counter space. Wider modern vanities allow more surface area for getting ready. Deeper vanities with more drawers and cabinets provide more storage solutions. But don’t overwhelm a small space with an oversized vanity.

Accommodate Existing Plumbing

Look at the current placement of your plumbing fixtures and make sure any new vanity will accommodate them. Moving plumbing substantially can add unexpected costs.

Allow for Proper Door and Room Clearances

Check that the vanity dimensions still allow doors to open fully and provide enough room for traffic flow in the bathroom.

Select Standard Depths and Heights

Standard vanity depths are between 20 to 24 inches deep and heights range from 31 to 36 inches tall. Stick to standard sizing unless you need something highly customized.

Consider Stool Space at Open Vanities

For a more open look, make sure to factor in legroom if you’ll use stools at the vanity.

By carefully measuring your existing bathroom footprint and factoring in how you use the space, you can determine the ideal vanity width, depth, and height for your room.

Choosing Materials for Modern Bathroom Vanities

The material you choose for a new modern bathroom vanity will impact its style, durability, and cost. Here are some of the most popular vanity materials to consider:

Wood Vanities

Wood vanities add warmth and elegance to a bathroom. Popular wood choices include oak, maple, cherry, teak, walnut, and mahogany. Painted wood provides an affordable option. Distressed wood brings rustic charm. Wood stands up well to everyday use.

Marble or Quartz Vanities

For a luxurious look, marble and quartz vanities have timeless appeal. The natural stone patterns add visual interest. Quartz is engineered stone that looks like marble but is more durable and stain-resistant. Marble requires more sealing to prevent etching.

Metal or Glass Vanities

For contemporary styling, metal and glass modern vanities have an open, airy look. Brass, chrome, and stainless steel are common metal bathroom vanity options. Glass vanity tops allow light to pass through. Consider a accent tint or “frosted” look.

Manufactured Stone Vanities

Vanities using manufactured materials like ceramic or porcelain tiles or engineered stone like Caesarstone bring the look of natural stone without the high maintenance. Plus, manufactured stone comes in an array of colors.

When selecting materials, consider your overall decor, functional needs, and budget. A combination of materials can give you the best of both worlds—a marble-topped wooden vanity, for example.

Incorporating Modern Colors and Finishes

The color palette and finishes you select for a new modern bathroom vanity will shape its style and mood. Here are some popular modern color and finish options to consider:

Cool Tones for Contemporary Style

Colors like gray, white, and silver paired with chrome finishes give a vanity a sleek, contemporary look. These cooler hues feel relaxing and zen. Add visual interest by pairing soft gray cabinets with a crisp white quartz countertop.

Warm Tones for Traditional Style

For a more traditional feel, use warm wood stains, antique white paint, or neutral beige and brown tones. Adding brass or bronze hardware gives a timeless, classic look. Dark wood finishes can make a statement.

Bold Colors for Eclectic Style

Make your vanity pop with vibrant colors like navy blue, emerald, or rich yellow. Painting the vanity cabinet in a glossy bold tone adds an eclectic, fun touch. Contrast with neutral walls and flooring so the colors don’t overwhelm.

Matte Finishes for Minimalist Style

Avoid high gloss and opt for matte, soft-close finishes. The more muted and minimal the palette, the more contemporary the vanity appears. Consider a matte black wood vanity and hardware for a cutting-edge yet neutral look.

Take cues from your existing bathroom decor and the mood you want to achieve. Do you want a soothing spa-like retreat or vibrant artist’s studio? Keeping color choices cohesive will ensure your new vanity blends seamlessly into your bath design.

Incorporating Storage Solutions and Drawers

Don’t miss an opportunity to maximize storage and organization with your bathroom vanity. Here are ways to incorporate handy storage solutions:

Opt for Drawers Over Doors

Drawers provide easier access to contents than cabinet doors. Opt for soft-close mechanisms for a luxury feel. Include a mix of sizes from wide shallow drawers to narrow deep drawers.

Use Pull-Out Shelving Under Sinks

Install pull-out shelving under the sink basin to neatly organize toiletries and cleaning products. Lazy Susan turntables also efficiently use the space.

Hide Wastebans in Cabinetry

Built-in wastebin compartments keep unsightly trash out of sight. Position near the sink basin area for convenience.

Include Trays and Organizers

Use trays and compartments to divide drawers to keep items in order. Can also use hanging organizers on the back of cabinet doors.

Incorporate Towel Bars or Shelves

Look for opportunities to add extra towel bars or shelving above or adjacent to the vanity for frequently used linens and toiletries.

By incorporating as much functional storage as possible, your modern bath vanity will help keep your space tidy and organized.

Choosing the Right Sink Type

Two main considerations for your new vanity are the sink type and faucet selection. Here are the pros and cons of popular modern sink choices:

Vessel Sinks

Vessel sinks sit on top of the vanity countertop surface. Their elevated design makes a stylish statement and allows easy cleaning. Avoid splashing by selecting a height in proportion to the faucet.

Undermount Sinks

Undermount sinks are installed below the countertop and offer a sleek, seamless look. However, countertop material like solid marble is required since the sink needs support.

Integrated Sinks

Integrated sinks are built right into the vanity countertop material creating one unified piece. Great for small spaces, easy cleaning, and contemporary style.

Wall-Mount Sinks

Wall-mounted sinks are installed directly onto the wall. They create an open, furniture-like vanity area below with no sink demands. The plumbing is exposed.

Consider your design aesthetic, counter space needs, and plumbing setup to select the ideal modern sink type to complement your new vanity. An experienced bathroom designer can help weigh the pros and cons of each option.

Choosing Faucets and Modern Hardware

Don’t overlook the importance of coordinating your sink faucet and hardware with your new modern bathroom vanity style.

Matching Faucet Finishes

Select a faucet finish that coordinates well with your vanity hardware. For contemporary designs, pairing brushed nickel or chrome faucets and handles creates unity.

Faucet Height

Make sure the faucet is the right height for the vessel or undermount sink. Faucets should be mounted at least 2 inches above the sink rim. High-arching faucets allow for filling vessels.

Modern Hardware Style

Matte black, metal wire pull handles, and recessed hardware give a vanity a modern vibe. Traditional designs look best with brass pulls and knobs. Go for a cohesive look.

Hand Towel Bars or Hooks

Incorporate metal bars or wall hooks near the sink for hanging towels and increasing functionality. Match the finish to the other hardware.

Don’t forget these important details. The right faucet and coordinated hardware can take your new vanity to the next level.

Illuminating With New Lighting and Mirrors

Proper lighting and mirrors are essential to a functional modern bathroom vanity area.

Well-Lit Mirrors

Position mirror lighting above or beside the mirror, not behind for optimal illumination. LED mirror lighting is an energy-efficient option.

Ambient Lighting

Include ambient lighting in the ceiling or sconces on flanking walls to provide diffused general lighting for the whole space.

Task Lighting

Incorporate task lighting under cabinets or shelves to direct light right where you need it most, like for makeup application or shaving.

Lighted Mirror Cabinets

Lighted mirror cabinets provide both storage and illumination. Great for small spaces or when floor space is limited.

Mirrored Cabinets

Mirrored vanity cabinets visually enlarge the space. Coordinate the frame finish to match other hardware finishes in the room.

With the right lighting solutions, your modern bathroom vanity area will be both stylish and functional.

DIY Installation vs. Hiring a Contractor

Installing a new self-standing vanity is a DIY project many homeowners can tackle. However, some vanity installations, like those requiring new plumbing, are complex projects best left to contractors.

DIY Vanity Installation

With some basic skills, you can probably handle a DIY install for:

  • Removing old vanity and prepping the site
  • Assembling a new self-standing vanity
  • Securing new vanity to wall studs
  • Hooking up straightforward drain and supply lines
  • Sealing flooring around the base

Hire a Contractor For:

More complex installations you may want to hire a general contractor for include:

  • Moving major plumbing or electrical lines
  • Converting to a vessel or wall-mount sink
  • Installing unusual tile or stone countertop materials
  • Dealing with access issues in cramped spaces

Unless you’re very handy, it’s worth hiring a pro for specialty bath renovation work to get it right the first time.

Modern Bathroom Vanity Ideas

Updating your bathroom vanity presents so many exciting design options. Here are some inspiration ideas:

  • Go for a planked wood-top vanity with matte black metal base for an industrial modern look. Open shelving keeps things airy.
  • A sleek white quartz floating vanity top with hidden floor storage creates a minimalist feel. Chrome hardware keeps it contemporary.
  • For traditional warmth, opt for a classic oak vanity cabinet with added molding details, brass hardware, and marble countertop.
  • Make a design statement with a wall-mounted wooden vanity in a bold color like navy blue, with black metal accents.
  • Modern farmhouse style looks fresh with a matte white vanity cabinet, marble herringbone backsplash, round vessel sink, and black faucet.
  • Industrial edge comes from a raw steel vanity countertop and matching metal stools. Contrast with wood storage cabinets.

Let your personal style shine through in your modern bathroom vanity update. The possibilities are endless!

FAQs About Modern Bathroom Vanity Updates

Still have questions about refreshing your bathroom with a modern vanity update? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How much does it cost to update a bathroom vanity?

The cost to update a bathroom vanity ranges from $500-$2000 depending on size, materials, and installation. To save, keep existing plumbing and electrical. Custom builds cost more.

Should I get a single or double vanity for two people?

For two users, a double vanity provides convenience and storage for two people’s toiletries. But a well-organized single vanity can work well too, especially in tight spaces.

How do I add storage to a bathroom vanity?

When selecting a new vanity, opt for drawers over doors, include pull-out shelving, look for towel bar options, and incorporate trays and compartments in drawers.

Should I get a modern floating vanity?

Floating vanities create a light, contemporary look. Make sure to factor in the plumbing and installation needs. Pre-fab options make the project easier.

What are the hottest modern colors for bathroom vanities?

On-trend modern vanity colors include light and dark gray, matte black, soft blue, brass, bronze, crisp white and beige neutrals. Go bold or neutral.

How do I update my bathroom vanity on a budget?

Some budget-friendly vanity updates include painting the existing cabinetry, replacing just the countertop, installing new modern knobs and drawer pulls, and adding an eye-catching vessel sink.

When should you hire a contractor for a bathroom vanity install?

Hire a general contractor for any project requiring new plumbing or electrical work, installing heavy materials like stone counters, or dealing with access issues.

What modern styles work well in small bathrooms?

Floating vanities, wall-mounted sinks, integrated countertops, and metal or glass materials allow small bathrooms to feel more open and contemporary. Add mirrors to enlarge the space.


Upgrading to a fresh modern bathroom vanity breathes new life into your space. By determining the right vanity size for your needs, selecting materials and finishes that match your style, incorporating storage solutions, choosing the ideal sink type, and lighting the space effectively, you can create a beautiful and functional new modern bath vanity.

Make the process easy by using this guide to weigh your design options. Your new vanity will provide a gorgeous focal point and elegantly organize your bath for years to come. Don’t be overwhelmed—just take it one thoughtful step at a time. With proper planning and skilled installation, you can transform your bathroom with a stylish modern vanity update tailored to your unique taste and needs.