Choosing the right bathroom vanity for your needs is an important decision that requires careful consideration. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to determine which vanity style and features will work best for your space and lifestyle. This comprehensive guide covers all the key factors to evaluate when selecting a new bathroom vanity. Read on for tips to ensure you find the perfect vanity solution for your home.
Assess Your Bathroom Size and Layout
The first step is taking measurements of your bathroom space to understand size constraints and layout. Consider the following:
- What are the dimensions of the bathroom? Be sure to measure length, width and existing plumbing locations. This will determine what size vanity can fit in the space.
- What is the traffic flow? Make sure there is enough clearance around the vanity for doors or drawers to fully open without obstruction.
- What is the current style? A vanity should complement the existing bathroom aesthetic.
- Are there any alcove or corner spaces? Custom vanities may be needed for unconventional areas.
Once you know the basic size and layout of your bathroom, you can better gauge what type and size of vanity will work.
Choose Your Ideal Vanity Height
Standard bathroom vanity heights range from 31″ to 36″ from floor to countertop. Consider who will be using the vanity most frequently:
- Standard height (34″ to 36″) works well for most adults. This is the most common vanity height.
- Comfort height (36″ to 42″) is ideal for those who are taller or have mobility issues. Reduced bending provides greater comfort.
- Vessel sink vanities (34″ to 36″) need to be tall enough to allow vessel sinks to sit at a usable height.
- Children’s vanities (25″ to 31″) should be scaled down so kids can easily reach the sink.
Make sure to account for your personal needs when deciding on vanity height. Custom sizing may be required.
Choose Your Ideal Vanity Depth
Standard vanity depths are between 18″ to 24″ deep from front to back. Here are factors to consider:
- Shallow depths (18″ to 21″) work for smaller bathrooms. They take up less space while still offering storage.
- Standard depths (21″ to 24″) provide ample room for most bath accessories and storage needs. This is the most common depth.
- Extra deep (24″ to 30″) allow for larger sink basins or more countertop space. However, they do take up more room.
- Vessel sinks need less vanity depth since the sink sits above the countertop. Aim for 18″ to 21″ deep.
Make sure to account for knees/legs when sitting at the vanity if choosing a deeper style. Measure carefully to ensure the depth works for your space.
Select Your Ideal Vanity Width
Bathroom vanities typically range from 24″ to 72″ wide. Follow these tips for picking the right width:
- Smaller bathrooms do best with narrow vanities (24″ to 36″). They maximize precious space.
- For double sink couples’ vanities, allow 48″ to 60″ width. This gives each person ample elbow room.
- Larger master baths can accommodate wider vanities (60″ to 72″) to create a spa-like environment.
- Measure the existing wall space to determine what widths will fit properly.
- Allow for a few inches gap on each side of the vanity for opening drawers or doors.
Carefully mapping out the right vanity dimensions for your bathroom prevents a size mismatch.
Choose Your Sink Type
Bathroom vanities come equipped for many sink types. Be sure to select the right sink style for your needs:
- Undermount sinks sit below the countertop for a seamless look. Most common vanity sink type.
- Vessel sinks sit on top of the vanity countertop as bold focal points. Require less vanity depth.
- Integrated sinks are pre-installed on top of a solid vanity countertop surface. Minimalist look.
- Pedestal sinks do not have a vanity base. They work well in powder rooms.
- Wall-mount sinks are installed directly on the wall without a vanity underneath. Great space saver.
The sink type affects the necessary vanity silhouette and dimensions, so choose wisely.
Pick Your Ideal Countertop Material
Bathroom vanities are available with many countertop materials. Consider the pros and cons of each:
- Granite is natural stone that resists scratches, stains and heat. Requires annual sealing.
- Marble is classic and elegant but prone to etching from acids. Needs frequent sealing.
- Quartz is an engineered stone that is durable, stylish and low maintenance.
- Solid surfaces like Corian are seamless with built-in sinks. Resists most staining but can scratch.
- Laminate is affordable and offers many color/pattern options. Less durable over time.
- Butcher block provides a timeless look but requires oiling and sealing. Absorbs water easily.
- Concrete has a trendy, industrial vibe but needs sealing. Can crack over time.
Make sure to select a material that fits both your aesthetic preferences and functional needs.
Determine Your Necessary Storage
Maximizing storage in a bathroom vanity is essential. Assess your storage needs:
- Do you require a medicine cabinet? Built-in or wall-mount? Mirrored or solid door?
- How much drawer space do you need for bath accessories, makeup, hair products etc?
- Are open shelves or glass cabinets preferred for display?
- What organizational factors are important – tip out trays, soft-close drawers, adjustable shelves?
- Is a cabinet configuration better or separated upper/lower sections?
Thinking through your specific storage needs will help choose the right vanity configuration. Don’t underestimate required space!
Decide on Door/Drawer Styles
The doors and drawers on your bathroom vanity create the overall look. Consider these factors:
- Full cabinets with doors provide enclosed storage. Good for hiding clutter.
- Open shelving creates a lighter look but shows all contents. More cleaning needed.
- Drawer stacks are the most common vanity storage. Customize based on your needs.
- Metal or wood material affects the style from modern to classic.
- Opt for soft-close doors/drawers to prevent slamming. Great upgrade for kids’ or seniors’ bathrooms.
- Glass fronts add transparency while obscuring some contents. Unique detail.
Mix up drawer sizes, add pull-out trays or opt for open shelves to truly customize your storage.
Choose Your Preferred Finish
Bathroom vanities come in a wide array of finishes. Choose a finish that pairs well with your current fixtures and faucets:
- Painted finishes can be colors like white, black, gray and navy for versatility. Use high gloss for moisture resistance.
- Stained wood tones like cherry, espresso and brown work well for traditional decors. May require more sealing.
- Laminates offer stone, wood or solid color looks at lower price points. Durable and moisture resistant.
- Thermofoil has molded plastic laminate finishes that replicate finishes like stained wood or painted colors. Affordable option.
- Metal finishes like brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, chrome and more add contemporary appeal.
Make sure your finish choice coordinates well with other bathroom elements for a pulled together look.
Double Check Electrical and Plumbing Needs
Don’t forget to account for any electrical or plumbing requirements when selecting your vanity:
- Do you need outlets built into the vanity for hair tools and appliances?
- Will overhead lighting provide enough illumination or should the vanity be hardwired?
- Is a shelf, cabinet or drawer needed to conceal clutter like hair dryers?
- Do you prefer single hole or widespread faucet holes? Center or offset drain placement?
- Is hot/cold water supply located nearby or will new lines need to be added?
- Are drain/trap pipes already in place or will new PVC be needed?
Doing a full assessment ahead of time prevents electrical and plumbing headaches down the road!
Have Realistic Budget Expectations
Bathroom vanity costs typically range**:
- Economy: $200 to $900
- Mid-Range: $1,000 to $2,500
- High-End: Over $2,500+
Factors impacting price:
- Material (wood, metal, glass)
- Solid wood vs. plywood construction
- Custom vs. stock sizing
- Finish techniques like hand staining
- Natural stone vs. engineered countertops
- Undermount sinks cost more than drop-ins
- Specialty features like soft-close hardware
Have a budget in mind before shopping. Quality materials and construction will last longer.
Choose Between Prefab, Custom or DIY Options
You have a few options when purchasing your new vanity:
- Available in common widths like 24″, 30″, 36″, etc.
- Limited countertop and finish options.
- Quick shipping.
- Affordable but less custom.
- Made to your exact measurements.
- Personalized with premium materials and features.
- Higher quality construction.
- Much longer production and shipping times.
- More expensive price tag.
- Choose your own sink, countertop, hardware.
- Build cabinetry from scratch to your specifications.
- Very labor intensive but cost effective.
- Allows for total personalization.
- permits small bath layouts.
Decide based on your budget, installation skills and needed customization.
Consider Hiring a Professional
Installing a new bathroom vanity has its challenges, so consider hiring a professional if:
- You need electrical or plumbing work done.
- Wall reinforcement is required for heavy stone tops.
- Floors need to be leveled prior to installation.
- Doorways may need widened to fit large vanities.
- You want perfect cutouts for vessel sinks.
- Your DIY skills are limited.
Pros have the right tools and expertise for a smooth vanity installation. It may be worth the added cost for a quality outcome.
Shop Early to Avoid Extended Lead Times
Due to COVID-19, many bath companies are experiencing extensive delays and backorders. If you need a new vanity soon, shop early!
- Stock prefab vanities ship quickest.
- Custom jobs can take 8 to 12 weeks for delivery.
- COVID-related supply and labor shortages are also impacting timelines.
- Have backup options in case your first choice is delayed.
- Be flexible on vanity dimensions, colors and features if timing is critical.
Order your preferred vanity as far ahead of your remodel schedule as possible. This prevents frustrating delays.
Ask Detailed Questions When Researching Options
Be an educated consumer by asking the right questions as you shop for bathroom vanities:
- What materials are used? Solid wood, plywood, composites? Drawer glides – wood or soft-close?
- What finishes are available? Can I see the actual color samples? Can I customize stain?
- Is the countertop natural stone or engineered quartz? Pre-sealed and finished?
- Whatsink types are compatible? Are cutouts included for undermount sinks?
- Where is the vanity manufactured? What is the warranty coverage?
- Are cabinet dimensions adjustable? What are lead times?
- Can I see displays of actual vanities? Photos of past customer projects?
Doing comprehensive research allows you to make the most informed vanity selection.
Prioritize Quality over Cost
Bathroom vanities see a lot of daily use, so quality matters. Consider spending more upfront for:
- Solid hardwood construction over cheaper plywood boxes. More durable.
- Dovetail joinery on drawers. Stronger than staples or glue.
- Soft-close hinges/glides. Prevent slamming and injuries.
- Thicker countertops are less prone to cracks or stains.
- Water-resistant materials like quartzite stone vs. porous marble.
- Quality hardware like full extension drawer glides.
While it costs more initially, a well-made vanity will withstand decades of use and continue looking fabulous.
Choose a Style that Fits Your Personality
With so many options for materials, colors, configurations and details, you can easily find a bathroom vanity to match your personal style:
- For modern looks, try a wall-mount vanity with floating shelves or metallic finishes.
- To go glam, opt for a curvy vanity with crystal hardware and Hollywood lights.
- For classic style, look for carved wood details, inset panels and clawfoot legs for a traditional vibe.
- To get rustic, choose a reclaimed wood vanity with an aged finish and vintage hardware.
- Contemporary and transitional styles work well in most homes with simple silhouettes and clean lines.
Selecting a vanity suited for your personality creates a designer look you’ll love.
Be Wary of Potential Pitfalls
While shopping for your dream bathroom vanity, keep in mind common pitfalls:
- Cheap big box store vanities may fall apart quicker.
- Poor quality finishes can chip, peel or wear out fast.
- Factorydrop-in sinks limit material and color options.
- Non-standard sizes like extra narrow or deep are tough to find.
- Custom jobs take weeks versus in-stock prefab availability.
- Vanities spanning multiple walls get complicated.
- Extra wide double sink vanities may limit leg room.
- Glass vessel sinks shatter easily.
- Stone tops add heavy weight requiring reinforcement.
Knowing potential issues ahead helps avoid headaches down the road.
Review Return and Warranty Policies
Before finalizing your vanity purchase, be sure to confirm:
- Is there a return window if it arrives damaged or if you change your mind?
- What does the warranty cover – cabinet, sink, plumbing parts? How long?
- Who handles repairs/replacements – retailer, manufacturer or third party?
- Does warranty transfer to a second owner if you move?
- Do you need to keep original receipt for warranty claims?
- Are there exclusions like commercial use?
Understanding the warranty and returns policy provides important protection on your investment. Ask sellers to clarify policies in writing.
Choose an Experienced Seller and Installer
Not all bathroom vanity retailers are equal. Seek out experienced pros that:
- Have been in business for many years with past customer reviews.
- Have physical showrooms where you can see vanities in person.
- Offer vanities in standard dimensions and custom sizing.
- Carry a wide selection of styles, materials and price points.
- Stand behind what they sell with good warranty/return terms.
- Can provide full service installation or recommendations for contractors.
An established seller and installer gives you a great finished product and reliable support after the sale.
Be Patient with the Installation Process
While eager to see your new bathroom vanity in place, be patient through the installation process:
- Existing vanity removal takes time and cleanup.
- Electrical or plumbing adjustments add work. Don’t cut corners.
- Proper leveling and securing to studs is key for stability.
- Countertop fabrication and attachment requires precision.
- Hooking up plumbing and making sink/faucet connections must be watertight.
- Let caulks, adhesives fully cure before using.
Trying to rush the work often leads to sloppiness or damage. Allow the project the needed time for high quality results. The end result will be worth it!
Style Your Vanity with Accessories and Storage
The fun part is accessorizing your new vanity! Be sure to:
- Add a mirror or medicine cabinet that ties into the vanity style.
- Use baskets or trays to corral bath essentials in drawers.
- Display your favorite decorative items like perfumes, candles or flowers.
- Mount a towel bar or robe hook near the vanity.
- Include a stool, chair or bench forsecondary seating.
- Organize bathroom cleaning tools in a caddy or under sink drawer.
- Illuminate with pendant lights or sconces for task lighting.
Thoughtful styling elevates your vanity from functional fixture to beautiful focal point!
Enjoy for Years to Come!
Selecting the ideal bathroom vanity requires consideration of space, storage, style and budget. Taking the time to carefully evaluate your needs guarantees you’ll find the perfect vanity solution that works for your home and lifestyle. Invest in quality, maximize storage, and add plenty of personal touches. Follow the tips above to turn a stressful vanity shopping experience into an enjoyable one. Soon you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your beautiful new bathroom centerpiece for years of beauty and convenience to come.
Choosing a new bathroom vanity is an exciting project that can completely transform the look and function of your space. Keep in mind key factors like size, configuration, materials, storage and style to select the ideal vanity for your home. Measure carefully, read reviews, ask questions, inspect quality and don’t underestimate the installation process. If you educate yourself upfront and invest in the right vanity for your needs, you’ll enjoy a beautiful, personalized bathroom space for many years down the road. Happy vanity shopping!