How to Choose a Bathroom Vanity – Part 1: The Basics
You’ve been dreaming about remodeling that old, dated bath for ages, and you’re finally ready to take the plunge. Now comes the hard part: choosing finishes, fixtures, colors, and styles. You’ll have countless decisions to make along the way to a beautiful new bath; among the most important is choosing your bathroom vanity.
A vanity sets the tone and often stands as the centerpiece of a bathroom, but choosing the right one is much more than a matter of good looks.
Choosing your vanity early on can help simplify the process, and perhaps make it a little less costly. If you know the size and placement of your vanity sooner rather than later, it gives you more options, so you won’t have to settle for the only piece that fits. It also means that the vast universe of tile choices can be narrowed down to ones that harmonize with your chosen vanity.
What should you consider besides style? Let’s start with some of the more technical, practical points to think about. From there, you can browse our extensive catalog of vanity collections and find the model that is best for your project.
Location, Location, Location
Before you begin looking for the vanity of your dreams, decide exactly where it will sit. Unless you’re willing to redo the plumbing, the wisest course is probably to put the new vanity right where the old one was. If your vision of a new bath has the vanity elsewhere, you’ll likely need to bring in a plumbing professional.
The same goes for electrical outlets. Do you want to be able to plug in an electric razor or hair dryer near the vanity? Take note of existing outlets so you won’t choose a vanity that covers them. If you need additional outlets anyway, it’s wise to consult an electrician. Consider windows as well. Don’t plan on putting a vanity in front of a bathroom window if you want to mount a mirror or medicine cabinet above it. Avoiding these common planning errors will save you time and money.
The size of your new bathroom vanity should be a top consideration. For a small powder room or half-bath, you might want to choose one with a smaller footprint to help make the room seem more spacious. On the other hand, an expansive bath off the primary bedroom might be able to accommodate a wide, double-sink vanity.
If you want a vanity that’s bigger or smaller than the existing one, take good measurements of your space and use painter’s tape to help visualize how the piece will fit. Remember to account for the width, height, and depth. And don’t forget to make sure the bathroom door has enough clearance to open and close. If your measurements indicate a vanity may be difficult to clean around, think smaller. Luckily, our vanity collections are available in a variety of sizes.
Closets, Shelves, and Drawers
Think about your storage needs. Do you need a few large drawers for towels, or multiple small drawers to help keep bath accessories organized? How about open shelving? Do you want under-sink storage to hide cleaning products? All of the above? Remember, it’s always better to overestimate your storage needs.
If you prefer closed storage, make sure to measure that drawers and doors have enough space to open fully without hitting a wall or some other bathroom feature. A door with a metal knob that touches a wall or glass shower door every time it opens could damage that surface over time. If you don’t have space for the storage you want in a vanity, don’t fret. A wall-mounted storage unit or stand-alone shelving can get the job done.
Taking note of these details will help you avoid headaches and once again, save time and money. The last thing you want in your dream bath is that one little thing you overlooked that drives you crazy but is too late to fix. Determining your storage needs will also help you to narrow down your vanity options.
Freestanding or Wall-Mounted?
Vanities can be installed one of two ways: freestanding or wall mounted. Freestanding vanities—you guessed it—stand on the floor against the wall. Options include the sleek Element, which stands on legs, making the floor and tile beneath it visible. Other freestanding vanities sit directly on the floor, such as the midcentury-inspired Marilyn. If you plan to do the installation yourself, a freestanding vanity is the easier option. Keep in mind that it should still be fastened to the wall for safety and stability.
Wall-mounted vanities—no surprise—are fixed to the wall. These pieces can be fully floating, like Alma, or supported by two decorative legs like our Classic collection. Wall-mounted vanities are trickier to install and may best be left to the pros or more experienced DIYers.
Now that you know the basics of choosing a vanity, you’re well on your way to choosing the one for you. Next is the fun part: considering the aesthetics, the style, look, feel, and level of luxury you’re after.
Part 2: The Details, coming soon.