Bienal Vanity

Bathroom Vanity Buying Guide

The average home bathroom is designed to be more economical than comfortable, and a homeowner's personal touches are frequently limited due...

The average home bathroom is designed to be more economical than comfortable, and a homeowner’s personal touches are frequently limited due to a miscalculation of the size of their space. The vanity takes up a lot of space in the design of a bathroom floor plan; after all, the sink is at least one-third of the function of a bathroom. However, there are alternatives. Just because it takes up a third of the room’s functionality does not mean it has to take up a third of the floor space. To get the most value out of the entire room, there are a few rules to follow when selecting or upgrading the bathroom vanity.

What to Know Before Buying a Vanity

Begin with the size before looking for a new vanity. Everything must fit in such a way that it is comfortable to use. Consider your bathroom layout and the answers to these basic questions. (Yes, you should get out your tape measure.)

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Is the bathroom small, large, or open?

The answer is more than just looking at the physical dimensions of the room – though those numbers should be available as well – but instead focuses on the visual appearance of the space.

How big do you think it is?
Is there a clear shape to the room?
Is there a tendency for the existing vanity, shower, bath, or toilet alcove to draw more attention to one area over another?
The visual weight of any feature in the room is determined by what first catches the eye and whether it appears to take up the amount of space indicated by the tape measured dimensions. If something, such as the vanity, is mismatched to the space, it will appear to take up a larger portion of the bathroom floor space than it actually does. This influences the perception of the shape and size of the entire room, so choose a vanity that will accent the lines that are already in play.

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Larger vanities, for example, work well in an open floor plan bathroom when they are proportioned to other features of the room, such as the bath or shower alcoves. A wall-mounted vanity will give the illusion of more overall space in a narrow, galley-shaped bathroom, but it will sacrifice storage space. The trick is to keep the vanity’s visual weight proportionate to the space, so a narrow room will require a narrow cabinet, whereas a wider, more open space will allow for a larger vanity.

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Where can I find the plumbing?

The vanity connects the sink and faucet to the house water lines, so any new vanity should have enough space to accommodate the supply pipes and hoses without pinching or interrupting normal operation. It should also provide clear access to the supply valve.

Unless you intend to reroute the plumbing, the vanity must fit in the space near and around the pipes. That is an important consideration for both the finished room’s appearance and the budget when designing it; working with the existing layout is much less expensive and saves on the cost of having a contractor redirect the water lines. Finding a vanity that fits the existing plumbing layout reduces the overall time required to complete your bathroom update project.

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How much room is there?

Examine the available space not only in relation to the existing plumbing, but also in relation to the room’s other permanent features. The vanity should not be placed in such a way that it interferes with foot traffic to and from the room, blocks access to the toilet alcove, bath tub, or shower stall, or makes the room uncomfortable to use in any other way. Cabinet doors and drawers should not be obstructed by walls or other bathroom elements, such as plumbing. All of these obstacles should be considered when deciding on the type of vanity to purchase.

Bathroom Vanity Styles

It might seem complicated at first, but there are multiple styles of vanity cabinets to help you find the perfect match for your bathroom. The key is to find a design that provides the functionality your household requires while also complementing the look of your space.

Freestanding Installation

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Freestanding vanity cabinets, whether single or double, provide sturdy storage options in addition to sink space. Because of their self-supporting structure, these cabinets allow for design freedom. These cabinets provide storage and utility options no matter where they are placed, from counter tops for decoration to drawers and cupboard cubes for organization. They can stand on their own and do not always need to be anchored to a wall, allowing for greater flexibility in accommodating water supply lines.

Wall Mounted Vanity Installation

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The most appealing feature of wall-mounted vanities is their simplicity. These floating vanities anchor to the wall to save space, resulting in a clean, contemporary look that expands the visual space of the entire bathroom. Many wall-mounted vanities include storage options ranging from cupboards to drawers. Wall mounted vanities are an excellent option for bathrooms of all sizes where there is a wall with sufficient stud support.

Corner Vanities

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Look for a space-saving corner vanity in smaller bathrooms. Corner vanities are frequently freestanding, wall-mounted, or a combination of the two. These unusually shaped cabinets complement all sink styles, from recessed to vessel, and provide modest storage options. They can help to open up a cramped layout while also preserving floor space for easier access to other areas of the bathroom.

Vanity Selection

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Manufacturers sell some vanities in two main pieces to allow for greater customization for each individual home: the vanity cabinet and the vanity top. The top includes the sink (or sinks) and the counter top, with some models also including a short backsplash. The vanity top is typically made of a heavier, water-resistant material, such as ceramic, granite, acrylic, or stone. Vanity tops with an inch or more of overhanging edge that is slightly larger than the cabinet bases are common. Keep this in mind as you shop, because ordering the correct size top to match the cabinet is critical.

If you’d rather have a pre-assembled top and cabinet, look for vanity sets that come with everything you need. Complete sets are frequently prepackaged with mirrors and other features that coordinate various pieces with the vanity’s design.

Vanity Sinks

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The first thing to think about when deciding on the size of the vanity is how many sinks it should have. The decision between single and double vanities is influenced by how you intend to use the space as much as the physical condition of the room itself.

A single vanity will have only one sink inset, and its width can range from 24″ to 61″ or more. Single vanities are ideal for bathrooms with limited space. They can even be placed next to each other for storage, saving space, and adding character.
A double vanity will be large enough to accommodate two people standing and using it at the same time. They are most commonly found with two or more sinks, with the entire vanity ranging in length from 48″ to 80″.

Sink Types

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There are a variety of sink types for bathroom vanities, regardless of installation method. The sink in recessed or integrated sinks is formed directly into the vanity top. These sinks are one piece and shaped to fit the vanity design, allowing for shallow, quick-rinse sinks or a deep bowl made of the same material as the rest of the vanity top.

Console sinks take up a large portion of the vanity surface area, leaving only ledges for faucet installation and little storage for soap or other frequently used items. They are typically wall-mounted and are supported by two front supports. Unlike most vanities, these sink options provide little to no storage.

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The drop-in sink, which installs into a hole cut in the vanity top and rests above the counter to help minimize water splash, is another sink option. Undermount vanity sinks are installed beneath the vanity counter, resulting in a clean, vertical edge. Drop-in and undermount sinks are frequently made of different materials than the vanity top and cabinet, allowing for combinations such as a porcelain sink beneath a marble vanity top.

Vanity Height

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The vanity height is another important factor in the room’s comfort. The height standard can vary depending on the intended use of the bathroom, such as the master bath, guest bath, or children’s bathroom.

Master Bathroom Vanity – The height of the master bathroom vanity should be 36 inches. The additional height, which is also the standard height for kitchen cabinets, is generally more comfortable for repeated, daily use.

Guest Bathroom Vanity – Look for a vanity that is 32 to 34 inches tall for a spare or guest bathroom. To better accommodate different heights, this is an excellent compromise for a bathroom used by both children and adults.

Kids Bathroom Vanity – A modern kid’s bathroom vanity should be about 30 inches tall. While it is too low for many adults to use, the reduced counter space makes it more manageable for children. Look for vanities that have a pull-out step instead of a bottom drawer to give younger children a boost as they grow.

Vanity Features

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The modern vanity is much more than just a sink storage area. Look for vanity cabinets that are packed with extra options and features that are designed to make life’s daily routines a little bit easier.

Electrical outlets – There is always a need for additional outlet space in the family bathroom. Everyone has something to charge, from hair dryers to shavers, electric toothbrushes to phones. Some vanity cabinets now include hidden outlets in drawers and cabinet corners, safely away from bathroom humidity and moisture, to plug in those necessities where they can be easily used.

Shallow drawers – Because many bathroom toiletries and accessories are small, they can be difficult to keep track of. Adding drawers of varying depths or slanted dividers between drawers keeps hair ties, brushes, and other small items more accessible and less likely to get lost.

Event planners – Look for vanities with built-in metal cup holders and cross pieces that create designated spaces for the various odds and ends that are used in every bathroom. This could include towel storage shelves or hanging racks, as well as pockets for curling irons and hair dryers.

With the advancement of Bluetooth and WiFi compatibility, vanities and medicine cabinets now come equipped with speakers and charging stations for phones and smart home sound systems. Begin each day’s morning routine with your favorite music, podcasts, or other features, depending on the features you select.

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