How to Choose a Bathroom Vanity

choosing bathroom vanity

Are you searching for a new bathroom vanity? Whether you’re planning a complete bathroom renovation or wanting to replace those outdated cabinets and countertops, you’ll want to choose your new pieces carefully. Your budget is a major consideration, and of course you need something with the proper dimensions. But what style should you go for? What type of material is the most durable? How can you make the installation go as smoothly as possible? To help you make the right choice, we’ve outlined some important things to keep in mind while shopping for a bathroom vanity.

Room and Vanity Dimensions

choosing bathroom vanity

Unless you’re planning to reroute the plumbing, the bathroom’s floor plan determines the size and placement of your bathroom vanity. Measure the room’s dimensions as well as the amount of space you need to properly open and close the bathroom door. You don’t want your new vanity to be so wide or so deep that the door bangs against it. Do you already have mirrors or wall-mounted cabinets? Know how high you can go without the space feeling cramped.

If you’re working with an especially small bathroom, look for a vanity with rounded edges on the countertop. It creates just a bit more space, and softer edges are always better when you’re in tight quarters.

Cabinet Quality

The bottom portion of the vanity is typically made from solid wood, solid hardwood, or a budget-friendly alternative like medium-density-fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, or plywood. When sealed properly, MDF, plywood, and solid woods (such as pine) work well in bathrooms. Solid hardwoods — made from woods like maple or oak — resist humidity better than other solid woods. Particleboard is inexpensive but susceptible to water damage. However, you can get away with placing it in a powder room, which doesn’t get much steam.

If the price of a vanity seems too good to be true and you’re doubting the quality, consider the thickness of the drawers. They should be at least 3/8-inch thick on the sides and bottom. Also avoid cabinets with a veneer finish, as this is more likely to peel over time.

Countertop Durability

Before we move on to the more interesting stuff (styles!), let’s talk about countertop durability. This factor is especially important to consider if your new vanity will endure a lot of abuse. Acrylic, also known as a solid surface countertop, resists stains but scratches easily. Both quartz and granite resist heat damage, water damage, stains, and scratches. The corners or edges may chip, though. Marble stains more easily than other surfaces. It also chips and scratches easily.

As for upkeep, only a professional can repair damaged acrylic, quartz or granite, while homeowners can polish out any scratches on marble countertops. Both marble and granite need to be sealed regularly.

Mounting Type

The mounting type you choose really depends on what you want in terms of storage space and overall style. There are two main bathroom vanity mounting styles: freestanding and wall mounted.

Freestanding Vanities

James Martin Furniture Traditions Granite and Cherry SKU: 15065648

James Martin Furniture Traditions Granite and Cherry SKU: 15065648

Also known as traditional vanities, freestanding vanities are one of the most common styles available. Because they stay in contact with the floor, they typically come with more drawers and cabinets, giving you more storage space. A freestanding vanity is ideal for a master bathroom or a shared main bathroom that is frequently used. Multiple drawers provide space for makeup, hairbrushes, shaving products, and other necessities.

Wall Mounted Vanities

Golden Elite Cabinets Soft Closing Vanity SKU: 15044571

Golden Elite Cabinets Soft Closing Vanity SKU: 15044571

Bathroom vanities that mount on the wall are becoming more popular. They leave more of the floor exposed, which helps make the room feel bigger. This is a plus for smaller bathrooms or powder rooms. The downside is less storage space. However, most of these vanities include a small cupboard or a couple of drawers so you can keep extra hand soap and toilet paper on hand.

Certain brands offer vanities that function both ways; you can mount them on the wall or attach legs for a freestanding unit. Both mounting types come with single or double sinks. Just keep in mind that adding on a second sink leaves you with less counter space for hairdryers and other clutter. If the bathroom dimensions are especially tricky to work with, you can also find traditional or wall-mounted corner units.

Bathroom Vanity Styles

Now that you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time for the fun part: choosing the style. Go for a modern look with white or black cabinets with stainless steel knobs and handles. For something that feels luxurious, consider going with hand-carved, solid hardwood cabinets. Both real and faux wood finishes are available in various shades like cherry, espresso, and mahogany. Certain brands offer vanity doors with glass inserts.

As for countertops, you can find just about any style you’re looking for. White marble adds elegance to your master bathroom, while black granite makes the guest bathroom look modern. Are you upgrading the whole room? Consider adding some matching bathroom furniture like linen cabinets or wall-mounted shelves for storing extra towels.

Other Considerations

Bathroom vanity sets typically include a pre-attached, under-mounted sink with pre-drilled holes for the faucet. If you can’t find the combination you’re looking for, you can always purchase items separately — bathroom sink, countertop, cabinet, and bathroom faucet — to create your own custom bathroom vanity.

Also keep in mind that installation will be easier if you get a vanity that’s similar to your old one. That way, you already know the plumbing lines are in the right position to hook up with the sink. If you’ve done this before, it should be a piece of cake. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to call a professional or a handy friend to help set up your new and improved bathroom.

With a bit of research and consideration, you’re sure to find a bathroom vanity that suits your style and budget. This is especially true here at BuildDirect where you can find top-quality products at manufacturer-direct prices. Is there a particular brand or style you tried and loved? Let us know in the comments below!

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