The bathroom vanity is more than just the sink-cabinet-mirror combination. It’s the showpiece of your bathroom. Here are the Top 10 things to consider when searching for the best bathroom vanity for you and your home.
1) Size Matters
Width is important. It has to fit the space available. Most people won’t miss that detail. However there is an equally important detail to consider: Height. Height is often a more important element of the vanity for daily use. Vanity height is not at all standard. Some are tall, some short and all others anywhere in between. Too shorts and you may end up having to bend down to wash your hands. Too tall and your kids might need step stools to reach. If you are tall family then consider mounting your vanity on a pedestal to raise it up. If kids are the main users then perhaps a shorter vanity is in order. Remember that the height of the sinks, mirrors and cabinets should be customized to their users, according to their actual size. Not that they have to be custom made, which of course they can be if that’s what you want. But for simplicity’s sake there are plenty of choices available to choose from in catalogs and big box stores.
2) Make Sure it Fits
Make sure your new vanity fits through the bathroom door! On more than one occasion we’ve had to disassemble a new vanity just to get it into the bathroom. Then reassemble it for installation. If it’s absolutely THE ONE then so be it, we can make it work for you but it will cost more in time and labor. If budget is a concern then make sure to double check the exact measurement before you buy a new vanity. Also be sure it fits the space allotted inside the bathroom. You don’t want to redesign things in the middle of installation. For instance, be careful to pick the right size sink to match your cabinet, especially if the cabinets are already built-in. Our bathroom remodeling consultant advises that many unexpected costs in installation can be avoided by taking the drafting stage seriously.
3) Get Your Plumbing Right
Coordinate the sink and vanity fixtures with the existing plumbing. Extending piping around the inside of walls is not a minor consideration and the cost could outweigh the convenience. Especially in an older home, where plumbing is always an expensive and tricky business and could even be a recipe for disaster. If you’re ready for a complicated and expensive remodel then know that anything thing is possible for the right price. But if you budget doesn’t allow it then maybe it’s better to try to finesse your exquisite taste around the plumbing that’s already there.
4) Choose Function over Appearance
Some cheaper vanities are built with the facade of doors and drawers but in reality they have none! It’s just for show. Personally I don’t like these. If it looks like it has cabinets and/or drawers then they should be real doors that work and real drawers that open! If you are going to effort and expense of replacing your bathroom sinks and cabinets, choose a vanity that has storage space, not just a plumbing camouflage. If you really don’t want cabinets, put in a pedestal sink or a wall hung sink. The general rule is don’t try to fake it. It could be embarrassing in the long run. Not to mention taking up valuable floor space without the hope of storage opportunities.
5) Door and Drawers
Because bathrooms require special attention to detail, don’t neglect the amount of space you need to open and close your vanity cabinet doors and drawers. Provide at least 30 inches in front of the sink for an average person to get down on the floor and into the cabinets or slide open drawers. Keep the toilet at least 18 inches away from the cabinet sides to accommodate door swing and give much needed elbow room. If the vanity is installed along a wall near the bathroom door, make sure the door swings away from the sink. A little planning with a tape measure and some thought avoids this nuisance and helps you enjoy trouble free use of your bathroom vanity cabinets.
6) Match Vanity Design to Floor Plan
There are only a few standard bathroom shapes. Each type accommodates different bathroom vanity styles. Corridor shaped bathrooms look best with smaller fixtures mounted all on one wall. The L-shaped bathroom is designed for a discreet place for the toilet with the roomiest area reserved for the bath and a larger vanity. The U-shaped bathroom is the most spacious and can fit extra large or customized fixtures in a choice of locations. There are also other sizes such as small rooms converted to extra large bathrooms. Such a space takes as much extra planning and design as the space needs. Large round or double kidney shaped counters look nice in large bathrooms but are definitely not appropriate for the corridor or L shaped plans.
7) Counter Tops
Maybe you want a stone counter over your vanity instead of a cheap laminate finish but you don’t have the extra money for stone. Look into faux finishing as an alternative. Or perhaps consider another Plan B choice of surface material that you like just as well that fits your budget. There is always a creative solution to most bathroom vanity design problems. Don’t settle for less. Ask around or Google images of bath vanity tops. Or better yet, ask us! We’re always happy to help.
In general it is best not to use colored lighting in the bathroom. Think to enhance and soften. There are so many options available to give personality to your bathroom and the choices in style and material are endless. Choose carefully with an eye on ease of maintenance and upkeep. Keep in mind that the cheapest fixtures are often the most difficult to maintain. Go for quality here.
Match mirror size and design to the existing room size and decor and to the style of your new vanity. Consider framing in your mirror or going with a beveled edge. Those choices always give an upscale appearance without adding too much extra cost.
10) Budget Accordingly
A vanity is an expensive bathroom fixture. Expect to pay 600 dollars for a good quality cabinet, counter top, sink, and faucet. Remember to budget in the cost of installation as well. Allocate an appropriate amount of your bathroom remodeling budget into your vanity. It is the focal point of the bathroom and a cheap one will reflect the same. Even if you can’t afford anything else, a new vanity will spruce up an entire bathroom. Make sure to match it to any preexisting fixtures you decide to keep.
So there you have it. The Top 10 Bathroom Vanity checklist of success. Following these helpful hints should help guide you towards a trouble free experience in selecting the right bathroom vanity for you.