What’s the first thing you see when you walk into the bathroom? If you’re anything like us, it’s probably the vanity.
Vanities are the most significant item of decor in any bathroom. Like its namesake, your vanity should be the recipient of admiration and attention. It can be the focal point of your bathroom or the piece that ties everything together.
Regardless of your preference, you need a vanity that will complement your design, flatter the size and shape of your bathroom, and have that artistic flair that makes your bathroom design feel like an extension of the rest of your home.
What is a Vanity?
A vanity is much more than just a sink. It’s a combination of both the sink and the cabinetry that surrounds it. It is used for storage, and for disguising the often-unsightly plumbing required to make your sink work.
For some bathrooms, you might not even need a vanity. When working with limited real estate, you might decide just to have a sink instead of all the cabinetry that a vanity requires.
With such a wide range of options, how can you select a vanity that will work best for your space?
Here are a few things to consider before making your pick.
- Who is it for? You’re going to need different things from your vanity, depending on who’s using it. For example, a children’s bathroom vanity will look much different than the vanity you choose for your powder room or the master suite.
- Where will it be located? The vanity needs to be right for the space in terms of size, shape, and existing plumbing layout. And while it is possible to make changes to your plumbing, you may prefer the simpler route of picking a vanity that fits with what’s already there.
- What other logistical elements will factor into the selection? The vanity you settle on shouldn’t disrupt the flow of traffic through your space. That is, you shouldn’t be squeezing past it to get to the toilet. You will also need enough room around your vanity to accommodate for door swing. Think about how much room you’ll need to accommodate shower doors, cabinet doors, and the bathroom door itself.
Never fear – there’s a vanity for every taste, budget, and aesthetic. Most choices hinge around the type of sink it houses, so let’s look at that first.
Wall-mounted sinks are attached to the wall using hanger brackets. They have no ground support and are perfect for small spaces.
Pedestal sinks are similar to a wall-mounted sink but are held up by a narrow vertical support or pedestal. Sometimes, the pedestal is merely decorative and doesn’t support the sink at all, but rather hides the plumbing.
Over or undermount sinks are nestled right into a cabinet unit, and can be installed from above or below. Unlike wall-mounted or even pedestal sinks, they are not freestanding and must have a vanity unit attached.
Vessel sinks are basins that simply perch on your vanity’s countertop. Unlike overmount and undermount sinks, they are not integrated into the cabinetry at all. If you like a vintage or eclectic look, a vessel gives you some nice options as you can use a cabinet that’s not necessarily designed to be a vanity.
Wall-mounted and pedestal sinks don’t incorporate any cabinetry and are often (but not always) the choice for petite bathrooms. However, for those who have a little more freedom with their space, a larger, more furniture-like vanity might be just the thing.
Traditional washstands have been around for hundreds of years. Usually made of wood, they featured a few drawers or a cabinet below and a basin on top. These days, washstands are super space-savers and can be adapted as minimal pantry-style shelving units. We love the look of a washstand that is essentially a wall-mounted sink surrounded by a narrow countertop, and supported by metal rails with a few shelves below.
A wall-to-wall vanity can provide plenty of counter space and storage, and is prime real estate for any kind of sink, whether it’s integrated or an individual vessel. You can use any material for your cabinetry, adapt it to any style or size, and customize your storage just the way you like it.
Jack & Jill
Speaking of wall-to-wall vanities, why not double the fun with two sinks instead of one? This is great for couples who need extra elbow room or a family with several kids.