How to Choose a Bathroom Vanity

Choose a bathroom vanity with a sink that offers additional counter and storage

Bathroom Vanities & Sinks  Buying Guide

Choosing the perfect vanity will largely depend on the size of your bathroom, how high you want it to be, the desired width of your bathroom countertop, and what material best fits your style. This guide will walk you through the different vanity styles, materials, finishes and more.

Safety: When installing new bathroom vanities, take into consideration the best location for installing plumbing and electricity. Follow generally accepted guidelines from your local building department for clearance within the bathroom.

Vanity Styles and Types


Select a vanity style that matches your home's decor. Each style, from traditional to rustic bathroom vanities, offers different storage options. The type of vanity you pick will be determined by the amount of space you have available in your bathroom. The most popular widths are: 24-inch bathroom vanities, 30-inch bathroom vanities and 36-inch bathroom vanities.



The amount of storage space varies by style: small bathroom vanities will have fewer bathroom sink cabinets whereas large bathroom vanities can be installed with larger vanity tops, offering more storage space both next to and below the sink.



No matter what style, type, or material you choose for your vanity, you will have to pick from single- or double-sink arrangements.

  • Single Sink Vanity

    • Holds one sink
    • Most common size
    • Ideal for small bathrooms
    • Offers a range of counter space depending upon the vanity’s width


   STYLES

  • • Features classic lines and decorative trim work.
    • Usually includes furniture-style cabinets, ornate molding
    and subdued color schemes
  • • Highlighted by smooth cabinetry, sleek faucets and symmetrical arrangements.
    • Colors are generally monochromatic with a mix
    of smooth textures and sleek materials.
    • Characterized by unique
    curves and angles.
  • • Typically either wood with dark stain or white paint
    • Feature lots of ornate carvings and flourishes
    • May have claw feet
  • • Similar to traditional vanities
    • Cabinets may have louvered doors
    • Often white or muted pastels
  • • Usually made of weathered or reclaimed wood
    • Designed with unique storage options and knobs
  • • Typically offer lots of storage space
    • Similar in look to traditional vanities with wider variety of looks


   TYPES

  • • Best for small bathrooms
    • Space-saving
    • Fits into corners of 90-degrees
  • • Mounts to the wall
    • Frees up floor space
    • Modern look
  • • Traditional vanity with cabinet or drawer storage under the sink
    • Can be single- or double-sink


Material and Finishes


When choosing a bathroom vanity, remember that the material and finish you select will have the biggest impact on the vanity's look, durability and price.

A white bathroom vanity is one of the most popular bathroom looks right now, offering a clean, bright finish.

MATERIALS

  • Solid Wood

  • • Oak is the most popular wood used, but maple and cherry are also very popular.
    • Can be stained or dyed to achieve the perfect finish and tone.

  • Veneer/MDF

  • • Less expensive than solid wood.
    • Able to feature the same pattern across all adjacent doors.

  • Laminates/
    Plywood

  • • Synthetic finish that is rugged and easy to care for.



FINISHES

  • Cast Polymers

  • • Features wide variety of colors and cultured marble, onyx and granite designs.
    • Easy to clean and resists stains and mildew.
    • Scratches and chips may be difficult to repair.

  • Ceramic Tile

  • • Features wide variety of colors and patterns.
    • Durable, easy to clean and moisture-resistant.
    • Grout needs to be sealed periodically and may stain.

  • Solid-Surface Materials

  • • Features wide variety of colors and patterns.
    • Made of composite resins and is highly-durable.
    • Water-resistant and stains, scratches and burns can be sanded out.
    • Accommodates integrated sink.
    • Requires a firm, sturdy base and should be professionally installed.

  • Natural Stone

  • • Features slabs or tiles of granite, marble or other natural stone.
    • Highly-durable and easy to clean.
    • Resistant to water, stains and scratches.
    • Should be sealed and polished regularly.

  • Engineered Stone or Quartz Composite

  • • Available in a variety of colors and finishes.
    • Resists stains, mildew and bacteria.
    • More durable than natural stone.

  • Laminate

  • • Economical option and available in multiple patterns, colors and textures.
    • Low maintenance and cleans easily.
    • Resistant to water and stains.
    • Can be scratched and chipped, but cannot be repaired if damaged.


Storage and Features


Consider what type of bathroom your new vanity will be installed in to determine your storage needs. Vanities going into a master bathroom will have different storage requirements than a guest bathroom or kid's bathroom. 

Cabinet size isn't the only key to storage; look for vanities with a useful combination of doors, drawers and open shelving.

  • Concealed shelves are usually hidden by cabinet doors. This increases the amount of storage space within the vanity's cabinet and makes it easier to organize. 
  • Open shelves are typically one or two shelves underneath the cabinet, just above the ground. These are not covered by doors and allow for easy access to towels or other frequently-used items. 
  • Self-close doors and slides automatically pull drawers and cabinet doors closed after use. Some varieties are soft-close, but not all. 
  • Soft-close doors and drawers utilize hydraulics to make all drawer and door closing silent. This prevents banging or slamming noises. 
  • Toe kicks are boards that border the bottom of your vanity and extend all the way down to the floor. This prevents small items from rolling under the sink and getting lost and eliminates the need to clean under your bathroom vanity.


Be sure to take into consideration the best location for installing plumbing and electricity. Follow generally accepted guidelines from your local building department for clearance within the bathroom.

Bathroom Vanity Sinks

There are several ways a bathroom vanity can house a sink. Choose the style that best fits into your space.

  • • Rests on the top of the counter after the sink is inserted
    into a hole cut in the countertop
    • Easiest sink to install
  • • Attached to the underside of the countertop
    • Suitable for solid-surface or natural stone countertops
  • • Formed from the same materials as the countertop
    • Offer a clean, custom look
    • Appears as one unit with no visible joints
  • • Sit on top of the countertop
    • Faucets and spot are typically wall-mounted
  • • Uniquely shaped bowl sits on top of the countertop
    • Faucet typically mounted to sink or countertop
    • Offer a modern, stylish look
  • • Feature a wide base and deep basin with exposed front
    • Sink drops down in front of the sink instead of
      stopping at the edge of the counter
    • Allows for easier cleaning of larger dishes