Modern and Traditional Vanities

Bathroom Vanity

Transform Your Bathroom

Whether your taste is contemporary, traditional or somewhere in-between, a bathroom vanity can provide a central focal point for your entire bathroom, offering both style and function. With a wealth of styles and a wide range of materials to choose from, you'll have no problem finding a vanity that reflects your unique taste, style and personality.
In a larger bath, an ornate, intricately detailed vanity can make the room feel like an entirely different space, while smaller bathrooms will benefit from more practical vanities that feature plenty of storage for various necessities.

Selecting Your Vanity  

Vanities come in a variety of styles including, single sink, double sink, corner, curved front, bow front and wall-hung. When selecting a vanity, you will want to choose one that is durable, stylish and maximizes available space.
With a wealth of designs and a wide range of materials to choose from, you'll have no problem finding the perfect vanity for your bathroom project. Keep the following questions in mind as you shop:
        • What material is the best fit for your bathroom?
        • How high would you like the vanity top to be?
        • How large is your bathroom?
        • How much space is available for the bathroom vanity?
        • Who primarily uses the bathroom?
        • Do you prefer a framed or frameless design?

Design Essentials 

A bathroom vanity is basically a freestanding “dressing table” that contains a sink and several storage compartments. It hides the plumbing, and offers counter space for toiletries and other essentials. Ceramic tile, marble and solid-surface materials let you create unique designs that enhance your specific décor style, from eclectic to traditional.

Vanity Styles


The style of your bathroom should reflect your unique personality and taste. However, before you begin selecting styles and colors, you need to determine how the vanity will be used and the frequency. You should also consider the look of other bathroom fixtures when purchasing a vanity.
The four major style trends in home décor are listed below, but the real key is to use a combination of materials, furnishings and accessories to create a style that is truly your own.


Classic lines and decorative trimwork are the cornerstones of traditional style. With furniture-style cabinets, ornate moulding and subdued color schemes there is no question why traditional décor never goes out of style.
Textures and finishes are generally smooth and metals are classically sculpted and polished, creating a harmonious balance of tranquility and sophistication.

Contemporary (Euro-Asian)

More than modern, contemporary style is highlighted by smooth cabinetry, sleek faucets and symmetrical arrangements. The absence of clutter, clean unbroken lines and minimalist décor lend a Zen-like Asian influence to many contemporary designs.
Colors are generally monochromatic with a mix of smooth textures and sleek materials, characterized by unique curves and angles.


Natural, relaxed and uncomplicated, casual décor is laid-back simplicity defined. Warm, cozy and inviting casual style tends to be intentionally more functional than decorative by design.
Colors are usually similar in hue and can range from soft pastels to warm, natural shades. Textures and finishes have more detail while metals and cabinetry tend to be charmingly worn or aged.


An assorted blend of styles, textures and colors, eclectic style mixes a variety of looks to create a unique and interesting design statement. This freestyle design isn’t a random hodgepodge of ideas, but a planned look that is integrated with one or more common elements that tie everything together.
Colors are complimentary and provide bold contrasts. Textures and finishes are varied but when merged form a balanced blend.

Materials & Finishes


How the vanity is used and how frequently will greatly affect the type of material you choose. Some materials provide a wide range of colors and design patterns while others ensure durability and stain resistance. When it comes to cabinets, look for materials that are sealed to protect against water so they won't warp.
With cabinetry you really do get what you pay for. Particleboard is a common material for stock cabinet cases, especially those covered with laminates and vinyl finishes. You’ll pay more for high-pressure laminates or thick veneers coated with a multi-step polyurethane varnish process, but over time it will be worth the expense.

Solid Wood

Bath cabinets and vanities made of wood may be solid, veneered or laminated. Oak is by far the favorite cabinet wood of choice; however maple and cherry are also quite popular. With most veneer and solid cabinets, the wood has typically been stained or dyed to achieve the perfect finish and tone.


Wood veneer cabinet doors are a popular alternative to solid wood. Veneered panels are less expensive than solid wood, and they have the advantage of permitting the same pattern across all adjacent doors.


Laminate cabinets have a synthetic finish that’s attractive, rugged and easy to care for. The durability and affordability of laminate construction make this type of cabinet perfect for children’s baths and second homes.

Vanity Tops


Your bath countertop endures just as much use as flooring. For countertops, you'll need to weigh style and color considerations against the ability to resist scratching, chipping and staining. Water, soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, acetone and alcohol-based liquids may come into contact with bathroom countertops, so it needs to be durable, spill-resistant and easy to clean.
In addition to how the materials will wear, you should also select a countertop based on the style of your bathroom. Countertops will overhang cabinets on both the front and sides, so be sure to compensate for the extra width and depth when measuring.

Cast Polymers

• Wide variety of colors, including pastel shades
• Cultured marble, onyx and granite designs
• Easy to clean
• Resist stains and mildew
• Accommodates integrated sinks
• Scratches and chips can be difficult to repair  
• Quality varies between different types and styles

Ceramic Tile

• Fired and glazed clay tiles
• Durable and easy to clean
• Wide variety of colors and patterns
• Moisture-resistant
• Excellent do-it-yourself project
• Grout needs to be sealed periodically and may stain
• Use scouring powder or bleach to keep grout clean
• Cost can vary based on type of tile selected

Solid-Surface Materials

• Made of composite resins
• Highly durable
• Wide variety of colors and patterns
• Accommodates integrated sinks
• Stains, scratches and burns can be sanded out
• Impervious to water
• Require larger up-front investment
• Should be professionally installed
• Requires a firm, sturdy base

Natural Stone

• Slabs or tiles of granite, marble or other natural stone
• Highly durable
• Easy to clean and maintain
• Impervious to water
• Available in a variety of visually rich colors
• Should be sealed and polished regularly
• Granite is resistant to stains and scratches
• Less porous stone provides greater durability

Engineered Stone or Quartz Composite

• Usually made of quartz and silica
• Available in a variety of colors and finishes
• More durable than natural stone
• Resists stains, mildew and bacteria
• Available in a variety of visually rich colors
• Similar in cost to natural stone


• Cleans easily, low maintenance
• Available in multiple patterns, colors and textures
• Resistant to water and stains
• Can be scratched and chipped
• Cannot be repaired if damaged
• Affordably priced, economical

Cabinets & Storage


Practically any storage cabinet beneath the sink can be considered a vanity. Knowing how much storage space you need will help you in choosing the right vanity for your bath. If your design includes a long vanity, consider flanking the mirror with a pair of matching cabinets for personalized storage.
Double vanities allow occupants to store items in their personal areas rather than sharing storage. You can choose a vanity with more depth if you need extra storage space. Finding a good balance between cabinets and drawers can also maximize space.
For the best in long-lasting, durable cabinetry, look for units made with heavy-gauge plywood cases, substantial and solid door and drawer construction, and heavy, smoothly rolling drawer glides.

Frameless Vanities

Frameless or Euro Vanities provide a sleek and simple contemporary look. There is no frame and the doors are hung directly on the side of the cabinet, so make sure you leave enough room for doors and drawers to open.
These units are great space-savers because they are generally installed much closer to the wall, making them a great choice for small bathrooms or powder rooms. Frameless vanities may also feature hidden, easily adjustable hinges.

Framed Vanities

Framed vanities generally have a more traditional appearance. Resembling kitchen cabinets in their construction and feature recessed end panels and a rigid box-like frame. The doors hang on the front of the box, and the unit can be installed without having to butt up against a wall on either side.
In some cases, the door and box may be made from different materials, so make sure you provide both with the same stain to ensure a uniform appearance.

Furniture-Style Vanities

Intricate carvings along with distinctive hardware and rich finishes make furniture style cabinets and vanities a popular choice for bathrooms. These well-designed pieces usually offer ample storage space and multiple drawers to accommodate a variety of toiletries and bath supplies.


If you don't like to get down on your hands and knees to dig around at the back of your cabinets for the last roll of toilet paper, look for a vanity that features tilt-down drawers that put all of your bathroom supplies within easy reach.

Vanity Sinks


Sinks bring a great deal of personality to a vanity or bath. Your sink choice should favor function just as much as fashion. Consider how much use your sink will get before choosing the perfect model.
When it comes to styles, less durable, sculptural glass vessel sinks may be best for powder rooms or guest baths that receive less use. In frequently used family baths, larger, deeper porcelain-enameled cast iron may be ideal because it is durable and reduces splashing and countertop cleanup.


Also called surface-mount sinks, rest on the top of the counter after the sink is inserted into a hole cut in the countertop. These are the easiest to install because the counter hole does not need to fit the sink exactly and is completely covered once the sink is dropped in.

Under mount Sinks

These sinks are attached to the underside of the countertop, giving a very clean and customized look. This type of installation is more difficult because the hole will remain exposed so it must be cut precisely. This type of sink is more suitable for solid-surface or natural stone countertops.

Integral Sinks

For a clean custom look, integral bowl sinks are an excellent solution. The sink is formed from the same material as the countertop to create one unit with no visible joints. Making installation and clean up easy. However, any damages could result in the replacement of the entire sink and countertop.

Vessel Sinks

Vessel or deck-mounted sinks make a bold visual statement, and they can work in either a full or powder bath. The basin sits on the countertop, and the faucets and spout are typically wall mounted for convenience but can also be mounted on the countertop.


Console sinks can give your bathroom a more open and spacious feel. It is a table-like fixture supported by ornamental legs or brackets resembling a small vanity table. Some styles also come with drawers for additional storage.

Installation and Design Tips 

Depending on how big the bathroom vanity is and how many pieces are involved, installing one can make for a great do-it-yourself project. Whether you decide to hire a professional or take the job on yourself, here are a few points to keep in mind.
With so many different types of vanities, vanity tops, and vanity cabinets to choose from, it's important to consider the primary function it will serve. Think about how many people will be using the bathroom, and whether or not multiple people will be using it at the same time.
In such cases, you may want to install a vanity combo that features two bathroom sinks instead of one to speed preparation time in the morning. If it's being installed in a guest bathroom that's used less frequently, you can worry less about storage space and focus more on aesthetic appeal.
Unless you're putting it in a bathroom used primarily by younger children, consider a vanity height of around 34” inches high. Also for younger children, you'll want plenty of space to store their favorite tub toys and a color scheme that fits in well with any decorative elements that adorn the wall or bathroom mirror.

Tools and Materials

Installing a bathroom vanity is almost the same as installing a kitchen cabinet. Some vanities have a back that will require you to cut access holes for pipes. Others have only a mounting rail, making installation much easier.


The basic tools and materials you will need are:

• An electric drill
• Screwdriver bit
• Stud finder
• A 2-foot level
• Utility knife
• A vanity
• A hammer
• Nail set
• Wood screws
• Shims
• Finishing nails
Additional accents such as trim moulding will give your vanity a more finished look.

Best Design Practices

Bathrooms are a mixture of both practical and aesthetic elements. To create a room that meets your needs, the design should include a well-planned layout styled to reflect your personality and taste.


A good design checklist is invaluable; make sure you consider every detail during the planning process. Arrange the room so the placement of fixtures is related to how much you use them and how much space is available. Also take into consideration the best location for installing plumbing and electricity.
Follow generally accepted guidelines for clearance within the bathroom, particularly around fixtures. These guidelines should be available from your local building department. Ensure the room is well lit and safe for occupants of all ages. Include plenty of storage and plan for privacy.