An exceptional vanity design requires careful planning and attention to detail. There are plenty of decisions to be made, from the layout and style to the types of sinks and countertops. This six-step process gives you a game plan to follow as you’re designing your new vanity space.
1. Settle on a Layout
Before you decide on colors, finishes and fixtures, you have to know where your vanity is going and how big it’s going to be.
A galley layout includes two vanity spaces separated by a pass-through. Each of these spaces can include sinks, or you can use one space to wash up and the other for seating.
Many bathrooms feature horizontal vanities with one section of cabinetry. These vanities are efficient and take full advantage of available storage and counter space. They also ensure clean lines and a streamlined bathroom design.
Homeowners also may design L-shaped vanities, particularly in master bathrooms. While they don’t always maximize space (corners are seldom efficient), they offer ample leg and arm room, as well as distinct vanity spaces, in bigger bathrooms. Unless they are used in small bathrooms, L-shaped vanities rarely feel cramped.
2. Determine the Number of Sinks
You’ll need to find a vanity style that can accommodate the number of sinks you want.
If they had their choice, most homeowners would prefer double sinks. Unfortunately, there often are space restrictions.
Vanities smaller than 60 inches wide usually have only one sink. The sink can be in the center, to the right or to the left. Your sink cabinet can have drawers or standard cabinet doors.
Vanities more than 60 inches wide can comfortably accommodate two sinks. However, if one sink is enough, you can use the extra room for additional counter space.
3. Choose the Style
Once you find the layout that best suits your bathroom and determine how many sinks you want, the next step is to decide on the vanity design. Do you prefer traditional cabinets? An antique furniture piece? A pedestal sink?
If you want traditional vanity cabinets, there are several factors to consider:
-Do you want a paint or stain?
-What color do you prefer?
-What type of door style do you want?
-Do you want drawers, doors or pullouts?
Vanity cabinets don’t have to be built-ins. Free-standing vanities aren’t attached to any walls and can have open shelving in lieu of closed cabinets. They also can feature furniture-style details.
Another style is a floating vanity, which is mounted to the wall and has open space below. This contemporary bathroom’s tile vanity has open shelving, but you can also find pieces with closed cabinetry.
If you don’t need storage space and are seeking a minimalist design, you can forgo cabinetry and simply install a wall-mounted countertop.
4. Find the Right Countertop
If you’re buying a pedestal sink or restoring an old piece of furniture, you might be able to skip this step. Most other designs, including cabinets and repurposed furniture pieces without a top, will require some type of countertop.
There are a number of materials available, including granite, quartz, marble, laminate, concrete, wood and solid surface.
Granite and quartz are popular choices for bathroom countertops. Both are durable, high-quality materials with designer patterns. Granite needs to be sealed every one or two years because it’s a porous stone.
Softer stones like marble scratch more easily than granite and quartz and have less tolerance for moisture. Wood and laminate don’t always mix well with moisture either, but they may be more budget friendly than stone.
5. Pick the Type of Sink
The next step is to determine the type of sink, such as undermount, drop-in, vessel or wall-mount. After that, choose the color and material for your sink, whether it’s porcelain, natural stone or something else.
Undermount sinks are mounted below your countertop with supporting brackets, providing a seamless look. They’re harder to install and usually require a professional.
Vessel sinks sit above your counter. A hole for the drain is cut out from your countertop. There’s more to clean, but vessel sinks give you the option to choose a sink with patterns, designs and custom shapes.
Drop-in sinks are installed inside a cutout in your countertop. These sinks have lips that rest on top of your counter. While they’re easy to install, dirt and scum can build up in the creases between the sink and counter.
6. Fixtures, Fixtures and More Fixtures
It’s time to wrap up your design with fixtures. You may focus most of your attention on your layout and cabinet finishes, but you still need to select your cabinet hardware, faucets, lighting and mirror. Most important, these should be coordinated with the rest of your design and color scheme.
Specifically, you need to make the following decisions:
-Do you want sconce lights, wall-mounted lighting or recessed lighting?
-Do you want a built-in mirror or a decorative mirror that you can easily replace?
-What kind of cabinet knobs and pulls do you want?
-Do you want a detailed faucet design or something more simple and modern?
There is no shortage of options for cabinet hardware and fixtures. Settle on a finish (oil-rubbed bronze, brushed nickel, chrome, stainless steel) and then choose a style (traditional, contemporary, modern).