How to Choose a Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom vanity ideas to transform your space.

Bathroom vanities come in a variety of configurations including single sink, double sink, corner, curved front and wall-hung. When selecting a vanity, keep the following questions in mind:

  • What material is the best fit for your bathroom?
  • Are you looking for an assembled vanity, or do you want to match the base and top yourself?
  • How high would you like the vanity top to be?
  • How much storage do you need?
  • How much space is available?

Vanity Styles

Consider the look of your other bathroom fixtures when purchasing a vanity. Remember: The real key to creating a bathroom you love is to use a combination of materials and accessories to create a style all your own.

Traditional

Traditional

Classic lines, decorative trimwork, moulding and subdued colour schemes are the cornerstones of traditional style. Textures and finishes are generally smooth and metals are classically sculpted and polished.

Modern

Modern

Modern style is highlighted by smooth cabinetry, sleek faucets, monochromatic colour schemes and symmetrical arrangements. The absence of clutter, clean unbroken lines and minimalist décor lend a Zen-like Asian influence to many modern designs.

 

Classic

Classic

Warm, cozy and inviting, classic style tends to be more functional than decorative by design. Colours 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.

Cabinet Materials

With bathroom 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 solid wood or thick veneers, but over time it will be worth the expense.

Solid Wood

Solid Wood

Bathroom cabinets and vanities made of wood may be solid, veneered or laminated. Oak is by far the favourite 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 desired finish and tone.

Veneer

Veneer

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.

Laminates

Laminates

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 ideal for children’s bathrooms.

Frameless vs. Framed Vanities

Frameless Vanities

Frameless Vanities

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

Framed Vanities

Framed Vanities

Framed vanities generally have a more traditional appearance. A face frame (usually about 1-1/2 inches wide) is attached to the front of the cabinet box, allowing the doors to hang on the face frame instead of the cabinet box. In some cases, the door and face frame may be made from different materials, so make sure you use the same stain or paint colour to ensure a uniform appearance.

Vanity Tops

When choosing a vanity top, you’ll need to weigh style and colour considerations against the ability to resist scratching, chipping and staining. Also keep in mind that countertops will usually overhang cabinets on both the front and sides, so be sure to compensate for the extra width and depth when measuring.

Materials overview:

Cast Polymers
  • Wide variety of colours available, including pastel shades
  • Cultured marble, onyx and granite designs
  • Easy to clean
  • Resist stains and mildew
  • Accommodate 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 colours and patterns available
  • Moisture-resistant
  • 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 colours and patterns available
  • Accommodate integrated sinks
  • Stains, scratches and burns can be sanded out
  • Impervious to water
  • Require a larger up-front investment
  • Should be professionally installed
  • Require 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 colours
  • 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 colours and finishes
  • More durable than natural stone
  • Resist stains, mildew and bacteria
  • Available in a variety of colours
  • Similar in cost to natural stone
Laminate
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in multiple patterns, colours and textures
  • Resistant to water and stains
  • Can be scratched and chipped (and cannot be repaired if damaged)
  • Budget-friendly

Single Sink vs. Double Sink Vanities

Single Sink Vanity

Single Sink Vanity

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

    Consider frequency of use when it comes to bathroom sink styles. Sculptural glass vessel sinks may be best for powder rooms or guest bathrooms, while in frequently used family bathrooms, a larger, deeper porcelain-enameled cast iron sink is a good choice because it reduces splashing and countertop clean-up. Many vanities or vanity tops include a sink, while others require you to choose one that fits the style.

    Drop-In Sinks

    Drop-In Sinks

    Drop-in (or 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.

     

    Undermount Sinks

    Undermount Sinks

    These sinks are attached to the underside of the countertop, giving a very clean and customized look. 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.

     

    Console & Pedestal Sinks

    Console & Pedestal Sinks

    Console and pedestal sinks are an excellent choice for a clean look. They take up very little floor space, so they work well in small bathrooms and powder rooms. The sink is formed as one unit with no visible joints. However, any damages could result in the replacement of the entire sink.

    Vessel Sinks

    Vessel Sinks

    Vessel or deck-mounted sinks make a bold visual statement, and they can work in either a full bathroom or powder room. 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).

     

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