Modern bathrooms didn’t exist until the beginning of the 20th Century when indoor plumbing became common. At that time, sinks evolved from bowls on washstands to wall-mounted ceramic styles, with exposed plumbing. There was no surrounding counter space. Early versions of today’s vanities began to appear as more homeowners built elaborate bathrooms designed for comfort and elegance. Over the decades, vanities evolved into decorative, functional elements that also serve as storage. Today dozens of manufacturers offer hundreds of styles, so choosing a vanity can be daunting. Fortunately, following a few professional design tips can simplify the process.
- Measure the Bathroom Before Going Shopping
A bathroom’s size and configuration can determine the types of vanities that will fit. For example, finding a vanity for a spacious bathroom is relatively simple because homeowners have far more choices than locating styles for tiny rooms. It is essential to measure the vanity area to ensure enough clearance around drawers, shower stalls, and open doors. Experts recommend marking the floor with painter’s tape to make gauging clearances easier.
Homeowners also need to consider a bathroom’s proportion when deciding on vanity sizes. For example, buyers might want to replace a standard sink with an elegant petite version when remodeling a tiny guest bath. Standard vanity widths range from 24″ to 60″, but there are also in-between versions. Some are as small as 14,” and there are styles as long as 72.”
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- Determine the Best Sink Style
Experts writing for design website Dwell recommend comparing sink styles and choosing one that best fits the room’s decorating style. Some vanities will only accommodate specific styles, which can narrow down choices. Fortunately, suppliers offer sinks in a wide range of depths, shapes, types, and sizes. It is essential to research each product carefully to ensure a perfect fit.
- Evaluate the Number of Sinks Needed
Shoppers can find vanities with single or double sinks, and they are sold in a vast array of sizes and styles. It may be tempting to go with two sinks to gain more space; however, just because vanities accommodate two sinks doesn’t mean they automatically provide more space. Some single-sink models are surrounded by large countertops, while double-sink versions may have almost no counter space. The ultimate decision depends on lifestyle and personal preferences. Buyers may need to decide whether a lot of counter space is more critical than the time-saving benefits of having two sinks.
- Consider Storage and Maintenance When Choosing
Suppliers offer wall-mounted, freestanding, and corner-mounted vanities. Most customers choose freestanding styles because they provide the most storage since vanities rest on the floor or include raised legs. They also have more areas to collect dirt and are more challenging to clean than other styles. Wall-mounted models often provide less storage but are simple to maintain. They are ideal for smaller bathrooms because they make spaces look bigger.
- Examine the Existing Plumbing
A home’s plumbing can play a part in deciding on a vanity. Most customers hire a plumber to add a new vanity, and these professionals can make a lot of adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. However, the location of plumbing can restrict the types of vanities that will work. When plumbing connections are off-center or irregular, plumbers can usually fit freestanding vanities with minimal alterations.
Wall-mounted styles are more challenging, and plumbers could have to move plumbing to install them. That could extend the length of projects and increase overall costs.
- Decide Whether to Shop by Component
The simplest and quickest way to shop for vanity is to buy one that includes the base and countertop. Just add a sink and faucets, and the job is done. However, customers who want a custom look can buy the base and countertop separately. That gives them dozens of choices.
A vanity base can be as simple as a wall-mounted sink in a small bathroom. Customers who have space and want built-in storage can opt for fully-equipped bases with features like soft-close doors and lots of interior shelving. HGTV designers suggest adding a pull-out organizer that can hold several items and become invisible when closed. Vanities are sold in a wide range of finishes, and many companies will build custom models.
Customers also need to select a vanity countertop that matches their tastes, lifestyle, and budget. For example, white quartz and granite are good choices for heavily trafficked bathrooms since both materials are durable and stain-resistant. Wood, marble, and concrete counters are more porous but could be a good choice for guest bathrooms. Those on tight budgets can still create beautiful vanities using budget-friendly laminates or ceramic.
- Pick Out the Ideal Faucets
Some vanity packages include faucets, but many don’t. In these cases, customers get a chance to choose their style. Before choosing taps, buyers must note the number of faucet holes in vanities and determine how far apart they are. It’s also necessary to understand installation instructions for each faucet type. Some sinks have counter set faucets, while others are set up for widespread styles. Product details include all the specs for each faucet type, and they provide detailed installation instructions. Homeowners will also want to select faucets that match their decorating style and mesh well with a vanity.
- Don’t Leave Out Vanity Lighting
Although bathroom lighting isn’t technically part of a vanity, well-chosen lighting can enhance a vanity’s appearance and impacts the room’s ambiance. It is essential to choose fixtures that complement the vanity, sink, countertop, and faucet style.
Suppliers offer elegant sconces that can hold three or more bulbs. Customers can opt for sleek metal bath bars that light up the vanity area. Shoppers can find selections that include frosted glass, exposed bulbs, mixed metals, and ornate details. The right choices can make it easier to get ready in the morning and brighten evening routines.
A bathroom vanity is not only a functional feature; it can add a decorator touch. Before shopping for a vanity, it is vital to consider a bathroom’s proportions and then measure carefully to ensure a good fit. Buyers need to decide on the best sink style, the number of sinks they want, and how much storage will be required. Whether shoppers opt for base and counter sets or buy separate components, they need to choose complementary countertops, faucets and lighting that flatter the bathroom and vanity area.