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Choosing Your Ideal Bathroom Vanity: Your Questions Answered

Your bathroom vanity is where you prepare to face the day and wind down with nightly rituals, so why shouldn't it be a beautiful spot where you can enjoy getting ready? We're here to answer your common questions about the form and function of bathroom vanities.

What are bathroom vanities?

A bathroom vanity is a piece of furniture that holds your bathroom sink and has cabinets with doors or drawers that you can use to store toiletries and other supplies. Unlike a freestanding sink, a bathroom vanity holds a sink bowl in the countertop, although you can also mount a sink on top the vanity cabinet. The extra storage space is the primary benefit of a bathroom vanity, but it also provides opportunities to dress up the space. Just like kitchen cabinets, vanity cabinets are available in a range of materials, colors, and styles — and with different countertops made of materials like wood, granite, or tile — so you have ample opportunities to customize your bathroom.

Should I pick a single sink or double sink vanity for my bathroom?

Bathroom vanities come in several different types, so first think about how (and who) will use it. If you're installing the vanity in your master bathroom, then a double sink vanity may be more convenient for you and your spouse to use while getting ready in the morning. On the other hand, if you're redoing a guest bathroom that only sees occasional use, a single sink vanity may be suitable.

Related: Learn more on bathroom vanity sizes and dimensions with our helpful guide!

How do I choose a type of vanity?

  • Cabinet Only: These vanity bases come in sizes that hold one or two sinks. By selecting a cabinet only vanity base you have the freedom to customize your top separately, and pick out your favorite sink(s). You can have a contractor cut the space for the sink out of the countertop.
  • Cabinet with Sink: If you're looking for super-easy installation, you might prefer a vanity cabinet that comes with its sink(s) already set into the top of the vanity. You can simply connect the plumbing after installing the cabinet, and your sink is ready to use.
  • Cabinet with Vanity Top: This option comes with a countertop attached and may also have a sink attached, but you'll need to pick the faucets you like. These vanities typically have countertops made in a different material than the cabinet, such as a granite countertop attached to a wood cabinet. This is an easy option if you're not looking to fully customize your vanity.

How do I measure for bathroom vanities?

If you currently have a vanity cabinet in the space and you're satisfied with its overall proportions, you can simply measure its height, width, and depth and choose a new design in a similar size. However, if you're replacing, a pedestal sink with a vanity, for example, it helps to know how to figure out the right sizing.

  • If you're not planning on moving the existing plumbing in the bathroom, use the rough-in spot where the drain line exits through the wall as the center line of the vanity cabinet. Measure equal distances from either side of that plumbing to visualize what the width of your vanity will look like.
  • If you're placing the cabinet near a toilet, leave at least 18 inches of space between the middle of the fixture's tank and the vanity.
  • Most bathroom vanities are between 30 and 36 inches tall. Cabinet depths are typically between 18 and 21 inches. Keep these factors in mind — particularly depth — and check the swing of your shower and bathtub doors to make sure they won't hit the vanity when you open them.
  • It can help to map out the dimensions of the vanity using masking tape on the floor and wall to better visualize how the piece will look in the space.
  • Also, consider what you'll do at the vanity. Do you need lots of storage space and an area where you can lay out makeup each morning? In that case, a longer piece with a large vanity top is more convenient. Leaving 24 inches on the sides of the sink can provide enough space for your getting-ready toiletries and hair dryer.

A bathroom vanity provides convenient storage space and an opportunity to define the style in your bathroom. Consider your available space and how you plan to use the piece first, and then enjoy the process of choosing materials that express your great taste.

Related: Explore more bathroom vanity ideas & designs for your upcoming bathroom makeover!