Time to make another decision about your remodel. What kind of bathroom vanity do I want? Should it be freestanding or built-in? What kind of materials should I select? Should I forego the vanity altogether and go with a pedestal or wall-mounted sink? The choices may seem endless, but before you throw your hands up and let your contractor or designer decide, you may want to spend some time thinking about it because, unless you want to tear it out in a few months and start over again, you’re going to have to live with your choice for a long time.
Is storage a consideration?
If your bathroom already has enough storage for all of your towels and toiletries, then feel free to pick a vanity based solely on style. If, however, you need all the storage you can get, then select a vanity with storage built into it. Think about what you want to store and where. Would drawers at the top with cabinets underneath be best or would you be better off with just a large cabinet? Who’s using the bathroom most frequently? Powder rooms meant to serve guests obviously do not have a big storage need, but master bathrooms probably do. Will the kids be using the bathroom you are redesigning and, if so, can they reach the drawer where their toothpaste is stored? The more thought you put into it during your renovation, the more functional your bathroom will be for the long haul.
If you’re looking to squeeze a powder room into a foyer or cram a bathroom into an attic space, you’re going to need to sacrifice some storage in exchange for space. Manufacturers and designers have come up with many space-saving creations like corner sinks and curved sinks that allow for maximum traffic flow. Pedestal and wall-mounted sinks are also good alternatives here. If you have more room to work with, however, consider a larger, more luxurious vanity. Once again, think about who is going to be using the bathroom most. Do you and your spouse spend quality time brushing your teeth together? If so, go with a double sink for optimal convenience. If not, go with a single, larger sink.
Freestanding or built-in?
Freestanding vanities typically work best in smaller spaces, though many do have built-in storage. They also offer slightly different style than built-in vanities, which are essentially constructed and installed the same way as kitchen cabinets. In larger bathrooms, freestanding vanities tend to get lost and built-ins might be a better choice depending on your overall plan. In the largest bathrooms, the cabinetry can extend beyond the vanity to include an entire bank of cabinets, drawers and closets.
Solid wood vanities offer the natural look and feel that many homeowners are after, however, they can be expensive. Plywood or particle board covered in laminate are less expensive, but also less durable. MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) is a good middle ground in that it is even more durable than solid wood and less expensive. It can be either covered in laminate or painted. Glass vanities are becoming increasingly popular in bathroom design and many homeowners choose them for their sleek, modern aesthetic. Glass vanities, however, tend to skew towards the smaller size as too much glass in a bathroom can be overwhelming.
And the vanity top?
You may have fallen in love with a vanity-and-top combination at your local home store or on your favorite web site. If so, go with it. If, however, you want something very specific to your style that you simply can’t buy off the shelf, purchase your vanity and top separately just as you would kitchen cabinets and benchtops. There are even more choices in vanity tops than there are in kitchen benchtops. Given that durability and ware is not as much of a concern in the bathroom as it is in the kitchen, your choices include everything from granite and marble to tile, laminate, solid surface, glass and even wood.
By the time you get to choosing a vanity for your bathroom, you have probably already made a tremendous number of decisions regarding your renovation, each of which has impacted your budget, timeline and design. It’s easy to get fatigued, but some careful consideration now will have positive impacts that affect your enjoyment of your home for as long as you’ll live in it. This is particularly true in the bathroom, a space that you use multiple times per day, and even more true of the bathroom vanity, the focal point of that space.
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