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Bathroom Vanities

Bathroom vanities can be elegant or modern, but all provide essential storage space.

There are many options available for bathroom vanities depending on the size and shape of the bathroom as well as one's decorative taste. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
There are many options available for bathroom vanities depending on the size and shape of the bathroom as well as one's decorative taste.

Bathroom Vanities

Bathroom vanities provide essential storage for toilet paper, towels, toiletries and cleaning supplies by way of cupboards and drawers. Because they take up floor space, vanities are typically recommended for larger bathrooms, although wall-mounted and petite vanities, also called console sinks, are also available. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the bathroom vanity layout should leave at least 20 inches from the center of the sink to the wall or other tall object so there is ample room to access the sink. Vanities are usually sold without a countertop or sink, so homeowners can choose those materials and styles separate from the vanity base.

Vanity Bases

The cost of the vanity base alone ranges from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Many product descriptions include the vanity's material, such as wood, glass, steel and cast iron, as well as the design style, like antique or contemporary. Wood vanities may have a natural unpainted look or be painted to match the bathroom's decor. Glass vanities tend to have a more modern design than their wood counterparts. These vanities are constructed mostly of durable glass and incorporate other materials, such as wood or steel. Despite their name, antique vanities are often made from new materials to create a turn-of-the-century look, although genuine antique vanities are also available. The craftsmanship embraces Victorian design styles, and the vanities may be painted to appear worn. Contemporary vanities are the antithesis of antique vanities, incorporating modern designs and sometimes a unique appearance.

Vanity Countertops and Sinks

Bathroom vanities use one of three mounting options for the sink: self-rimming, under-mounted and flush-mounted. Self-rimming sinks sit above the vanitys counter level. They can be especially aesthetically pleasing because the design style can be chosen based on the bathrooms hardware and decor. Self-rimming sinks may pose installation and cleaning problems. Under-mounted sinks are installed below the vanity's counter level and are very low profile. They require the vanity's countertop to be completely waterproof. Flush-mounted sinks can be used when the vanity's countertop is made of tile. The sinks edges match the thickness of the counter's tiles, allowing for the flush installation.

Vanity countertops and sinks are available in a wide range of materials, including ceramic tile, metal, glass, cultured marble, granite and laminates. Important points to consider when choosing materials include price, durability, appearance and maintenance. Some materials, like glass and copper, cannot tolerate abrasive cleaners. Stone is extremely durable, but could require additional support because of its weight. Stone materials might also require periodic resealing, which adds to the overall maintenance costs.

Double Vanities

Double vanities require more space and are designed to host two sinks. While double vanities are traditionally thought of as ideal for master bathrooms, many homeowners are opting to install two single vanities at different heights side by side, according to Home & Garden Television. Whenever there are two sinks, the recommended distance between the centerlines of the sinks is 36 inches to ensure two people can comfortably stand side-by-side at the sinks.

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