Out of all the rooms in your house, the bathroom gets the most traffic. Particularly during “peak hours”, the bathroom door swings open and shut nonstop, as people jostle for their time in the room. The hub of this room is the vanity. It is no wonder then, that people put a lot of thought and effort into their bathroom vanities, and that manufacturers have gone out of their way to provide their customers with a huge variety of different styles, colors, sizes, materials, and brands. When it comes time to find a vanity for your bathroom, you will find yourself spoilt for choice.
Whether you are completely remodeling your bathroom or just looking at giving it a facelift, the bathroom vanity is the best place to start. You will find that once you have made your vanity choice, all the other decisions that need to be made on accessories and decor will fall into place. But with so much choice, where do you start?
Bathroom Vanity Sizes
One of the greatest deciding factors on what vanity is right for your needs is the size of your bathroom. Most people would absolutely love a large vanity that is both luxurious and practical, however many of us live in houses that are a little cramped, especially in the bathroom department. And if that is the case for you, then you have to make do with the space that you have.
Bathroom vanity sizes range greatly depending on your needs, from the small pedestal variety to the regal double bathroom vanities. Your basic vanity size can range from 17 inches and 72 inches, and everything in between. It is important that you measure the space available in your bathroom before you go shopping, or you may end up with your dream vanity, and nowhere to put it!
For those of you that are blessed with a large master bathroom, double vanities are the ultimate in functionality and luxury. No more will you and your partner be elbowing each other out of the way as you hurry to brush your teeth, fix your hair, and get ready for the day ahead. With a double vanity, you can both have your own mirrors, or share an extra-large one, and enjoy your own sink and faucet.
A double bathroom vanity can be quite an imposing piece of furniture, so it is important that you choose one that going to matches the decor of your room, and fits snugly in the space available. Another benefit of the double vanity is the huge amount of storage space available underneath. There will be no more excuses for the countertop to be littered with assorted bathroom paraphernalia.
For every style that is available in double size, there is a matching smaller single bathroom vanity. If your bathroom is of medium size, then this is the perfect choice for you. You can still have the beauty of a full-length cabinet, and the elegance of wood, while maintaining a certain amount of space to move around your bathroom. Single vanities will also cost a lot less than their bigger counterparts, so if money is an issue, this may be the perfect middle ground for your bathroom.
And then there are those of us that have to squeeze through the bathroom door sideways. Unfortunately, as real estate gets more expensive, homes and apartments seem to be shrinking, and many of us just don’t have the choice of a full-size vanity. In these cases, the pedestal bathroom vanity is the best option you have. Don’t be dismayed though, a pedestal vanity can be sleek, stylish, and fashionable, and still provide the functionality that is needed for a vanity.
Not only that, but many brands available have a deceptively spacious storage area underneath, which means less clutter in your already crowded space. You are not limited to a particular style either, there are pedestal vanities that come in both sleek modern styles and the more rustic antique look. For maximum space-saving, consider a corner vanity. Instead of devoting an entire wall to your vanity, you can have it neatly tucked in the corner, and benefit from all that extra space. This is a great way of opening up your bathroom.
Bathroom Vanity Styles
Antique – If you have an older-style home, and want to capture the essence of country living and rustic charm, then antique vanities will literally change your bathroom completely. The beauty and warmth of carved wood, coupled with a granite countertop, are sure to make you feel right at home. Other materials that are popular in antique bathroom vanities include copper, marble, and stone.
If you are concerned about spending an exorbitant amount of money on an antique, then you need to keep in mind that you can get vanities that are fashioned to “look” antique but are in fact brand new. These antique-style vanities will cost only a fraction of the real deal, and will still be a conversational piece that both you and your guests will adore using.
Modern – As beautiful as the rustic feel of a country bathroom is, some people prefer to have their bathroom look crisp and clean, modern and shiny. If this is the look you are after in your modern bathroom, then you will have no problem at all finding a vanity to match. Some of the materials used to create that modern sleek finish include glass countertops and stainless steel cabinets.
Some contemporary vanities incorporate woods like mahogany and pine to great effect as well. Contemporary bathroom vanities are tremendously popular in high-rise city apartments, where the modern decor blends in with sleek lines and sharp corners.
Top 5 Bathroom Vanity Manufacturers
There are literally thousands of bathroom manufacturers in the United States, and countless others around the world. Many people nowadays are turning to the Internet to make informed decisions on their bathroom vanity needs, but it can be difficult to wade your way through all these brands. We have gathered together a list of what is widely considered the top 5 manufacturers. We hope that this will help you make the right choice for yourself and your bathroom.
American Standard – In 2008 3 already respected companies (American Standard Americas, Eljer, and Crane Plumbing) merged to become American Standard Brands. Based in North America, its main focus is furniture and other products designed for kitchens and bathrooms
Kohler – Kohler has been providing the world with quality workmanship at affordable prices for around 150 years. Although they have a diverse range of products and services, they are most well known for their bathroom furniture and plumbing products.
Kraftmaid – Kraftmaid has been specializing in custom-made kitchen and bathroom cabinets to match their customer’s needs. Based in Ohio, they boast that their cabinets are manufactured in the US, and use the best materials to ensure your custom-made cabinet lasts the test of time.
Dreamline – The Dreamline range of bathroom products, owned by Bath Authority are of the highest quality possible. Bath Authority is a global manufacturer whose products are unique, top quality, and capture the essence of a luxurious bathroom
Porcher – For over a century, Porcher was a name synonymous with quality bathroom designs in France. Almost 20 years ago, the company was acquired by cabinet heavyweight American Standard Companies, and is now just as big in America, bringing with it a wealth of knowledge and style on European bathroom furniture.
Installing Bathroom Vanity Cabinets
Once you have decided on the bathroom vanity that is right for your needs, you may think that the next step is to hire someone to come and install it for you. Installing a bathroom vanity is not as difficult as you may at first think, and can be a rewarding experience if done the right way. To start with, you will need the following tools at your disposal…
- Adjustable Wrench (for disconnecting pipes)
- Screws (for connecting your vanity to the countertop and the wall)
- Tape Measure
- Hole Saw
- Shims (or spacers)
- Spirit Level
- Adhesive (or Liquid Nails)
- Electric Drill
- Stud Finder
Your first step is to turn off the water mains. After doing so, run the taps for a few seconds to let all the pressure out, and then commence disconnecting water pipes and drains. Using your adjustable wrench, take off the existing faucets and put them aside. Under the existing cabinet, disconnect the drain, being careful with the trap, as it may hold some water in the bend
To remove the countertop, you will usually find screws in the corners that need to be taken out. After the screws are gone, you might find that the countertop will need some jimmying with a pry bar, as quite often they have been fastened with adhesive to keep them in place.
Once you have lifted the countertop off and put it aside, you should have access to the screws in the back of the cabinet, connecting it to the wall. Unscrew these and you should be ready to pull the whole vanity out.
Before putting the new vanity in, check the floor and walls for any evidence of rot or dampness. If you find anything that doesn’t look right, then now is the time to get it fixed. Don’t be tempted to cover it up with your new vanity, as it will lead to more problems down the track.
Next, you want to measure where the pipes will come in at the back of your new vanity. you will need to cut a hole in the back of your vanity to accommodate these pipes, try to cut the hole a little large than the actual pipes so that they slip through easily. You will also need to mark off where the studs are in the wall so that you can line up the screws properly.
Slide your new vanity into place and make sure that it is sitting flush up against the wall, and that it is sitting level on the floor. If one side is higher than the other (which is quite often the case in older homes), you may need to slip some shims under the cabinet to even it up.
Depending on the style of vanity you have chosen, you may need to install the faucets onto the countertop before putting them in place. Once you have done this, apply some adhesive to the top of the cabinet so that the countertop fits securely on top. Be careful not to overdo this, as you don’t want the adhesive to leak through the edges.
Carefully place the countertop on top, and when you are sure it is lined up right, apply a little pressure to set it into the liquid nails. Screw the vanity to the new countertop, and the cabinet to the wall using the stud marks you lined up earlier.
Reconnect the water pipes and drain lines, turn the mains tap back on, and you should be ready to enjoy your brand-new bathroom sinks.