Bathroom Vanity Buying Guide
Vanities often serve as a focal point of a bathroom, therefore many people put a lot of thought into selecting the perfect model. The main purpose of a vanity is of course function, so it is important that the main components of the fixture meet your needs, and that the size and design will work with your bathroom. This guide will help explain the main features of bathroom vanities so you can make an informed choice.
Most vanities are made from wood or wood composites. Many models use a design with solid wood frames and composite or MDF side panels, which produces solid cabinets at affordable prices. Solid wood vanities are often composed of durable materials like oak and rubberwood. Both types often use veneers to achieve desirable wood patterns and finishes. Laminate finishes are synthetic, but tend to be durable and easy to care for which is good for guest and children's bathrooms. Smaller pedestal and wall-mount vanities can be made of steel, glass, or porcelain all of which are durable and perfect for the bathroom. Acrylic is plastic material that is lightweight, durable and often used with contemporary designs for fluid or sculptural appearances. A newer trend in bathroom vanities is renewable materials like bamboo, which is quickly regrown and this sustainable, as well as rubberwood, which is cut only after it dies and no longer produces latex.
Vanity countertops come in materials like granite, marble, glass and more. Natural stones are very popular for vanities and have many shades. Granite is a very hard, non-porous and durable igneous rock primarily composed of feldspar, quartz and mica that have undergone extreme pressure. Granites are prized for their characteristic coarse grained appearance, in shades like Black Galaxy, Baltic Brown and more. Travertine is a sedimentary limestone formed from calcium carbonate deposition. It is a hard, semi-crystalline and somewhat porous stone that comes in shades of ivory to golden brown and often with unique banded patterns. Cream Marfil marble is a medium density, semi-porous stone that results from the metamorphism of limestone, during which it recrystallizes and mineral impurities form the characteristic veins. Due to the natural properties of stone countertops, differences should be expected as no two pieces will be exactly alike. Manmade marble countertops also offer similar appearances in cultured, quartz, or concrete fabrications and typically cost slightly less.
Sinks & Faucets
Of course no vanity is complete without bathroom sinks and faucets. Some vanities are sold as package deals, but others may require additional components. Bathroom sinks have a few main styles. Undermount sinks are perhaps most common and are mounted beneath the counter. Topmount or drop-in sinks are fitted above the countertop with the upper rim raised. Vessel sinks set on top of the counter and are very popular in modern designs. Vessel sink vanities are designed specifically for these type sinks. Also, there are pedestal and wall mount sinks, which do not require a bathroom vanity cabinet. The best type of bathroom sink faucet will depend on the holes drilled in the vanity as well as you sink. Three-hole spreads are typically 8" wide, using widespread three-piece faucets or 4" wide using minispread faucets. Single hole mounts have only one faucet hole, and are used for one piece faucets that integrate the spout and handle into one. Vessel sinks will need vessel-height faucets, and often use single hole mounts.
Bathroom vanities come in a wide range of sizes from 16" to 84" wide, and possibly even larger! Of course, the best vanity size will depend on the available space in your bathroom. Single sink vanities can be very small or large for additional counter space. For smaller vanities, consider pedestal sinks or corner vanities that have smaller footprints. Double sink vanities are often on the wider end from 60"-72", though models as small as 48" are available. If you are replacing an existing cabinet and like its size, then measure the length, width, and height to find similar models. for newer bathrooms, measure out the dimensions of the other fixtures and see how much space is left. Make sure you will have ample space to open drawers and doors as well as walking room. Side cabinets and wall cabinets can help give extra storage space if needed.
The design of the bathroom vanity is likely a top concern for most shoppers. Most styles fall into three main categories: traditional, transitional, and modern. When buying a bathroom vanity, make sure the style will match your other fixtures.
Traditional vanities will have classic or antique features like ornate carvings, pilasters, recessed doors, and antique-style hardware. Finishes of traditional vanities often include woods like Cherry and Oak as well as antiqued black and whites. A traditional bathroom vanity is perfect for complementing antique fixtures like clawfoot tubs or when a classic look is desired.
Transitional vanities often possess subtle styles with flat door and door fronts or bead-board, simple and clean lines, and simple hardware. These types of vanities are designed to work with classic or contemporary decor, and will fit in with most bathrooms. Transitional pieces are perfect for those who like frequent decor changes, when another focal point is desired, or when remodeling a home to sell.
Modern and contemporary vanities are perhaps the most popular in current home design trends, with sleek and innovative styles. Modern bathroom vanities often have angular designs with features like open shelves, wall-mount designs, non-traditional shapes, and modern hardware. These styles will be perfect for coordinating with modern fixtures and color schemes. Modern vanities include finishes like Espresso, Oak, Grey, Maple and other shades designed for contemporary decor.