Bathroom vanities are the central hub of the bathroom for all primping and prepping in the morning, at night, and in between. Whether a half bath or a full-size master suite, it is essential for the vanity workspace to be well lit, features a large mirror, including a sink, and provide enough counter and cabinet space to house all your grooming supplies in a well-organized fashion.
The style of the vanity base you choose makes a personal statement, echoes your beauty routine, and meets your storage needs. The transformation of your bathroom vanity can be as simple and straightforward as changing hardware, updating fixtures, and painting the existing cabinet to as creative as refinishing a hidden treasure from a garage sale, flea market, estate sale, grandma’s attic, or your own basement.
What Are Bathroom Vanities?
Bathroom vanities designed as cabinets range in style from wall-mount, never touching the floor, to built-in, sitting on the floor. Both designs conceal plumbing, support a sink, and provide ample storage. Creative DIYers and designers are experienced with the trend to make something old into something new. The love of re-purposing cherished finds, like buffets, dressers, and tables, is making its way into transforming intimately personal spaces, and bathroom vanities are ideal for showcasing your personality.
Regardless of its design, size, or shape, it is important that the vanity is proportional to the size of the bathroom.
Because the bathroom is one of the wettest rooms in the home, all materials need to be moisture-resistant or waterproof.
Steps to Remove and Replace Bathroom Vanities
Bathroom vanities can be removed and installed easily if you are patient and thorough. When working with water, you will want to be careful, so water leaks and moisture don’t develop into problems. Follow these nine straight-forward steps to redo bathroom vanities.
Step 1: Shut Off the Water
Under the existing sink, turn off the water and disconnect the supply lines. To catch any water that may drip, place a bucket under the supply lines and P-trap, which is the curved, white PVC pipe attached to the drain.
Step 2: Prepare the Countertop for Removal
Using a utility knife, gently but firmly loosen the caulk between the countertop and wall and the countertop and the vanity. Make sure all sides of the existing countertop and vanity base are cut so that when you lift the countertop or vanity base from the wall, it does not tear the drywall.
Step 3: Prepare the Existing Vanity for Removal
Remove the drawers from the vanity. Using an electric screwdriver, remove the screws that attach the vanity cavity to the wall. Gently rock the cabinet to ensure it is free from the wall. Then, remove it from the bathroom.
Step 4: Locate the Studs and Prepare the New Vanity
Using a stud finder, identify the wall studs and mark them one inch higher than the new vanity, so they are easy to see while you work. Also, mark the vanity’s screw holes inside the cabinet along the studs.
Line up the back of the new cabinet to the wall plumbing and mark the holes on the vanity for the water and drain lines. Using a drill with a spade bit and a hole-saw attachment, cut the holes. Confirm the preparation is accurate.
Before you permanently install the new vanity, make sure it is flush against the wall and level. If not, use shims and a carpenter’s level to ensure it is. The shims will be cut flush.
Secure the new vanity to the wall with screws.
Step 5: Install the Faucet
Now is a convenient time to choose a new faucet because it is easier to install with the countertop off. Install the faucet according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 6: Secure the Vanity Top to the Base Cabinet
Using tub- and tile-caulk, run a bead along all top edges of the cabinet before laying the countertop on the vanity.
Step 7 - Reconnect the Plumbing
Reconnect the supply lines to the faucet. Replace the old P-trap with a new one if needed, and use Teflon tape, also known as a plumber’s tape, to ensure the connections are tight. Turn back on the water from under the sink.
Step 8 - Finish the Installation
Carefully apply a thin bead of caulk around the countertop edges against the walls. Using your wet fingertip, smooth out the caulk before it dries. With a clean towel, wipe down the faucet, countertop, side of the cabinets, and inside of drawers and floor base.
Step 9 - Enjoy!
Step back and appreciate the beauty of your hard work and skilled installation.
10 DIY Ideas
If you are DIYer, then you will love these 10 ideas to transform furniture pieces into functional bathroom vanities with personality.
Ideas for Guest or Half Bathroom Vanities
Butcher Block Top
Bathroom vanities featuring butcher block countertops are ideal to complete a farmhouse or rustic theme.
To avoid water damage, it is important to seal the wood with a permanent solution. There are two types of sealers to consider: penetrating and topical.
A penetrating sealer soaks into the wood and seals the pores from the inside. Moisture is unable to penetrate the surface once it is cured. Natural oils are exceptional penetrating sealers as they are easy to use, enhance the appearance of the wood, and are nontoxic.
A topical sealer creates a thin, protective film on top of the surface. The pro in using a topical sealer is that the surface dries quickly, becomes scratch-resistant, keeps moisture out, and lasts longer. However, these chemicals are harsh to breathe in while applying and to the environment. They can give off VOC, volatile organic compounds, for months and even years after they are applied. If you decide to use a topical sealer, consider a water-based product with low VOCs.
Dining Table Washstand
If you are looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind bathroom vanity, consider mounting half a dining room table to the wall. This idea can be implemented in both a smaller bathroom as well as a master bath where both ends of the table create side-by-side bathroom vanities, doubling the sink space.
When cutting the hole for the sink with a jigsaw, you will want to have purchased the sink, know its exact measurements, and to identify it as a self-rimming or a vessel sink. After you have the hole cut out and confirm the sink fits snugly, you will want to prime the sinkhole and slightly underneath to protect the wood in case water leaks.
If the table is too short for your desired height, you can attach bun feet to the end of the legs to make it taller.
Once your table is fully prepared with paint or stain and sealant, attach a strip of wood under the back of the table by screwing it up from the bottom into the table. Then, screw into that strip directly into the wall studs. Now, you are ready to drop in the sink and attach plumbing.
Retrofitting a favorite piece of furniture makes it so inviting. Re-purpose an end-table for a sink vanity or a pair of side tables for double bathroom vanities.
As is the case with transforming any other piece of furniture into a vanity, some cutting of wood in the back or underneath for plumbing may be required. A hacksaw may do the trick. Start by drilling a pilot hole large enough for the handsaw to fit through and then continue along your pattern.
You can cut out the top to set a sink inside or keep it flush and intact by adding a bowl-sink. It most likely will depend on the style of the cabinet and if a sunken sink will fit depth-wise within the end-table design.
Square, Wood Table Modification
If you are having trouble finding a smaller vanity perfectly sized for your half bathroom, consider an open-shelved wood table. Install a wall-mount faucet and recess plumbing into the wall, so the lines are clean, and space underneath is free for decorations or necessities.
Ideas for Full Bathroom Vanities
Re-Purposed Dresser With Single-Sink or Double-Sinks
If you have a favorite dresser or inherited a dresser from your grandma that you cannot part with but have any room in your bedroom for it, you can easily convert it into a stunning bathroom vanity.
Dressers offer incredible storage space for toiletries, towels, and hiding bulky appliances like hairdryers.
It won’t take much time or effort to transform a buffet into a vanity, with one or two sinks. Similar to re-purposing a dresser, a buffet offers tremendous storage underneath, especially if you use bowl sinks instead of sunken.
Antique buffets usually come with a backboard which is ideal for a built-in backsplash. Most are attached with screws and can be easily removed before refinishing the piece with paint or stain. A light sanding in between each coat and before the sealant will smooth out the finish. Apply a thin seam of clear caulk to the adjoining edge after you have re-attached the backboard and before you affix the faucet.
This masterpiece using an old desk for a vanity gloats rustic but polished design. The top drawers of a desk are ideal for hairbrushes and lipstick while the side drawers are perfect for tucking away a flat-iron or hot curlers. The space in between the sides of the desk provides ample room for a hamper or basket of clean towels.
Salvaged Media Cabinet
A media cabinet provides the length required for a trough sink, the depth for lots of storage, and the three-dimension for showcasing pretty toiletries behind glass doors.
If you are painting the door frames, rub a little petroleum jelly or tape with painter’s tape along the seam between the glass and wood to avoid painting the glass.
Cottage Kitchen Table
Refinish a hidden treasure, such as an antique kitchen table made of oak or pine. Antiques are sturdy and make for a great find for bathroom vanities. A timeless classic can be stylishly updated with one or two bowl sinks, farm-style faucets, and a basket for linens on the floor under the sink.
If you are not ready to replace your existing vanity, countertop, and plumbing but desire a refreshed look, paint it. With a little elbow grease and a few hours, you can overhaul your bathroom vanities with minimal effort.
Remove the hardware, lightly sand the wood to remove any build-up of hair products or grease over time, and finish with a primer and a high-gloss paint. Use a brush to paint the details and crevasses before using a roller to smooth out the flat surfaces before the primer and paint dries.
Be sure to use new hardware, stylish mirror, and a trendy faucet to complete the transformation.
Bathroom vanities are a main focal point for the room you spend a significant amount of time in preparing for work, play, or rest. Re-purposing is an inexpensive way to update your home, save money, and bank some personality in your bathroom vanities. Add a custom countertop with a fitted sink and fashionable faucet, and you give a piece of a much-loved furniture a new function and style.