Which Bathroom Vanity Is For You?

Article by: Steven Pollack

Planning on remodeling your bathroom? You'll find out very quickly that one of your major decisions involves the selection of a new vanity base and vanity top. Let's see what the choices are and which one is right for you.

There are two basic types of vanities, built-in and freestanding. Built-in is exactly what the name implies, a vanity base and a solid countertop that installs against the wall , Cottage Style Home Decorating: A-Z "QuikTips" for Instant Cottage Style and is designed to look like part of the structure.

For those who lean toward modern décor, or are remodeling the bathroom , Lighting - Starlight, Star Bright! in a contemporary home, , Cozy and Comfortable -- A Living Room for Winter! loft, high-rise condominium, , Plasma Entertainment Centers or upscale townhouse, , Aluminum Blinds – Durable And Available In A Wide Array Of Colors a free-standing vanity will definitely appeal to your creativity due to the greater range of more unique designs , Personalized Childrens Furniture Can Be Fun and Easy to Create that are available. These vanities also enhance the visual space of smaller bathrooms , The Advantages of Ionic Exchange Water Softeners and powder rooms , Furniture Bench - The Many Varieties & Uses For One In Your Home found in today's new construction.

Built-In Vanities - The Traditional Experience

Deciding on a built-in vanity is a two-stage process. First, you choose the vanity base. Walk into any home , Office Desks remodeling center and you will find rows of stock vanity bases bolted to the wall, , Shower Curtains ready to take home. , Why You May Need a Rug There are variations in style, including length, height, number and placement of doors , Decorating with Brains and drawers, but that's about it. If you have an older, traditional home, , Decorating a Guest Bedroom - Get Out of your Own Way this style is most likely your best choice.

Now that you have your vanity base selected, there's still something missing"¦the vanity top. Most of the time, the vanity top will be made from cultured marble, ceramic, or granite, and usually the sink (or basin or vessel, depending on the manufacturer's description) will be an integral part of the top, forming a one-piece unit that will not leak. In some cases, a vanity top will have a cut-out (or cut-outs in the case of a double vanity) to allow the basin (or basins) to drop in.

Whatever type of vanity top you choose from one of the big box suppliers, the tops that you can take with you are fairly limited and conventional in appearance and configuration. However, those retailers always have a wide selection of vanity tops from various manufacturers , Pot Racks - Make a Statement In Your Kitchen that can be custom ordered. Prices are reasonable and you can choose from a wide variety of sink shapes and placements in the top. If you're re-doing an older house , Contemporary Bedroom Furniture or simply prefer a traditional built-in vanity, this is an excellent way to add a little 'pop' to your bathroom , Futons beds while maintaining a traditional appearance.

Another thing to consider, if you're planning on doing it yourself, , Personalized Childrens Furniture Can Be Fun and Easy to Create is the relative difficulty of connecting the supply lines and the drain. When it comes to modern sink and faucet installation, it has gotten simpler for do-it-yourselfers to make the necessary connections. The problem lies in access to the connecting points. With built-in vanity bases, as well as some of the fine furniture , The Benefits of HEPA Air Purifiers versions and the occasional free-standing ones, you're going to wind up with your head stuck in a cabinet, trying to thread a nut in a hard to reach area.

Much of the problem with access to these built-ins comes from their name. You cannot move the base or countertop to get to the water , The Value of Antique Wedgwood China lines. Depending on the exact set-up of your bathroom , Lighting - Starlight, Star Bright! lines, it may not be that much of a problem, but other times a complete re-rerouting of the water , How to Choose Wall Covering Materials for Your Home supply line will be necessary in order to avoid a structural element of the cabinet. In a worst-case scenario, you could end up adding a number of very colorful epithets to your vocabula ry as you pull the entire unit out for a mid-project supply line revision. As they say in the army, however, proper planning prevents poor performance.

Freestanding Vanities - From Contemporary to Eclectic

Free-standing vanity bases allow you to be a little more adventurous in design. , Tiffany Lamps - The Artistry of Dale Tiffany Unlike built-in vanity bases, they typically come complete, with the vanity top. Because of this, you have a chance to evaluate the whole look before making a commitment to a particular style. Some free-standing bases look like fine furniture , Glass Coffee Tables and use tops similar to the built-ins, made of granite or glass. , Pot Racks - Make a Statement In Your Kitchen The holes for the vessel and faucet are pre-drilled and ready for installation.

These vessel bowls are contemporary, artistic, and, sometimes, exotic. They range all the way from tempered glass , Coffee Tables to antique hammered copper, , Psychology Of Colors: The Dining Room cultured stone, , Home Office Desks real stone, , Green Furniture – Fad or Fabulous? and stainless steel. Some of them are designed to mount on top of the flat , Fruit Basket Delivery counter, while others sit inside , Finding a Cuckoo Clock Repair Service the vanity top with only a few inches of the vessel above the counter surface. In either case, many leave exposed the supply lines and drain. If you enjoy being on the cutting edge, these types of vessels or sinks are made to order for you.

Also available are tops integrated with sinks as one piece, usually in interesting ceramic shapes or out of glass. , Aluminum Blinds – Durable And Available In A Wide Array Of Colors Other vanities are designed with flat , Powell Furniture - Make Your Kitchen A Gourmet Kitchen surfaces, where you can use some of the avant-garde sinks (vessels) by mounting them on top of the solid stone , Shower Curtains or glass , 7 Tips For Choosing A Rocking Chair vanity top.

You can find everything from chrome pedestals that stand on the floor , Home Furnishing - Creating You Ideal Living Space to cantilevered wall , Do It Yourself Bathroom Curtain mounts that support the basin in mid-air. Prefer fine cabinetry? Common wood , Aluminum Blinds – Durable And Available In A Wide Array Of Colors choices range from wenge (usually painted ultra dark brown, almost black) to oak. Exotic hardwoods, such as sapele or zelkova become available from time to time. These rich grained woods , Pendleton Blankets- What's Behind This Famous Functional Art are highly prized by custom furniture , Decorating a Guest Bedroom - Get Out of your Own Way makers. It's even possible to find a free-standing vanity that looks and functions exactly like an antique chest of drawers.

Freestanding vanities eliminate the installation problems mentioned above because the open designs , Psychology Of Colors: The Dining Room are easily accessible. The drain hardware , How To Create A Tropical Decor Bathroom Retreat is also designed to stay out in the open. P-trap drains, in particular, are very modern in design , Home Furnishing - Creating You Ideal Living Space so you don't mind them being in plain view.

Odds and Ends - Build it Yourself

There is a third vanity alternative that deserves a brief mention,namely, custom building , Braided Rugs: Spruce Up Your Home Decor a vanity base from scratch. This option provides the ultimate in flexibility (and is sometimes your only choice if you have an oddly shaped space) by allowing you to build from any kind of exotic hardwood. Think long and hard before taking this route, however, because it often takes an experienced woodworker with an ability to visualize in three-dimensions to make such a project successful.


An old adage in woodworking advises that one should measure twice and cut once. When choosing a new vanity, take the time to browse the home , Decorating a Guest Bedroom - Get Out of your Own Way remodeling stores to see the common offerings and search the Internet, , Home Office Desks if you are looking for something more expressive. In other words, research much, choose once. Do that, and you will wind up with a new bathroom , Pendleton Blankets- What's Behind This Famous Functional Art of which to be proud.

Steven Pollack is the owner of Bath Plus, an importer of exotic hardwood bathroom , How to Choose Wall Covering Materials for Your Home vanities. This line can be found at www.BathGems.com You may reprint this article, unedited, so long as the attribution and links remain in the reprint.
Steven Pollack is the owner of Bath Plus, an importer of exotic hardwood contemporary vanities. This line can be found at http://www.BathGems.com.

This article is © 2006 Bath Plus Inc. You may reprint this article unedited so long as the attribution and links remain in the reprint.

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