Bathroom Planning: Which Vanity Will Work for You?

Vanities can be smart centerpieces and offer tons of storage. See which design would best suit your bathroom

By Lara Sargent  /  Courtesy of

It used to be that the bathtub — be it a Victorian roll-top or a fabulous plunge pool — was the star attraction of our bathrooms. But today the vanity, in all its different guises, is heading to the top of our wish lists — and it’s easy to see why. From traditional designs to sleek basin-and-cupboard combos, there’s certainly no shortage of styles to pique your fancy, while flexible storage solutions help create a well-organized room for your daily routine. Bathroom clutter, begone.

Washstand. A traditional-style washstand offers timeless, elegant ambience in an all-white bathroom. Here, classic tubular chrome legs with towel rails have been finished off with the palest gray marble top for a sculptural look that blends in unobtrusively with the vintage-look bathroom. The washstand has no drawers or cabinets, yes, but in a roomy bathroom like this, you can afford to find another wall for your storage.

Single sink. Sometimes a single vanity will do the job nicely, thank you very much. This modestly sized bathroom is just big enough to fit in a good-size sink with practical cupboard space beneath to ensure that surfaces are kept clutter-free. To further maximize space, you could choose wall-mounted faucets, too, which would enhance the streamlined aesthetic.

Freestanding. This curvaceous vanity is more like an elegant piece of furniture than a functional bathroom must-have. The freestanding has a seamlessly molded sink with handy side “wings” for storing and displaying bathroom essentials, plus a black lacquered cupboard underneath to hide the remaining odds and ends. Stick to monochrome for a timeless bathroom design, and highlight with a bright accent for extra pizzazz.

Perch on a plinth. If your storage needs are already covered, your choice of vanity doesn’t need to revolve around umpteen cupboards and drawers. Instead, you can pick a striking piece that relies more on aesthetics than humdrum functionality. Here, a pair of modern sculptural sinks sits on a thick, wall-hung plinth, and the result is a light and airy visual feast. The shelf below is perfect for stashing fresh towels.

For kids. You can never have enough storage when it comes to kids — and that definitely applies to the bathroom. If the younger members of the family are lucky enough to have their own separate bathing area, then try to squeeze in as much cupboard and drawer space as possible. The rainbow stripes on this long, lean vanity add a sense of fun.

Big storage. If a wall-to-wall fitted bathroom unit is too kitchen-y for your tastes, consider compromising with a sizable vanity equipped with wide, deep drawers beneath. Opt for pure white cupboards, a pale stone top and acrylic handles so the piece doesn’t overwhelm the room, then fill it up with your toiletries for a clean and clear bathroom in minutes.

Petite. A vanity can become the star of the powder room if you seek out one with the right dimensions. This Victorian-style number offsets a traditional sink and faucet with an ornate metal cupboard for a serious dash of vintage style. The graphic wallpaper adds a cool contrast.

Custom. You can’t beat a vanity that’s tailor made to fit your space and style. This handsome and luxurious wooden creation is topped with a slab of marble and two inset white sinks. But don’t forget that all real-wood units need to be treated to make them water repellent and resistant to humidity. Avoid direct, prolonged contact with water and make sure the bathroom is well ventilated.

Wall mounted. A “floating,” or wall-mounted, vanity is perfect for compact bathrooms, as the clear space underneath promotes a light and airy look and is easy to keep clean. Choose handleless door fronts with a neat, recessed grip to enhance the streamlined silhouette.

Colorful. Vanities aren’t just about great storage and fuss-free functionality, they can also create a much-needed design boost in the bathroom. And for color maximalists, that doesn’t have to mean compromising with wood and natural stone. If you prefer a bold hue, accent a neutral bathroom with a zingy primary-colored, lacquered unit and let the sunshine flood into your life.