Updated: June 8, 2015
Vanity Reviews:A few months back we decided to update and change out some fixtures in our small downstairs bathroom. There is a toilet, a vanity, and a few fixtures on the walls that needed to go. The biggest change was going to be the vanity. We currently have a white, pedestal vanity that could be used as a birdbath outdoors - I hope you are getting the picture of it. My wife and I decided to go with something modern and completely different. The bathroom is small, so the only consideration we needed to take into account was that the new vanity couldn't be too large or else it wouldn't fit. We went to places like Home Depot and Lowe's to look, but ultimately didn't find a thing there that fit our taste. They make too many generic looking items - great for rentals, but not for those that like to add a personal touch to their homes. The upscale plumbing stores offer more modern designs, but their selection is fairly limited. Ultimately, our best source was online at places like Faucetsdirect.com and Amazon.
Choosing a Bathroom Vanity The first step is to measure (twice) your bathroom space. If you are not going to remodel or change the layout of the bathroom, then it should be easy to figure out what dimensions the new vanity can be in order to fit. If you are doing a total gut of the bathroom and configuring things differently, then your options may be different - but still measure properly. Now it's time to start the search. Most vanities start at 18 inches and go up in 6 inch increments with larger ones at 60 inches in width. Freestanding or Built In? - In our situation, the half bathroom really only needed (and had space) a freestanding vanity. This means that the vanity is only attached via plumbing. There is no cabinet unit underneath that is fixed to the wall. You can add a backsplash to help keep water away from the wall itself, but that is not necessary if you caulk the space between the vanity and the wall. There are some units that are freestanding, wall mounted vanities that are ultra modern - they mount directly to the wall (will probably require a section of the drywall to be removed for installation). The built-in vanity styles are better suited for larger bathrooms (say the master bath). They come in single and double sink options. Countertops - Common materials include stone, granite, ceramic, laminates, stainless steel, and composites. Our ceramic sink was one piece that covered the entire top of the vanity so we didn't need a countertop to the vanity. We just had to decide if we wanted a backsplash. Functionality - One of the main reasons we went away from the pedestal style to a vanity with a small storage cabinet was because we wanted to keep things like toilet paper, extra towels, soaps, and other amenities out of sight. Prices - The cheapest ones will cost you $350 to $500 while the more expensive vanities will run $4000 or more. Where to Buy - The one thing that we came across in our search was that many of the vanities we liked were on a "wait list" for ordering. Some of the lead times were 6 weeks. The ones you find in Home Depot are ready to go if they are in stock. The one we selected from Kohler was a separate vanity with integrated single sink. The sink was out of stock and we had to wait 5 weeks for delivery while the vanity itself was delivered within 7 days. The one drawback, it needed to be assembled. Not that bad - maybe 30 minutes of work. The hardest part was trying to time out the installation of the sink to the vanity and the vanity to the plumbing on the wall. We had a plumber/handyman do the work. It took several hours to get things right. If you are not familiar with plumbing hire a plumber to install. We suggest you browse the best selling bathroom vanities here.