Designing a bathroom vanity – how to choose the perfect vanity unit

The best way to select a bathroom vanity that combines practicality, ample storage and stylish good looks

Designing a bathroom vanity
(Image credit: West One Bathrooms / Porter / C.P Hart)

Designing a bathroom vanity is no easy feat, but we are here to break down everything you need to know when it comes to choosing a vanity for your bathroom – no matter how big or small your space may be. 

From floor-standing to floating and wall-hung, bathroom ideas with a vanity units – come in a range of styles, sizes and materials so they are an easy way to bring some individuality to your scheme. Plus, bathroom vanity ideas are a useful addition to any bathroom because they combine basins and storage space in a single piece of furniture.

Designing a bathroom vanity – how to choose the right unit for you

Here are some of our favorite ways to design a bathroom vanity, plus tips and expert advice that will show you how to incorporate that stylish vanity into your bathroom or powder room.

Why have a vanity in your bathroom?

Good bathroom storage ideas is essential for any bathroom, no matter the size or layout. Clutter is not conducive to a well-ordered and restful environment, which is one of the key reasons why vanity units have become such an important design feature, offering somewhere to store toiletries, cosmetics, spare toilet rolls and towels below the basin. 

‘Consider your specific requirements to ensure that your vanity meets your storage needs,’ advises Lisa Persse, director of Porter. It’s generally easiest to see and access contents in drawers, especially if they are compartmentalized, but cupboards are useful for larger items and tend to look more classic.

Designing a bathroom vanity

(Image credit: Devon&Devon)

Where is the best spot for a bathroom vanity?

A stylish bathroom vanity – or powder room vanity – can be a focal point, so it makes sense to position it as such. ‘Your bathroom’s unique layout will help you decide where to locate the vanity unit, such as in the space between two beautiful windows,’ adds Lisa. 

Another option is to place it opposite the entrance door for maximum impact, or against the longest full-height wall, where it will display well and have sufficient space for a mirror above the basin.

Designing a bathroom vanity

(Image credit: Porter)

What size vanity should I put in my bathroom?

For small bathroom ideas, powder rooms and cloakroom ideas, vanities start at about 400mm wide, but there is more choice in the 500-1,200mm width bracket. Double units are typically 1,200mm wide and can go up to 2,400mm. 

‘Wall-mounted designs free up floor area and can boost the sense of space in a room, while their “floating” appearance may create an attractive visual lightness,’ explains Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One Bathrooms. 

‘Floor-standing vanities tend to suit more classic schemes and offer more storage, while washstands and vanities on legs offer less storage but, again, tend to have a lighter appearance.

Designing a bathroom vanity with style

(Image credit: West One Bathrooms)

How to you build a custom bathroom vanity?

Unable to find the perfect piece? The solution may be to commission a bespoke vanity, especially if you want something designed to suit the proportions of an extra-large or small space, if the room has awkward architectural features to work around, or if you simply want to find a way of maximizing space that might otherwise be wasted. 

‘You get exactly what you want, it fits perfectly and complements the rest of the room – and it can also be value engineered to suit your requirements and budget,’ advises interior designer Justin Van Breda.

Designing a bathroom vanity with wall-hung unit

(Image credit: C.P Hart)

What material is best for a bathroom vanity?

Choose from classic timber or painted designs to contemporary vanities with fronts in glass, lacquer, stone or composite materials in smooth, glossy, matt or textured finishes, with surfaces and basins – be they integrated, undermounted or countertop – in complementary or contrasting colors and materials. 

‘You can opt for single or double basins – the latter are ideal for couples who like their own personal space,’ advises Yousef Mansuri, head of design at C.P Hart. ‘The vanity you choose represents a real opportunity to personalize your modern bathroom and create a design that is as eye-catching as you wish.’

Amelia Thorpe
Contributing Editor

Amelia Thorpe is a specialist interiors and design journalist, covering every topic to do with homes from fabrics, furniture and lighting to surfaces, kitchens and bathrooms. 

As the daughter of an antique dealer and a lifelong collector of old cookery books and vintage graphics herself, she also has a particular expertise in antiques, mid-century and decorative arts of all kinds.

Drawn to homes because of their importance in the happiness of our lives and the enjoyment they can bring, Amelia has been writing about the topic for more than fifteen years. She has interviewed some of the most influential designers of our time, from Piero Lissoni, Antonio Citterio, Jaime Hayon and Arik Levy to Nina Campbell and Robert Kime.