There are a lot of things to know about bathroom vanities but today we’re going to address the three main basics. One is door style. What’s the shape of the door? The second is the configuration of the cabinet. Does it have doors and drawers? Is it a furniture piece? Is it wall hung? Does it go to the floor? The third is color and texture. Is it a stained vanity or is it a painted vanity?

So, let’s start with the door styles.  There are many many door styles to choose from. If you’re looking for a more modern look, a lot of the door styles are going to be completely flat. There’s not a lot of decision there. In terms of the modern look, it’s most often a flat door. As you start to move into the transitional style you’ll see more shaker doors. Finally, as you start to move towards the traditional-style you’ll see more detailed doors. Of course, you want to think about the style of your bathroom when you’re considering your cabinet door but you also want to also think about the cleanability of that door. The more detailed that door is, the harder it’s going to be too clean if it has a lot of nooks and crannies. It’s important to consider function (cleanability) as well as form (style).

dark wood vanity bathroom

The second thing to consider is the configuration. Do you want a lot of drawers or do you want some tall storage? How do you want the cabinet laid out? How do you want it to look visually? Is it balanced? Is the spacing uniform? You don’t want it to be too busy but you may also want to have a lot of segmented storage because that’s going to make it easier to put things away. One other thing to consider is that drawers cost more money than doors. So when you’re designing a cabinet layout, the cabinet with a lot of drawers will typically be more expensive than one with fewer.

double sink vanity with mirrors

One other thing to consider, about configuration, is how the cabinet is mounted. In a modern scene, oftentimes, you’ll see what we call a wall-hung cabinet. You’ll have a cabinet that you can see straight under. I’m sure you’ve seen wall-hung cabinets. If you’re considering a wall-hung cabinet you have to remember you’re losing a lot of storage space at the bottom of this cabinet.  Typically, you’re going to be somewhere between 12-20 inches off the ground which means the bottom of the cabinet is non-existent. The beauty of a wall hung cabinet though, besides the modern aesthetic, is that you can see underneath it and it definitely makes the room look bigger.

double sink vanity with bathtub

The second type of cabinet you might consider is a furniture piece, something that has legs. People always ask me, “well doesn’t a furniture piece have less storage?”  Not really because the legs actually go in the same space as the toe kick might go. So a furniture piece can have similar storage as a cabinet that will go all the way to the floor with the toe kick that also allows you to look past the cabinet, under the cabinet, so that it makes the room feel a little bit bigger. It’s also a stylistic decision because a lot of people prefer the furniture look from a stylistic perspective.  Furniture can bridge ALL styles; modern, traditional, transitional etc.

white double sink vanity next to toilet

The floor mounted cabinets, all the way to the floor type cabinet, wall to wall type cabinet, is really the most common type of cabinet. You’ll have a short toe kick at the bottom and you can configure it anyway you wish.  Often times furniture pieces are only configured certain ways and only certain sizes, where a wall to wall cabinet you can almost do anything you like. So those are the configuration thoughts.

The last thing to consider is color and texture, as well as what kind of wood we want to use. This is primarily a stylistic decision. You can paint the cabinet. You can use a melamine type veneer and there are some amazing ones that look like wood and all kinds of other things, even alligator skin. Then you can also use a stained cabinet with various species of wood. Again, typically this is a stylistic and not functional decision. If you’re using a factory-built cabinet, more often than not, these cabinets are going to hold up no matter what the finish is, even in the wet location.

So, there you have it. Door style, Configuration and Color/Texture. The three basic decisions when choosing a cabinet. Next time, we’ll discuss cabinet construction and what to consider when choosing who is going to build your cabinets.