Bathroom Vanity Cabinets

Your Bathroom Work Station

Bathroom vanity cabinets are an important focal point of your bathroom. In designing a vanity base cabinet according to your daily needs there are certain things to consider such as...

    Bathroom Vanity Cabinets
  • Space available for a vanity cabinet

  • Location of drain and water supply lines

  • Quantity and location of cabinet drawers and doors

  • Design of cabinet drawer and door fronts

  • Dimensions of vanity cabinet: length/depth/height

  • Type of materials used in making your cabinets

  • Type of counter top used - some examples are:

    • tile

    • granite

    • marble

    • laminate

    • or other stone surface

  • Style and quantity of sinks included in vanity top

  • Style and color of sink faucets

  • Paint or stain color

  • Type of sheen - some examples are:

    • gloss

    • semi-gloss

    • satin

    • flat

    • eggshell

  • Color and style of cabinet hardware

Know Your Space

Space is an important element to consider. A lack of space may require a different option such as a pedestal sink, for example. Pedestal sinks allow for the installation of a sink, but offer little to no area to place items you need to use. Slightly larger areas for a bathroom vanity cabinet may allow for designs that provide additional drawers and cabinet doors to store larger items, in addition to the larger counter top area.

Design Tip: If you are tall, the standard height of a thirty-two inch bathroom vanity cabinet may be too low for your body. For a tall person, a low bathroom vanity cabinet may cause discomfort while bending over the sink. Therefore, taller bathroom vanity cabinets of about thirty-six inches tall may be more comfortable for you, while also providing more storage space.

Plan Your Drain and Water Supply Line Locations

Your bathroom vanity cabinets have one important important function regardless of the final design. That function is to hide the drain and water supply lines which can become a real problem area if not properly planned. To avoid opening up walls simply to relocate misplaced pipes, you will need to know where your sink will be located within the space available.

If a Drain Pipe is Hitting Your Vanity Drawers

Sometimes, whether new construction or remodeling, you may encounter a situation where your drain pipe is hitting your vanity drawers. This usually happens in new construction when plans are not read properly, when plumbing installers fail to install piping at standard heights, or in remodeling jobs when an old cabinet is replaced with a new cabinet that has a different design.

If this is ever the case, you have to consider your options carefully. Every project involving the installation of bathroom vanity cabinets will present a very different set of circumstances such as:

  • Whether or not there is at least 4 inches of space in front of your vanity to pull the vanity base cabinet forward. If you have the space available. One option to avoid opening the wall to adjust your drain and water supply lines is to build a dummy wall behind your vanity to allow room to realign your plumbing lines. You can make this wall approximately 42 inches high to have a small shelf directly above your vanity or take the dummy wall all the way to the ceiling. Basically, you are doubling the thickness of your vanity cabinet wall to allow for any plumbing adjustments.

    You can then have your plumbing extended to its proper location within this wall without tearing open the main wall. This dummy wall can then be topped by installing the same countertop material used such as marble or granite to match your vanity top. This wall can act like a small shelf just above your sinks and counter top.

  • Another such option is to consider redesigning your vanity cabinet without making any plumbing adjustments and yet avoid the drain pipe from hitting your vanity drawers.

    If you are buying pre-made cabinetry, you may need to explain your situation to your cabinet vendor in order to compensate for the plumbing problem.

    Otherwise, if you are having cabinets custom made, then a good cabinet maker would be able to easily adjust the cabinet at little or no cost.

  • Finally, there is always the option of opening the plumbing wall to adjust the pipes to be exactly where they should have been from the beginning.

    If planned carefully, this may not involve much more work than a plumber and someone to open and close the wall before and after the plumbing work is performed.

Installing a Double Bathroom Sink Cabinet
Areas that allow for longer bathroom vanity base cabinets can be designed to include double bathroom sinks; a sink design for two. A double bathroom vanity design usually allows for one or more columns of drawers resulting in more storage space.

Depending on the overall length of the vanity cabinet, a column of drawers may be designed on either end, in the middle between the two sinks, or sometimes a combination of both ends and in between the two sinks.

The length, width, and height of your bathroom cabinetry is an important element. For example, many times vanity cabinets are made so small they barely house the bathroom sink. My personal preference for vanity countertops is to build them approximately 48 inches in length. The 48 inches of counter top ensures that you will have plenty of storage space below and have more room to design your drawer space.

If a small vanity cabinet is your only option, let the size of the bathroom sink be your guide on cabinet length. Keep in mind that small bathroom cabinet vanities typically leave very little room for drawers, counter space, or other type of bathroom storage.

On the other hand, if you are wanting to install a double bathroom sink cabinet there should be sufficient room for a longer vanity to house the two sinks comfortably. Nothing could feel more awkward than to be bumping elbows with another person using the second sink.

Try to avoid designing a double bathroom sink vanity top where the two sinks are so close together that you bump elbows with someone using the other sink.

Each sink should be eight to ten inches from the sides of the cabinet, while there should be approximately two feet in between both sinks. The two feet of space between the two sinks can be used to place a column of drawers.

Design Tip: Many bathroom vanity cabinets are designed with a tilt out door panel centered directly below the sink, and just above the doors accessing the plumbing below.

In some cases, this panel is nailed down so that the panel will not open, a panel strictly for decoration only. This type of design creates space that has little or no use to you.

By shifting this panel to the bottom of your bathroom vanity base cabinet, below the doors, you create a more functional area. Instead of a door panel, you may consider placing a drawer with full extension drawer slides. The full extension drawer slides provide complete access, versus partial access to your drawers. A drawer provides much more storage space within the same amount of cabinet space used by a tilt out panel, simply by incorporating a much more functional design.

Note: This can only be done if the drain pipe coming out from your wall is no lower than sixteen inches from the floor. This allows room for the sink to have its water trap properly installed without hitting the topside of your drawer.

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