Bathroom Vanities and Mirrors

Most people do not realize that bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets are different heights.

The kitchen countertops are as a rule 36 inches tall and bathroom countertops are 29 to 30 inches tall. Kitchen cabinets are typically 24 inches deep, while bathroom vanities are 18 to 21 inches deep.

What difference does this make?

Actually there are two reasons:

  • If you are a tall person, you might prefer the taller cabinets.
  • Then again, do you plan to live in this house a very long time? If the answer is no, then install the standard height cabinets as this could easily become a major deterrent when you sell the property

Another consideration might be to build the bathroom vanity at different heights. Planning this can be accomplished fairly easily.

Look for a base that has drawers across the top and see if you can cut out a section. By doing this, it can easily give you a 5 or 6 inch difference in height.

That was the easy part. Now find the same style vanity sinks and adapt them to fit the space. Most cabinet shops or big box suppliers can have a countertop made to your specifications. I have even seen them cast as one piece.

Make the space between the high and the low bathroom vanities look the same as the rest of it by installing a filler board with the same finish as the vanity cabinets.

Another choice might be to fabricate the countertops out of plywood and cover with Formica or plastic laminate and use drop in sinks.

Bathroom vanities come in standard widths starting at 18 inches and continuing in 6 inch increments until you get to 72 inches.

Custom cabinets are a little different as they are available in 3 inch increments. Custom built bathroom vanities are available in any width, height or depth you specify.

Another thought for you consideration, that is appearing more and more in custom built homes, is to incorporate old dressers and modify the top of the dresser to fit a sink. We saw one at a trade show several years ago where the sink was mounted on top of the dresser and appeared like an old time wash bowl. It was very pleasing to look at although I’m not too sure how fragile it would be if someone pulled the edge.

There are some newer glass bowls that provide the same appearances.

Vanity hardware is the finishing touch to your project.

  • For a children’s bathroom consider using their favorite characters.
  • For the master bath consider using something sophisticated to make the bath look elegant.

This theme can range from the knobs on the cabinet doors of the bathroom vanities, the pulls on the doors, to the towel bars. Hardware is available in almost any design and price range.

ust remember whatever sink you use, allow for the necessary plumbing connections under the sink for the drawers or doors to operate correctly. Consider hiding the plumbing behind some panels to dress up the appearance if necessary. Also consider using ornamental plumbing available in a overabundance of finishes.

How much space do you need to have between the sink and the wall? Allow 15” of clearance between the centerline of the sink to the closest side wall. Allow at least 30” between the centerlines of dual sinks, with at least 8 “of space between the outside edges of each sink.

More on Bathroom Vanities

Common Sense Tip: Mirrors over bathroom vanities need to be securely mounted to make sure they do not fall and cause damage to you. Glass is heavy and IS NOT tempered glass. This means it breaks up in long sharp pieces called shards.

If the mirror is heavy, make sure it is mounted into the wall studs that can support the weight.

Follow your mirror manufactures recommendations.

Usually the mirror is mounted so that its bottom edge is no more than 40” above the floor, if the wall is square to the floor. IF the mirror is tilted or hung picture style, this dimension can be 48”.

When mounting the mirror try to have it reflecting something other than a blank wall. By reflecting an object, the room will appear larger. Also try to reflect the light from a window. This will make the room brighter.

Dave Altman

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