Bathrooms

How to Buy Inexpensive Bathroom Vanities

Does your bathroom have a vanity that’s beyond a paint job? Or worse, no vanity at all? When we moved our house had two bathrooms, both with pedestal sinks. While I think these are beautiful, they are not always practical. You can’t put anything away. That’s just not happening for two adults in a master bathroom.

Here’s a guide to finding a bathroom vanity on a budget.

What are the Standard Sizes for Vanities?

If you can’t afford to have a custom vanity, there are so many great looking options you can have delivered, even with the countertops already installed.

The first thing you need to decide is how large of a vanity your bathroom can hold. This depends on the layout of your bathroom, but you need space around the vanity.

Single Sink Vanity Sizes

To determine how much space you have for a single vanity, measure from the center of the existing sink to the edge of the next closest fixture. For example, if you are placing the vanity on the same wall as the toilet, you will need approximately 18″ from the middle of the toilet to the edge of a vanity.

Standard single sink vanity sizes are 18 inch (very tiny) 24 inch, 30 inch, 36 inch and 42 inch. Even if you are not placing next to a toilet I recommend two to three inches minimum on the sides for some breathing room.

Here is a single sink vanity I purchased from Wayfair. It is 30 inches wide with a porcelain top including the sink. This vanity was $432.99 including the sink. Make sure you know what you are buying and whether it comes with a sink or without.

Double Sink Vanity Sizes

Standard sizes for off-the-shelf vanities are 48 inches, 60 inches and 72 inches. There is a significant bump up in price as the sizes increase. You have to consider that you also have to buy two of everything, two faucets, two sinks (if not included) and two installations.

To determine how much space you have for a double vanity, measure from the center to the edge of the next closest fixture. Again, if the next closely fixture is a toilet you need 18 inches from the center of the toilet to the edge of the fixture.

Double vanity measuring is a little more tricky because if you have two sinks already you will want to avoid moving the plumbing so you want to make sure to print out detailed specs to see if the sink holes will align.

Other Design Consideration

In addition to the number of sinks you will also need to consider these variables:

  • Free standing or wall-mounted. The wall-mounted vanities will take a bit more installation. Even free standing sinks may require some installation if you have trim. I had a border in my bathroom of tile around the floor. In order to make the vanity flush with the wall I had to get the tile trimmed.
  • Faucet configuration – The most common configurations are single hole and triple hole, which are further divided into center set and wide spread. If you buy a vanity with pre-cut holes you need to make sure you have the right type of faucet to fit.
  • Sink installation – If you buy a vanity without a top/sink included you will need to determine what type of sink you need. Getting a separate top adds a custom element to the installation that I didn’t want to deal with. There are under-mount sinks, integrated sinks (which are part of the counter top) vessel sinks and over-mount sinks. The first vanity I bought that had a ceramic top and the sink was integrated. The second vanity I bought had a marble top with an under-mount sink.
  • Drain assembly – Most vanities don’t include this. This is the piece that goes in the center of the drain to make it stop. You can buy standard drain assemblies at Lowes or Home Depot. Be sure you get the finish (chrome, brass, etc.) to match your faucet.

Where to Buy Bathroom Vanity

I looked for weeks to narrow down which vanities I wanted. I compared price, material, delivery charges, countertop finishes and sink depth. I was in a research spiral.

What I learned from this is that I would narrow down my shopping to Wayfair, Home Depot and Lowes. The benefits of Wayfair is the filters. Wayfair allows you to filter by color, size, number of sinks, width, length and any variable you can think of.

I purchased my first vanity from Wayfair and it came damaged. The other reason I like Wayfair is that they replaced the counter, quickly. I bought my second one from Lowes. Home Depot and Lowes have very similar selection, although much more limited than Wayfair. At Home Depot and Lowes there is the option to pick it up. This can save you money if you have the ability. They are HEAVY.

Single bathroom vanity from Lowes

What is the best countertop for a bathroom?

There are many different countertop finishes: laminate, quartz, ceramic, marble and granite. Which one is best depends on you. Each one has different advantages and disadvantages.

  • Stone – Stone includes quartz, marble, soapstone and granite. These materials are more expensive but they are very durable. They are natural materials, meaning they are not man-made. These are more expensive and more unique. They can require regular sealing to resist stains.
  • Laminate – Laminate tops have made lots of progress. They are very inexpensive. There are tons of color choices and if you end up damaging the counters, they are inexpensive to replace.
  • Solid Surface – Solid surfaces include quartz, Corian and Silestone. These are man-made surfaces. They require less maintenance than stone but they tend to look more uniform than stone. Solid surfaces are similar in price to stone and equally as durable.
  • Ceramic – Ceramic is relatively inexpensive and easy to clean. It is not absorbent. The disadvantage to ceramic is that it can be cracked. For example, if you drop a cup of coffee on the sink, it might crack.

Delivery of Your Vanity

When you buy a vanity off the shelf it will come in a GIANT box. Most delivery services will drop this giant box outside your door. Wayfair and Lowes both deliver only to the doorstep.

I recommend unpacking outside and thoroughly checking the cabinet for damages. If there are any, you want to discover them before it is completely unpacked. In addition, they are heavy and easier to move without the box.

Installation Tips For Your Vanity

The unfortunate reality of a vanity is that plumbing is involved. If it’s possible to see the existing plumbing, measure to see if the plumbing space in the one you want will fit. Measure the p-trap. If you don’t, you may end up having to cut into the vanity your purchase to make the pluming fit.

The handymen/plumber who installed mine had to trim the opening even though I thought it would fit.

Have you purchased a vanity for your bathroom off the shelf? If so, share your story.

But a vanity off the shelf and save money


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