By Lisa Siglag

7 Questions to Answer Before Buying a New Vanity

The bathroom vanity sets the tone for your entire bathroom, and the breadth of vanity options makes it easy to feel overwhelmed when shopping for a new one. First and foremost, you'll need to consider function, then style and then, of course, budget, which will both limit and guide you to select the right vanity for your space.

Begin your search by answering these seven questions to help you hone in on your needs:

"Do I need one sink or two?"

Your answer should depend on how much space you have. Double sinks require a 47-inch vanity at a minimum, but this is rare. Most double-sink vanities start at about 60 inches and run to about 72 inches. If you have a smaller space, you may have to select a single-sink vanity for your bathroom.

"Do I want a single unit?"

Do you want to custom-select the counter and sink of your vanity, or find one with a counter and sink already included? Most vanities do not include faucets, so you'll have to purchase one, but it's easy to find all-in-one units that come complete with sink basins and countertops.

"Do I need storage space?"

How much and what type of storage do you need for your vanity? If you have a lot of small makeup brushes and cosmetics, drawers will fit the bill. If you need a spot for household cleaners and blow-dryers, make sure your vanity includes deep cabinets or drawers.

"What style vanity do I want?"

If you are designing a traditional space, look for a vanity with plenty of architectural details, such as bun feet (resemble a slightly flattened ball), classic hardware and raised panel doors, or a bow-front (outward curve) design. If you're creating a modern space, opt for clean lines and simple hardware.

"What kind of countertop material do I want?"

If you opt to pick either a fully or partially customizable cabinet, you'll have to decide between five types of countertop materials. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, they are:

Marble and granite, which are durable but porous ($125 to $250 per linear foot installed);

Solid surfacing that's low-maintenance ($100 to $250 per linear foot installed);

Tiles, which have the drawback of dirt- and mildew-susceptible grout lines ($10 to $40 per running foot installed);

Laminate, an affordable option ($24 to $50 per running foot installed); and

Wood, such as maple butcher block, which can be vulnerable to water damage ($25 to $40 per linear foot installed).

"Is wheelchair accessibility important in my home?"

Wheelchair accessibility requires enough floor space in front of the vanity for a wheelchair to pull up to the countertop. Plus, the vanity should leave enough room for the chair to navigate around a door opening and closing. In addition, the height of the vanity needs to be lower to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

"What kind of storage construction do I want?"

Before you purchase a vanity with drawers, check how they slide. See if they offer a soft-close so the drawer doesn't slam shut. Also look for drawer stops so that the drawer won't end up pulling out of place and into your hands when you're trying to reach something from the very back. Check the drawer joints -- a dovetail joint (interlocking edges that require no nails or screws) is a sign of high quality. Also, what is it made of (solid wood or particle board)? Will it stand the test of time? As a general rule, look for the highest-quality vanity you can afford, and you will be enjoying your bathroom vanity for years to come.


Home & Garden - 7 Questions to Answer Before Buying a New Vanity