Designing Your Bathroom Vanity

Today, many bathrooms contain additional features such as a vanity. When designing your bathroom vanity, these elements should always be considered – size, function, material, style, lighting, and additional features such as accents and tiles.
Designing Your Bathroom Vanity

Remember when bathrooms consisted of a shower, a toilet, and not much else? Well, we’re way past that stage. These days, bathrooms are bigger, grander, and contain far more than the basics. For instance, you’ve got your tub, a shower enclosure, maybe even a steam bath. But certainly one of the most remarkable additions is the vanity. Whether you like to pamper yourself or simply want to make your grooming easier, the vanity has become a bathroom basic as essential as your shower head.

Design-wise, vanities are often the focal point of the bathroom. That’s why it’s important to make your vanity as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional. But how do you make sure it fits in with your bathroom theme without sacrificing quality or function? Here are a few things to consider.


Two things should be considered when it comes to vanity size: how big your bathroom is, and how big you need it to be. As your bathroom’s centerpiece, it has to be proportional in size, or else it either doesn’t stand out enough or sticks out like a sore thumb. A good rule of thumb is that your vanity should take up around 10% of your bathroom’s floor area.

Size and function should also go hand in hand. If your regular routine consists of washing your face and brushing your hair, then you don’t need much space. But if you have a whole array of beauty products to go through, you way want to consider a larger vanity with built-in shelves to keep everything organized.


Sure, a sink and mirror will get the job done. But we all have needs of our own—maybe you want to display your perfume collection, protect your makeup from moisture, or make a grand statement with your vanity table. Think of what you want to do with your vanity besides your daily grooming and pampering.

If you do a lot of washing and cleaning, choose stone or ceramic countertops instead of wood or laminate. If you have a lot of stuff, you may want something wide with lots of storage and drawers. You want to make it your space, so it’s only right that it serves your needs, no matter how quirky.


Wood and metal are the most common vanity materials, but these days there’s also stone, granite, plastic, and laminate. Plastic and laminate countertops are great if you’re on a budget, but be prepared for heavy maintenance and quick replacements. If you’re looking for something strong yet delicate, stainless steel or iron may be your best bet.

Wood is easily the most visually attractive choice, but it doesn’t rate well in terms of quality and performance. Even treated wood will succumb to the constant moisture and heat before long. For a simple but durable counter, go for a ceramic tile top. Tiles come in all colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find one that goes with your bathroom décor.


The most obvious choice in vanity style is whatever your bathroom theme is. You want your vanity to stand out (since it’s the room’s focal point), but you don’t want it to clash with the rest of your furnishings. What you can do is take your existing style and add a striking accent, such as a bold complimentary color or an unusual shape or placement.

If you have a traditional-themed bath, you’re in luck: most vanity styles will go well with it, and you can even add some of your own touches. Dark wood and curved metal are particularly versatile. For a contemporary look, go for a straight-edged countertop and light wooden cabinets with a smooth matte finish.


Vanity lighting is one of the most difficult aspects of bathroom design. The light has to wash evenly over your face; otherwise it casts unflattering shadows that make you look pale or ghost-like. This happens most often with overhead and tabletop lamps. The best place to light your vanity is on either side of the mirror, either with a row of bulbs or a bathroom light bar.

Bright daylight used to be the traditional choice, but designers now recommend warm white and other warmer tones. These aren’t just more flattering; they also set a more relaxing mood for your bathroom. You can use a diffuser or frosted bulbs to soften the light and make it more flattering.

Additional features

Bathroom vanities don’t stop at being functional; they should also be pleasing to the eye. There are several things you can add to spruce up your vanity, such as metallic accents, colorful tiles, or a textured finish. A matching stool makes a great addition to your counter, especially if you like to take your time pampering yourself.

If you have a nice jewelry collection, you may want to put them in a jewelry armoire-style vanity. Fabric linings inside the drawers protect your jewelry from snagging and scratches. For an elegant look, try installing a marble countertop or brass taps. As long as they don’t interfere with your daily routines, a little extra décor is always good.