Choosing Bathroom Vanities and Cabinets

The natural look of stone and wood continues to be one of the most popular looks in home bathroom design.

In most cases, the bathroom is the smallest room in the house; especially if you happen to own an older home in which there may be little space to expand a bathroom or add another. Paradoxically, it generally serves as a depository for lots and lots of stuff, so keeping things in order can be a challenge.

From makeup to shaving supplies to toothbrushes, the bathroom houses the products we buy and pamper ourselves and create a spa experience in our humble bath. So where can we store all our goodies, as well as toilet paper and cleaning supplies?

A new vanity or bathroom cabinets may be the answer to freshen and rejuvenate your bathroom without breaking the budget too badly.

Choosing a Bathroom Vanity or Cabinets

When you start designing your bathroom, you’ll find the cabinetry will become one of the most predominant elements of space. The style, material and finish will determine the look of your bathroom. And, in al likelihood, the cabinetry will be your biggest expense. Therefore, you’ll want to know all of your options before you make any decisions.

Remember that whatever material you choose, look inside the vanity as well. Many of today’s units include such features as one- and two-tier drawer organizers; pull-out towel holders; pull-out and tilt-out laundry bins; wire baskets in various sizes and depths; revolving shelves; and under-counter tip-out tray systems.

And of course no bathroom vanity will be complete with out adequate lighting and mirrors; a full-size mirror over your vanity is a must, but you can also add a small counter top mirror for added ease of use when putting on makeup, etc.

To figure out what look is right for you, you’ll need to focus on what you like and dislike. To do this, flip through magazines, study design books and visit bathroom showrooms to find your favorite style.

Kohler offers this round vanity and sink for a simple yet unique look in the bath.

Following Bathroom Vanity Trends

Over the last few years, three strong trends have emerged in bathroom décor and, accordingly, cabinet design and bathroom storage options. Here are a few trends to consider if you’re updating your bathroom cabinets and vanity:

The Spa Bath – With our desire to take a break from the fast pace of our daily lives, a spa-like bathroom theme offers a calming refuge. Pale colors, natural materials and lots of white all contribute to this cool, comforting atmosphere.

Try, for example, a light maple vanity topped with a glass counter surrounded by white walls. These elements may be just what you need to transform your bathroom into a sybaritic retreat.

Bathroom Vanities More Like Furniture – Recently there has been a return to historic styles of bathrooms equipped with furniture rather than built-in cabinets. You can achieve this look in a vanity cabinet by adding furniture legs or bun feet, relief carvings on door panels and natural stone on countertops.

Period Vanities – You may find a Victorian- or mission-style cabinet to match the architectural style of your house and transform it into a vanity. But if you choose this route, you should be sure the cabinet has proper cut-outs to accommodate plumbing and fittings. You’ll also want to measure carefully to make sure the piece will fit through your doors.

The Hip Hotel Bathroom Look – Why not have a bathroom that will make you feel like you are staying in a trendy boutique hotel? To outfit your chic bathroom, select a metal vanity with, say, a curved front cabinet and an above-counter sink set on a glass or stone countertop. A taller, 36-inch counter will give you more the look of a luxury resort or hotel bathroom.

Choosing Bathroom Vanity Materials

The materials you choose for your vanity will affect not only its appearance but also its durability and price; it makes sense to stick to the basics. You can quickly and easily change the look of your bathroom with different towels, wall color and hardware, but you make eventually tire of a purple countertop. What looks avant-garde and hip today may look quickly out of date.

In terms of small bathroom cabinets, there are many good options. Here are a few tips to remember when you go out cabinet shopping:

  • If you want durability, wood cabinets may be the answer. These can be painted if they are properly primed and finished with a good sealer to protect against humidity.
  • Plastic laminates, which are less costly than woods, probably won’t last as long as wood but may still outlive you.
  • For an industrial look, consider metal. It provides a sleek look but will require specialized cleaning care.
  • Surprisingly, few cabinets today are made of solid wood. Top-of-the-line cabinets often have sold wood doors (though veneers or high-pressure laminates also can be superior quality), but not solid wood cabinet boxes, which have a tendency to warp and twist.
  • Painted cabinetry is often constructed of a close-resistant thermofoil process. The majority of cabinets are constructed of plywood or composite-board boxes covered with wood veneers. Some manufacturers also offer metal cabinets, usually formulated with steel doors and composite-board boxes.
  • Finishes to consider include the popular new glazes, anything distressed and soft color washes for a farmhouse look.

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