Episode 73: Bathroom Design Essentials – Vanities

In this episode of the podcast, Frances walks through the different types of vanity options available, along with custom Vs off-the-shelf designs discussing what may work best for your requirements. She also looks at material types and what to consider when specifying for wet areas.


Vanities are a strong focal point that can make or break the overall design and functionality of a bathroom.

Custom Design Vanity

Allows you to customise the design, shape, configuration of the material and the material being used for the vanity.

  • Flexible in design
  • Scaled for the space
  • Created based on your needs, storage requirements, and bathroom usage
  • Custom materials – any combinations – i.e colours, styles
  • Customise size and configuration

Off the shelf

  • Sometimes able to  customise certain elements
  • Choose between different stone tops
  • If you want coloured cabinetry, choices are limited
  • Generally available in standard sizes- 600, 900, 1200, 1500 and 1800 mm.
  • Standard size may not be the right scale for the room, so it may not be ideal
  • You may not be able to choose the material type that you want
  • Limited colour choices – specific colours may not be available with off the shelf products.

Storage Configurations

What you need to store is going to drive the design and functionality of your vanity.

  • Drawers- How deep and wide you need your drawers Open Shelving- Combination- For instances, a combination of drawers, cupboards and open shelves.
  • Cupboards

Benchtop only with exposed pipework

Freeform concrete or a piece of stone that forms a vanity top.

  • No storage – very minimal look
  • Can be used in bathrooms where storage is not critical- i.e guest powder room

Different Types of Vanities

Floating/wall hung vanity

  • Creates an illusion of space as you can see the floor underneath.
  • Ideally 25-30 cm off the floor.
  • Looks a lot more sophisticated as things don’t feel bulky Ideal for smaller bathroom space
  • Has a more refined, superior finish If you have a well-designed floating vanity, then you are going to get much more functionality and usability
  • More often than not, more expensive than floor mounted vanity

Floor Mounted vanity

  • Has a kicker at the bottom
  • It can look bulkier
  • Doesn’t maximise on creating an illusion of space


  • Stone- all types of stone
  • Opt for a lighter coloured stone  if you don’t like the watermarks
  • Laminate
  • If you like an under mounted sink, laminate will not be a great choice
  • Timber
  • Need to be sealed to prevent watermarking and damage


  • Laminate
  • 2pac
  • Thermo wrap
  • Timber- veneer and solid timber needs sealing as moisture can affect it.
What’s new?

Ready to design and create your own beautiful bathroom? Get all the interior designer insider knowledge in the Beautiful Bathroom Design Made Easy Online Course. With 21 self-paced modules, this online course allows you to create your dream bathroom. Find out more here.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Episode 36: Kitchen Design Essentials – Benchtops part 1 

Episode 38: Kitchen Design Essentials-Benchtop Criteria and Materials – Part 2 

Episode 41: Kitchen Design Essentials – Cabinetry Materials 

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If you’re thinking about renovating or creating a new home  get in touch with Frances directly, by booking a 15 minute chat with her.

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