Ultimate Vanity Units Guide
Vanity units, also known as under sink cabinets, bathroom sink cabinets, basin cabinets and even bathroom basin combination units (to use with a matching toilet unit) are a fantastic way of combining a basin with important storage which is key in a bathroom.
Not only are vanity units excellent storage pieces, they will help to increase the aesthetics in your bathroom. Choose from a wide range of versatile designs in various colours and sizes from some of the best manufacturers in the world. We take pride in only selecting the highest quality units to present to the UK market so you can be sure whatever you choose will have great build quality and will remain a fantastic feature in your bathroom for years to come.
How to choose the right vanity unit for you
How big is your bathroom?
Firstly, you need to consider how much space you have in your bathroom so you can choose what size vanity unit you need. If your bathroom is on the smaller side, then you don’t want to over crowd it with a large vanity unit that will take up important floor space. For smaller bathrooms to keep your floor more open you should consider a wall mounted unit which will give you ample storage without cluttering your floor.
What shape is your bathroom?
Another thing to consider is the shape of your bathroom. If you have an awkward shaped bathroom you could try and choose a vanity unit that will fit in a comfortable position. If you have an awkward corner, then you could utilise the corner by choosing a corner vanity unit or selecting a narrow unit to fit into a nook.
How much storage do you need?
The fantastic thing about vanity units is that they all incorporate some sort of storage within the unit whether it be a cupboard with single or multiple doors, or a single or multiple storage drawers. Whether you’d prefer a cupboard or a drawer it is completely up to your personal preference, either way you will get a great place to store your bottles and products.
What design will suit your bathroom décor?
Finally, an important factor to consider is how you want your vanity unit to look. There are many different colours and finishes to choose from, giving you plenty of choice to find the perfect shade to match your bathroom tiles and wall colours. Most importantly, you can choose whether you want a classic traditional or contemporary modern design. Mix things up and choose a classic traditional vanity unit to create a stylish feature in a modern bathroom!
Where to position in your bathroom?
Now, onto positioning. The best place to position a vanity unit in your bathroom is an area where you can install a wall mirror above, enabling you to brush your teeth and get ready in the morning over your basin. A mirror is important when brushing your teeth and getting ready, so try not to install your vanity unit below a window. If you have a smaller bathroom, you don’t want to position your vanity unit where it won’t get in the way such as near your bathroom door or shower door.
The easiest place to install your vanity unit is in the same place where your old basin is as your plumbing is already there ready and waiting. If you are thinking of moving your vanity unit to a different location in your bathroom then you have to consider your floor and pipework to make sure you are able to re-route your pipes.
Different vanity designs
Free standing vanity
A free standing vanity unit is the classic design which combines a storage unit with a basin, whether it be a built in or countertop. Generally, free standing units are quick and easy to install as the majority come full assembled or flat-pack with minimal installation needed. Simply place your vanity unit straight into your bathroom where you have accessible plumbing (and space!) and you’re good to go.
Free-standing vanity units are a fantastic alternative to a standard basin as it adds aesthetics to your bathroom by giving you a stylish piece of furniture with practical storage built in underneath. With either storage shelves or drawers, free-standing vanity units come with many different design options to give you plenty of choice to find the vanity that will fit your bathroom perfectly.
Wall hung vanity
Wall hung vanity units are an excellent option as they are installed by mounting to your wall, freeing up important floor space whilst giving the illusion of more room. No more accidental stubbed toes with this one, as you can comfortably stand in-front of it and walk around your bathroom without catching the corner with your toe (which is a common thing- especially when you’re visiting the bathroom in the middle of the night!).
Wall hung units generally provide large storage drawers underneath, giving you a fantastic place to store all the things you wouldn’t want on display in your bathroom. Keep your bathroom looking clutter free and beautifully minimalistic by storing your bits and bobs within the storage drawers, utilising your vanity unit to its best ability.
Another fantastic thing about wall hung vanity units is that they are incredibly versatile regarding height. You can Install your unit to the required height you need to make things much more comfortable whilst getting ready, especially for wheelchair users who may not be able to reach the basin comfortably in a standard floor standing vanity unit.
Corner vanity -perfect for smaller bathrooms or cloakrooms
If you have a cloakroom, smaller bathroom or corner that can be utilised, then a corner vanity unit is an excellent choice. Make the most of your space by choosing a corner unit, using less important floor space whilst still providing you a fantastic basin with storage.
Corner vanity units generally are available with a shelf storage within the unit, covered by a single or double door. Despite the shape of the unit, you won’t lose out on storage space as the shelves will be placed near the front, optimising the size of the width within the cupboard.
Incorporating a built-in basin or a countertop basin, corner vanity units are a fantastic way of utilising space whilst bringing a practical storage solution into your bathroom without sacrificing important floor space.
Combined vanity units with toilet
A combined vanity unit with toilet is an excellent way of creating a seamless ‘built-in’ piece which fits together perfectly and utilises the space in your bathroom. By pairing a basin vanity unit with a matching toilet unit, you will create a consistent aesthetic that will create a real feature and match together perfectly.
Combined vanity units are completely versatile as most are available in a left and right design, so you can choose whether you’d like the basin to the left or the right of your toilet, allowing you to pick what looks and works best in your bathroom.
What style of basin do you want?
Single or double basin?
The single basin is the most popular choice, especially in smaller bathrooms as it gives you everything you need out of a good-sized basin and storage unit without overcrowding the room.
If you’re lucky enough to have enough space for a larger sized vanity unit then we highly recommend a double basin. Not only will it give you two basins (one for you and one for your other half – no more sharing!), it will give you much more important storage underneath which is imperative in a bathroom.
Recessed, semi-recessed or countertop basin?
Top mounted basins are installed into an opening in your vanity with the basin edges sitting comfortabily on the edge of your vanity creating a neat finish.
A semi-recessed basin is installed into an opening if your vanitywith the front slightly protruding out, giving you a slightly large space to wash your hands.
Countertop basins are typically bowl-shaped and sit on the vanity surface. The vanity unit comes as just a unit, ready for a counter-top basin to be placed on top.
What size vanity?
The size you go for is completely your choice, if you have a larger bathroom then by getting a larger vanity unit it gives you a larger countertop and larger drawers/cupboard to store all of your bits and bobs that you wouldn’t want on display (such as your bottles, sponges and even cleaning products).If you choose a larger unit, you can potentially get a double basin which means you don’t have to share your sink (bonus!). Larger units vary in size from 600mm-1200mm, with a depth of 350-450mm depending on the design you choose.
If you haven’t got the space for a larger vanity then a smaller vanity will still give you the storage you need and ample space to get ready in the morning, and by choosing a wall-mounted vanity it will save you important floor space. On average, a smaller vanity unit has a width of 400-500mm, and a depth of 250mm-450mm depending on the design you choose.
What material is best?
When purchasing a vanity, you want to make sure you choose one that is able to withstand a damp and humid environment, so if you’re able to go for quality over convenience then this is definitely a good choice. Most bathroom furniture is constructed from a durableMDF (medium density fibreboard) or MFC (melamine faced chipboard) which come in a variety of wood effects and colours. Whilst vanity units are designed to be durable and water resistant, they aren’t completely waterproof, so to keep your vanity looking good make sure to wipe up any splashes or spills.
Contemporary or traditional design?
Shiny, easy clean gloss finishes. Crisp well-defined lines and edges. These are the hallmarks of the contemporary styles. Available in the ever-popular monochrome choices of black and white, they are also available it rich reds, dusky greys and exotic wood colours. They tend to have straight chrome bar handles, or handles recessed into the doors to maintain the sharp lines.
If you have a Victorian or Georgian design theme, then this traditional style of unit is perfect to give your bathroom an authentic, period feel. The designs of the timeless minimalism and straight lines and of course modern gloss finish materials were not available. The traditional styles, therefore, tend to be wood veneers, or painted wood and have more surface pattern to the doors with panels.
Storage cupboard or drawers?
All vanity units have the benefit of storage within the unit, and its up to personal preference whether you’d prefer a cupboard with shelves or large drawers. With bathrooms being generally on the smaller side, storage is imperative to store your shampoos, conditioners and beauty products whilst enabling you to keep your bathroom looking minimalistic and clutter free.
Depending on how much storage you need, a double basin vanity will give you (literally) double the space as the vanity unit will be much larger. Whilst if you’re only able to have a smaller sized vanity unit, a single basin vanity (whether it is floor standing or wall mounted) will still provide you with ample storage to keep your bathroom neat and tidy of clutter.
A cupboard with either a single or double door with shelves is a great option to store bottles, whilst a large drawer or multiple drawer units are perfect for storing bits and bobs you’d rather not have on display.
Number of shelves
Its physical dimensions do not solely determine the storage capacity of a vanity unit. If you don’t have enough shelving, or if the configuration of the shelves is poor then much of that precious space will be unusable for storing your shampoo! Take the time to look at the number of shelves and where they are located before making a decision. If the shelves are adjustable, that’s even better.
Soft close doors or drawers
Soft closing doors or drawers add a touch of class to any vanity unit. Rather than slamming shut they glide effortlessly and soundlessly shut. Now to be correct we should point out that soft-closing and self-closing refer to two slightly different systems. Soft-closing hinges are always self-closing, but it is also possible to have self-closing hinges that close the drawer or door, with a bang! "Soft"-closing means that it glides almost silently into the closed position. When the door is pushed, its momentum takes it so far, and then the hydraulic hinges take over and gently ease it through the final part of its journey. Soft close doors cost extra to manufacture, so when comparing prices make sure you are comparing like with like!
What colour do you want your vanity unit to be?
If you’re looking to create a bold feature in your bathroom, then a vanity unit in a striking black finish will be sure to bring the wow-factor. Seeing as sanitaryware is usually white, by choosing a black vanity unit you will create a bold contrast that looks truly stunning and will complement each other perfectly especially if you go for white tiles too.
If you’re going for the minimalistic look in your bathroom, then a white finish vanity unit is the one for you. The great thing about white is how versatile it is, you can either choose matching white tiles so you have a clean minimal look, or choose bold tiles and calm the room down with a glossy white vanity which will blend perfectly with your sanitaryware. Pair with bold black taps and handles for a perfect contrast or choose stylish polished chrome to continue your light and bright, simple but stunning look.
50 shades of grey
Grey is one of the most popular colours in a bathroom thanks to its cool tone and practical shade. Grey will go with just about anything- complementing monochrome tones whilst acting as a feature all on its own. Whether you pick a light or dark shade of grey, you can have the confidence that your vanity unit will look fantastic whatever the décor you have, especially when paired with a polished chrome or matte black finish tap and handles.
Wood for thought
Bathrooms are a place you go to relax, unwind and freshen up, therefor a natural décor with wooden finishes is a very popular choice. When introducing wood into a bathroom, you can create a truly stunning aesthetic by choosing a wooden finish vanity unit. In many different types of woods, colours and shades, pair with crisp white tiles and sanitaryware, and you will have an eye-catching feature that will never go out of style.
Easy to install - Flat pack/fully assembled
Do you want to spend your weekend trying to assemble a vanity unit? Rigid vanity units come pre-assembled, so you just have to put them in place. Again pre-assembly increases the cost of manufacture so when comparing prices make sure you are not comparing a flat-pack unit with Chinese instructions to something more substantial that comes pre-assembled.
How to organise your bathroom vanity unit storage
When organising your vanity unit, you want to firstly ensure that you have the items you use the most placed in the most accessible place, so you don’t have clutter that you don’t need taking up space. If you can, get rid of any products that you may not need stored in your bathroom, so you have optimum space for the things you do need. Your vanity cabinet is the perfect place to keep things like your soap, razors, toothbrush and toothpaste, and any other small toiletries so they’re in easy reach of your basin.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a larger cabinet, then you can dedicate one side to your toiletries, and the other side for either your hair/skin products, hand towelsor your cleaning supplies! If you have a smaller cabinet, then prioritise the things that you use the most so they are neatly stored and easily accessible.
Different taps to use with your vanity unit
When choosing a tap to go with your newly purchased vanity unit, you want to make sure you’re picking one that not only works best for you but also complements your vanity design and colour.
Basin mixer taps
Basin mixer taps are the firm favourite, as they only require one tap hole and control both your hot and cold water in one, mixing them together within the tap before dispersing out at the combined temperature you have chosen. Whether you would prefer a single handle or a pair of handles, a basin mixer tap couldn’t be easier to use. With a single handle simply adjust the flow by lifting the handle up or down, and the heat by turning left or right, and with a pair of handles each will control your hot and cold so you can create the perfect mixed temperature.
Basin mixer taps come in many different designs and finishes, so you will have no problem choosing one that will look good with your vanity. With modern square, classic curved and traditional designs, contemporary black finishes and stunning polished chrome finishes, no matter what style of vanity you have chosen, you’re sure to find the perfect tap that will surely complement and impress.
Basin pillar taps
Alternatively, If you prefer the look and operation of two taps, then choose a classic pair of basin pillar taps, which each control your hot and cold water separately and require two holes in your basin. Double basin taps also come in a range of modern and classic vintage designs and in polished chrome finishes.
High rise basin mixer taps
If you’ve opted for a countertop vanity unit, then the tap you need is a high rise basin mixer tap. This tap is installed on your countertop and has a tall design, enabling it to comfortably reach over your basin bowl.
These taps are exactly the same as regular single handle basin mixer taps (a single handle simply adjust the flow by lifting the handle up or down, and the heat by turning left or right, and with a pair of handles each will control your hot and cold so you can create the perfect mixed temperature) but has a taller design to work with a countertop basin.