The sink is an essential feature of every bathroom, second in importance only to the toilet. When selecting a vanity for your sink, it’s important to consider how the functionality of your vanity will serve the use of that specific bathroom. What works for one might not be best for another. That’s why it’s important to know about the different types of bathroom vanities.
As one of Portland’s leading design-build firms, our team at Lamont Bros. has guided dozens of homeowners through the process of selecting products for their bathrooms. Although it isn’t a topic that people often think about, there’s a lot to consider when selecting a sink vanity. It may seem unimportant at first, but the better you understand how different sink vanities serve different needs, the better your bathroom will serve your needs.
In this article, you can read about four different types of bathroom vanities. Once you reach the end of this page, you’ll be able to identify which of these options is best for your bathroom. Specifically, this article will discuss:
What are the four most popular types of bathroom vanities?
In this article, we define a bathroom vanity as “a structure which directly supports a sink.”
A bathroom vanity’s functionality is decided by two competing factors: size and storage space. Before helping you decide which one is best for your bathroom, we’ll first discuss the different types of vanities. Each one comes with its own benefits and challenges, which you can read about below.
A pedestal sink consists of a sink basin and a stand (pedestal) that supports it from the ground. Similar to this, a wall-mount sink is simply a basin sans-pedestal that attaches to the wall. These options tend to be the least expensive when it comes to bathroom vanities.
The simplest form of a bathroom sink, pedestal and wall-mount sinks are simply that – a sink. Typically made of porcelain, these simple sink options take up less space at the expense of lacking storage. Pedestal sinks don’t usually have drawers or shelves, just a small surface to hold soap.
This option works especially well in ½ bathrooms and powder bathrooms with limited square footage. A pedestal sink is also a great option for any bathroom that requires minimal storage space for toiletries and bathroom supplies.
Offering slightly more storage space and size options, the console sink is an increasingly popular choice as a bathroom vanity. Instead of sitting on a porcelain stand like a pedestal sink, a console sink consists of a sink basin with a support frame, which is usually made of metal. Many console sinks feature a shelf and a towel bar, as well. The draw towards console sinks is generally an aesthetic one, but it can also be a very functional option depending on your needs.
Console sinks can be large or small and may feature more countertop space depending on their width. In terms of storage space, console sinks are more flexible than pedestal or wall-mount sinks. Because they often feature at least one shelf below the sink, you can store more items directly in your sink. However, because the shelf is not enclosed, it is typically better suited for displaying nicely folded towels than for storing assorted hair and skin care products.
The best type of bathroom for a pedestal sink is a full bathroom that occasionally hosts an overnight guest but isn’t frequently used for getting ready. If you want a vanity where you can stock guest towels and provide your guest with a temporary place to store their toiletries, the console sink is a great solution.
A more typical feature of the modern bathroom, a vanity cabinet is a cabinet box with a sink mounted on top. This option usually also requires a countertop and backsplash along with it. Vanity cabinets are by far the most storage-friendly option, but they do take up much more space.
For storage, vanity cabinets offer plenty of countertop space for bathroom appliances like curling irons, hair dryers, and electronic toothbrushes. They also generally have several drawers and at least one cabinet under the sink.
These types of vanities are best for a bathroom where someone will regularly be getting ready and needs space to do it. There’s enough space to store toiletries without them being an eyesore while not in use.
The double vanity is similar to the vanity cabinet, except that it has two sinks and is usually greater in length. Its added size gives it a lot of additional storage, while the extra sink makes it easier for multiple people to get ready at once.
You’ll often find a double vanity in a master bathroom where a couple shares the space. It’s also common in bathrooms with separate water closets where the toilet and shower are isolated from the sink. This setup is especially common for a shared kids’ bathroom.
What to consider when selecting a bathroom sink vanity
Now that you know and can identify several of the different types of bathroom vanities, it should be easier to recognize which one will best fit your needs. Below are some use-related topics to consider when selecting a sink vanity for your bathroom.
Will this be a full or a half-bath?
Most people get ready for the day in a full bath since that’s where the shower is located. As a result, a full bathroom is more likely to require more storage space for toiletries. A half-bath, on the other hand, only has a toilet and a sink, so all it really needs is soap.
In most cases, a pedestal sink is appropriate for a half-bath, whereas a full bath almost always needs a console sink or vanity cabinet. Sometimes, however, a large enough medicine cabinet can provide enough storage space to justify using a pedestal sink in a full bathroom. If the bathroom is small and has limited floor space, this can be an excellent solution.
Will this bathroom receive regular use?
If the bathroom in question is one that will be regularly used by people living in the home, it’s likely to need more storage space. Since it gets used more often, people will be more likely to want to keep things in the bathroom. Not to mention, more frequent use requires more frequent cleaning. If you want cleaning supplies on hand, it’s best to have a vanity cabinet where you can keep them.
However, if the bathroom will be more for guest use, it probably won’t have the same storage needs. In this case, a console or pedestal sink might be more appropriate, depending on the amount of use it will receive. A large console sink with counter space can work especially well for a full guest bathroom, while a pedestal sink is a great aesthetic option for guest-use powder bathrooms.
How many people will share the bathroom?
The more people you expect to use a bathroom, the more storage space and sinks it will need. For a bathroom that will only have one constant user, a single vanity cabinet usually makes the most sense. Beyond three constant users, it’s usually best to have a dual vanity. Not only does it provide more stations for people to get ready when they need it, but it also provides a larger cabinet unit, which means more storage overall.
Want to talk to a remodel designer about your bathroom?
Now that you’re an expert on the different types of bathroom sink vanities, you should be confident in your ability to choose a vanity for yourself! But don’t stop there — take the next step! Check out Lamont Bros.’ bathroom remodeling portfolio to see photos of our work and gather inspiration for your own bathroom project.
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