Shopping for Bathroom Vanities

By Tim McKeough

A good bathroom vanity is a multifunctional workhorse, providing a surface for washing, shaving and applying makeup, while concealing plumbing and also storing legions of toiletries — all in a minimal amount of space.

“Bathrooms tend to be the smallest rooms in the house,” said Laura Kirar, an interior and product designer who has designed bathroom furniture and fixtures for Kallista. “But you always have so many things that need to go in them.”

Selecting the right vanity is part of a larger puzzle, she said, that includes devising an overall bathroom storage plan.

In bathrooms with a closet or large medicine cabinet, a slender vanity on tall legs or one mounted directly to the wall can deliver a clean look with just a smidgen of extra space for toothbrushes. “But if you need to maximize storage,” Ms. Kirar said, “something that goes to the ground is a perfect choice.”

• What style is the room? Vanity designs range from those that resemble traditional furniture to sleek, high-gloss pieces, Ms. Kirar said, and possible finishes include wood, lacquer, glass, stone and metal.

• Will it be paired with a wall- or deck-mounted faucet? “A wall-mounted faucet allows you to have a much smaller sink, and subsequently smaller top and vanity” in tight spaces, Ms. Kirar said.

• Do you want to mix components? Most vanity units are available as a base only, so they can be paired with different countertops, sinks and faucets.

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