Know When to Opt for a Freestanding Bathroom Vanity

Thinking about opting for a free-standing bathroom vanity? Let's explore how a free-standing vanity differs from a built-in one and talk about its pros and cons.

What is a free-standing bathroom vanity?

A free-standing bathroom vanity is a single piece of furniture that includes at least one sink base and some storage. It's sometimes called a furniture-style vanity.

Free-standing vanities are often lifted off the floor on legs. Below is an example of a free-standing vanity in a bathroom designed by me. 

Remodeled Bathroom with Gray Freestanding Vanity Double Sink Marble Countertop Leaf Mosaic Tile on Tub.jpg

A free-standing vanity is distinct from a built-in vanity in several ways:

  • It does not rely upon the wall for support but can stand on its own.

  • It is not usually attached to the wall. However, the backsplash above a free-standing vanity usually is attached to the wall.

  • It is usually one piece while built-in vanities are often (not always) made up of several cabinets attached to each other and the wall.

Finally, a wall-hung or floating vanity is not a free-standing vanity. At the name implies, it relies upon the wall for its support.

What are the pros and cons of a free-standing bathroom vanity?

There are good reasons to choose a free-standing bathroom vanity:

  • To make a small bathroom feel larger. A free-standing vanity with space on the left and right and lifted on legs will make a small bathroom feel larger. 

  • To express your personal style. Maybe you just like how a furniture-style vanity looks. Nothing wrong with that. 

  • To replace a vanity with a non-standard width. Let's say you remove a vanity that is 58 inches wide. It was probably custom-built. Good luck finding an off-the-shelf replacement that is 58" wide. A 48" wide vanity, with 5" of clear space on the left and right, will fit nicely, though. You'll find lots of them online, or you can have one custom made.

There are some disadvantages to using a free-standing bathroom vanity:

  • Less counterspace and storage space. Furniture-style bathroom vanities look best with some clear wall space to the left and right. I like 5 to 10 inches on each side of a free-standing vanity. So, given the same wall width, a free-standing vanity is 10 to 20 inches shorter than a built-in vanity. That means less storage space and less counterspace.

  • It's hard to clean the floor underneath. If your vanity is lifted on legs, plan to spend some time on your hands and knees cleaning up dust and hair that your broom can't reach.

So, those are the pros and cons of a free-standing vanity. Would you still opt for one? Share your thoughts below. I'd love to hear from you.


Jackie Lopey, Certified Interior Designer & founder of Wide Canvas
She didn't know it, but Jackie Lopey's days as an advertising executive were numbered when she bought and renovated a 1950's bungalow. She soon went back to school and started her own design studio. Jackie is an award-winning, certified interior designer and the founder of Wide Canvas, a kitchen and bath design studio in Reno, Nevada.

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