Perspective Drawing of Free Standing Vanity Single Full-Height Door

How will your new vanity be installed?

Three Bathroom Vanity Installations: Free-Standing, Left- or Right-Wall Mounted, and Alcove

One of the first questions I ask myself when designing a custom bathroom vanity is, "How will it be installed?" 

Will it be free-standing? Butt up to a wall? Sit between two walls?

There's no right or wrong answer, but there pitfalls to avoid with each of these installation methods.

Here's the scoop:

Free-Standing Bathroom Vanity Installation

Free-standing vanities have no walls on their right or left sides lending an open feeling to a bathroom.

Design pitfalls to avoid:

  • Not giving the free-standing vanity breathing room. I recommend at least six inches of open space on the right and left. Any less, and you lose the light, airy feeling this kind of vanity is known for.
  • Cutting into the clear space required for your toilet (usually 15" from the center of the toilet) or circulation space.
  • Forgetting to stain or paint both sides of the cabinet to match the front.

Sides: The left and right sides are painted or stained to match cabinet face, doors and, drawer fronts.

Upgrades: Add architectural interest to the left and right sides with a decorative panel. The panel will look like a door but it won't open or close.

Drawing of Free-Standing Vanity Installation

Right-Wall or Left-Wall Installation

The most common way to install a vanity is against a single wall - so right-wall or left-wall installation. 

Design pitfalls to avoid:

  • Not allowing space for a filler, or trim piece, between the vanity and wall. Your vanity will be perfectly straight, but your wall probably is not. A filler is trimmed on site to fill any gap between the wall and the vanity. The filler also provides a little extra space allowing doors and drawers to open easily.
  • Cutting into the clear space required for your toilet (usually 15" from the center of the toilet) or circulation space.
  • Forgetting to stain or paint both sides of the cabinet to match the front.

Sides: The visible side, left or right, is painted or stained to match the cabinet face, doors and, drawer fronts.

Upgrades: Add a decorative door to the visible side.

Drawing of Vanity Installed Against a Wall on the Left Side

Alcove Installation

Finally, there's alcove installation. That's when there's a wall to right and one to the left of the vanity.

Design pitfalls to avoid:

  • Like the right-wall and left wall installation, not allowing space for a filler, or trim piece, between the vanity and wall. You need one on both sides when installing a vanity in an alcove.

Sides: Since the sides of the cabinet are not visible, they are not stained or painted.

Drawing of bathroom vanity installed in an alcove, between two walls

 

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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