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A Quick Guide To Furnishing A Master Bathroom

Finding the perfect bathroom vanity is never easy, but in a master bathroom it can be particularly difficult. Because master bathrooms are shared spaces, privacy and storage are much more important concerns than in bathrooms elsewhere in the home, and because they’re more likely to be used simultaneously, layout and logistics matter a lot more, too. Choosing the right bathroom vanity goes a long way towards addressing all these issues, but not all vanities are created equal, and not all options are ideal for every bathroom.

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinetry is an ideal option for very large or odd shaped master bathrooms, where you want a lot of cabinets and may need to accommodate unusual angles (by Case Design Remodeling, Inc.)
Custom cabinetry is an ideal option for very large or odd shaped master bathrooms, where you want a lot of cabinets and may need to accommodate unusual angles (by Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.)

For a large-scale master bathroom renovation, many homeowners opt to have their bathroom cabinetry custom built. The biggest advantage of having cabinets designed specifically for your bathroom is that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a final product you’re happy with. Whether your bathroom is big or small, custom-built cabinets are designed to match and enhance the space, providing desired storage where it’s needed and molding to fit the style and layout of the bathroom. In very large bathrooms, opting for custom cabinetry is one of the best ways to ensure you have enough furniture to keep the space from looking barren. Unfortunately, custom cabinets can be prohibitively expensive, and the more customized they are in terms of size, shape, style, and storage, the more expensive they’ll be.

Pre Made Cabinets

Providence 72" Double Bathroom Vanity In Driftwood 238-105-5711 From James Martin Furniture
Providence 72″ Double Bathroom Vanity In Driftwood 238-105-5711 From James Martin Furniture

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On the other end of the spectrum are pre-made bathroom vanities, which you can purchase as-is and install directly into the bathroom just like placing a piece of furniture. These are much more affordable than custom cabinets and come in a huge variety of sizes, styles, and shapes, which means there’s almost definitely a vanity out there that will fit your wants and needs – you just might have to do a little looking to find it. To get two sinks in a master bathroom, you can either opt for a double vanity or two single vanities, both of which come in a variety of different widths to accommodate most bathroom sizes and layouts. That said, there is an upper size limit to single-piece vanities, which means they might not be hefty enough to stand up to a very large bathroom without additional furniture.

Modular Cabinets

All Module 92" Bathroom Vanity HYP-0218-92 From Silkroad Exclusive
All Module 92″ Bathroom Vanity HYP-0218-92 From Silkroad Exclusive

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For those larger bathrooms, some manufacturers sell double vanities that go above the average 60″-72″ width range, but they’re shipped in pieces rather than as a single solid unit – usually two single vanities connected by a central cabinet. This makes it possible to have pre-made double vanities 96″ and wider while still making them simple to transport and install. While not fully customizable, this modular approach makes it possible for pre-made vanities to accommodate even very large bathrooms, particularly because the pieces can be spread out slightly to help balance out a larger room. Plus, even though the storage on large modular double vanities isn’t customizable, there does tend to be a lot of it, and they tend to have much more style and personality than equivalent custom cabinets.

Customizable Modular Cabinets

Toby 96" Modular Double Bathroom Vanity TB9621D3 From Sagehill Designs
Toby 96″ Modular Double Bathroom Vanity TB9621D3 From Sagehill Designs

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One of the big problems with most custom cabinets is that unless you really go all-out, they’re probably just going to look like a simple row of cabinets. Pre-made cabinets have a lot more style, but lack the customizability and flexibility in terms of size and storage. Customizable modular cabinets offer the best of both worlds: a stylish, modular pre-made vanity set that can be purchased with interchangeable storage and connecter pieces, allowing you to effectively build a vanity in any size or shape, with multiple sinks, cabinets, make up stations, and so on, all from attractive pre-made parts. These cabinets can be as big or small as you want and designed to fit almost any layout, and are generally much less expensive than having custom cabinets built and installed. The main drawback is that only a few manufacturers offer this type of setup, so right now the options in terms of style and finish are a bit limited.

Pedestal Sinks

Pairing two pedestal sinks with a central storage cabinet is a classic twist on the conventional double vanity, and can make the bathroom feel larger and more open (by Case Design Remodeling Inc.)
Pairing two pedestal sinks with a central storage cabinet is a classic twist on the conventional double vanity, and can make the bathroom feel larger and more open (by Case Design/Remodeling Inc.)

Fitting two sinks into a large master bathroom is easy, but it can be much more challenging in a smaller one. Perhaps the best space-saving option for a small master bath is to ditch the bathroom vanities entirely and opt instead for a pair of pedestal sinks. These have a much smaller footprint even than some of the smallest bathroom vanities, and can be installed either side by side or in different parts of the bathroom, depending on the layout of the space. The biggest drawback for using pedestal sinks in a master bathroom is that they lack any kind of storage, but pairing two pedestals with a small storage cabinet in the middle can work well, while taking up significantly less space than the average double vanity.

Modern Trough Sinks

Mars Wall Mounted Bathroom Sink From Ceramica Tecla 04011
Mars Wall Mounted Bathroom Sink From Ceramica Tecla 04011

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For a more modern look, you might consider doing away with the idea of traditional cabinets and fixtures entirely. Modern wall mounted sinks are long and flat, often built with integrated countertops that provide a smooth, usable surface without taking up much space. Multiple sinks built into a single unit (or very long sinks with multiple faucets) afford plenty of room for two while taking up much less space than a conventional vanity. While wall mounted sinks, like pedestal sinks, lack built in storage, since they’re mounted directly to the wall rather than to the floor, there’s a lot more freedom to put modern storage cabinets underneath the sink, creating a sleek, gravity-free modern look.

What’s most important to you when choosing a new vanity for your master bathroom? Size, shape, style, storage, or something else? Let me know in the comments below!