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Buying A Bathroom Vanity Online: A Guide To Knowing What You’re Getting

These days, it’s easier than ever to find a bathroom vanity you love. Online shopping puts thousands of designs of all sizes, shapes, and styles at your fingertips, and makes it incredibly simple to find and buy the perfect vanity for your bathroom. The one big drawback is that sometimes it can be tough to know exactly what you’re getting; studio photographs give a great idea of what the vanity will look like fully installed, but not all vanities include everything you see in the product images. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most common ways vanities are sold, so you know what to look for when you shop.

Bare Bones Bathroom Vanities

Oxford 48" Mahogany Bathroom Vanity Cabinet FCB20-122412MH from Fresca
Oxford 48″ Mahogany Bathroom Vanity Cabinet FCB20-122412MH from Fresca

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The most bare-bones way you can buy a bathroom vanity is to buy the cabinet by itself – that is, without a vanity top or any other accessories or add-ons. These vanities are the lowest priced up front, since all you’re paying for is wood and a little hardware, not stone, but are generally more expensive in the long run, since you’ll need to have all the finishing work done yourself. That means having a counter top cut and installed, plus your sink and faucet, before the vanity can actually be used. This setup is far and away the most customizable, since you’ll be able to complete your vanity however you see fit, but because it’s also one of the more labor intensive (and less cost effective), this is actually one of the less common ways you’ll find vanities being sold.

Save On Stress With A Bundled Vanity Top

Allier 60" Gray Oak Double Sink Vanity Cabinet FCB8119GO-CWH-U from Fresca
Allier 60″ Gray Oak Double Sink Vanity Cabinet FCB8119GO-CWH-U from Fresca

The vast majority of bathroom vanities you can buy online, though, give you at least the option of pairing your vanity cabinet with a pre-cut vanity top. In the long run, this is much more cost-effective because vanity manufacturers can purchase and cut stone in bulk, dramatically lowering the cost of a high quality vanity top, and taking some of the burden off of you. Some vanities even come with the vanity top pre-installed, so all you need to do is install your hardware and you’re ready to go. In terms of customizability, it depends a little on the manufacturer: some vanities come automatically paired with a specific vanity top, while others will let you choose from a selection of different materials and colors to get the look you want.

All The Basics: Vanity, Counter, and Mirror

Milano 26" Chestnut Vanity with Medicine Cabinet FVN8525CN from Fresca
Milano 26″ Chestnut Vanity with Medicine Cabinet FVN8525CN from Fresca

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One of the next most common vanity add ons is a simple matching mirror or medicine cabinet. Regardless of what else is and isn’t included in your vanity set, if the photograph of the vanity includes a mirror that matches the color and design of the vanity, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to buy the two together. Again, it depends a little on the manufacturer if the mirror is automatically included or if you bundle it for an additional fee, but if you aren’t planning on installing a frameless mirror, this is a good way to get a more unified look without having to shop for a mirror that kinda-sorta matches.

Complete Bathroom Furnishings: Bathroom Vanity and Storage Cabinets

Caro 36" Espresso Bathroom Vanity With Side Cabinet FVN6163ES from Fresca
Caro 36″ Espresso Bathroom Vanity With Side Cabinet FVN6163ES from Fresca
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Many bathroom vanity sets – especially ones with vanities that are either really big or really small – can also be paired with supplemental storage cabinets. As with mirrors, these are designed to match the vanities, but unlike the mirrors, it isn’t always super obvious that the cabinets are available. Sometimes they’ll be included in the product image, but sometimes you need to dig a little deeper to find all the matching pieces for any given vanity collection. Add-on linen cabinets are also rarely included in the price of the vanity, but often can be purchased at a discounted price if you bundle them together.

No More Shopping Around: Throw In A Sink and Faucet, Too

Cambridge 48" Traditional Bathroom Vanity in Antique Coffee FVN21-122412AC from Fresca
Cambridge 48″ Traditional Bathroom Vanity in Antique Coffee FVN21-122412AC from Fresca

Occasionally, you’ll also find vanities that come bundled with a sink and, more rarely, a faucet. Most commonly, this setup is offered either with an integrated sink (one that’s built or installed into the vanity top for you), or if the vanity top is cut for a vessel sink, you may have the option to have one added on, with a matching faucet included. There are, of course, exceptions, so sinks and faucets are definitely something you should check the fine print for, because they’re often included in the photograph, but not necessarily sold with the vanity itself.

Mix and Match To Get Everything You Need

Mezzo 30" Gray Oak Wall Hung Bathroom Vanity FVN8007GO from Fresca
Mezzo 30″ Gray Oak Wall Hung Bathroom Vanity FVN8007GO from Fresca

When it comes down to it, most bathroom vanity manufacturers offer everything you need to build a complete bathroom, it just isn’t always obvious at a glance. Storage cabinets may be designed to match a company’s most common finishes rather than an individual vanity set, options for sinks and faucets may be hidden, and pricing and styles of available vanity tops may not be terribly straightforward. So if you’re looking to save a little money and get a more complete vanity set without having to shop around, be sure to dig deeper and double check to see both what you’re getting and what’s really available before you hit the buy button!
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