There’s tons and tons of advice out there about squeezing more storage into a small bathroom and making the most of too little space. But having a big bathroom presents problems of its own, and it’s easy to assume that the only solution available to you is a custom one – as in cabinets built specifically to the dimensions of your space. The good news is, that’s much less true than it used to be. In the past few years, modular bathroom vanities have gone from being something of a novelty and become a staple of many manufacturer’s collections. But what exactly are modular bathroom vanities, and how are they different from custom cabinets?
Pre-Made Vanity “Modules” Let You Do The Customizing Yourself
Most pre-made vanities come in a single, ready-to-install setup: a cabinet, counter, sink, and hardware. Modular bathroom vanities use these as a base, combined with add-on pieces (or “modules”) that allow you to connect multiple vanities together piece by piece, rather than having to move a single massive cabinet. Custom cabinets are built in a similar block-by-block style, but need a contractor to connect them and add a single vanity top across the whole unit. Modular vanities, on the other hand, really only need to be set up and scooted together. Plus, they’re often much less expensive and (ironically) have more room for customization, because they’re designed with style and storage in mind.
Add-On Modular Cabinets
The vast majority of modular bathroom vanities are made up of two or more otherwise perfectly-standard pre-made bathroom vanities paired with simple pieces that link them together to form a single solid unit. Most often, those add-on pieces are smaller cabinets, like a foot-wide tower of drawers that’s just slightly shorter than the vanity itself. You can add as few as one (to connect the two vanities) or as many as you want for the extra storage or need to flesh out your master bathroom. In pre-made bundles, you typically don’t see more than three (one on either side and one in the middle), but because the pieces are free-standing (and often sold individually), you have the power to customize the look and layout as much as you want.
A Simple (But Useful) Bridge Between Two Vanities
What’s brought modular bathroom vanities into the limelight, though, is even simpler than a basic storage cabinet: the makeup table. In the past year, bathroom vanity manufacturers have been falling all over themselves to meet the demand for built-in makeup tables, a feature that used to be almost entirely exclusive to custom built vanities. So what are they? Nothing more than a bridge that connects two vanities, creating petite table in between – one with just enough space to sit, a flat surface, and a little bit of storage space. While a glorified plank of wood might not seem worth the buzz, these modular pieces not only add great functionality to a master bathroom, but also a slightly more elegant and seamless-looking way of connecting two larger, more decorative bathroom vanities.
Built-In-Style Linen Cabinets
Some modular bathroom vanity sets go even a step further, adding full-height linen cabinets to their set of modular pieces. Like half-height towers of drawers, these can “connect” your bathroom vanities on either side or in between, and are designed to perfectly match the depth of your vanity for a relatively seamless look. These larger cabinets are a little harder to find, but are a great option for a big master bathroom that doesn’t have a built in closet or nearby linen storage. Unlike the drawer towers and bridges, which create a slightly uneven counter surface, adding linen cabinets to your modular vanities will give you a look and feel that’s a little more like a built-in cabinet-and-pantry type setup.
Skip The Add-Ons And Combine Your Vanities
That said, not all modular bathroom vanities require connector pieces at all. While certainly those are by far the more common, you can also find vanities that are simply designed so they can be pushed together to create a larger solid unit. Now, to be fair, when you’re talking smaller-scale, it’s much easier just to opt for a double vanity and not worry about any oddness in symmetry or seams. But if you’re looking for a way to flush out an eight-foot-long wall and want a counter top that stays a consistent height all the way across, this might be your most affordable option – not to mention easier to move in than an eight-foot-long vanity, and cheaper to set up than eight feet worth of standard cabinet boxes.
Mix-And-Match Modules To Truly Customize A Modern Vanity
Last but not least, I’d like to point out a personal favorite brand of modular bathroom vanity: ones where mix-and-match modular parts are used to build a single, really big bathroom vanity. Now admittedly these are a little rarer than they used to be, I suspect because it’s more difficult to maintain a collection with many highly-customizable parts. Either way, these somewhat-experimental modern marvels have sort of fallen by the wayside among the onslaught of new makeup bathroom vanities. The survivors start with a single, small central vanity cabinet (usually a wall-mounted one) and allow you to hitch pieces to either side and optionally legs to the bottom. These pieces vary widely in size, shape, and color, making it easy to flex the design to fit your space, get the number of sinks you want, and a personalized look that’s still more seamless than most of the other options on this list. To make this mix-and-match style work, the cabinets themselves have to be relatively simple in design, but there’s no upper limit on how many pieces you can string together. Each individual piece is also relatively inexpensive, making this a great option for a very large bathroom.
Small bathroom vanities are a dime a dozen, but if you’re decorating a large master bathroom, your options for really big bathroom vanities are a lot more limited. But you don’t have to pay a premium for custom cabinets just to be able to get the look you want. Modular bathroom vanities come in a huge range of sizes, styles, and configurations, making it possible not only to get a vanity that fits the square footage of your space, but also has a look you love and the storage you need.