The vanity is the focal point of most bathrooms. While vanities can easily cost several thousand dollars, you don't have to spend a fortune to find an option to you'll love. There's no reason to sacrifice style and function for budget's sake. When shopping for an affordable bathroom vanity, use these tips to guide your choice.
• Avoid custom cabinets. Premade vanities from a home center or catalog are much less pricey than custom or special-order designs. It might take more time to find the right unit but the savings can be substantial.
• Pay attention to size. Before you start shopping, measure to determine what size of vanity (maximum height, width, and depth) your bathroom can accommodate and carry these numbers with you. Remember to account for doors and drawers that will open into the space. Also, if you're replacing a cabinet, pay attention to the flooring beneath it. Having to replace tile or hardwood to accommodate a new cabinet can turn a value vanity into a budget buster.
• Look for construction cues. Shake cabinets to test their strength and pass on those that rattle under slight pressure. If you're buying a wooden cabinet, avoid particleboard if possible. Vanities made of solid wood or plywood will last much longer and are less susceptible to water damage.
• Be storage-smart. Vanities are designed simply to hold a sink and faucet but they can do so much more. Think about how you'll use the cabinet and choose one that suits your lifestyle. If space is limited, maximize storage with a cabinet featuring plenty of drawers and shelves. If your kids aren't known for being tidy, choose a cabinet with storage that's hidden behind doors.
• Add details. A custom vanity might not be in the budget but that doesn't mean you can't get a one-of-a-kind design. Upgrade a stock cabinet by replacing the countertop with an affordable granite remnant and swap out the knobs for pretty glass or sleek brushed nickel.
• Think outside the box. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can convert a dresser, table, or cabinet into a vanity. This DIY approach can save big dollars and give your bathroom a unique look.