One-of-a-kind: Vintage furniture creates unique bathroom vanity

A vintage sideboard gets a new life as the perfect double sink vanity. (Donna Benton photo)

Whether you are building a new home and looking for ways to give it your own style, or just thinking about a new look for a boring bath, this budget-friendly idea is perfect to add some personality to a bathroom.

Many times, a bathroom vanity doesn’t get a lot of creative thought and it’s easy to end up with that all-too-common box of doors and drawers. But it only takes a little thinking outside the box to add an exciting central element to this essential room.

If you are a regular reader of my home feature, you know that I am a huge fan of bringing fabulous, well-crafted furniture pieces back to life. You may also know that I love to get imaginative and try to use these pieces in non-traditional ways.

A beautiful vintage piece of furniture can make the perfect one-of-a-kind bathroom vanity. It also makes a great DIY project if you are a little handy.  Here are some helpful hints to help you find the right piece.

Hunting for the perfect piece is part of the fun. Shop your local flea markets and antique stores for a piece that will work for your style and space. Whether you are a farmhouse fanatic, crazy for mid-century modern or you love the iron and wood of an industrial look, there is something out there that will be right for you. Old buffets and dressers are perfect, but don’t rule out small tables, desks and old workbenches. Let your imagination run wild! Usually the price is right on these pieces so you can dig into them with drill and saw with no regrets.

There are a few things to consider when selecting a piece. First, make sure the depth (front to back measurement) is wide enough to accommodate your sink and faucets. Most sinks come with a template to cut the hole that it will fit in. You can usually find these template sizes online, then use that as you shop for a piece to make sure your sink will fit.

Next, make sure your piece is the right height. Most furniture pieces are in the 30- to 36-inch range. Shorter pieces will work with a vessel sink that sits on top of the countertop and taller pieces will work with an inset sink that sits flush with the countertop. The top of your sink should be about 36 inches from the floor when you are done.

Finally, make sure you have room for the plumbing inside or underneath. Here is where you have to get a little creative or maybe enlist the help of a craftsman if you aren’t very comfortable with power tools. If your piece has drawers down the center where your sink and plumbing will fit, you will have to cut away the insides to accommodate the sink, drain and water supply lines. Take a look under your existing bathroom sink and you will get the idea.  Most of the time you will have to phase out the top drawer completely and permanently affix the drawer face closed with screws. Sometimes, with a little planning and measuring, you can notch out the lower drawers for the plumbing and keep them working.

If your sink will have daily use, consider replacing the top with a quartz, marble or other solid surface countertop. If it is only for occasional use like a guest bath or you don’t mind being diligent to wipe up splashes, you can keep the original wood top and seal it with polyurethane or other wood sealing product.

Shop for a piece just like you would shop for a piece of furniture for your home. If you would choose the piece for your home, it would probably make an extraordinary vanity that would spare you from the tragedy of an ordinary bath.


Donna Benton

Donna Benton is a maker of custom home furnishings and specializes in classic painted finishes for antique and vintage furniture. You can see her work at

Donna Benton
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