A bathroom renovation can run the risk of being a tad bland, but with the right vanity, storage and seating you can create a space that’s uniquely yours
3 pieces of bathroom furniture every home needs
If you’re planning a bathroom reno, you’ve probably got your gorgeous new shower and bath all picked out, complete with dreamy tapware and some shiny new tiles. But have you thought about how you’re going to furnish your bathroom? Yes, you heard us, even bathrooms need furniture!
In the modern home, a bathroom is no longer just a functional space for a shower, loo and basin – it’s a fully fledged room, a space for rest and relaxation and an integral part of everyday life, particularly for families with kids.
The vanity is the largest and probably the most used piece of furniture in the bathroom, but there’s also storage and shelving to think about, as well as extras such as a chair or stool. These details can make a massive difference to both the functionality of your bathroom, as well as how it looks and feels.
When choosing a vanity, you’ll need to ask yourself:
- How many people will use this space? What are their needs? For example, consider the varying heights of your family members and how this will affect how they use the vanity.
- Where will the vanity fit in the bathroom design and how much space will it occupy?
- How much of your budget do you have to spend on a vanity?
The type of vanity you choose will probably depend largely on this last point. With this in mind, you have three main options: ready-made, custom-built or repurposed.
Buying a vanity off the shop floor is easy and, if you can get a good deal, can be a great way to keep costs down. Although you’ll probably be fairly limited in your choice of finish and materials, with a little ingenuity (and a paint brush) you can customise a ready-made vanity to suit your tastes. The main drawback to this option is that you’ll be lucky to find a vanity that perfectly fits your bathroom so you might end up with a little bit of wasted space.
Probably the best way to get a perfectly fitting vanity is to have it built for you by a cabinetmaker, although this is also generally the costliest option. However, going this way will ensure optimal use of available space, built-in storage tailored to your needs and a mix of materials that suits your taste and decor. You may be able to keep costs down by sourcing recycled timber and by using benchtop offcuts from a marble supplier or kitchen manufacturer.
One of the strongest emerging trends in bathrooms is for vanities constructed from repurposed furniture such as a chest of drawers, sideboard or table. This option can look amazing and will make your bathroom feel uniquely yours. However, you’ll need to choose carefully: ask yourself whether your selected piece will fit into the bathroom, whether it offers enough basin and bench space, and how high it is. If it’s a little too low, fix it to the wall at the perfect height.
When it comes to converting your item of furniture into a vanity, consider getting some expert help unless you’re a confident DIYer. It’s important that your basin and fittings are installed perfectly so you don’t end up with a butchered piece of furniture or a poorly fitting vanity space. Most wooden furniture will need a waterproof surface treatment to ensure it withstands water splashes and damp conditions, and it’s a good idea to consider adding a new benchtop, too.
Although your vanity should provide some storage, most of us also find we need an extra cupboard or shelves to store items such as cleaning products, towels, toilet rolls and all the other stuff that builds up in bathrooms such as candles, bath toys and loofahs.
The obvious advantage of built-in shelves is that they will perfectly suit the shape and style of your bathroom and add further functionality to awkward spaces that might otherwise go unused. Make sure you look all the way to the ceiling for opportunities to add extra storage.
A ready-made shelving unit is a great way to add storage to large bathrooms with lots of floor area. Look for a unit with shelves that can be adjusted to suit the products or items you need to store away. Open shelves are easier to access but will look messier so consider buying some baskets, bags or boxes to keep everything tidy.
Another emerging bathroom trend is using school-style locker units to provide storage. This easy option is a great way to add an industrial edge as well as a splash of colour. And the best thing about lockers is they have doors, so you can forget about the mess inside!
Having somewhere to plonk down in the bathroom is super useful, whether it’s for removing your socks before a bath, wrangling a little one out of their clothes or just having a chat with your significant other while they take a bubble bath.
A beautiful old dining chair that’s lost its matching set is ideal as a bathroom seat, particularly if it’s an unupholstered style. Changing your chair out for something more colourful or from a different era is a great option for a quick update later, too.
If you’re really short on space, a wall-mounted seat that can be flipped down when required and flipped back up when not in use can be a fun option for a bathroom. Have a look online for ready-made products, or for a tutorial and a list of materials if you fancy a DIY project.
A cute little stool will take up less space than a chair while providing a versatile seat and, if your stool has been treated with a water-resistant coating, it can also be used in the shower for a Turkish-style spa experience… or just for shaving your legs.
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Words by: Sally Conor.