No bathroom design is complete without some forethought given to the sink area. It’s where you begin the day — washing your face, brushing your teeth, shaving or putting on makeup. Therefore, the functionality of the space is vital. It needs to have adequate lighting, storage options and counter space all while looking attractive and supporting the overall look and feel of the bathroom.
While pedestal sinks are popular in powder rooms, vanities have remained a staple for master and guest bathrooms. Luckily, today’s manufacturers have combined both style and function to create beautiful vanities to compliment any design aesthetic. The recent trend in vanities is clean, crisp lines with either a white or dark wood finish, like espresso. They are more casual in design — nothing too ornate or formal — a good mix between minimalist cabinetry and a warm piece of furniture.
The size of the vanity is clearly dictated by the size of the space. Since master bathrooms are getting larger, many homeowners opt for a double sink vanity. However, for a custom look, consider splitting the vanities into two freestanding structures and mount on the wall instead of sitting on the floor. Vanity heights can also be personalized to accommodate a tall or short homeowner; or mix the heights for a double sink. Heights range from the standard 30 inches up to 36 inches.
Another consideration when choosing the perfect vanity is storage. Keeping clutter like lotions, brushes, makeup, etc., off the counter is ideal for a clean, fresh look. From full extension drawers that allow you to see everything inside to tilt-down drawers at the front of the sink, there are many new options to choose from. Drawers with power outlets for hair dryers and curling irons are a popular choice. If space allows, a wire basket laundry hamper can be hidden in a deep cabinet. For towel storage, many manufacturers sell coordinating linen cabinets to match the vanity. Soft close drawers and doors prevent slamming and unnecessary noise.
The mirror above the vanity should coordinate and, ideally, the width should be smaller than the cabinet width. This provides flexibility on where to place the lighting. While there are many custom options, manufacturers make it easy by selling framed mirrors in the same finish as the vanity. In-set medicine cabinets have also made a comeback in the modern bathroom, providing even more hidden storage. Some medicine cabinets even include an electrical outlet, which is great for an electric razor or toothbrush. For those that love TV, the newest must-have mirror includes a vanishing LCD HDTV.
Lastly, lighting the sink and vanity area is another important element in creating the ideal bathroom. The most common mistake homeowners make is placing a lighting fixture directly above the mirror. This position illuminates the top of the head and casts a shadow on the face. It is recommended that a wall sconce be placed on each side of the mirror. It is also best to pick out your lighting at the same time as your faucets and other fixtures to ensure the finishes all coordinate.
-Meredith Minor, Ferguson Annapolis Showroom Consultant