To me, the most important feature of a bathroom vanity has always been storage. Maybe because I was raised on small bathrooms, I strongly believe that function has to come first. Many, many bathroom vanities handle storage poorly, with a single oversized cabinet that isn’t much help to anyone. I make it a point to only fall in love with bathroom vanities once I’m sure they’ll work well, and I always always always look for one very important (yet often overlooked) feature: drawers.
Why drawers? Because practically everyone has some kind of small items that need storing. It’s fine to shove a big bottle of hair spray or a drier underneath the cabinet, but things like razors, nail polish, tweezers, hair brushes, and so on are easily misplaced in a large, unorganized cabinet. It’s often these smaller items that are used the most often, and are the most important for keeping close at hand.
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Bathroom vanities with adequate drawer space can also keep you from overloading your medicine cabinet. I know that one year I was stuck with a bad bathroom vanity, my medicine cabinet was practically overflowing. It worked well enough, but it didn’t look great, and I’d hate to admit how many times stuff got knocked off the narrow shelves. Bathroom vanities with even one or two very small drawers (which often won’t interrupt the cabinet space at all) can help streamline your morning grooming.
It can also help keep your counter tops neater and cleaner. When you only have one large storage cabinet or an over-full medicine cabinet to store your most-used day-to-day items, there’s a better than even chance that you’re going to leave that stuff sitting out on your counter. Having a drawer or two at waist height makes it just that little bit more convenient to put your stuff away when you aren’t using it, leaving your counter free and uncluttered, and your bathroom looking a little cleaner.
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Designers are really starting to understand this, and many modern and contemporary style bathroom vanities are beginning to feature much better storage features, including a lot more drawers both on the inside and the outside. The simpler, more streamlined aesthetic of modern, contemporary, and transitional bathroom vanities makes it easier to add more drawers without disrupting the style, but there’s one modern feature that really allows for a lot more drawer space: vessel sinks and other slim profile sinks. Because you don’t need room for the sink the way you would in a traditional inset installation, drawers can be fitted all the way up to counter level with only a few design tweaks to accommodate the plumbing, rather than leaving that whole area empty. Modern wall mounted bathroom vanities are often little more than one big drawer, which affords the most organized type of storage at the most accessible height – right at waist level.
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It’s a little more difficult (but not impossible) to find more traditional looking bathroom vanities that are designed well and that have drawers. For a small vanity in a small bathroom, you might not end up with a ton of drawer space – especially if you’re looking for something very antique looking – simply because it’s a little more difficult to integrate functional drawer space into a very traditional design without altering it. That said, look for antique bathroom vanities that have two small drawers at either corner just beneath the top of the vanity, or slightly larger vanities that have drawers on one or both sides of the main cabinet.
As a final note, it’s extremely important to make sure that the drawers on your prospective bathroom vanity are, in fact, drawers. This might sound silly, but especially if you’re buying online, it can be a little difficult to tell the difference between an actual drawer and faux drawer panels. Thin drawers that go all the way across underneath the counter top are almost always fake, and any drawers near the sink or plumbing should be suspect. Worse, though, are bathroom vanities that disguise their single, large, drawer-free cabinets with a door paneled to look like drawer fronts. Until the door is opened, it can be difficult to tell, so always be sure to read the fine print and get a count of how many drawers bathroom vanities actually have before you buy.
What style bathroom vanities are you considering? About how much drawer space are you looking for? Let me know in the comments!
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