There’s a big difference between a bathroom that’s small and a bathroom that’s tiny. In a small bathroom, there’s not much room for furniture. In a tiny bathroom, there isn’t much room to stand. Usually the latter is reserved for tacked-on half bathrooms used mostly for guests or when all the other bathrooms in the house are occupied. But when efficiency sized bathrooms are used frequently (or even primarily), micro bathroom vanities quickly become a must have.
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Ordinarily, in a very small half bathroom, I’d recommend installing a wall mounted sink and calling it a day. For an infrequently used space, wall mounted sinks offer the perfect combination of compact size and functionality. But if the bathroom is used for more than just hand washing, a bare bones sink won’t cut it. At the very least, you need space to store a toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap, and that’s where micro bathroom vanities come in. When there’s no room to add more counter space, it’s time to add a cabinet.
Wall mounted bathroom sinks work well in tiny bathrooms because they’re designed specifically to be both narrow and shallow, so they sit close to the wall and can be installed almost anywhere. Bathroom vanities generally have to be much larger because they accommodate a full-sized sink and faucet, not to mention the plumbing and cabinet. But micro bathroom vanities take a page from the wall mounted sink’s playbook, offsetting the faucet to one side and slimming down the sink so the whole vanity protrudes less than a foot from the wall.
Now, any cabinet that will fit on a sink that small won’t be anywhere near one you’d find on any full sized (or even relatively small sized) bathroom vanity, but it will provide the basic storage that wall mounted sinks simply don’t have. The best of these very small bathroom vanities aren’t any wider or deeper than an equivalent sink, which means they won’t take up any extra space in the dimensions that matter. Although the inclusion of a cabinet obviously makes the vanities much taller, it’s in a space that would otherwise go unused.
On the inside, these cabinets are rarely more than a simple ledge that’s less than a foot deep. But because the vanity as a whole is sized to match the petite sink, items stored in the cabinet are easy to reach and totally accessible. Occasionally you might find one of these micro bathroom vanities that has a shelf on the inside, but generally speaking the whole vanity is so small that you really won’t need it: they’re just there to store the most basic of toiletries.
If you have a very long, very narrow bathroom, you can find these very shallow, low profile bathroom vanities in slightly wider sizes. Keep in mind, though, that making the vanity wider will usually make it a bit thicker as well – usually only a few inches, but enough to take note of if you have a very tight walkway. If you have the space to spare, these vanities are a bit less minimalistic, with a greater quantity and variety of storage, and even a little smidge of counter space.
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All that said, unless you really do have a truly tiny bathroom (or if you’re a hardcore minimalist), you probably want to skip on this particular style. Cute though they undeniably are, they’re really designed for efficiency rather than comfort. The sinks are very, VERY small, and the storage space is at an absolute bare minimum. The smallest models are based on the kinds of vanities you’d find on a small boat or in an RV, and should be used in bathrooms with similar space constraints, which is to say, one where you simply don’t have room for anything bigger, but still need a place to stash your toothbrush.
Do you have a very small efficiency style bathroom you’re looking to furnish? Do you like the added functionality of these micro bathroom vanities, or would you stick with a more compact wall mounted bathroom sink? Let me know in the comments!