Many of the ways to save space in a small bathroom are either a little cumbersome and unattractive, or can feel a little draconian (shower caddies? getting rid of the bathtub? covering every available surface in shelves?). This is a little less true than it used to be, with a market that’s beginning to cater more to smaller spaces, but it’s still pretty rare to find a solution that really feels like a solution rather than a stop-gap or compromise. One of the few that fits the bill are narrow bathroom vanities, which can significantly save floor space without feeling like you’ve downgraded to a very small bathroom vanity.
To make a bathroom vanity better suited for a small space, you have to lop off the size somewhere or other. The most common technique is to take away the width; a 24″ vanity takes up less space than a 30″ one and so on. Wall mounted bathroom vanities do away with the height of a traditional vanity, creating foot room that allows you to stand a little closer to the vanity. But narrow bathroom vanities take a different approach, instead reducing the depth of the vanity. These vanities protrude no more than about 13″ from the wall (as opposed to the more standard 22″), opening up 9-10 inches of free floor space.
These differ from extremely small RV or maritime style vanities in two important ways: first, other than their depth, they’re a totally average size, with a standard height and a variety of standard widths. What makes them a small bathroom solution rather than a utilitarian compromise is that despite the reduced depth, narrow bathroom vanities come with standard sized sinks. Of course, 22″ is a standard depth for bathroom vanities precisely because that’s how much space you need to install a standard sink, but…
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…Narrow bathroom vanities are made with custom integrated vanity tops and sinks. These are usually made of ceramic or porcelain and have sinks that protrude ever so slightly from the front end of the vanity. This allows a full basin size without closing off the amount of space needed for a full sized vanity, and allows you to stand right up against (or walk right past) the vanity with only a slight protrusion from the sink, significantly reducing the overall footprint of the vanity without forcing you to use a teeny tiny bathroom sink.
The result is a beautiful, traditional appearance reminiscent of the classic farmhouse style kitchen sink. Of course, in this case the “apron” of the sink is actually the outside curve of the bowl (which, in a standard vanity, would sit beneath the vanity top). But the smooth curvy surface has a totally distinct appearance that makes narrow bathroom vanities a unique, stylish addition to a small bathroom as well as a useful one. A perfect alternative to a pedestal sink for a cottage style bathroom, these narrow bathroom vanities highlight the traditional use of white porcelain while also providing additional storage in a small space.
Of course, many narrow bathroom vanities have a much more modern appearance as well. Instead of the gently sloped, scooped porcelain sinks, these have unique shapes or styles and often more clearly defined edges that create a sleek, minimalist style. Most (though not all) narrow bathroom vanities with a modern rather than a traditional flair are also wall mounted bathroom vanities, meaning they’re on the even-smaller side. This can be a great choice for an extremely small bathroom (like in an apartment or a guest bathroom), but ultimately means a little less in the way of storage, which is something to be aware of.
Speaking of storage, that’s actually one of my favorite things about narrow bathroom vanities. Regular readers will know that I’m no big fan of conventional bathroom cabinets. They’re large and poorly organized, and because of the sink plumbing, often poorly utilized as well. Narrow bathroom vanities don’t entirely fix these problems, but because they aren’t as deep, they’re often much easier to keep organized because there isn’t as much unreachable space in the back. And because they’re specifically designed to be space saving, they often come with many other nice built-in storage features, like drawers or hidden shelves. That means more space to work with than in a wall mounted vanity, and space that’s easier to work with than a conventional vanity, which actually makes slightly wider versions a smart choice even in a larger bathroom.
What do you think of narrow bathroom vanities? Is this a solution that appeals to you, or do you think you’ll stick with a more conventional small vanity? Let me know in the comments!
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