The Vanity Unit Buyer’s Guide

grey vanity unit with counter top basin and tap

When it comes to redesigning your bathroom, vanity units offer both style and practicality, making them a top choice for homeowners.

These versatile fixtures seamlessly combine a basin with convenient storage space for toiletries and beauty products.

However, with a plethora of options available, selecting the ideal vanity unit for your bathroom can be a daunting task.

In this expert guide, we’ll walk you through the essential considerations to ensure you get all you need from your new vanity unit and help you make the right choice that complements your bathroom’s design.

Assessing Your Vanity Unit Storage Needs

A vanity unit basin area in a white tiled bathroom space

Your vanity unit should not only enhance your bathroom’s aesthetics but also cater to your storage requirements.

Begin by decluttering your bathroom, discarding items you no longer use.

This step helps you gauge your storage needs accurately, ensuring that you only retain daily essentials and avoid unnecessary clutter.

For spacious family bathrooms, consider opting for a double vanity unit with twin sinks.

This not only imparts a luxurious feel but also eliminates the morning rush-hour scramble at the basin.

Vanity units come in various sizes, suitable for both small and large spaces. Accurate measurements of your designated installation area are crucial to finding the perfect fit.

Choose the Right Colour and Style

Vanity units are available in an array of colours to match your personal taste and bathroom decor.

If you have a white bathroom suite, you can introduce a pop of colour with a blue gloss vanity unit and coordinating accessories.

For a chic, designer look, black finishes are a superb choice, while wood-effect finishes lend a natural ambience.

White gloss vanity units are modern and versatile, effortlessly complementing any decor.

If you prefer a trendy touch, opt for a grey vanity unit, which adds sophistication and pairs well with various colour schemes.

Besides colours, vanity units come in traditional and modern styles.

Traditional vanity units exude timeless elegance, featuring decorative details such as panelled doors and drawer fronts.

Vintage vanity units are typically floor-standing, adding a classic touch to your space.

On the other hand, modern vanity units boast clean lines and minimalist aesthetics, available in wall-mounted or floor-standing configurations.

Elevate your bathroom’s ambience with a countertop basin vanity unit, which introduces instant sophistication and becomes a captivating focal point.

Consider the Placement of the Vanity Unit

When determining the optimal position for your vanity unit, ensure it doesn’t obstruct the bathroom or shower doors.

Additionally, assess whether the surrounding area is easy to clean and if the vanity unit’s doors or drawers can open fully.

Proper positioning is crucial for your vanity unit to function seamlessly within your bathroom’s design.

If you’re replacing an existing sink with a vanity unit, installing it in the same location can save on plumbing work.

However, changing the plumbing may impact your budget.

Switching from a freesatnding vanity to a wall-hung vanity unit, for instance, may necessitate adjustments to the flooring and pipework.

Wall-Mounted vs. Free-Standing

Let’s quickly delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both free-standing and wall-hung vanity units, and highlight where each may be best suited and for who.

Floorstanding Vanity Units

a free-standing vanity unit with double basins


  • Stability: Free-standing vanity units are inherently stable and robust, making them a reliable choice for families with active households or bathrooms prone to heavy use.
  • Easier Installation: Installing a free-standing vanity unit is generally more straightforward compared to wall-hung units. They require less structural work and are often more suitable for DIY installations.
  • Ample Storage: These units often offer more storage space due to their larger size, making them ideal for households with numerous toiletries and bathroom essentials.
  • Varied Styles: Floorstanding vanity units are available in a wide range of styles, from traditional and classic designs to more contemporary and modern options. This versatility allows them to fit various bathroom aesthetics.
  • Hide Plumbing: They can conceal plumbing connections effectively, creating a tidier and more polished look in your bathroom.


  • Floor Space: Floorstanding units take up valuable floor space, which may not be ideal for small bathrooms or those aiming for a more open and spacious feel.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning the floor beneath and around the unit can be more challenging due to the limited access.
  • Aesthetics: In some cases, floorstanding units may not contribute to a visually light and airy bathroom design, especially in smaller spaces.

When to use free-standing vanity units

Free-standing vanity units are an excellent choice for larger bathrooms with ample floor space, for families with storage needs, and those who prefer a classic or traditional bathroom design.

They are also a practical option for bathrooms where structural alterations are not desired.

Wall-Hung Vanity Units

a wall hanging vanity unit with a double basin


  • Space-Saving: Wall-hung units are ideal for smaller bathrooms or en-suites where space optimization is crucial. They create a sense of spaciousness by leaving the floor area clear.
  • Easy Cleaning: With no obstruction to the floor, wall-hung units make cleaning the entire bathroom floor a breeze. They also provide better access for sweeping or mopping.
  • Modern Aesthetics: Wall-hung units often boast sleek and contemporary designs, contributing to a modern and minimalist bathroom ambiance.
  • Customizable Height: You have flexibility in choosing the mounting height, catering to your family’s specific needs and preferences.


  • Weight Limitations: Wall-hung units must be securely anchored to wall studs, and there are weight limitations to consider. Overloading them can lead to structural issues.
  • Professional Installation: Installation may require professional expertise, including proper anchoring and ensuring plumbing connections are hidden within the wall.
  • Limited Storage: Wall-hung units typically offer less storage space compared to their floorstanding counterparts, which may not be suitable for households with extensive storage needs.

When to use wall-hung vanity units

Wall-hung vanity units are an excellent choice for small bathrooms, modern and minimalist design preferences, and homeowners who prioritise ease of cleaning.

They are also ideal for those seeking a visually open and spacious bathroom.

Explore Combination Vanity Units

Ren combination unit in customer home

For a truly co-ordinated look, consider combination vanity units, which integrate a toilet and a vanity sink unit.

These are especially practical for smaller bathrooms, offering various sizes and designs to suit your needs.

The concealed cistern and fittings create a neater finish and make cleaning that little bit easier.

You can install the toilet unit either alongside the vanity unit or in a different bathroom area.

Vanity Units for Cloakrooms and Compact Spaces

The UK has some of the smallest bathrooms in Europe and many bathrooms lack ample space, posing a challenge when selecting a vanity unit.

Fortunately, there are numerous slimline vanity units designed to maximize space in small bathrooms or downstairs toilets.

As we’ve discussed, wall-hung vanity units are an excellent choice for making a room appear more spacious.

When outfitting a compact cloakroom or downstairs toilet, opt for a cloakroom vanity unit with compact dimensions and a slimline design.

These units come in various sizes, finishes, and mounting options to suit your design preferences.

A cloakroom corner vanity unit can be particularly handy in awkwardly shaped rooms.

Adding the finishing touches to your vanity unit

Once you’ve selected your vanity unit, it’s time to find a basin tap and other accessories to complete the look.

Most bathroom vanity units have a single tap hole, requiring a mono basin tap with a single lever handle for water flow and temperature control to be fitted.

Consider your home’s water pressure and system when choosing the right tap for optimal performance.

Matching the tap’s shape to your vanity unit can enhance the overall aesthetic, with curved taps complementing basins with similar lines and geometric taps suiting square sinks.

To elevate your vanity unit’s functionality and style, consider adding vanity lights.

Not only do these lights provide a stylish touch, but they also illuminate the contents of your drawers, adding both practicality and allure to your bathroom.

By carefully considering these factors, you can confidently select the perfect vanity unit that seamlessly integrates with your bathroom’s design and meets your storage and style needs.

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