Vanity cabinets are multifunctional. They serve as the ultimate storage catchall for all of our bathroom essentials, and they're also one of the biggest factors in dictating the overall style of our space. Anyone who's been on the lookout for a new bathroom cabinet idea has likely discovered that not all vanities are created equal. From custom to pre-fab to semi-custom, the options can be overwhelming. So, how do you decide which one is right for you? Budget and timeline are probably the biggest considerations to bear in mind when deciding which route to go. If you're short on cash and time, a custom solution isn't in the cards. No problem ... there are plenty of pre-made options out there that can fit the bill.
The location and size of your bathroom is also an important factor in determining your vanity needs. For example, a powder room requires a lot less storage and therefore can easily function without any cabinets at all, while a master bathroom serving as the WC hub for one or two people demands the most. Fortunately, there's no shortage of bathroom cabinet ideas, price points, and styles, so read on to learn more.
Bathroom Cabinets 101: Custom, Pre-Fab, and Semi-Custom
Are you doing a full-blown bathroom remodel? Without a budget? If money and time are no object then we are officially jealous, but also you should spring for a tailor-made vanity with all of the bells and whistles. Like most things in life, it's hard to beat something that's made just for you, just the way YOU want it. Bathroom cabinets are no different. If you're trying to accommodate an awkward space, or are in need of something particularly large or small, built-in is your best friend. As you might expect, custom cabinetry comes with a hefty price tag and takes a while to construct. You're paying for options and customization here. From the type of wood used, to the style of your doors and drawers (inset, shaker, flat, and beadboard to name just a few), to the configuration and interior storage system — custom bathroom cabinets really have no limits. You get what you pay for: These vanities are the highest quality with the heaviest hand, meaning they feel weighty and luxurious.
Customized bathroom cabinet ideas are a splurge that really impact the aesthetic. In this thoughtfully appointed space by Courtney Bishop, integrated drawer and door pulls keep the overall look modern and seamless, while a pair of elongated mirrors and a trio of sconces are refined and well-balanced.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are pre-fabricated cabinets. These are premade with limited opportunities for customization when it comes to style, color, and storage options. Not surprisingly, off-the-shelf cabinets are lower quality and the most affordable. If you can't break the bank on your cabinets or need something yesterday, this is your best bet. However, there are actually a range of pre-fab cabinets available from the type you can pick up, carry home in a box, and assemble the same day, to higher-end versions that offer a few choices, have a short fulfillment time, and are delivered to your home.
This bathroom is crisp, bright and timeless. Emily Henderson uses a simple pre-fabricated white vanity (available in half a dozen colors) and pairs it with a hand-selected countertop and oil-rubbed bronze hardware for a high-contrast look. Gold faucets and towel holders are an elegant touch.
And somewhere in between are semi-handmade cabinets. These are a hybrid of the two, taking pre-fab IKEA frames and personalizing them with custom doors. IKEA's cabinets are so popular that a variety of companies offer this choice. Are these cabinets a replacement for completely custom ones? No, but they do go a long way in creating a stylish and personalized option, not available in pre-fab, and at a good price.
Ashley Izsak of Calmly Chaotic used drawer fronts and substantial brass pulls by Semihandmade to customize her IKEA vanity. An oversize round mirror anchors the space, serving both a functional and decorative purpose.
Bathroom Cabinet Trends to Consider
Bathroom Cabinet Idea #1: Mount it to the wall to free up floor space.
Floating vanities have become increasingly popular, and for good reason. They offer ample storage with a slimmer profile, making them ideal for tight quarters. Because they're elevated off of the floor, they give the perception of more square footage, much in the way a mirror can make a room appear larger. Floating bathroom cabinets are streamlined and therefore a perfect match for modern design styles.
Sarah Sherman Samuel created a minimalist bathroom for Mandy Moore featuring a sleek floating vanity, thick countertop, and sage green tile. The wood finish warms up the muted color palette, which is punctuated by a perfect combination of brass and bronze hardware.
Bathroom Cabinet Idea #2: Repurpose an old (or new) piece of furniture.
How about a piece of furniture? Repurposing a piece of furniture to serve as your bathroom vanity isn't a new idea, but we are seeing more of it lately featuring unlikely pieces. We love this solution because it imparts a unique sense of character and history that most pre-fab and many custom pieces can't match.
Bathroom Cabinet Idea #3: Go vertical and use a tall cabinet instead.
Known for her outside-of-the-box decor, Leanne Ford transforms a metal casement cabinet into an unlikely and stylish bathroom vanity complete with a mirror and bud vase. Close the doors and you'd never guess a sink was hiding inside. Genius!
Popular Colors for Bathroom Cabinets
When it comes to bringing color into your bathroom, painted cabinets are a surefire way to punch up your space. Here are three timeless classics:
Bathroom Cabinet Storage Solutions
The primary purpose of a bathroom vanity is to provide storage for all of your many bathroom essentials (but you knew that). A combination of drawers of differing depths and cabinets is ideal. If you can spring for custom drawer dividers, you'll be able to create dedicated spots to hold all of your basics — brushes, makeup, nail polish, etc. — and you'll never tire of organizing their contents. There are plenty of off-the-shelf options that serve the same purpose and are much easier on the wallet, or feel free to create your own with the help of this DIY tutorial. Look for shallow trays in a variety of sizes and rearrange them until they fit in a way that makes organizational sense. Put things you reach for most frequently in the front and less used stuff toward the back.
Baskets and bins do wonders inside a cabinet. Fill them with extra TP and stash styling tools inside so stray cords aren't greeting you when you open the doors.