You're remodeling your bathroom so you can have it the way you want it, and a stock bathroom vanity shouldn't stand in your way. Many homeowners opt for custom bathroom vanities to provide a luxury feel and the exact specifications they want. This customized luxury comes at a price, however, and can get expensive in a hurry. Instead, you may wish to consider going semicustom.
Technically, a custom bathroom vanity is one made to the precise measurements of your space and to your specifications. Often, however, those using the term "custom" actually mean "semicustom." In a semicustom arrangement, you start with a basic vanity and then choose from a list of available options.
Custom Versus Semicustom Bathroom Vanities
When shopping for custom bathroom vanities, it's important to understand what you're truly getting. It's possible to get a fully custom bathroom vanity built specifically to fit your space and desires. Be aware, however, that many bathroom vanity salespeople and marketers say "custom" when they really mean "semicustom."
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Although the words are often used interchangeably, they aren't the same thing. A semicustom bathroom vanity is essentially a stock unit with add-ons. You'll have a list of standard sizes from which to choose, and according to Trade Winds Imports, you can alter them by 1/8-inch increments.
After choosing the vanity size you want, the salesperson or website will present you with a catalog of a la carte options such as various faucets, countertops and cabinet hardware. You can choose anything you like from these options, but they're the only choices you have. If what you want isn't on the options list, you won't be able to get it.
Pros of Custom Bathroom Vanities
The biggest benefit of custom vanities is tucked right in their name. By going custom, you can get a vanity that satisfies your wish list better than a stock vanity can. If you choose to go fully custom, your only limitations will be your budget and the laws of physics. This is a great way to work around architectural foibles in older homes as well.
Even if you opt for semicustom instead of full customization, which most homeowners do, you'll still have a wide array of choices. You may not be able to get exactly what you want, but you'll probably get pretty darn close. Customization also ensures that you won't walk into your neighbor's bathroom and find the exact same vanity sitting there.
Cons of Custom Bathroom Vanities
The biggest negative of customized bathroom vanities is cost. The cost of truly custom bathroom vanities varies widely based on what you desire. Semicustomization will typically cost you 15 to 30 percent less than true from-scratch customization. Still, CostHelper reports that the average cost of semicustom vanities is between $75 and $250 per square foot. Professional installation can add another $1,000 or more to the cost, bringing the finished project to a total of $500 to $2,800.
If you go completely custom, be careful with whom you work. A true custom job often means finding a local craftsman who will work with you rather than going through big retail chains. Craftsmen often provide beautiful work, but they sometimes retire or face hardships that make them close up shop, sometimes unexpectedly. If you're getting a warranty on your vanity, you want to buy it from someone who you believe will stick around to honor it.
The Ordering Process
As is true when buying a stock vanity, the first step is to measure your space and determine what size vanity you need. You can then take your measurements to a cabinetry or hardware store, where you will talk to a designer. Some companies may offer to send a designer to your home to see the space and verify your measurements, but most will not. If a company does offer this service, it may or may not be complimentary, so be sure to ask.
The designer will help you decide what type of vanity you want and walk you through the choices available to you. The options will vary somewhat from one manufacturer to another, but you'll generally choose the type of wood from which the vanity will be made, the color, what the cabinet doors will look like and which hardware will grace those doors. You'll also get to choose a countertop and sink along with upgrades like soft-close cabinets.
When you finalize a design and price point with which you're happy, you'll order your vanity. You may have to pay a deposit at this time. Upon receiving your order, the vanity maker will construct your vanity and ship it to you for installation.
- Trade Winds Imports: What You Need to Know about Custom Cabinets and Stock Bath Vanities
- CostHelper: Bathroom Vanity Cost
- Bay Cities Construction: Custom Cabinets vs Semi-Custom Cabinets: What’s the Difference?
- AZ Cabinet Maker: Custom vs. Semi-Custom Cabinets: Which is Right for You?
- Tridel Construction: Custom Bathroom Cabinets & Vanities: Pros and Cons
- The Home Depot: Frequently Asked Questions