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A beginner’s guide to bathroom vanity unit shopping
Buying guides

A beginner’s guide to bathroom vanity unit shopping

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 2 years ago 7 min read

Shopping for that perfect bathroom vanity unit isn’t exactly easy, is it? In this beginner’s guide from the bathroom experts at Victoria Plum, we’ll explain everything you need to know before you buy.

So, you want to redecorate your bathroom and buy a new bathroom vanity unit? That’s great. But with so many options to choose from, where do you even start? With this guide, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to know about bathroom vanity units. From material quality to common design issues, we will be sharing our favourite tips when choosing our ideal vanity counter.

Unlike most home furniture, vanity units are a permanent statement as they are fastened and installed tightly to the walls of your home. Hence, it’s important that you choose the right vanity built with the proper materials to suit your wants and needs.

The Bath Co. Camberley satin grey floorstanding vanity unit and ceramic basin 600mm

This traditional style vanity unit from the Camberley furniture range will make an elegant addition to any bathroom

Types of vanity units

There are a few kinds of vanity unit and they include freestanding, open space and floating.

Freestanding vanity units

Freestanding vanity units are positioned on the floor and attached to the wall using mounting screws. These are the most popular type of vanity counters and are commonly found in UK homes.

Open space vanity units

Open freestanding vanity units allow for a tranquil, cooling feeling. Without drawers or door panels covering them, open space vanity units accentuate storage space. They open up the room, are welcoming and, well... they're just a whole load of fun!

Beautiful bathroom washstands

From The Bath Co. Camberley range, this open space vanity unit provides easy access to towels and toiletries

Floating vanity units

On the other hand, floating bathroom vanity units are wall mounted. This type of vanity unit is suited towards modern and contemporary designs. Floating vanity units give bathrooms a unique, chic look and make the room appear more spacious.

Amongst the different types of vanity units, this would be the most likely you’d go for when looking to achieve a high end or designer style. It also makes cleaning and organising easier, as they work well with people of all heights.

From a style point of view, floating vanity units allow you to show off your tilework as you can extend the tiles down to the floor. Floating the vanity unit on a tiled, wallpapered or painted wall also breaks the monotony of all-wood overload.

Mode Adler white 600mm wall hung vanity unit and basin

A floating vanity unit, like the Adler from Mode Bathrooms, helps to free up your floorspace

Variations of sinks

Single sinks

For small bathrooms with limited space, the go-to type would be the single sink. These are ideal for flats, smaller homes, cloakrooms, ensuites and shower rooms, as well as guest bathrooms. If you have a larger space, choose longer vanity units that come with a single sink.

Double sinks

Similar to the single sink, double sink vanity units are great for couples and spouses. They provide space for couples as they get ready in their master bathrooms. From cosmetics to personal hygiene products, double sink vanity units provide ample space for the storage of all those essentials.

Vessel sinks

Now, vessel sinks (often referred to as countertop basins) are considerably different from the other 2. Though standard porcelain basins are none too shabby, they have become all too common. If you’re looking for something different, vessel sinks will give you the unique appearance that you’re looking for.

There are so many variations which means that the likelihood of 2 master bathroom vessel sinks looking similar is rare to none. Tailored to your personal preferences, this one-of-a-kind sink can satisfy any customer.

Mode Hale grey gloss wall hung double vanity unit with ceramic countertop and basins 1200mm

With vessel sinks, this stunning double vanity unit from the Hale grey gloss furniture range features the very best of mid-century styling

Corner sinks

Corner sink vanity units are for those who want to conserve space. You can opt for your corner sink vanity to be attached to a wall or it can be free-standing. Ultimately, the only space that you’ll use is the space needed for the basin.

Clarity Compact white corner vanity unit

To help save space, especially in cloakrooms and ensuites, the Clarity Compact white corner vanity unit is ideal

Styling options

From modern styles to European vanity units, there are several styling options out there.

Modern bathrooms

Modern bathroom vanity units were inspired by trends that were everywhere during the Mid-Century Modern period. For this style, minimalist sensibilities with a love for sharp, bold and simplistic lines are amplified. Some common hardware used includes black and white with chrome or brushed nickel. The philosophy behind this style is to have the functionality of the bathroom as the central focus while keeping the design simple, access to things easy and having comfortable storage.

Orchard Eden white floorstanding vanity unit and ceramic basin 550mm

For simple, modern style, look no further than this beautiful vanity unit from the Eden white furniture range

Vintage bathrooms

On the flip side, antique vanity units are way more intricate and detailed. Inspired by the Art Deco period, these vanity units encapsulate the nostalgic look of the past. Antique vanity units with intricate accents that line the cabinet frames and wind down the legs, giving a sense of opulence, fashion and elegance, are a common sight. This style is perfect for properties with interesting designs such as rustic, cottage style, Old World Fashion and country homes.

The Bath Co. Dalston floorstanding vanity unit and white marble basin 650mm

Give your bathroom some rustic styling with this beautiful vanity unit from the Dalston furniture range, complete with authentic marble countertop

Furniture styled bathrooms

Furniture style bathroom vanity units are one of the latest fads to hit the bathroom decoration market. With this style, all the bathroom furniture is fitted, like in a kitchen, with a plinth and continuous worktop.

Fitted bathroom furniture and worktops

Fitted bathroom furniture is bang on-trend. Get the look with Wharfe slate matt grey fitted bathroom furniture from Reeves

Transitional style bathrooms

Transitional styles are where the classic blends in with the new (sometimes known as the Eclectic or Modern Vintage look). You can commonly spot frame constructions resembling modern vanity units, but with extra decoration—such as installing bevelled panels with a slight accent to give more depth to the cabinets. This is a great option for those who find modern cabinets too mundane, but antique vanity units too old-school for their preference.

Transitional style bathroom

This stunning eclectic style bathroom by Victoria Plum customer @home_life_46 shows how vintage and contemporary pieces can be combined


This is arguably the most important decision when purchasing a bathroom variety is picking the right material. With wood furniture, humidity and moisture are one of the biggest problems to think about when deciding on what material to get.

While solid wood vanity units are known for their durability, engineered wood (also known as MDF) is more affordable and can be treated for moisture-resistance. It’s always worth reading up more on materials to familiarise yourself with the different varieties –– from MDF to plywood to solid wood, you’ll need to know their differences.

Deciding on the size

Measuring your vanity unit

Though there are a standard set of dimensions for bathrooms, not every home fits into this cookie-cutter mould. To go about deciding on the size of vanity unit you would like, start by measuring the dimensions of your current one or by measuring the space you have available. You’ll find tips on measuring your bathroom here at Victoria Plum.

Large or small?

It’s important to note that vanity units come in both smaller and larger sizes, as you might be surprised by their size when ordering a large, double-sink vanity. Many of these larger vanity units come in condensed versions as well, which fit smaller bathrooms better. This also allows for a more uniform design throughout your home.

Budget tips

Keep an eye out for sales and promotions at Victoria Plum to ensure you get your vanity units for the best price. To be the first to find out about these, sign up to our email newsletter by leaving your address below. You can also keep up with price drops and exclusive offers by following us on social media. Simply click on any of the buttons below.

Finally, always make sure you do your research before heading out on your shopping spree so you don’t miss out on such great deals.

The Bath Co. Camberley satin grey corner floorstanding vanity unit and ceramic basin 580mm

In conclusion

There are many options available depending on your preferred style, the size of your home and the functionalities that you would like your vanity unit to serve. Remember to do research, measure up your space, and you should be good to go.

Shop bathroom vanity units

You’ll find a huge range of bathroom vanity units, all at the lowest prices around, right here at Victoria Plum—the UK’s largest online only bathroom retailer. Browse our full selection by clicking on the image below.

Shop vanity units

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying guides | 2 years ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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