Bathroom vanity ideas - experts explain how to use the most stylish materials and smartest designs

The most stylish bathroom vanity ideas to maximise every inch and inject some decor flair into your space

Bathroom vanity ideas using symmetrical vanity units
Design by Finkernagel Ross
(Image credit: Drummonds / Project: Finkernagel Ross)

Selecting the right bathroom vanity ideas for your home can make a huge difference to how it functions and feels. As with any room the correct amount of storage is key to it feeling calm and clutter-free. This is especially true with small bathrooms.

'Storage is such an important part of a bathroom design, and most clients tend to want to maximise the vanity area,' says Hayley Robson, co-founder of design studio, Day True, and expert in bathroom storage ideas. 'The vanity and basin area is also where we can add personality to a bathroom as well as functionality.'  

There are so many elegant styles to choose from luxurious marbles and rich timbers to fluted finishes and cool colours. As well as the huge choice in brassware and bathroom basins now on offer. But before rushing to choose the fun stuff, it's important to consider the practicalities.

'The more storage you have, the more you tend to fill it,' says Hayley Robson. 'We always start with seeing what people store in their current bathroom. Often there are things that have been there for a long time and not used. Updating a bathroom is a great way to evaluate what you actually need in terms of storage. The things you use every day, such as toothbrushes, potions and lotions, should be easily accessible.'

Particularly when it comes to small bathroom storage ideas, it's good to do an audit, first. 'Consider whether you need towel storage, or can this be located elsewhere?' Hayley says. 'The space available in the room can dictate the volume of storage. Bathrooms do tend to be small spaces, so my advice is to not clutter them, so you can create a calm, clean space.'

Bathroom vanity ideas

1. Fit a floating unit

Bathroom vanity ideas with wooden floating unit

(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

Choosing the size of your vanity unit is as important as selecting the style. In a modern home, your bathroom sink ideas have to perform well in both form and function. 

'To get the proportions right, we need to ensure there is enough space to stand when using the basin area; also space to open drawers or doors. We need to ensure it's easy to maintain and clean too,' says Hayley Robson, co-founder of Day True. 

'We often opt for floating vanity units, as these can make spaces feel bigger. You can also play with proportions of basins, moulded basins or bowls that sit on top of a surface to change the volume of the space available.

2. Add a sink skirt

Bathroom vanity ideas with a pink patterned sink skirt

(Image credit: Emma Stevenson)

Stylish sink skirts aren't just for kitchens. At Emma Stevenson Design Studio, the designer has brought the cottagecore trend into the bathroom. 

'This was a family bathroom to be enjoyed by the children as well as the grown ups,' says Emma, who used the skirt to partner with her vibrant bathroom color ideas. 'I wanted to inject charm and have elements to please everyone. The girls wanted pink but we opted for a deep earthy version with panelling for character. The Ottoline skirt around the sink is a great way of maximising storage and adding pizzazz to the room.'

3. Maximize shine with gold

Bathroom vanity ideas with a gold vanity unit matching a gold mirror

Perrin & Rowe® 3831 Basin Set in Satin Brass

(Image credit: Photography: Kasia Fiszer / Design:)

Not content with brass just as an accent tone on the gorgeous basin mixer from Perrin & Rowe, wall lights and mirror, Jess Hurrell of Gold is a Neutral has used it to clad her bespoke vanity unit too. 

Set against the moody dark walls and teamed with the marble countertop and geometric bathroom floor tile ideas, it's easy to see why Jess' bathroom has scooped a handful of design awards. 

4.  Fill a narrow space

bathroom vanity ideas with a narrow wooden sink unit

(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

A slimline unit in your small bathroom ideas can provide enough space to stash loo rolls and lotions.  

'Vanity units and washstands make fantastic use of what would otherwise be wasted space under a basin,' says Colin Roby-Welford, Fired Earth’s Creative Director. 

'They’re a clever choice for bathrooms of all sizes – but particularly for compact ones – keeping everything from towels and toiletries to cleaning products neatly stored and accessible, and helping to ensure a clutter-free bathroom. Always make sure that your vanity unit or washstand is lockable if it contains anything that needs to be kept away from children', adds Colin.

5. Double the number of sinks

bathroom vanity ideas with a luxe marble vanity unit

Project by Elicyon

(Image credit: Future / Mary Wadsworth)

Before settling on a style, it's important to weigh up what you need to make your space work functionally, and many modern bathroom ideas revolve around extra basins now, to keep a couple feeling harmonious towards each other. 

'As well as how much storage, decide whether you'd like single or double basins, and if you prefer countertop or moulded sink styles,' says Emma Scott, Design Director at C. P . Hart.  

'The vanity area is a focal point of the bathroom, so also consider whether you'd like square or round mirrors, and wall lights too.'

6. Opt for two symmetrical stands

bathroom vanity ideas with symmetrical vanity units and black bath tub

Project by Finkernagel Ross

(Image credit: Drummonds / Project: Finkernagel Ross)

Instead of a double vanity unit, in a large bathroom where you have ample space, two symmetrical vanities can add stand-out style. If you're wondering how to remodel a bathroom, you could do a lot worse than be inspired by this luxe project by Finkernagel Ross.

'Classic vanity units are stand-alone pieces and natural centrepieces for a bathroom or cloakroom. They bring a sense of luxury to interiors and achieve an immediate ‘wow-factor’,' says James Lentaigne, Creative Director, Drummonds.

'When choosing a vanity unit, it’s vital to take into consideration the size of the bathroom. Vanity units tend to be large, impressive statement pieces and so it’s important to choose a style and size that doesn’t overwhelm the space.'

7. Embrace texture

bathroom vanity ideas with a timber bathroom vanity

Project by Thomas Melhorn

(Image credit: Future)

The materials in this bathroom design reflect the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which finds beauty in the imperfection and impermanence in nature. One of the key bathroom trends for right now, the timber has been treated with a soft lime finish to accentuate the grain.

'Texture is popular at the moment in bathrooms,' says Hayley Robson, co-founder, Day True. 'Such as fluted fronts on vanity furniture, as well as natural wood tones, which offer longevity and can help to soften the space.'

8. Introduce neutrals

bathroom vanity ideas

Project by Gunter & Co

(Image credit: Gunter & Co project)

Color has come back to the bathroom in a big way. From pastel pink to charcoal grey bathroom ideas and all shades in between, the clinical white space has fallen from favor. But if you err towards calming spaces and don't want your new scheme to date too soon, embrace neutrals on the more permanent parts.

'We didn't want anything to be jarring, so we used a blended palette of neutrals,' says Irene Gunter, co-founder, Gunter & Co. 'The black features fit with the modern architectural language, while the bronze brings warmth.

9. Position taps precisely

timber double vanity unit

(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

Washstands and vanity units often require drilling on site to create a hole or holes for wastes so it’s important to take time to work out exactly where you want to position the basin or bowls you’re planning to use, and if you want to include any bathroom shelving ideas, too.

'Think about whether your taps will be wall or deck-mounted, and allow space for things such as soap dispensers, toothbrush holders etc,' says Colin Roby-Welford, Fired Earth’s Creative Director. 'It's also worth thinking about where you’ll be able to fit any mirrors or lighting so that everything lines up just as you would like it to. 

If you’re opting for a double washstand, make sure that the basins or bowls are positioned so that if two people are using them at the same time, they won’t be bumping elbows.'

10. Go all out luxe

marble vanity unit

Project by Bergman Interiors

(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

The inspiration for this opulent bathroom - and the rest of the apartment - came from the Art Deco architecture of the building it's located in.

Designer Marie Soliman, co-founder of Bergman Interiors used solid slabs of marble for the bespoke basin and vanity unit.  

The marble veining adds interest and elegance, while a simple shelf provides a chic display space.


'Marble is a traditional surface which is very much on-trend - and is an immensely stylish finishing touch,' says  James Lentaigne, Creative Director, Drummonds. 

'People always appreciate the luxurious look and feel of this natural material - and the fact that each piece has its own unique characteristics. As long as it is properly sealed, it is also a highly practical choice.

At the moment, Verde Guatemala marble is extremely popular. However, Calacatta marble is a timeless choice when it comes to vanity units.'

'Marble is a beautiful material, but in its natural form it'is porous, so it does need more maintenance than something like a marble-effect porcelain,' says Emma Scott, Design Director, C. P. Hart. 'No harsh chemicals should be used on marble, it should be cleaned with a soft damp cloth and neutral cleaning products. Water should not be left to sit on it and sealant should be used every six months.' 


'By selecting earthy or natural tones in a bathroom, you'll create timeless space with longevity. Bathrooms need to stand the test of time, as they're not something we should be changing every couple of years as trends and fashion change,' says Hayley Robson, co-founder, Day True. 

'Monochrome is also a timeless palette, and can be softened with off whites and warm greys as opposed to black and white. Texture and contrast help to create a space that's interesting and will look modern and less likely to date. Color can be introduced with styling, towels, greenery and artwork, which can easily changed or updated with trends.'

Emma Scott, Design Director, C. P. Hart adds, 'A good vanity unit is something you want to last for years and through style trends. If you like bold colors it may be better to add that in by painting walls or with coloured tiles. Keep the vanity in a neutral colour or a natural material and it will last longer.' 

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.