Tips for converting a dresser into a bathroom vanity

written by Melissa Dalton | photo by Crosby Dove

Britney Renner’s favorite detail in her bathroom renovation is the customized sink vanity. Converting a dresser or console into a sink cabinet can be a DIY project for crafty homeowners, as the skill level and tools it requires varies depending on the overall design. We asked contractor Alex Briggs to give us some tips.

1. Choose the sink style first.


There are different styles of sinks, Briggs said, including the vessel sink, undermount, and the drop-in. The vessel sink typically sits on top of the counter. “A drop-in sink requires a cut-out that you drop the sink into. It has a flange or lip that goes around, whereas a true undermount is something that adheres underneath the countertop,” Briggs said. A vessel sink is the easiest to work with for this project.

2. Pick a faucet, too.


Some faucets will mount directly to the sink basin, whereas others attach to the counter and need clearance between the basin and the wall. Other styles, like Renner’s, are installed directly in the wall. Identify the faucet early to ensure the cabinet will have sufficient space for your combo of sink and faucet. Briggs estimates you’ll need at least 20 inches of depth for the cabinet.

3. Cabinet construction matters.


“If you choose something flimsy, you’re going to probably have to spend some time beefing up that cabinet,” Briggs said. Look at the construction carefully and opt for a piece that’s well-built. Also, you will have to modify the interior of it to accommodate the plumbing components. Something with an open cavity, as opposed to drawers, will be easier to adapt.

4. Don’t forget the finish.


Think about how the cabinet’s finish will wear in a bathroom’s damp environment—the tougher it is, the better. Briggs recommends applying a marine-grade varnish for moisture protection.

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