How to Turn Vintage Furniture into a Bathroom Vanity

From minor improvements to complete overhauls, kitchens and bathrooms typically see the most renovation work over the course of a lifetime. While some improvement projects require the expertise of a contractor and qualified workers, some are easy enough for almost anyone to complete. Although repurposing vintage furniture into a stylish and chic bathroom vanity isn’t an entirely new concept, the notions of upcycling and repurposing have grown more popular in recent years. If you’re considering bringing some unique, vintage style into your bathroom, read on for some repurposing tips.

Pay Attention to Height

The “new rule” for standard bathroom vanities is that the countertop should be 34-36” from the floor. In older homes, you may notice shorter vanities – the older standard was 32-34” off the ground, likely because the present population is taller in comparison. Since it’s difficult to find a vintage piece at the standard bathroom vanity height, the rules change when repurposing vintage furniture into a vanity. Instead of bringing a tape measurer with you while shopping, keep these questions in mind: can you comfortably brush your teeth while standing in front of this piece? If you hang a mirror above the piece will you be able to see your whole face? As long as the height is comfortable and practical for you and the rest of your family, go for it. If you’re set on keeping your vanity at its standard height, consider mounting the vanity to the wall to make up the difference.

Counter Material

The truth is, repurposing vintage furniture for use in other rooms of the home is much easier than the bathroom, where moisture and steam are daily occurrences. In some cases, you may be forced to choose a new top surface in order to escape the accumulation of mold or gradual deterioration of the piece over time. Hardwood surfaces can be used in a bathroom, but only if they’ve been waxed or oiled over the years and are intended for use in a bathroom that gets low-to-regular use. However, if the existing surface is delicate, already in need of repair, or will be used in a public, family, or children’s bathroom, you should consider exchanging the top surface for something with a bit more durability. Marble and quartz are durable choices that are an aesthetic match with most vintage furniture.

Adapting to Modern Plumbing

Unfortunately, not all pieces of antique furniture are suitable for a conversion to plumbing. If you’ve decided that the vintage piece can be adapted to modern plumbing, you’ll need to carefully plan out the process. You’ll need to accommodate the sink and its plumbing for a proper fit, spend time waterproofing the piece both inside and out, or you may have to replace older wood tops with granite or other natural stone slabs. If you love the look of vintage furniture but aren’t sure you have the wherewithal to adapt the piece of furniture on your own, you can either call in the professionals or find a line of reproduction pieces – they’ll be designed for modern plumbing without losing their vintage look and feel.

Finish with Style

Since the DIY vintage vanity is almost guaranteed to be the focal point of your bathroom, it’s important to keep everything else in your bathroom as minimalistic as possible – otherwise your guests may feel bombarded with things to look at whenever they need to wash their hands. Your hardware choice should complement the look of your antique vanity. In many cases, brushed nickel or distressed bronze faucets are great choices, while polished and shiny faucets may distract from the overall vintage look of your bathroom. For countertop accessories, such as soap dishes or toothbrush holders, head to your local antique shops. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for in an antique shop, you may be inspired to repurpose another antique piece into something new.

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