“In the ‘good old days’ vanity units came as part of our bathroom suites, they were commonly referred to as sink cabinets and we didn’t give them too much thought. Increasingly however, they are becoming the main event in bathrooms, ensuites and curiously in other rooms entirely.

The statement vanity unit is making the bathroom a place to stay for a while rather than ‘wash and go’.  Plush stools with velvet cushions are now accompanying the vanity-unit come dressing -table.

The more adventurous are sawing holes into period tables to install basins, thus converting into one-off pieces. What is more, they are installing them in bedrooms, guest rooms, dressing rooms – in fact in any room where a ‘sprucing-up’ spot is wanted.

For others it’s all about storage. So close the bathroom or indeed the dressing room door behind you, to shouts of ‘how long will you be?’ and read these top tips to your perfect vanity unit…”

Top tip 1) Find the tape measure but do consider another space

The size of your vanity unit will depend on the space you have to play with. If you cannot change this possible restricting factor, don’t let this put you off, because the most creative ideas can come when options are thin.

For example finding a matching or unusual mirror to hang on the wall above your basin will transform a sink area, no matter how tiny – into a vanity space. Or indeed you might consider one in another room, therefore not needing to squeeze it between the bath and shower at all.

Nonetheless, many retailers sell slim line designs or ‘cloakroom vanity units’ and these are worth a look. Wall hung vanity units as opposed to floor standing, are advised by many traders if you want to make your space appear bigger than it is.

The trend to shop around for different suppliers means that you could choose your sink from one supplier and have another custom-make the unit. The benefit of this is that you’ll avoid an ‘off-the-shelf’ feel to your unit and produce a more individual look. You also need to ensure that the drawers or doors to the unit have enough space around them to open fully.

Lastly, you could always do what one popular interiors enthusiast did and convert a bedroom (complete with walk-in wardrobe) into a bathroom for that extra washroom space.

Top tip 2) Size and storage

If you are dealing with a tiny space, functionality would come before anything else; so you might go for that pedestal or wall hung basin with mirror above. If this is the case, you could always use shelves holding baskets, as a way to store beauty items.

Or, you might decide that ‘nightclub’ glamour or ‘hotel’ chic is for you and opt for ‘his and hers’ matching basins. Although this would take up double the space, it would also give you double the amount of storage.

Some experts advise that you should keep your vanity unit ‘in keeping’ with the rest of your furniture. They say that that the vanity unit should not be too big so that it overshadows everything else. However if your heart is more ‘boho chic’, then you don’t have to follow this rule, especially as they can make bold centrepieces to any room.

In a nutshell, it’s hard to go wrong with well thought out decisions based on your needs primarily. For example, when pondering the unit itself, you can choose between drawers or cupboards. Storage options are important to vanity unit lovers and if this is you – then go for as many drawers as possible.

Top tip 3) Style

If you do want your unit to blend in with the rest of the bathroom or bedroom, it is tempting to stick with one supplier. However, many consumers do not realise that it often works out cheaper. It might involve a little extra research but you won’t regret the long term individual feel that you’ll create by choosing what you love from a number of traders on the market.

Another thing to bear in mind is that with so many styles and designs out there, it is possible to have both a stylish unit which is practical too. If you are only updating the vanity unit in your sleeping or washing quarters, then you should keep the existing suite in mind; a chrome or white gloss finish will complement modern designs, whereas a wooden finish will sit well with a more traditional bathroom or bedroom style.

Many try to ensure that their bathroom design blends in with the rest of the home. This can depend, if your home design is primarily art nouveau, you might want to go for fewer angles in one room, and the bathroom would fit this call to be different.
Don’t forget, the overall aim, if you fancy it, which is to make the room with the vanity unit – a place of pampering; where people are drawn to sit for a while, glance through your lipstick or aftershave collection and perhaps admire the view from the window (if you have one).

Top tip 4) What’s your budget?

From a simple Victorian-style, pitcher and bowl on a table to a full blown cupboard with sink – the bigger you go, the pricier it will be. However, do take into account offers of discounts and sales from the companies who produce these units.

If you are on a strict budget you might consider redecorating your current vanity area. What about the obvious fresh lick of paint? Perhaps in a new colour? Or you could change the drawer or cupboard handles, there are so many styles of handles and knobs out there – metal, wooden, painted wooden, painted metal, plastic, animal shaped – the possibilities are endless.

The watchword is ‘shop around’ if you want to save money. Also, do try to think outside the box, for example people have been able to stick well within their means when redecorating by going for kitchen cabinets in bathrooms which are generally less costly – and give more storage to boot.

Top tip 5) Those little extras

As you contemplate your new-to-be wash space, don’t forget that materials should be waterproof. Wood products for bathrooms usually come with a coating that protects them from prolonged water exposure.

Which brings us nicely onto taps, for a long time now there have been an array of taps to choose from, the best advice we can give is – shop around until you find the ones that rock your world.

With taps and surfaces, you’ll want to ensure they’ll be nice and easy to clean, looking at them when they’re brand new is one thing – but fast-forward five years and top of your shopping list will be lime scale remover due to water residue build-up.

Whatever your space, some Hollywood lights around the mirrors will give the room that star quality.

Another trend is to use plants. They really do give a ‘rain forest’ feel and it’s always nice to bring the outdoors – in!

Lastly, what do you think of blush, as a colour to incorporate into your bathroom or bedroom design? There will always be a ‘colour-of-the-moment’. You’ve got to think, ‘will I still love it in five year’s time?’ And we know your reply, ‘…it will be time to redecorate!’

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