Best height for powder room vanity

2ajsmamaMarch 18, 2012

I'm still struggling with this and DH wants the sink in ASAP. I want to modify an antique washstand to put in a drop-in sink (already have the sink and faucet). The washstand is 29.5" high to "countertop" with a towel bar attached to the back, and I will be hanging an antique oak-framed mirror above it. (That's the sink template on top, this was blocked up on 4x4's so 3.5" high and it was actually comfortable for me but appeared to be "looming" at first when sitting down across from it)

The towel bar itself is 20" above the top, and the supports that come up on either side are 1.5" taller. I haven't measured the mirror yet. Sconce locations on the side wall are 65" from finished floor (actually one is 65.25", and I never noticed til I just measured, one is 12.125" from back wall the other is 13" - love the attention to detail in my new house!).

Room is 3' x 6'4" long, enter on side from pocket door, sink to left and toilet to right. Petite round-front toilet is 29.5" high to tank.

So what is the best height for use (considering sink depth of 6.25", and also mirror placement), and for scale/proportions in this small room?

I could just add casters (of course would secure the back to the wall so it won't roll) to add 1.5" bringing countertop to 30.5". Or block up the legs (I was thinking 3" to bring to 32"), but that would take more work/time and I'm wondering if the vanity/towel bar/mirror would then be too tall and out of scale in this small room?

FWIW, I am 5'2" and find 33" comfortable for brushing my teeth, though no one should be brushing teeth in this sink. DD is 8 yrs old and 48" tall (not likely to make it to 5ft), DH is 5'9", DS is 13 yrs old, 5'4" and growing like a weed. We rarely have guests (when we do, they tend to be kids, and of course most kids grow pretty quickly so I can't size it for them), but this is the only bath on the main floor so we use it a LOT. When my parents come over of course they use it, they are both shrinking/bent over, I think my mom is about 5'4" now and my dad maybe 5'7".

I don't even know what "standard" vanity height is now - I know they've been making "right-height" vanities for a few years, but when we built this house 5 yrs ago I have them block up all the cabinets, and when we remodeled the master bath in the last house 15 yrs ago we did the same thing. So maybe I'm just used to taller vanities? (I did put a bath vanity in the middle of my kitchen island to give me a lower work area since I'm so short).



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i just measured the hght of my vanity earlier and it's at 32". I'm 5' and I'd be ok if it were even and inch or 2 higher.

Have you thought about building up a platform there to put it on? I don't think the casters will look right with it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 2:29AM
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I think the casters were original to it - I have the washstand, a short dresser and a tall dresser, and 2 sets of casters, I don't think the short dresser had any on it (I refinished that one), the tall dresser did but I took them off, and I believe the 2nd set of casters was from the washstand.

But I don't know if 30.5" with countertop is OK. I like to have my hands down in the sink an inch or 2 to prevent splashes when washing my hands, 32-33" really is about the lowest I can go. Measured the mast bath vanity (no countertop yet), that's 31.5" w/o countertop so I believe even with casters the washstand will be a couple of inches below standard. I know we went to pizza place a few weeks ago that had a tiny pedestal sink, it must have been 29-30" high and I felt like I was in a dollhouse.

Oh, mirror is 24" high x 36" wide - I don't know how it's going to look to have wall-to-wall mirror in this tiny room. Might have to give that back to my mom.

My cousin is a woodworker, he's going to come over tonight to look at modifying top and drawer (I thought I could just add pocket screws to hold a 1x3 on the back but noticed the top has a rounded edge so needs routing), I'll ask him about blocking it up. He's got a good eye for proportions.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Sophie Wheeler

34"-36" would be the most comfortable height for all users.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Not gonna be able to add that much height to this piece (and 36" is too tall for me and DD), even without a mirror above it. It would just look out of proportion, and I'm afraid it will be out of scale in the small room.

Can't use the mirror here - I just pulled it out of storage, tried it (I knew it was pretty much the same width as the room), and while it may look OK in that room with a different vanity, no way can it go over the towel bar, and I really prefer to put it in a room where I can hang it without scraping my knuckles on the side walls ;-)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 4:17PM
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I just purchased cabinets from cabinet store and they, along with cabinet designer said that they should be 32"

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Hi ajsmama - I've been following your posts with interest because I'd like to do something similar, if I can find the right piece -- not easy. I've been looking for a while. Everything is either too shallow, too low, or too wide (for my small bathroom).

Using a washstand will work out great, if you can solve the height problem. Have you considered adding legs to the vanity? They would have be rather plain to go with the style of the washstand. I saw some on Van Dykes that I think would go (stylistically speaking). I don't think it would be too difficult for a carpenter to make similar legs out of oak to match your washstand. As long as the size and tapering match the existing washstand legs and you can get a reasonable match for the stain and finish, the modifications would be nearly inconspicuous, and since the joints would be so low, I don't think that people would notice the joints even if the joint lines show. If you're planning to paint the washstand, it would be impossible to tell.

The back legs wouldn't need to be tapered because they'd be totally hidden (and the back legs on your washstand are probably square anyway). If your carpenter uses dowel joints, they should be strong enough, since you won't have to move the washstand once it's installed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Van Dykes - plain tapered furniture legs (paint grade)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 2:21PM
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dilettante- I once used a victrola cabinet that was the right height and depth. They aren't overly wide, either.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Cousin couldn't make it last night. I had thought about extending the legs (1.5" wide, paneled sides have separate legs from the front and the front overlaps them, so grain is on face of front *and* sides, not that sides would show but I don't want to mangle the piece). It was painted once and (sort of) stripped and refinished, I was going to refinish it again but stain since I have no painted woodwork or furniture in the whole house. Also missing original hardware, that's why I don't mind modifying the piece. If Joe can cut the pieces (incl continuing the taper on the front legs without getting too small at the bottom), I can dowel and glue and stain them. But I don't know if adding 3" to the legs is going to throw the proportions off.

jamies - wow, you must be tall! My great-great-grandpa's Victrola (intact but missing key) has casters, with the casters it's 43" tall!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 5:18PM
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jamies -- Thanks for the tip. I always thought of victrola cabinets as tall and skinny, but I did a google image search and saw some that would work. There were even a few that had been purposefulness as bathroom vanities. I'm already using a 1940's mahogany tv cabinet as a base for my tv and a sheet music cabinet as a bar, so why not?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:14PM
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You could put a small sink in a sheet music cabinet - my mom gave hers to my aunt, she uses it as a reception desk in her home-based hair salon.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:00PM
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