best use of space under vanity sink??

jrueterApril 10, 2013

I love the look of a furniture styled vanity, and will probably have something custom made for the non-standard sized space I have. Since I am going the custom route, I am going to take advantage of the opportunity to get something really functional and beautiful. It seems to me that putting short cabinet doors immediately below the counter, with drawers below might make better use of space than the traditional false front below the countertop with doors below that. I could use the tall, odd shaped area around the sink for cleaning supplies, tall toiletries, etc and the drawer can be organized much more efficiently for the smaller items. I found in our kitchen reno (thanks again to GW folks) drawers are much more useful than cabinets for lots of stuff.

The problem is I haven't seen many examples of this and have started to wonder if there is a reason I am overlooking why this configuration isn't more popular (yes, I am quite possibly overthinking the whole thing already!)

Does anyone have a similar configuration? Does it work for you? I would love to hear your thoughts - and see your pics if you have any :)

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Arghhh...had just typed a message and when typing in a title for the pic, hit the wrong key, and it all disappeared! Too bad, cuz I had also come up with a cure for world hunger,,,but it's all gone now!

Anyhow, your idea of a perfect vanity IS becoming more and more popular. Check on Houzz for hundreds if not thousands of examples! Even the major online vanity dealers have me I know...I've seen all of them!

We had one custom made for our basement BR, drawers right under the counter, and doors under the sink as narrow as possible, had to search for a small sink...can't remember now why we didn't go with a drawer under short doors (probably plumbing issues), but we do have a full extension drawer behind the doors. It is actually a happy accident, cuz now I can store huge Costco refill size bottles of shampoo, etc under there on the outer edge of the drawer...wouldn't have been able to do that with a short drawer... Since I have 6 drawers already...I like it better this way.

We are having an all drawer 40" vanity custom made for the Master bath. DH is going to arrange the plumbing to take up as little space as possible. It will be kitchen height and depth, gaining more valuable inches. Top drawer, and maybe second will have cut outs to accommodate sink and plumbing. I measured what I plan to store in there and am having the top drawer 8", second 9 1/4, third 12 3/4. Keeping in mind the inner space is not that deep with slides and drawer bottoms.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:47PM
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You are over thinking this in my opinion. While that drawer is neat and makes access easy it's kinda a net zero.

All that open space under the drawer is valet parking for dust bunnies and their dates. + , you've given up another 4-6" of storage before the toekick would start on a trad. vanity.

Is this the end of the world - Nope ! In a a bath large enough to one really doesn't NEED xtra storage space though it is nice. It's a great look.

I will say one thing about that design's shortcomings. Where are you going to store your hairbrush/comb ? Toothbrush ? Deodorant ? Q-tips ?

If you are not into that stuff on the countertop, then accessing it from behind those doors or that low drawer would drive me batty.

If you really want to maximize space then you need to get over having a "small " sink. Most people go for really wide ovals that take up lots of width and kill drawer space adjacent to them. Those drop in models in the pic also take away drawer space by another 1 -2 inches.

Function really should lead in the average sized bath, though I understand form is a lot more fun when writing a big check.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:13PM
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I don't agree it's a net zero. My vanity (not custom) has great use of space with six drawers and two doored compartments.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:16PM
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Kevin - yours isn't nearly as same as the first pic !

You have 4 drawers in the middle and your vanity storage goes to within 4" of the floor like typical . Two small drawers approx. waist ht. makes a huge difference.

It's the turned legs and open space underneath that robs the storage , not a furniture base toekick and a drawer below the sink .

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:54PM
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I just finished an exhaustive online search for a vanity. It had to be 24 inches, not look like a regular kitchen cabinet plunked down in the bathroom, have either a shelf inside or functional drawer, easy to clean, and reasonable feet. And no open shelf!

They are out there, just not too many right now. But many more options for slightly larger sizes. And a lot of options like the one you posted.

Our upstairs vanity is awesome. It's 48 inches with one sink. Two narrow ish but deep drawers on each side of the cabinet door under the sink. It holds a ton of stuff. I did add a shelf in the cabinet too.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:06PM
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I didn't realize you were committed look (and to the wasted storage space) that comes with that style of leg; I just thought you wanted furniture style. I think it's asking a lot to get a lot of storage out of something where the storage starts 15-18" off of the floor. And the problem with putting a drawer under the sink at waist height isn't the sides or the front, it's the back. The drawer would not only need a u-shaped cut out for the trap, etc., it would need to have a low enough back to clear the underside of the sink so that it could even pull open.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:06PM
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I really appreciate the detailed pictures of your vanity storage, Kevin. Thanks for sharing! Is it a 60" or 72" vanity? And where did you find it? I will be needing to replace my master bathroom vanity some day in the (hopefully near) future and I really like your configuration. I only have about 60-62" so it's been difficult finding one that I like.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Thank you everyone for the feedback!

Raehelen - Thanks for the tips and you are right - now that I am really looking for this more I am seeing it over and over. Good luck with your new bath!

Xedos - sorry if you got the impression that the picture showed exactly what I want. While I do love the turned legs, I was thinking of making them shorter (still an issue for dustbunnies and their friends, I know. A price I am willing to pay but realize why some might not be) I also will have room in my bath for a stack of drawers to hold the daily use items you mentioned. The lower drawer would hold less often used items so frequent access is less of an issue.

I appreciate the comments on the sink - exactly the feedback I am looking for. I am contemplating different sink options and realized we don't often do much that requires a big/deep sink in the bathroom and this could be a place to snag a little more storage space while getting the look I like. Yes, form over function always, but why would I settle for one, if I can have it all?? :)

KevinMP - yes, your vanity was the one that originally made me look for drawers under cabinets! Thank you so much for posting the pics of your cabinets and drawers open and filled. I know everyone sees the furniture legs and sees "wasted space" but when I look at the picture of your open cabinet I see a similar amount of "wasted space" above your cleaning supplies. I just want to move that space into the open :) And I totally agree that trying to engineer a drawer around a sink really chews into the space available which is why I like the idea of the cabinet starting below the counter.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Taller legs make it easier to clean underneath, so I actually fear the dust bunny problem more with short legs and open furniture toekicks. I have short legs in my powder room now and an armoire in my living room that are tough to get underneath (doable -- just have to get out the hand vac and wand, but you can't see what you are reaching), I haven't decided which approach to take in out bathroom. The planning has been sidetracked by my having to plan for surgery instead (not happy), so I still have some time to think about it.

If doing custom or able to customize, I do like the idea of a black fake back to limit the scope of the dust bunny territory. Was it Kevin who mentioned that? Great idea.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:23PM
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we have cabinets like kevin's for the sink cabs... very worth having an inverted cabinet and not having that 'fake' drawer under the sink!!! had our bathroom done 2 1/2 yrs ago, but found that one of the cabinet co i was looking at wouldn't even offer this... (we didn't go custom- only 'semi' custom...)

i think even if you go with the legs on the cab, a drawer underneath the doors would be worthwhile... as long as the 'doored' area under the sink was tall enough for bottles of cleaning products, shampoo, etc... undersink space can be alot of wasted space!!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:45PM
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