Comfort height or regular for bathroom vanities?

threeapplesSeptember 10, 2011

Our cabinet designer is suggesting we not use comfort height for the vanities, which is a little higher by a few inches. In addition, he's suggesting we do slightly lower than normal for our kids bathroom vanities. Our kids are both toddlers, but will obviously grow and I worry the lower height is not the best idea. In general, what is the best counter height for bathrooms and kitchens for adults? thanks so much!

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I think that's personal and depends on your preferences and your height. We're a tall family and I HATED our old 33" vanity. I felt like I was bending to my knees to wash my face. When we did an addition/remodel we made all the new cabinets (kitchen and 4 baths) 39" high. This is better for all of us. Our kids were 9 and 11 at the time and even then they loved the high counters in their bathrooms. (Now 12 and 14, they're 5'10" and 5'11" so not your average height.) FWIW, my 5'2" aunt loves my high kitchen counters, and my kids' shorter friends have no trouble using the sink in our powder room, even though it's a vessel sink on top of a 39" counter.

Trying mocking up a counter at a few heights by stacking boxes, and see what feels good for you. Bend over like you're washing your face, and have your kids pretend to wash their hands.

Your kids will grow fast! And while they're little you can use step stools. Someone posted pics of their beautiful new home that had step stools built into the bottom drawers of the kids' bath. Very clever; wish I could remember who that was.

We also have comfort height toilets. I like them. Especially on days after a long run when I'm feeling creaky...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 10:12PM
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I definitely would not do lower for the toddlers. They grow so quick! Buy a step stool instead ;). A bathroom vanity for a child should be a 20 year deal I think - I certainly wouldn't want to spend money in 2 years to redo it! I think the taller vanities can look sort of funny sometimes if the vanity is short. . . . my parents did them at the beach and there is one bath which is tiny and a small vanity and it is pretty goofy looking - plus my super tall 6 year old couldn't reach the faucet.

I haven't measured our vanities in this house but my husband is 6' 3" and has never complained about using a traditional height vanity. I think the proportions can be sort of off sometimes with the higher vanities or cabinets. . . I have a friend who is almost 6' and her husband is taller and all of their vanities and kitchen cabinets are tall - looks strange to me and I am not super short ( 5'7"). . . Meeting with the builder and cabinet guy tomorrow so we will have this discussion and I will let you know!

Ditto about the comfort height toilets though - we are doing them everywhere and they are in all baths at my parents beach house - no problems for even the 6 year old and much better for everyone . . .

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 10:29PM
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Does it perhaps cost more to have non standard heights for vanities from your designer? Hmmm... I'd do a standard 36" for all adult vanities and a standard 32" for the baths that the kids will use. Or even a 36" there with stools. I wouldn't start getting into custom anything if it were extra cost. Extras add up.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:09AM
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Can you even find 32 inch cabs anymore? We have 36 in our toddlers room - there was a discussion but we went with the taller.

Is your cabinet designer short? The 32 in only made sense when there was 1 bath in the house and everyone used it. The stools got annoying in this common bath - that is my guess.

I'd personally consider finding another cabinet designer if it were me. The whole idea I find quite surprising since comfort height was standard in masters when I built in 2000. Now it is standard in all baths.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 6:19AM
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David, well, yes. Maybe your reaction is based on your specific area (or were you thinking about kitchen cabinets?)..... but 32" are standard for *bathroom* cabinets in my part of the world (even with custom cabinetry.)

My guest bathroom countertop is 33", my master is 37.5". The master height was an upgrade/additional cost. Thus, we only did it in the bathroom that gets used daily.

I think whether you should do it depends on how much the extra cost is... The higher counter is certainly more convenient, even at my not-that-tall height (5'5".) I would definitely stick with stools for the kids, though..... Don't make a 32"+- cabinet shorter! :)

In a kitchen, the height will get weird if there are upper cabinets too close, if you can't find stools the right height for kitchen seating, etc. Things would need to be custom designed with the higher kitchen counter in mind (height of cabinets made smaller.)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:15PM
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We went with the higher "comfort height" vanities in our new build for all the baths with undermount sinks--even the 6yr old's bath. They were not an upcharge with our cabinet supplier. We opted for the standard height vanity in the powder room because of the added height of the vessel sink. We figured the shorter height would result in fewer opportunities for chipping/damaging the sink. One thing to note on the higher vanities--if the toilet will be in close proximity, I would definitely go with a comfort height toilet with a tall style tank or the scale and proportion will look decidedly "off". That was the one 'oops!' we made when we redid my inlaw's bath a couple years ago. (DH & I aren't tall--5'4" for me & 5'8" for him "on a good day" as DH likes to say. DS1 however is 6'0" & still growing and DS2 is 4'0" and growing like a weed.)

Mom & Dad did all comfort height vanities in their house 5 years ago except for the upstairs common bath and I have heard Mom say on more than one occasion that the vanity feels low and she would've made that one comfort height too if she had it to do over again. (Mom is 5'4" tall.) From my experience at Mom's if you go with comfort height and you're around my & mom's height, do not use an overly deep sink as they tend to be a little harder/less comfortable to use. Mom used Kohler Devonshire undermount in the guestroom bath (overly deep) vs. Kohler Leighton undermount (pretty standard depth)& Kohler Bancroft undermount(pretty standard depth) in the other comfort height baths.

It really does come down to personal preference. I would sit down and discuss it between yourselves and make a list of the pros and cons and go from there.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:06AM
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Well - I'll go with regional. I haven't seen a new house with 32 inch bathroom cabs for a decade - but I don't go looking at bargain basic spec houses. I think you have to be under 5 feet tall to want them. Although I knew someone who was just under 5 feet and she preferred comfort height.

I don't know if you can count height the same with a vessel sink - we have one and I am pretty sure the top is at 32 inches - then it isn't an issue.

When I was doing a bathroom renovation, I used Ikea cabs and bumped my vanity up an extra inch. I would have gone more but I was thinking resale at the time.

I was half kidding on the availability but a few years ago I heard that some cabinet manufacturers were cutting their 32 inch lines. So I thought that by now they had stopped making them - I really wouldn't be surprised if the choices were less.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 5:19AM
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When we remodeled our master bath 4 years ago we decided to use kitchen cabinetry, both for the extra height and extra depth. (We placed two tall, shallow cabinets on top of the counter for extra storage in our very small bath.) We mounted the cabinetry on a framework of 2"x4"s for a little extra height and topped it all off with a 1 1/2" thick granite countertop (under mount sink) for a grand total of 37 1/2" - we love it! (Hubby is 6'7" and I'm 5'7".)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 5:06PM
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I actually prefer vanities to be a little lower.

It is not like you will be doing chopping, mixing, and cooking tasks on them.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 5:14PM
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