Bathroom Vanity Overview

A square white porcelain bathroom sink.
  • 1-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-2,500

A vanity is an important part of your bathroom. It’s where you brush your teeth every morning, where you get ready for work or that big night out, and it's where you store all of your most-used toiletries and cosmetics. With that being said, choosing the right one for your lifestyle is a big decision! To help you decipher the right type of vanity and sink for your bathroom, we’ve put together a guide to the different options, including the pros and cons of each.


Otherwise known as a self-rimming sink or surface-mounted sink, this variety is typically installed in a vanity countertop. Drop-in sinks are a versatile style common in both older and newer construction alike. One pro to this type of sink is that it can be installed into virtually any type of countertop, including stone and ceramic tile. The lip around this sink is oversized, allowing it to be “dropped in” to the countertop (hence its name).

The installation process is pretty simple. Depending on the material of the sink, it’ll either be held into the space by its own weight or via a clamping system that secures the sink from underneath. These sinks are economically friendly and an all-around great choice. The one con to note about drop-in sinks is that they can be a bit difficult to clean, particularly at the seam between the sink and the countertop.


A bathroom sink with teal walls and white fixtures.

The most basic type of vanity doesn’t display itself as much of one at all. It's more of a simple sink—on a pedestal, as the name suggests. It's also commonly called a freestanding sink. The upside of this option is that it takes up very little space, making it perfect for an especially small bathroom or half-bath powder room. Because of its simple design, it works well if you like a clean, minimal aesthetic. A pedestal sink is an economical and low-cost option because it doesn't have a lot of substance to its construction. The downside to this variety, however, is that it doesn’t offer any storage space under the sink and it doesn't have much surface area for your use when getting ready for the day.


A freestanding vanity is similar to a cabinet vanity, but they’re a bit easier to install. Rather than being built into your bathroom, this option stands on its own. However, it must still be attached to the wall in some way since the pipes need to be set up properly to maintain the water supply. This type of vanity is conducive to a more modern look, and it’s perfect for a smaller bathroom as the space between the bottom of the piece and the floor allows the room to feel more open. This is also a more costly option than some other sink and vanity varieties.


A pair of vessel sinks in a bathroom.

This is a trendy option new to the vanity scene. Vessel sink vanities allow the sink to sit atop a counter, which is fastened to a floor-mounted base. This base is likely to include cabinets underneath the sink, which is great for providing storage space. The exciting thing about this type of vanity is that you can choose any “vessel” that best matches your tastes, from a granite bowl to something porcelain. One downside to this type of vanity is that vessel sinks require a non-standard faucet, which could make for a pricier installation.


A cabinet-style vanity is highly desirable as it has a pleasing aesthetic, is versatile, and boasts valuable storage space. This type of vanity supports most types of bathroom sinks and can be adjusted to fit different budgets, as they’re completely customizable. Choose top-of-the-line cabinetry and a marble countertop or perhaps something more modest—it’s up to you!

One indisputable benefit of this style is that the cabinetry conceals the drain waste pipes and water supply pipes, sparing you from having to see them in your bathroom. These vanities are typically built into your bathroom so that they’re connected to the wall, meaning you will require less flooring for your bathroom, as the space underneath a mounted vanity won’t require tiling or finishing. One downside is that they tend to be pricier than the simpler options, such as a pedestal or wall-mounted sink.

Floating Vanity

A bathroom with a freestanding sink.

This type of bathroom vanity is also simple and tidy like the pedestal option, making it another great one to consider for small spaces. But instead of sitting atop a pedestal, it's mounted directly to the wall. It’s another inexpensive way to outfit your bathroom, so that's something to consider.

There are a few cons to this type of vanity, as these sinks typically leave the hardware—such as the hanger brackets and supply lines—exposed, which isn't very aesthetically pleasing. And like pedestal sinks, many wall-mounted sinks don’t offer any storage space or working surface area.