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Some home décor articles have a more lasting impact than others. That ugly lampshade you bought on sale at Macy’s last year? Just throw it out. The dilapidated, smelly armchair in the guest room? Ditto. By contrast, bathroom vanities are a much greater commitment. They are more work to install and more expensive than the average piece of furniture, but unlike a nondescript toilet paper holder they have the ability to fundamentally shape the character of your bathroom. The right bath vanity can change your bathroom from a place that is merely useful to one that is beautiful and dramatically enhances your quality of living. Because a bathroom vanity can have such a profound impact on your home, when designing your home, it is essential to dedicate thoughtful consideration to your selection.

The Varieties of Vanities

How can you find the ideal bath vanity? First off, get educated. Since their first appearance in English homes in the reign of Queen Victoria, vanities have undergone a gradual evolution, getting ever more attractive and functional over time. Today, there are a variety of different styles to choose from, including:

Floating Vanities
The defining characteristic of the floating vanity is its mirrors and cabinets, which mount to the wall above the sink and therefore make no contact with the ground.

Water Vessel Vanities
Borrowing from classical design, these feature raised sinks that look like bowls sitting on top of the vanity.

Minimalist Vanities
There vanities are just the essentials—a sink and a cabinet and not much else. Perfect for those who prefer a less cluttered design or have a small space to work with.

Classic Wood Vanities
These traditional vanities never go out of style. These often incorporate old-school elaborate or intricate design elements while retaining the most up-to-date plumbing features.

Knowing your options is the best place to start, but don’t make the common mistake of simply picking a nice vanity without regard for the overarching design scheme of your home. Home design is all about fluidity and continuity, about allowing your home to make a clear statement. These ideals will never be achieved if rooms are a confused mash-up of different styles. When picking a vanity, ask yourself how it will fit into the larger picture; if everything else in your bathroom is from Ikea, the classic wood vanity is probably not the best choice. Make a conscientious choice, and let your bathroom vanity speak for itself.

Michael Salcido writes for He covers a range of topics centered around bathroom interior design and home improvement with a focus on the bathroom.