We underestimate the importance of our bathroom vanities, when not only do they play a huge part in safe-keeping our toothpaste, hair ties, and all the rest, but they can actually be a hugely defining element of a bathroom.
So if you're remodeling a bathroom entirely or simply want to refresh a couple of key features in your space, it's a good piece of furniture to put your design energy into. Buying a new vanity can be pretty pricey and for traditional spaces we really love bathroom vanity ideas with a little more vintage appeal.
When Dana Dore of @adoredhouse (opens in new tab) decided that her bathroom needed a refresh, she had a bougie traditional look in mind. To help salvage some of her budget for the rest of the work and add more personality to the space in the process, she got a little creative with her approach and came up with a unique DIY project to pull it together.
The bathroom space before:
Lemon yellow walls aren't a look anyway, however, the tired-looking vanity was not doing this pretty spacious bathroom design any justice either so it was time for a change.
To makeover this dated space and turn it into a more luxurious yet traditional bathroom that would carry itself for years to come, Dore remodeled the space with beadboard and chrome shower finishes, but added her own stamp also with more bespoke and custom-made touches to the vanity area, saving her over $1000, easing bathroom remodel costs.
Dore says she was mostly inspired by the bathrooms you can see in home designs by architect Gil Schafer (opens in new tab).
'He has a way of building so much traditional character into a space by incorporating custom furnishing and built-in details.' Says Dore.
'I wanted that same custom look, but at the time I started the bathroom renovation the cost of lumber had soared! The lumber to make a vanity from scratch would have been well over $500, and that did not even include the marble top. I could have bought a vanity that closely fit the look I wanted, but it was still over $800 and not exactly the dimensions I needed.'
What Dore had in mind would have been beyond budget – a similar piece from Birch Lane (opens in new tab) for example can cost well over $1,000 – so she looked to Facebook Marketplace (opens in new tab) to source materials and do the DIY herself.
'I turned to Facebook Marketplace to see if I could find a secondhand vanity. I did not find anything close to the look I wanted, but I did find a beautiful marble top that was the perfect size and in brand new condition. I picked it up for $200, and then started brainstorming a base for it.' Says Dore.
Custom making the vanity base
'I studied my inspiration photos and realized that the structure was essentially a table with a built-in shelf, so I jumped back onto Facebook Marketplace and found a solid wood table with all of the right lines for $50. With a little bit of carpentry, I was able to rework the old kitchen table into the perfect custom vanity base.'
Dore shows how painting furniture in the same color as the walls can enhance a space further and this cream finish makes the bathroom feel lofty and elegant, pairing well with the marble, she used Sherwin Williams Emerald Paint in Semi Gloss, in Ionic Ivory (opens in new tab). Of course, you can use another paint for furniture in the color of your choice.
Otherwise, the edits were fairly simple and easy to copy should you find a similar piece to work with. Dore shared how the only additions made to the table to transform it into a vanity itself were:
- 3/4” pine board
- 1 1/2” lattice trim
- 3” pine cubes for the shelf
- The marble top from Facebook Marketplace
- The vanity fixtures: from Jaclo Industries. (Roaring 20’s collection) available at Plumbtile (opens in new tab)
Styling with vintage touches
Dore styled the vanity, finishing off her trad bathroom look, with more thrifted goods. The wicker baskets make great bathroom storage also.
She adds then 'The finishing touch for the sink area was the vintage medicine cabinet which I found for $25 on Marketplace. I installed it flush into the beadboard wall, and it looks like it has been there for 100 years!' Then, the marble backsplash Dore had made from a remnant at a local fabricator for $100. A worthwhile splurge in our eyes.
With the vanity as a totally custom-made piece that comes in at $325 – a fraction of the cost if bought new – Dore's fresh bathroom was brought to life on a budget and adds so much design interest to her home also. Plus, any off the shelf find wouldn't have such a unique story behind it!
Project costs: $325
- Table for vanity: $50
- Marble vanity top: $200
- Vintage medicine cabinet: $25
- Vintage basket: $50 (for under the sink)
Proving that you can bring the most stunning upcycled bathroom vanity ideas to life if you think outside the box...