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14 bathroom vanity ideas that are as practical as they are pretty

Photographed by Nicole Franzen and interior design by Thomas Melhorn Architecture & Construction. From a Florida home embracing the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi

Vanities—the catch-all term that encompasses the sink, bench and cabinetry—are arguably the most practical part of a bathroom. They’re a place for storage, an area for primping and preening, and, more often than not, the bathroom’s focal point.

Given the utility of the vanity space, it typically has to fulfill a certain checklist. It must have enough bench space for various bottles, tubes, and other odds and ends, a mirror big enough to accommodate two (or more) reflections, and bonus points for hidden storage. Such a list of requirements means vanities tend to fall into the ‘practical over pretty’ category. But that needn’t be the case. Vanities can, and should, be both beautiful and clever.

If you need more proof, read on to discover 14 vanity ideas for your bathroom. From the small to the spacious, you’re bound to find inspiration in these beautiful bathrooms.

Photographed by Felix Forest, interior design by Decus Interiors. From a quintessentially Australian North Bondi home


Bathroom vanities don’t have to include a big bench. In fact, in a powder room or ensuite, a free-standing vanity, like the one pictured, is the most economical use of space. For small areas, keep the unit narrow and maximise storage space by adding drawers and shelves in the cabinet beneath the sink. Leaving a bit of room on either side of the vanity will also create the illusion of more space, so don’t feel like your vanity needs to take up an entire wall.

Photographed by Douglas Friedman, architecture by RIOS. From a light-filled Californian family home designed for entertaining

Take two

Avoid the delicate dance of sharing a vanity—and bench space—and just get two! Although very few bathrooms are often big enough for two separate vanities on either side of the bathroom, like the one pictured, it’s a no-brainer if space will allow it. What could be better—and would streamline the morning routine more—than not having to share the vanity with a significant other?

Photographed by Dave Wheeler, styled by Jack Milenkovic. From a Bondi Beach apartment made over in sun-bleached simplicity

Forget the bench

Perhaps it won’t be the best place to apply a face of makeup, but a vanity without bench space has plenty of benefits. Not only does it maximise the amount of extra space in the bathroom, but it also frees up a wall to turn into a feature. In the project above, a statement stone on the floor and wall turns what might normally be something ordinary into a focal point. As for extra storage space, the medicine cabinet is your best bet.

Photographed by Taran Wilkhu and interior architecture by Edo Mapelli Mozzi. From inside the home designed by Princess Beatrice’s fiancé, Edo Mapelli Mozzi


Make a statement with a free-floating vanity. Whether you opt for a solid block of marble or a smaller stone slab, a floating vanity is a gravity-defying way of adding interest to the bathroom’s centre. Although floating vanities are not uncommon, they can be made even more striking depending on the material used and the size of the vanity. For a bigger space, opt for a long floating bench for maximum impact.

Photographed by Anson Smart, interior design by Flack Studio. From a 1990s-era Melbourne home with a rock and roll kitchen and bathroom refresh

Suspended stone

A stone sink is always striking, but a stone sink suspended? Now that is a vanity guests won’t soon forget. A large block of stone makes for a luxurious sink, while a matching stone block beneath it continues the theme for an even more dynamic vanity design. If you’re inclined to go bold, select a stone with some colour to it that contrasts the other materials you’ve used in the space. Who said vanities were only practical?

Photographed by Nin Solis, Emanuel Velasquez, Diego Padilla Magallanes, Ivan Esqueda and Gala Sánchez-Renero, architectural design by Ivan Esqueda Martínez. From an architect and interior designer build their dream holiday home on the Mexican coast

Below deck

If a cluttered vanity top is not up your alley (is it really up anyone’s?), go for storage underneath. A simple stone slab can serve as a sleek vanity bench while space below can be kept for excess storage. If you want to maintain clean lines in your bathroom, refrain from adding cabinet doors to your storage, instead opting for open shelving. Bear in mind though, keeping it tidy is essential.

Photographed by Anson Smart and interior design by Flack Studio. From The spotlight is on stone in Flack Studio’s latest Melbourne project

Mirror image

If you’ve ever attempted to get ready at the same time as a partner or housemate using the same vanity, you’ll certainly understand the value in having not one but two of them in your bathroom. Play with symmetry in your bathroom with two identical vanities opposite one another—it requires a little more space and may seem indulgent, but a double sink can be easily justified as a means of maintaining harmony in a shared bathroom.

​​Photographed by Anson Smart, ​​interior design by Darren Brown. From the restored Californian home once owned by a US President


When it comes to vanities, there’s bold, then there’s sheer wow factor. If you’re after the latter, allow us to point you in the direction of a striking marble in a statement-making hue for the ultimate in bathroom vanity opulence. If you’re opting for a wow-factor vanity, you might like to keep the rest of the bathroom more restrained with muted floor and wall tiles. Or, throw caution to the wind and go to town on luxurious fixtures, like the chandelier pictured.

Photographed by Anson Smart, interior design by Bates Smart. From a Sydney interior designer’s chic 1920s apartment

Secret storage

If you find yourself pushed for storage space in your bathroom, look to the vanity. While storage is often hidden behind mirrors and in vanity cabinets, consider under-vanity storage an additional spot to hide lotions and potions. For a chic take on visible storage, go for a vessel with the right dimensions to fit snugly beneath your vanity whilst fitting with the décor of the rest of the bathroom.

Photographed by Stephan Julliard from a Right Bank Parisian apartment making a case for vivid green accents

Sleek and small

A small bathroom doesn’t mean there’s only room for a sink. In fact, vanities are particularly important in small bathrooms as they will likely take up a good chunk of space, so it pays to make them worthwhile. If your bathroom is narrow, a long mirror helps to elongate the space, while vanities taken all the way to the floor offer room for extra storage. A frosted light fixture, like the sconces pictured, adds warmth.

Photographed by Derek Swalwell, interior design by Kennedy Nolan. From a Melbourne home’s retro appeal is celebrated by Kennedy Nolan

Wall to wall

If you’re blessed with plenty of space in your bathroom, make the vanity a major feature by taking it from one bathroom wall to the other. A long bench teamed with a wide mirror stretching the bench’s length will not only make the morning ordeal a little more streamlined (especially if there are children involved) but it also opens up the centre of the bathroom, making the whole space feel open.

Photographed by Martin Morrell and interior architecture by Vincenzo de Cotiis. From an 18th century Tuscan villa transformed by a design icon

Major mirror

The ducking and weaving for mirror space in a shared bathroom is less than ideal. One way to mitigate those problems? A big, bold, statement-making mirror. A major mirror is not only a clever practical choice in a shared bathroom but it also draws attention, which is excellent in a bathroom with a smaller vanity or shower space. Plus, a large mirror reflects more of the space, making everything look and feel bigger. It’s a win-win-win.

Photographed by Jean-François Gaté, interior design by Studio Asaï, froman eclectic Parisian unit with a contemporary twist on the modern kitchen

Marble masterpiece

If your associations with marble in a bathroom go as far as floor tiles, allow us to point you towards a marble vanity. An entire vanity composed of marble is nothing short of spectacular. Eye-catching and bold, it’s not a minimalist move by any stretch, but paired with dark walls and moody lighting, it makes a dramatic bathroom design choice that will certainly elicit plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’.

Photographed by Anson Smart, interior design by Flack Studio, froma Federation-era Melbourne home revamped with colourful abandon

Sculptural sink

Who said vanities can’t be fun? Swap out a straight-edged vanity for a playful take on the classic, like the curved sink pictured. A sculptural vanity is not only a subversion of expectations, but it serves as a practical feature that gives a bathroom unmistakable character. Want more pizazz? Go for a sculptural vanity in a colour—you can keep it subdued with a pastel hue or make a statement with a poppy tone. Either way, a sculptural vanity is a design element that will instantly elevate the space.

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