Kitchen vanities may not be the first, second, or third thing that comes to mind when you think about your kitchen and appliances, but they can be a central part of any kitchen and play a massive role in function and aesthetics. A couple of years ago, my wife and I lived in a small condo we rented. We had just come from a 3-bedroom house to this single-bedroom condo. During the first week of being there, we had so much stuff. I took a folding table and set a bunch of things outside in our little courtyard, and you might be asking, what does that have to do with a kitchen vanity?
Answer: A kitchen vanity is like any other piece of furniture, offering additional space and function. In the kitchen, this can mean cabinets and drawers. Some of them even have sinks! Some websites try to point out height or depth requirements, which technically can be an excellent way to distinguish, but this is unnecessary for most people’s purposes. A vanity is designed for what you need or what you can afford. There are no standards.
Another simple way to put it is a kitchen vanity is a piece of furniture that gives you a combination of cabinets, countertops, drawers, and sinks designed to provide storage and additional workspace in your kitchen. You may already have a kitchen vanity or two and not even realize it!
Kitchen vanities are not kitchen islands, but technically, kitchen islands can be kitchen vanities. While most vanities are detached pieces of furniture, they can also be built in. If you are thinking about expanding the work area or storage in your kitchen, keep reading, and I’ll give you some hints on choosing your next kitchen vanity.
Which Kitchen Vanity is Right for My Family
My wife and I got a tall vanity with two swinging doors on the top and 3 shelves inside. It was a vanity pantry, as we called it! Before we got this vanity pantry, we had another kitchen vanity we called “the drink station.” It housed our coffee maker, coffee grinder, tea maker, and kettle, and then we stored all the tea and coffee inside the drawers.
Something odd about the drink station is we had that well outside of our kitchen in the living room due to the small space of the condo we were living in at the time. When you pick your vanity, the most significant things you want to consider will likely be aesthetics and function. Often, when my wife chooses furniture, she thinks purely aesthetically, first asking herself if it will fit in the space with the current colors and look. Then, she will consider function.
This has worked out well for us because even though she pays close attention to the looks, the first function is also carefully considered. She often asks what I think after she has thought about it for some time, and I rarely find errors in her reasoning.
Questions that might help you decide which vanity is right for you include:
- Do I have enough space near my kitchen for a vanity?
- What is the primary purpose: storage, display, or both?
- Do I want a modern or traditional style?
- Do I have any color or material preferences?
- What kind of items will I be storing?
- What type of function do I need: countertop space, additional sink, or storage only?
- What is my budget?
I want to keep the last question about the budget for the previous step. As my wife and I have found recently, if you are patient and willing to look in unconventional places like Facebook Marketplace, you can find anything you need or want for any budget.
Different Types of Kitchen Vanities
Free-standing (island or smaller)
I feel like many people have these kinds of vanities in their kitchens. My grandmother always called it a buffet. Searching for this online, you can see a range of applications, including extra seating, countertop space, cabinets, and even ones that look like rolling Swiss army knives. Still, it’s a utility cabinet and countertops for your kitchen!
Pedestal or standalone sink
Sometimes, you don’t need an entire thing for storage and space. Sometimes, you need a separate sink. Some religions have two sinks in the home to keep things in line with their practices. Other reasons might include convenience or efficiency, especially with a large family. Another possibility is to have a small sink vanity for hand washing, allowing you to keep your main sink open for defrosting, prepping, and washing dishes.
We should all have a pretty good grasp on what cabinets are at this point, and a cabinet vanity is just like it sounds. More cabinets! You can easily add space to your kitchen, fill blank walls and stretches, and complete a look by adding a cabinet vanity!
Utility or Pantry Vanity
People think of different things when they hear the word pantry. For some, it is the place they keep the canned goods. For others, that is where all the snacks live! A utility or pantry vanity allows you to add this space to your kitchen if it already doesn’t come with one. Every kitchen needs a pantry, so you have a clear area to store all your dry store foodstuffs, but you can also have a utility pantry for storing large appliances and large pots and pans!
I had to add the fancy delineation so people would know I didn’t just mean a pedestal or standalone vanity. I mean, floating fancily! I’ve not seen one in real life yet, but I’ll take a picture if I do. Most of the time, you see these in magazines and movies, and they are vanities that are mounted to the wall but high enough off the ground to create a bunch of space, creating a fancy look and giving people with robot vacuums a clear area to clean under.
Some of the vanities I’ve talked about so far can be mobile. Any vanity that is easily moved or even has wheels on it can be considered portable. Do you need more counter space on the other side of the kitchen today? Great, you can roll your mobile vanity over there. You can even find mobile sink vanities containing a water tank for fresh water and another for wastewater. Most of these are in commercial settings and include electric water heaters and pumps to keep the water flowing. A hand washing station at a food truck or outdoor event would be great.
I’ll finish this article by highlighting a few other things you might consider when considering a kitchen vanity. I didn’t cover these items but thought about them while writing.
First, you have lighting. If you have a more fancy vanity and are adding it to your kitchen, you might need to consider your lighting situation, including how it will look when not used. These days, you can get LED strips very expensively and install them quickly with a battery that will last for years with light use. I imagine you might have a vanity with glass doors and want to see what is inside for display.
Second, power plugs, extensions, and piping. If you add a vanity with a sink, you must consider piping for the plumbing. Along the same lines, if you are looking for more countertop space, that might mean you want more room to run different appliances during the prep or storage of food and meals. In that case, you might want to make sure your new vanity has power plugs, or you have a plug nearby you can run an extension to, and you will want to think about how well that will play out long-term.
I hope this article helped you understand more about kitchen vanities and the potential they offer. If you think I missed something or have any questions, please comment. Once an admin approves the comment, someone will reply!