DIY Bathroom Vanity

Ok…so I’m sitting here wondering how is it already Week 4 of the One Room Challenge!? This week flew by and I thought I wasn’t going to get my bathroom vanity finished in time to make this post! To say it was nail biting is an understatement! LOL

So our bathroom is on the smaller side for a master bathroom, and as a result, the longest our vanity could be was 48″ – which means only one sink because 2 would be too tight of a fit. I also decided that our old vanity (that was just a huge cabinet with 2 doors) wasn’t going to be ideal for us. Because our bathroom is smaller and the vanity is our only source of storage, I wanted all drawers…who knew that would end up being such an undertaking!! Oh yeah…anybody that’s every done drawers before!! <insert hysterical laughing emoji> Yep, that’s where I am with that right now! Ha!

With all drawers in my head, I went to SketchUp and modeled my idea. I won’t lie, despite the blood, sweat, and tears, I have no regrets. I’m loving the way the vanity is turning out!

The Bearded Fellow and I are tall people so I wanted our vanity to have some height to it. I ended up making it 34″ tall and once the countertop is on it, it’ll be perfect. I also didn’t want it to stick out very far – I wanted to maximize space – so I only made the vanity 20″ deep. He’s a lean lookin’ fella!

With my plans laid out, I started off by making the shell of the vanity. Once I had that built, I painted it and put it in place in the bathroom. I wanted to fit it in place before I started making the drawers to make sure my drawer dimensions were right. There’s nothing worse than making a drawer that’s 1/4″ too big and won’t fit! I’m glad I did that too! The trim on the front came off of the vanity 3/8″ (there’s a gap between the wall and the vanity because no house is ever square), which meant my drawers on that side would be a tad bit smaller than I originally planned.

How I Made It

I cut out all of my pieces for the vanity shell on the table saw and miter saw. Once I had everything cut out, I took my sides and middle piece and cut in a toe kick for the bottom. After the toe kick was cut out, I cut out the top middle pieces on the top – this is where the sink will rest when its in place. Once everything was cut out, I edge banded the fronts of everything that would be seen. This is something I didn’t have to do because the drawers are going to cover all of these edges, but it gives it a little something extra and makes it look complete.

I decided starting in the middle and working my way out would probably be the easiest and sturdiest way to build the shell. I started with the box that goes around the plumbing.

I marked all of the places I wanted to put pocket holes in and on the bottom of the plumbing box (that’s a good name for it right?), I marked where the middle was too and then measured out 3/8″ on each side of that middle line – this gave me a 3/4″ guide for my middle bottom piece (that piece I cut a toe kick in). Does that make sense? I feel like I said middle a lot in that (probably run on) sentence!!

With everything ready to go, I started assembly. I put the plumbing box together, attached the bottom to it (and that guide came in super handy!), and then worked my way out. I built one side off of the middle and then the other side.

Once assembled, I primed and painted it. Before doing all of that, I did dry fit it and make sure the plumbing would fit in the plumbing box. When we were dry fitting, it got stuck on the door molding and I didn’t realize it…almost had a mini panic attack thinking my calculations were off. Woo! But now its in place and looking so pretty painted blue…I’m in love!

With the shell built, it was time to move on to the nerve wracking task of building the drawer boxes. I cut all of my pieces down to size making sure to number the bottom of each piece with its measurement. This was very important!! These drawers are all different sizes so not numbering them would have meant added hours of extra measuring for me. Ain’t nobody got time for that!!! Once numbered, I Kreg jigged all of my front and back pieces and then routed out a groove in the bottom that would house the 1/4″ plywood bottoms. Now it was time for assembly, and guys…there was a lot of assembly!! I ended doing 8 drawers in all! Now you might be wondering “Amanda, in your SketchUp model there’s only 6 drawers”. Oh yes! There’s ONLY 6 drawers you can see…2 are hidden. Can you guess where?

I installed the drawer boxes with full extension drawer slides. I love those things – they make it so easy to get to everything you need in the back of the drawer. I will say they are expensive at the big box stores, but you can find some deals on Amazon if you want to buy in bulk. I bought a pack of 10 that were 18″ and even though I only needed 6, it was much cheaper than buying 6 at the store. I will say not all brands are created equal on Amazon…I’ve had to learn that the hard way, but you can find some good brands and its totally worth looking into.

With my drawer boxes in place, I measured again for the drawer faces. There’s a lot of measuring involved in this build! LOL I always end up measuring things 20-30 times it seems. I’m so paranoid that I’ll measure wrong, that I’m constantly measuring after each step to make sure my previous measurements were right.

I usually do drawer faces and doors tongue and groove joinery. I ripped all of my wood down to 2″ on the table saw. Instead of using 1/4″ plywood for the inside of the drawer faces, I used 1/2″ plywood so that they would be a little more stout. In order to make them fit, I rabbited out a 1/4″ inch joint so they would slide right into the groove of the 2″ wood. Once everything was ready to go, I glued them up and clamped them overnight to let the glue set.

Once the wood glue was cured, I took them out of the clamps, sanded the wood smooth and cleaned up all of the edges. I went back and forth on whether or not I should dry fit the faces to make sure everything looked square. I decided I would…if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t dry fit them. Once I painted them and put them back in place, I had to a few of the off and cut the sides at certain angles to even out the gaps between the drawers and make everything look square. So dry fitting was an extra step I didn’t need to take – I still had to go back and resand and repaint the sides I cut.

I’ve learned through trial and error that its really important to have your drawer boxes square. In a perfect world, they would turn out perfectly square every time, but its not so they won’t! Its ok though…I’m here to tell you that drawers are the devil! And even though while you’re fitting them, you hate them and yourself, they are the greatest thing ever. They are worth the cussing and frustration! I mean…I might just be telling myself that to bring myself some kind of comfort after fitting 8 drawers!!

These drawers all but killed me! There was a lot of trial and error involved in this build. Even though I tried my damndest to get the drawers and the vanity as square as possible, I spent hours once all of the drawers were installed trying to fix what apparently wasn’t square. I’m going to blame it on our 1980s house that is far from square! LOL If I had to do it over again, I’d still do all of the drawers because I know I’m going to LOVE THEM!

So did you figure out where the 2 hidden drawers are? Ok…no more suspense I swear. I wanted to utilize as much of the vanity as I could because this is the only form of storage we have in this bathroom so I decided to use the toe kick for storage too. I mean, it just sits there collecting cobwebs and never gets used…I might as well make drawers out of it right!

I have no idea what I’m going to store in it besides our scale, but I figure in 6 months they’re be full of something.

Want to know what I used to make this vanity?

  • 18″ drawer slides
  • 3/4″ baltic birch plywood (vanity frame)
  • 1/2″ baltic birch plywood (drawer boxes & middle of drawer faces)
  • 1.5″ poplar (trim)
  • 2″ poplar (drawer faces)
  • 10″ drawer pulls
  • Sherwin Williams 7602 Indigo Batik

If you want to see the entire process of this build – all of the ups and downs, check out my Insta highlights. It’ll be under “Bathroom Vanity”.

Also, don’t forget to check out all of the great work everybody else is doing on One Room Challenge‘s blog! Just like in previous weeks, there is some great stuff going on and some amazing transformations.

Don’t forget to follow along on this making journey with me on all the social medias!