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While we were planning our powder room transformation, we started searching for a vanity to replace our builder-grade pedestal sink. Our search came up short.
Most of the vanities we liked were either not the right size or they were crazy expensive. In fact, the vanity that inspired a lot of our design was over $1,100! We’re trying to create a dream home on a budget, so we were looking to spend half of that for the entire bathroom makeover.
The ONLY tools you need to DIY
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DIYing our bathroom vanity gave us the freedom to create a design we loved, that was exactly the size we wanted. To top it off, we got to pick the perfect color.
We debated for weeks on whether to paint it black like our beadboard or throw in a classy deep green. In the end, we decided on Jasper SW 6216 and man are we happy with that decision. We love the way it looks against the gold hardware and dark wood countertop.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
What You’ll Need
- (7) 2x2x3 Poplar boards
- (5) 1x2x8 Poplar boards
- (2) 1/2x2x4 Poplar boards
- (2) 1/2x4x4 Poplar boards
- (1) 5/8″ square dowel
- (1) – 4×8 3/4″ plywood (we used a sanded pine panel)
- Wood putty or spackling (if you are painting, you can use spackling instead of wood putty)
- Paintable caulk
- 1.25″ Kreg screws
- 1.5″ Kreg screws
- wood glue
- 80-220 grit sandpaper
- 220 grit sanding block
- Inset door hinges
- Hardware for drawers
- Paint or stain (we used Jasper SW 6216)
How to build your own bathroom vanity
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Step 1: Cuts
We recommend making cuts as you go through the project rather than cutting them all upfront. This way you can double-measure as you go along. The measurements provided are what we used, but you might find that yours will vary by a fraction of an inch.
Sanding along the way is also helpful. We like to knock the majority of the sanding out before assembly and then we sand any joints after assembly.
The final dimensions of our vanity were 28.5 x 16.25 x 33″. Though you are welcome to adjust the dimensions to fit your space (yay for DIY!), we would not recommend going much (if any) over on the width if you want to keep a single door. The door hardware cannot support a much longer board. Ours was already pushing the limits.
Great news! We created a PDF version of these plans that includes 3D renderings. Never second-guess where a pocket hole goes again and get the free plans here.
Step 2: Make the bottom
Drill pocket holes on either side of the bottom of the 1×2 slats. Drill pocket holes on each side of each of the 4 bottom rails. These will attach to the legs.
Assemble your bottom slats. First mock up your spacing with all of your 1x2s, remembering to keep room on either side for the 2×2 side rails that we will attach to the legs later.
For our spacing, we used a 1/2″ board to get the spacing between each slat. On either side, we have approximately a 1″ gap. We just found that it was easier to do the spacing this way since we had a 1/2″ piece of wood, but you can also create your own jig to get the same spacing on the sides and in between each board.
step 3: Make your cabinet doors
Make your “drawers” using pocket holes and glue. These will look like drawers, but it will actually operate as a cabinet door. This will maximize storage in the vanity. For full instructions on how to create the “drawers”, read this post.
Once you create two “drawers,” we need to attach them together. We added a 1×2 between the drawers that will look like part of the vanity face frame, but will connect the drawers to create a full cabinet door.
Since we want slight gaps between the drawers, add a thick line of caulk on either side of the 1×2 that will be in the middle of the drawers. Place the caulk on the back half of the top and bottom of the 1×2 rather than on the whole part. This will allow us to maintain a slight gap without being able to see the caulk from the front.
Once the caulk has dried for a few hours, attach your 1×2 to each drawer using pocket holes. The caulk should help maintain a gap while hiding the screw.
Step 4: Assemble the vanity front
To assemble the front of the vanity, place two legs face down on your workspace. Line a 1×2 up with the top of the legs. Use pocket holes and glue to secure the 1×2 to the legs.
Then place the drawer front underneath the top 1×2. Leave a slight gap all around the drawer so that the door will be able to open and close without sticking.
We aren’t attaching this just yet. We are just placing it for spacing.
With your drawers in place, put a 1×2 underneath the drawer. Secure it to the legs with glue and pocket holes.
Step 5:Make the sides and Assemble
Now that you know how tall the bottom 1×2 is from the top of the vanity, you can cut your plywood sides using a circular saw or table saw. The plywood sides should be the same measurement as the top of the legs down to the bottom of the 1×2 so that the vanity is level all-around.
Once you cut your side pieces, mark your 1/2×2″ trim boards and cut them to size. Glue your trim boards to the top and bottom of each plywood piece. Once you attach the sides to the legs, it will look like there is a frame all the way around. Let the glue dry.
Drill 6 pocket holes on the inside of each plywood piece. Glue and screw your plywood sides to the front frame. The trim boards that you glued onto the plywood should be flush with the legs.
Attach a 1×2 to the top and bottom of the back of the vanity, mimicking the spacing of the front. Now you have a vanity that should be able to stand on its own.
Step 6: cut and assemble the bottom
Cut your bottom out of plywood. You will need to use a jigsaw to cut around the legs.
Install the bottom of the cabinet using glue and pocket holes. You can use clamps around the bottom of the cabinet to keep the vanity bottom level and from falling through while you screw it in.
Please note that we installed the bottom rails of the vanity before adding the bottom of the cabinet, so that is reflected in the picture. We recommend installing the cabinet bottom first for easier access.
Step 7: Attach the bottom rails
Attach the bottom rails to the legs using glue and pocket holes. We use our Kreg Multi-Mark tool to get a consistent measurement from the bottom of the leg to the bottom of the rails. We used 4.5″ as our measurement.
Step 8: Finishing touches
Now we are going to add a few boards to prevent the door from swinging in. Glue a 1×2 about 1/2″ off-center to the back of the top 1×2 on the front frame. Then glue the square dowel to the leg on the inside of the face frame so that it sits in line with the 1×2 that you glued to the top.
Measure and cut a piece that will brace each corner of the top of the vanity. There will be used to attach the countertop to later. Secure them with glue and pocket holes.
Step 9: Prep for stain or paint
If you are staining, make sure to use wood putty and forgo the caulk. If you are painting, you can fill any holes and gaps with wood putty or spackling. Then you can caulk any corners where two boards meet. This will give your vanity a more professional look by making all seams almost disappear.
Step 10: Hardware
Drill for your hinges for your cabinet door. We used the Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig to make this a breeze. Perfect measurements every time! Then drill the inside of your cabinet for your cabinet hardware.
Drill your holes for your hardware that will be on the drawers. We like to do this before painting in case we make a mistake and need to patch a hole or two up.
Step 11: Sand
Sand your vanity using a 220 or 320 sanding block. Make sure to remove all of the excess wood putty or spackling.
Step 12: Prime and paint
If you are painting your vanity, I’d recommend a quick prime. Since we painted our vanity such a dark color, we primed using Krylon Colormaxx in Gray. We used 2 cans of spray paint to prime our vanity.
Step 13: Add your countertop
Now it’s time to add your countertop! Follow the instruction on your countertop. If you are installing a wood countertop like we did, we screwed the countertop into the corner braces and secured with glue.
We opted to not add a back to our vanity for ease of getting to the plumbing. Plus, the vanity covers up our painted marble wall, so it’s a nice surprise to see some extra marble when we open it up.
Note: based on where your plumbing falls, you might run into an issue where you p trap doesn’t fit inside the vanity cabinet. To remedy this, you’ll have to take a jigsaw and cut out a hole for your plumbing.
There you have it! Now you know how to build a bathroom vanity! If you want to see how we made the herringbone wood countertop, you can find it here!
As always, we would LOVE to see your photos. Send us (or tag us in) a picture of your vanity on Instagram and feel free to reach out with any questions!