Should A Bathroom Vanity Be Against A Wall?

Bathroom vanity against a white wall of a modern bathroomRenovating a bathroom can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a homeowner. You turn an old space into something new. But you have so many questions. Like, should a bathroom vanity be against a wall?

Most people place their bathroom vanities against a wall. But occasionally, you may see a back-to-back island-style vanity. If you are replacing an old vanity, you will most likely want to install it in the same place.

As we dig deeper into this subject, we'll look at why the wall is the most common place for your vanity and the correct dimensions for installation.

Are Bathroom Vanities Always Installed Against A Wall?

In most cases, the bathroom vanity is installed against a wall. Because it is necessary to have plumbing to provide water to your sink and drainage for the used water, housing it against the wall allows for ease of installation. Most people always love to have a vanity mirror above their sinks and a wall is a handy place to hang the mirror.


This example is of a unique take on the double vanity. Rather than being side by side against a wall, they are configured in an island shape. The double mirrors are housed on a specially built frame for that purpose, and rough plumbing would come from beneath the vanity structure.

Another option than a normal exterior wall application is to back up your vanity to your stand up shower wall. That way the shower and the vanity can be rough plumbed at the same time. Obviously, that wall would not be glass.

Free Standing And Wall Mounted Vanities

There are many all-in-one vanity units available now that come as one easy to install unit. Because they are built with open backs, they need to go against a wall. This is a great example of a free-standing all-in-one vanity available today.

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Wallmounted, or floating, vanities also need to be against the wall. It's part of the design that a wall is available for the mounting work. The nice thing about a floating vanity is how the floor extends all the way beneath it, creating a very clean look in the bathroom.

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How Much Space Should Be Between The Vanity And Wall?

If you are going for traditional placement against the wall, your vanity can actually go up against the wall. Most are made with open backs for easy access to plumbing. Plus, if you choose to use a backsplash, you want it to seamlessly mesh with your countertop and not have any type of gap.

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How Far Should A Bathroom Sink Be From A Wall?


With the trend these days of using a piece of antique furniture as your vanity, it becomes necessary to know how far your sink should come out from the wall. These pieces are retrofitted to become vanities so even if you're using a pedestal sink, you'll still have to cut into the chest for the plumbing.

The rule of thumb for the distance of the sink to the wall is a minimum of 15" from the back wall to the center of the sink up to as much as 20". The back edge of the sink should be approximately 4" from the wall.

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How Do You Attach A Bathroom Vanity To The Wall?

When it's time to install your new vanity, you'll want to put it into place and trace its outline on the wall. Use a stud finder to discover where the studs are and mark them with a pencil. You'll then want to level the vanity so it's straight. If you need to, add shims on the floor. Then you'll want to measure and drill holes for your rough plumbing pipes.

Some vanities come with pre-drilled holes for easy installation, but if not, you'll need to drill holes on the vanity to line up with your studs. If you have any questions about whether or not you've found the studs, be sure and use wall anchors along with screws. If you have any big gaps at the floor, you can always use a piece of trim molding to fudge the difference.

A great stud finder is a handy tool to have in any home owner's toolbox.

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Installing A Wall-Mounted Vanity

Wall-mounted vanities are great for homes where the floor is perhaps a touch off-level. If you have a great system of studs in your walls, you can install this. You'll need to find your studs as before, but this time you'll add a length of bracing that matches almost the length of your vanity. Then, you can hang your vanity onto the bracing.

How Do You Remove A Bathroom Vanity From The Wall?

There are several things to think about when removing your old vanity from the wall. The main thing is plumbing. You want to make sure your main water supply to your sink is cut off so that you don't create a flood zone. Put a small bucket beneath your pipes and first unhook the P-trap. Then you'll unhook your water supply lines.

Your next step is to cut away any caulking at the backsplash using a good utility knife. You may need a crowbar to pry off your vanity top as sometimes they're glued to the base. Once you have that gone, then you can unscrew your old base from the wall. Many places have recycling centers that are happy to take serviceable sinks and vanity bases for resale.

A great utility knife is also something that should be in every homeowner's toolbox.

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We hope this primer has helped you with the next steps for your bathroom vanity. Whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional, it's always great to go into a project armed with knowledge. For more awesome information, please check out these other useful posts -

Do Bathroom Sinks Always Need An Overflow?

What Are Bathroom Sinks Made Of?

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