Asked on Jul 27, 2015

Renovating Bathroom - turning a dresser into a Vanity

by Sonya
Hello guys!!! Just after a bit of advice. I have a SMALL bathroom (2.3x2.3) QLDer type home here in Australia. I'm wanting to stick with the "heritage" style, so I've decided to make the vanity out of an old cupboard. I've been searching for the "right one" and over here where I live, these are limited (without paying hundreds of dollars - a lot of people nowadays do not just throw out, but try to sell). I've located 2 so far, ready to be stripped back etc (so may have varnished or repainted - not sure yet - what would you require to make it WATERPROOF as such?). Just wanting some advice on the Plumbing side of things too - how easy to connect the basin, drain & water pipes - I'll be having a mixer tap attached to the cupboard - so pipes will need to go through the top of cupboard), and opinions on which looks better (see photos). With the larger cupboard I am looking at removing the end with the 2 doors (not the cutlery door end) - it has damage on the outer section, I'm looking at perhaps making these OPEN SHELVES - with a bit of fanciness added (decorative trims?). I've purchased this Vanity Basin also - while I love the look of the Basin sitting on top of cupboard, does it suit? or is it to large, and should I perhaps have in set into the top? SO MANY QUESTIONS ha ha ha. Any ideas are welcome!!! I've come to rely on this site for all of my renovations & restoring. LOVE IT!!!
q renovating bathroom how to turn a dresser into a vanity, bathroom ideas, home improvement, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
q renovating bathroom how to turn a dresser into a vanity, bathroom ideas, home improvement, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
  15 answers
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Jul 27, 2015
    @Sonya I love the look of the 2nd one! I would not take the end with the two doors off unless absolutely necessary for the space, I would just repair the damage on the outside. Seems a bit tall to mount the sink on top, but you could possibly cut the size of your sink hole to where the sink only went halfway into the hole if it is graduated from smaller to larger at the top, or build braces or a shelf for it to sit on inside the cubbard if the sides aren't sloped. Not sure what brands are available there, but here I would use Minwax Hemlsman Spar Urethane to waterproof it. It would need a minimum of 3 coats of urethane with 4hrs drying time & going over the urethane with fine steel wool between each coat, the more coats you do the more waterproofing it will provide. Can't wait to see what you do, be sure & post pics when you get it done! Good Luck!

    • See 1 previous
    • Sonya Sonya on Jul 27, 2015
      @Sonya ps. I like the 2nd cupboard too I think.

  • Katerina Stepovikov Katerina Stepovikov on Jul 28, 2015
    The second will give you more storage. I like them both !! Hard call . Keep us updated on the finished product !! No procrastinating now .....!!! Get to it ....waiting to see it.

  • JCEllis JCEllis on Jul 28, 2015
    I would use the first cabinet in the bathroom and find a place elsewhere for the second. Maybe an island in your kitchen or on a covered patio. Whatever you do, don't change out the hardware on that second piece. It looks like the hardware on old iceboxes here in the states. It makes it the unique piece that it is. Cutting it apart would ruin it, in my humble opinion.

  • Cheryl Buckman Cheryl Buckman on Jul 28, 2015
    I like the second one best it will give you a lot more storage and will be easier to fit plumbing in. The first one would be much harder to put in plumbing without losing all your storage space.

  • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Jul 28, 2015
    Love 2nd one....looks like cabinets that used to be in my Great Grandmothers house. sadly they are gone now.

  • Vallie Cross Vallie Cross on Jul 28, 2015
    Your vessel sink is too large for either one of these options. I really like both cabinets,they have a lot of character! I would leave the cabinet doors on also.

  • Reggie Reggie on Jul 28, 2015
    I would put 3 or 4 coats of polyurethane on the cabinet to waterproof it. I love the second cabinet. Once you plumb the sink, you will lose storage, so the second one will still give you some good storage. How high will the unit be with the vessel sink? You may need a shorter sink to keep it a comfortable height. Please post pictures of the finished project.

    • Reggie Reggie on Jul 28, 2015
      Open shelves on the end would work, but I would use plain Trim to keep it simple.

  • Meyndert Borrie Bornman Meyndert Borrie Bornman on Jul 28, 2015
    Below are a suggestion, max height of basin must be less than 800mm for kids to also reach and bend over it. Bottom must have a cavity to be able to slide your feet under without bumping and hurting your toes. I would sink the basin 1/2 way or little more into the top and will use the 2nd cabinet.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Jul 28, 2015
    I like the second one better. But I agree with Vallie Cross that the evessel may be too high for comfort. There are several tutorial on Hometalk to show you what to do with the plumbing. Post pictures when done.

  • Carole Carole on Jul 28, 2015
    Have you thought about a Singer treadle sewing machine base (cast iron) with a sink placed on a piece of marble or granite or water sealed timber on top? This won't have the storage so you would need other options for that but could look good. I love the idea of the timber dresser turned vanity but the wood is already old and water and steam damage - well - I don't know how well that would hold up in a bathroom that gets a lot of use. Might look good to start with and then could cause the timber to swell, stain or separate? Depends on the timber and what you treat it with and its condition at the outset I guess too. If you do go ahead with the dresser idea I would put something water resistant on the dresser top as a surround for the sink. Water will inevitably get splashed on the top no matter how careful you are when using the sink or how quickly you wipe up any splashes or puddles and could ruin the look of it. Someone else also mentioned the height. Very important to have a comfortable height for the sink too. Would love to see what you decide to do and the finished result. Hope you will post when complete.

  • Carole Carole on Jul 28, 2015
    BTW, you asked whether the basin suits either of those cupboards. Sadly in my own honest opinion I would have to say the basin is too large and does not really suit either. That is if you were sitting it on top of the cupboard. Might be different story if it were to be sunk into the top of the cabinet. Not wanting to burst your bubble but trying to give some honest feedback which you were seeking. Sometimes we see something and we sort of know if it works or not but try to convince ourselves that it will be OK. If you felt you had to ask if it looked OK then I think in your own heart you must have had a little niggle of doubt and seeking reassurance that it does suit. This happens to me often! In this instance I would advise against using the basin on top of either of those cabinets. Just looks too big. Sorry. Sunken into the cabinet - maybe OK.

    • See 3 previous
    • Lisa House Lisa House on Oct 08, 2015
      You phrased you comments in a positive, professional manner, much different than those people commenting negatively just to be mean.

  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Aug 18, 2015
    @Sonya did you finish this project yet? I'd love to see your results!

  • Sonya Sonya on Sep 16, 2015
    Not quite yet. Removed the top and my father built me a new timber top. Started bathroom reno to find water damage caused by leaking tap so waiting game is in. Just needing to paint main cupboard of vanity yet. Here's picture so far....and yes i decided to put the basin into the top.

  • Sonya Sonya on Sep 16, 2015
    Oh and here is that smaller cupboard. ..just sanded top bare and just did rough sand over main cupboard. Waiting on the new door handles to arrive and fit. Found an old wash bowl o sit on top. Have to oil the top i think. Not sure where I'll keep it yet...but I'll find some use for it.

  • Darls Darls on Mar 05, 2016
    Hello Sonya I love what you've done with both cupboards. I have an old side board I would like to turn into a vanity just wondering what you sealed yours with and have you a photo of the finished product :-) Darls