The wall-mount vanity is a hot trend in contemporary bathrooms, but whether the unit is right for your next project requires a larger discussion.
One reason the vanity is so important is that unlike the rest of your bathroom—the fixtures, shower, sink, toilet, etc.—the vanity is the one item you have exclusive control over, Superior Home Décor wrote on its website. “The size, the placement, and the actual item you decide to purchase. Your entire theme can be dependent on choosing the correct mirror and trimmings to highlight the bathroom.”
No doubt the size of the vanity unit you choose will be dependent on the size of your bathroom, but the decision to choose a wall mounted bathroom vanity unit or a traditional floor-mount vanity is typically more about style and functionality.
“In terms of lifestyle, we see a movement toward modern and transitional amongst all demographics,” says Trevor Tran, the director of marketing for Ronbow Corp. “Space is an essence when it comes to metropolitan cities, where millennials prefer to live, and also with the tiny house hype in the recent years, smart storage is very desirable.”
What Exactly is a Wall-Mount Vanity?
A wall-mount bathroom vanity is exactly what it sounds like? Instead of sitting on the floor, the units mount to the wall and usually have no legs for support. In some cases, the legs are merely decorative. Tran explains that wall mounted bathroom vanities fit right in with the current contemporary trend in kitchens, which is one reason they are the hottest style on the market. “Wall hung vanities have transitioned from contemporary to a transitional style over the last few years,” Trans says. “With the expansion of styles in the category, this makes it more attractive for all home decor.”
Wall mounted bathroom vanities give customers flexibility to install to whichever height they’d like, Tran explains. Additionally, wall-hung vanities make the bathroom feel spacious and airy, and it’s easier to clean underneath them. In terms of style, wall-mount units can offer nice clean lines with updated design that can fit any style of bathroom.
James Lentaigne, director of sales and marketing for Drummonds, adds that wall-mount vanities require less space, which means they work in many smaller bathrooms. Plus, he says, the product is easily adaptable to smaller baths, but can work equally well in a large bathroom.
“Over the past 10 years we've seen vanities morphing from a simple ‘box’ shape into products that are more of a design element,” says Bob Gifford, director of bath products at Hastings Tile & Bath. “There are myriad materials to work with, many more finishes and styles, and the biggest change seems to be the increased interest in moving that ‘box’ off the floor.”
The Drawbacks of Wall-Mount Vanities
But wall-mount vanities also have their drawbacks and may not be ideal for every project.
For one thing, the wall has to be prepped during the framing stage to provide adequate support for installation. The best way to ensure a secure installation is to screw into the studs with long screws (the longer the better) designed for cabinet installation. If the vanity falls in the middle of the stud bay, another option is plywood. Many architects and designers already use plywood behind the drywall in bathrooms to make it easier to locate hardware, so a wall-hung vanity could also use what's already there. In many cases, the plywood will not offer enough holding power for a vanity that also may have a stone or quartz countertop so contractors will have to make a judgment call. Another good option is to use 2x6 block in between the stud cavity. Strategically positioned in the stud bay, the block provides good holding power for all but the heaviest vanities. If the vanity is truly heavy, some manufacturers offer steel brackets that screw into the studs for superior load bearing capacity.
Wall-mount vanities also affect storage in the bath. Because the units tend to be smaller, they offer less storage space, so designers will be forced to provide additional capacity. Moreover, wall-mount units tend to be more contemporary in style. If a homeowner wants a traditional-style unit, it may not suit their needs.
Of course, floor-standing bath vanities are still pretty popular with homebuyers and consumers, and the average product offers more finish options, styles, colors, and features than in the past. “Boring cabinets are out and interesting freestanding vanities are more in favor,” says Lentaigne.