How to make a vanity bench unit
Construct this unit to host the basin in your bathroom. The design caters to a sleek wall-mounted mixer tap and features a semi-recessed basin for a super-contemporary look.
Gather your supplies
- Ends (2) 450 x 300 x 30mm finger-jointed pine
- Bottom and Top 1140 x 282 x 30 mm finger-jointed pine
- Dividers (2) 390 x 282 x 30 mm finger-jointed pine
- Back 1140 x 450 x 18 mm marine plywood
- Benchtops sizes to suit, composite stone
You'll also need
- Drill and bits
- Countersink bit
- Screws to suit
- Wood filler
- Power sander or fine-grit sandpaper and sanding block
- Painting tools
- Drop sheet
- Water-based primer
- Hard-wearing topcoat paint
- Timber offcuts
- Construction adhesive
- Semi-recessed basin to suit (we used Caroma Liano semi-recessed basin).
From 1 short end of the Bottom, measure and mark lines 465mm and 885mm for positions of Dividers.
Line up 1 End, flush with outside edge of 1 short end of Bottom. There will be an 18mm overhang at the back. Apply PVA, predrill, then countersink and screw through End into Bottom.
Centre 1 Divider to 1 mark made in Step 1. Apply PVA, predrill, then countersink and screw through Bottom into Divider. Repeat to fix other Divider, centred to other line.
Place remaining End flush with edge of other short end of Bottom. Keep overhang on same side of assembly as other End. Apply PVA, predrill, then countersink and screw through End into Bottom.
Turn assembly so it sits Bottom-down on your workbench, withe Ends and Dividers now pointing upward. You will notice the Ends are slightly taller than the 2 Dividers. Place Top in position, resting on Dividers and butted against the inside of both Ends. Apply PVA, predrill, then countersink and drive screws in at each connection point to secure.
Apply PVA, then place Back in position on assembly. Predrill, countersink and screw Back to assembly. Do not drive screws into Top where cut-out for basin will be.
Double-checking against the dimensions of your basin, use a square and pencil to mark position of basin on Top.
Use jigsaw to cut along marked lines on Top. Remove cut-out and discard. Clean up excess PVA with a dampened rag. Test-fit your basin and adjust slightly if necessary, accounting for thickness of benchtops to be added later.
Fill screw holes with wood filler. Let dry.
Using power sander or fine-grit sandpaper wrapped around sanding block, rub over entire assembly until smooth.
Transfer assembly to drop sheet laid out in well-ventilated area. Paint assembly with primer. Let dry.
Apply 2 - 3 coats of chosen topcoat. Let dry after each coat. If using a spray product, allow sufficient drop sheet coverage to catch overspray.
Using a saw, cut offcuts of timber to act as temporary support legs under vanity. Stand vanity in position at desired height.
Screw through Back and 1 End (if possible) into wall studs to secure.
Apply adhesive and press benchtop pieces into position. Apply weight to top of both bench pieces to ensure a good bond or use masking tape to hold bench pieces in position. Let dry.
Have your plumber fit and connect your basin.
- Cut finger-jointed pine to size using a power saw along a clamped straightedge. Or you can skip the saw and ask your local timber supplier to cut them for you.
- Adjust design measurements to suit your space and your semi-recessed basin, if different to model used here.
- Take your measurements for your composite stone benchtops to a stone supplier to have them cut and finished for you.
Get the look
An in-bath shower frees up floor and allows space for a secret storage unit in a tiled hob wall. Look to other parts of your home for palette inspiration – here timber-look ceramic floor tiles contrast with glossy white on the wall.
- Do your research and set a realistic budget for your makeover – then stick to it. Don’t forget to include labour costs!
- Before you begin demolition, book your sparky and plumber to disconnect services.
- Save money and do as much of the demo as possible yourself. If you’re not up for removing tiles, have a go at dismantling old cabinets, fixtures and other items to be replaced. Call in a tradie to finish the job.
- Recycle your reno waste through local salvage yards. Book a skip bin for non-recyclables so you can barrow it straight out the door and into the bin.
- Try to keep the placement of plumbing in the same spot as before to keep costs down, only moving them if it’s the best investment. Here, the toilet remained in the same location and only the showerhead moved position.
- Have a lighting plan! Do you dream of installing a 3-in-1 heater, light and fan system? Do you fancy pendant lights above your vanity? What other general lighting or power supply do you need? Plan these desires early on with your electrician.
- Consider including a hidden cistern toilet, wall niches in your shower, or an inset shaving cabinet above your vanity and make allowances for these early in the planning stages
- Specify larger-format tiles for less grout lines and chat with your tiler in advance so you both have a clear idea of how they are to be laid.
- Think about including a tile insert gutter drain. With the ability to tile the top of the assembly, here a 900mm-long drain installed alongside the bathtub almost disappears (and no ugly cuts in tiles!)
- Coat walls and ceilings in paint specifically designed for wet areas. n Choose a tub to suit your needs. Here, we selected a 1760mm-long bath – plenty of room for two!
- Save money and reuse or make whatever you can yourself. You could use charming salvaged items for cabinetry or make your own vanity bench.
Whether you like to nip in for a quick shower or indulge in a long lazy soak, wash away your woes in a generously proportioned in-bath shower. Along with a builtin wall niche for toiletries, allow extra width along the length of the tub and wall at planning stage so you can perch your products (or rubber duck) out of the way during bath time. As far as hardware goes, specify an above-head shower with a shower-to-bath diverter plus a flexible shower hose – super handy with kids (and a great pretend microphone for shower-time karaoke).
Kids’ bath toys, towels and all kinds of goodies can be stored in a purpose-built marine ply box with the exterior clad to match your floor and hob wall feature tiles. Keep the hinged lid untiled and apply a stain and varnish for a seamless finish.
Out of sight! When you’re starting from an empty bathroom shell, consider specifying a concealed cistern toilet suite for a streamlined look (they’re easier to clean, too). You can have the cistern mounted in your wall or in a tiled hob, as here, with push buttons positioned flush to the wall above the bowl. So sleek!