rustic floating bathroom vanity cabinet small bathroom

How to Make a Floating Bathroom Vanity

Floating Bathroom Vanity

We couldn’t find a bathroom vanity that fit our budget and the dimensions of our small master bathroom. So with some gained confidence from building our kitchen cabinets we decided to make it ourselves.

We love the floating bathroom vanity that we installed in our other house. This one was from Ikea.
floating white bathroom vanity cabinetfloating white bathroom vanity cabinet and floating storage floating white bathroom vanity cabinet with grey tile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It makes the small space feel more open. It also allows for easy floor cleaning and a weightless, light feeling. I think it also keeps your eye from being dragged down when inside the room.

Here is how to make a floating bathroom vanity cabinet.

You will need the following:

maple plywood
1×2 maple hardwood
pocket hole jig
pocket hole screws
clamps
wood glue
drawer sliders
table saw
drill
sandpaper

Measuring the Space and Designing the Cabinet

The first step is to take careful measurements of your space. We have shower tile on the same wall as where the right side of the cabinet will go so we had to make sure the drawer would open without hitting the tile.

complete stained floating vanity

Our space is small so we decided on an overall size of 40″ wide by 22″ deep by 26″ high, these measurements include a 1″ counter top overhang, 1.5″ counter top height, and cabinet face frames. Since we’ll be mounting the cabinet directly to the wall the overall finished height will be at 37″. This is higher than normal because we are tall and don’t like to bend over using the sink. 37″ tall is a comfortable hand washing height for us and makes shaving, brushing teeth, and face washing easier too!

Making the Cabinet

First cut out the sides of the cabinet. We used 3/4″ maple plywood leftover from our kitchen cabinet project we built ourselves! The sides of our cabinet are 20.25″ deep by 24.5″ tall.

Since this is a vanity cabinet with drawers the cabinet bottom can remain open and no need for a back panel either. This makes it easier to install so you don’t have to cut holes for the water supply lines and the drain. You obviously just need pieces to attach the 2 sides together and to give the vanity structure.

We used pocket holes and wood glue to attach all pieces together.

The cabinet gains stability from 4″ x 37.5″ strips of of plywood that attach the sides together. Here so far I have two strips on the bottom and two strips on the back. I added another one on the top/front and another in the back. I’ll be attaching this directly to the wall via drilling and putting screws through the back strips. So I added a third piece in the back after measuring carefully where my pipes would be located in relationship to the cabinet when hanging on the wall.

I forgot to account for the under-counter plug that we installed so I ended up having to remove this piece when we were installing the cabinet. Good thing I didn’t glue this piece as I had a feeling it may need to be moved or removed altogether.

 

I forgot to put pocket holes on this top piece to attach the face frame before assembly. So we got creative on using the pocket hole jig. 

Cabinet Face Frame

We decided to build a traditional style cabinet with face-frame. The material is 1×2 solid maple (finished measurements are 1.5″ x .75″). To build the frame I cut them to size and used pocket holes, glue, and wood filler to fill in the gaps.  The measurements of each piece are:

2@ 39″ rails (horizontal)
2@ 21.5″ stiles (vertical)cabinet face frame assembling a cabinet frame

wood filling gaps in face frame

The Drawer Fronts

We cut all the pieces for the drawer fronts making each drawer front the same size. Approximately 8″ tall x 34.5″, but they are actually about 7.75″ x 35.25″ to allow for a 1/16″ to 1/8″ gap on each side to allow the drawers to close smoothly and not bind up on any of the face frame edges.

We then dry fit the pieces together and test fit them to make sure they would fit inside the vanity opening. Then took everything apart and stained all of the pieces individually before gluing the drawer fronts together. We also stained the outside of the cabinet while we were at it.

Before deciding on a stain we bought a few test samples to see what we liked. You can read more about stain comparison to find out about the brands and wood we used.

wood stain colors in new bathroom

We decided on Varathan Espresso stain. It is a nice dark brown color without too much red. We like the cooler brown tone.

 

When gluing, you only want to put the glue on the frame and not the inside panel. This allows the inside panel to expand and shrink with humidity and temperature fluctuations.

A few hours of being clamped and these drawer fronts were ready for the drawers. 

The Drawers

We sized the drawers to be as big and deep as the inner cavity would allow. The middle and bottom drawers are the same dimensions and the top drawer is shallower to make room for the sink and shaped to slide in and out without hitting any plumbing. We would have rather used 1/2″ plywood for the sides but we ended up using 3/4″ maple plywood because we already had scraps left over from the kitchen cabinet project. To attach the bottom and sides together we used pocket holes.

You will notice we did not include a ‘false front’ for the drawers because we were trying to maximize every tiny bit of space we could squeak out of these drawers. We drilled pocket holes and will attach the drawer fronts directly to the drawer boxes. (It is definitely easier and better to build drawers with false fronts. Easier to install the fronts too)!

Installing the Drawer Sliders

This was the first time we ever installed drawer sliders besides on knock down furniture where the holes are predrilled and placement is easy. It was a bit tricky but with the help of a spacer board to use as a template we were able to get the sliders to line up with each other on either side of the cabinet.  Our sliders came with instructions and they definitely helped with alignment.

It also helps to have the cabinet and everything you are working on level. Then just level the drawer and the slider to attach it to the drawer itself.

I think next time we’ll get one of those drawer slider jigs to aid in the install because this part was truly the biggest pain of the whole project.

Top Drawer

After installing the middle and bottom drawers we were able to set the sink in temporarily to get an idea on the location of the plumbing. This made it easy to measure around the sink and drain to get the top drawer to fit properly.

We ended up with about 2.5″ of depth to the drawer which will be perfect for small toiletries like shavers, makeup, hair brushes, etc. The bottom two drawers will be great for toilet paper, hair dryer and other larger items.

Attaching the Drawer Fronts

We used double sided tape to attach the fronts, then pulled the drawers out and secured the fronts with screws in the pre-drilled pocket holes from earlier.

 

At this point 2 of the drawers needed a little bit of sanding in order to eliminate any binding on the side. So we used a power sander to remove a little bit of wood at a time until the drawers closed smoothly. Then stained the bare wood where necessary. 

The whole cabinet got another coat of stain and 2 coats of polyurethane. The drawers were finished with polyurethane.

All Done!

To attach the vanity to the wall we installed a 1 x 3 to the wall studs, level, at the appropriate height so that we could set the cabinet right on that wood to hold it level. Then we used long wood screws to attach it through the back wood panels as well as corner brackets at several locations each time making sure we went through a stud in the wall. You can never have too many. We’d rather be safe then have the vanity fall down on someone’s foot and cause massive amounts of damage to the bathroom! Here is the finished vanity installed with the sink and counter top!

complete stained floating vanity remodel

 

Here is how we use my convertible as a ‘truck’ to haul things on nice days! 🙂

 

Let us know what you think and if you have any tips for next time. We’ll be building a second vanity for our other bathroom.

Thanks for visiting!

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