Bathroom Vanity Upgrade

March 6, 2012

So the hall bathroom remodel continues, and one of the projects we needed to tackle was reworking the existing vanity.  As much as I wanted to buy a new one, it didn’t make financial sense since the vanity was in really good condition. It would have been easy to simply paint it, but I had a slightly different plan.

I was eyeballing this turned leg console over at Pottery Barn with its fabulous furniture feet and came up with the idea to rework our existing vanity by building a new base different from the builder grade base we already had – one that shared this modern style lifted up off the floor and with those fantastic furniture feet.

pb turned leg console


Last weekend that’s just what we did.  After we pulled out the vanity, we brought it downstairs into the garage and built a new base to raise it up and add those furniture feet so that it looked more like the inspiration image above.

vanity before and after cg

It’s only a “semi-after” since it’s just been primed, and I haven’t painted it yet, plus it still needs a solid surface countertop, but we think that little change from a standard builder grade base with a toe kick to the new look with furniture style feet gives the vanity a more modern vibe.

How’d we do it?  Well I’ll show ya!


My friend Ana White (you’ve heard of her right? Of course you have!) is a carpenter extraordinaire! I emailed her and asked her if she could think of a way my idea would work and not only did she tell me it would but she worked up a quick plan for the new base.  Thank you Ana !!

ana white base

The first thing we did was demolish the existing base.

demolish base


Next, we cut the 2 x 4’s to the exact width and depth of the underside of the cabinet with a compound miter saw.

dewalt compound miter saw


Rather than building the base separate from the vanity, we flipped it upside down and cut the wood to the exact measurements of the width and depth of the cabinet, then attached the 2 x 4 cuts with screws to form the base.

screw 2 x 4s to base


For the middle supports we used pieces of 2 x4 and cut them to the same height as the furniture feet.

middle supports


Note, if you’re reworking an existing vanity that’s smaller like this one below, then you really don’t need the middle supports, but since ours was 70” long and needs to support the weight of a countertop too, we added the middle supports for stability.

pb sink console


For the middle stabilizers we used a tool called a Kreg Jig, which allows you to drill pocket holes to make stronger joints for your wood building projects, it’s really cool.

kreg jig

This is what your pocket holes will look like after using the clamp and guides on a Kreg Jig and quickly drilling them with a bit.

kreg jig pocket holes

This tool makes it easy to attach the middle stabilizers after the 2 x 4 frame is attached to the vanity. If you don’t have a Kreg Jig, and need to add stabilizers, then you’ll have to screw them in from the side which isn’t as stable or build the frame completely separate from the vanity and screw the stabilizing feet to the frame from the top before you attach it to the vanity.  A Kreg Jig just makes the job quicker and easier.

kreg jig screws into stabilizers

Next it’s time to attach the furniture feet which are available at various home improvement stores.  These ones came from Home Depot and cost $8 each – they also come with their own hanger screws.

furniture feet

But we bought longer ones (5/16” x 3”) for $2 for even greater stabilization.

hanger bolts


Just remember to turn them around so the pointy end is the one you actually screw into the new frame.  Decide where the feet will go by carefully measuring its location, but be sure you have clearance on all sides so that when you turn your vanity right side up, the curve of the new feet will not prevent the vanity from being flush with the wall.

screw feet into base


There was a slight difference in elevation in the front of the cabinet between the new base and the front edge so I covered it up with a piece of quarter round glued on and then secured with small brad nails.

wood glue for trim

trim on ledge

Just about any imperfection can be hidden with the right piece of trim!

Adding the new base added another 1 ½ inches to the height of the vanity which is what we wanted, but if duplicating the project pay attention to all your measurements that will add up to your final countertop height .  Bathroom countertop heights range from 29” (standard) to up to 35” for taller individuals, so consider all the measurements that will add up on top of your new vanity, including the plywood base required for many solid surface countertops, and whether your sink will be overmount, undermount, or a bowl or vessel sink.

Here’s what the new base looks like from underneath.

bottom of new vanity base


As a last step, I primed the doors and the vanity with my favorite spray primer.

spray primer


The vanity sits in our garage waiting to be painted and installed in the upstairs bathroom.

frame and furniture feet vanity


Now comes time to choose the right paint color and countertop and install it, but I’m so glad we were able to save some cash by reworking the vanity in the about-to-be remodeled bathroom space.

Next up, a bureau before and after that I think you’ll really love!  And if you would pretty please, vote for CG in The Homies for Best DIY Blog and/or Best Home Design Blog – but be sure to sign in with Apartment Therapy first through email, FB or Twitter. Thanks so much!


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122 Responses to “Bathroom Vanity Upgrade”

  1. Kathy says:

    Wow, it looks great! Can’t wait to see until the bathroom is completed. It’s going to look awesome! By the way, I can’t believe I’m the first person to comment on this post! :-)

  2. Nana Kate says:

    Oh my goodness you are good girl, love this idea and am now thinking this would look great in our master bath. Thanks for the little tips, they are very handy and much appreciated.

  3. Robyn says:

    Great job so far! Cannot wait to see it finished :)

  4. cheryl says:

    love the feet!! great tutorial also – thank you.
    gives me an idea for a cabinet I’m fixing up.
    cheryl xox.

  5. So neat! You did a great job and what a great way of reusing what you have. :)

  6. Debora says:

    Great tutorial! I was wondering though, none of the wood from the old frame was salvageable instead of buying new 2×4’s? Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Rhonda says:

    Love, Love, Love it!! Thank you for the inspiration, great directions with all the details and fabulous pictures! Keep ‘em coming!

  8. Nancy says:

    It looks so wonderful….
    Great work…

  9. Jen Migonis says:

    Looks great! It is amazing what an inexpensive upgrade like that will do to a space!

  10. Sarah says:

    Wow this is genius & I love it! I would be taking out our vanity tomorrow to do this to it if we owned our place… really, such a great idea.

  11. Amanda says:

    This is absolutely genius, and I am DEFINITELY going to do this in our guest bathroom! I love it!

  12. Brenda says:

    What a great idea! Executed perfectly! It really looks amazing!

  13. Ahhmazing!! That was a stunning transformation! I can’t wait to see what the finished product looks like. How fun!

  14. Brilliant! What a smart way to update what you already have! I love it!

  15. Betty819 says:

    Kate, what a transformation! I bet that is heavy to lift; especially if you have to go up any stairs. It looks really like professional workmanship. Can’t wait to see the finished project completed. We have a 1977 builder’s model in our bathrooms..and I’m considering trying to paint them first and see what it looks like, especially the one in the Master Bathroom..but will replace with new cabinet in the Main bath that guest use when they come to our house.

  16. shiori says:

    I really WISH I had an 1/8th of your talent. You’re amazing and the vanity looks awesome.

  17. Julie B says:

    Okay Kate, that is just brilliant…this is an incredible makeover of that cabinet!

  18. Rona says:

    Oh I love this idea! I have a dark brown vanity that is looking a bit dated….I wonder….

    Lovely Man is going to ban me from blogs and pinterest soon…getting too many ideas leading to too many ‘honey do’ lists!

    You’ve done a great job here…don’t suppose I could borrow your hubby? LOL!

  19. can’t wait to see the finished installation. It just might motivate me to paint the kids bathroom cabinets which are a funny white washed oak.

  20. Totally genius! I see a lot of builder grade vanities getting new feet! :)

  21. Kate says:

    This is such perfect timing! We are in the middle of renovating our guest bath, and I had really wanted to tweak the base of the vanity so that it wasn’t so obviously builder stock. I had just about given up on the idea, as my husband is up to his ears in tile and my adding carpentry to the project was not exactly met with enthusiasm. (HA — understatement of the year.) However, this? It’s even cuter than what I was thinking of, and easy enough that I can do it myself. Thanks!

  22. I love this tutorial. This is great and what you have done so far looks really good. Bravo!! Can’t wait to see what color you choose.

  23. HI Kate,
    What a great idea, this looks amazing!!!!. I want to do a reno in my masterbath and get rid of the ugly yellowed marble counter. I love the look of the vanity with the feet. I am saving this post and have also pinned it to my reno ideas board on pinterest. Thank you for all the great photos on how to do this. Your bathroom is going to be wonderful.

  24. Fabulous make over. It really looks like an entirely new piece.

  25. Michele says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this post ever since you mentioned it a few weeks back. I am hoping to do the same thing with the vanity from our bath. Thanks so much for the easy to follow instructions!

  26. Barbara says:

    Beautiful! You “youngsters” have the strength and determination to get that down the stairs! It’s truly a great update.

  27. Jenni says:

    Ummmm…INSPIRATION. I have the world’s shortest vanity and I have no $$ to buy a brand-new one. I never thought of adding furniture feet. As usual, excellent ideas and tutorial! :)

  28. jenn says:

    Looks great! I love that look of being a piece of furniture, and I really think it’s awesome that you are recycling. I got a kreg jig, but I haven’t used it yet. I have soooo many furniture things that I want to build once I move into a new place. Your site is giving me lots of inspiration.

  29. Kelly says:

    Can’t wait to see the finished bathroom. I am new to your site and am already voting for you!

  30. Oh my Heavens… You are not scared of a project, are you? Makes my vase to lamp project look like an ABC Family Move for DIY!

  31. janna says:

    Awesome idea….Need to show my hubby this and try to convince him to upgrade our pedestal vanity…I have no storage!

  32. Andrea says:

    Looks fabulous!!! I would love to know about the small single door vanity. Where did you get it? I have a very small bathroom that is tucked under my staircase and it looks like that vanity would fit. The small vanities I usually see look cheap with a capitol C or else the special orders I’ve see are 800 to 1500 which isn’t happening on my budget. Thanks.

  33. This is such a great way to make use of an existing vanity. I would love to do this if my husband and I ever get around to replacing the tile floor in our bathroom. It really gives it a custom look and looks like you paid a bunch of money for it. You are going to have so much fun enjoying your “new” bathroom!

  34. Cynthia says:

    Great job I love it, I can’t wait to see it all finished.

  35. Chandra says:

    I love the way this looks……BUT, I would hate to have to sweep/vaccum under this piece every week. Had you considered updating the counter like many of the kitchen cabinets I’ve seen that have feet? Like this?

  36. spiceylg says:

    I left a msg previously but I don’t see it. Absolute love this, but my only hesitation is having to clean underneath it. I do have a question, however. Throughout our entire house we have stained wood trim and wood doors. My husband would die if I were to paint them. If I were able to convince him to be able to paint our master vanity antique white, would that look silly with all of the stained trim work, etc? We also have that builder grade big mirror, but thanx to on-line blogs, I whipped out the liquid nails and a mitre saw and and put wood trim around it painted antique white. I’d appreciate your opinion because you have such a wonderful eye.

  37. I cannot wait to see the end result. i want to re-do our entire bathroom waiting till the right time comes…

  38. I officially feel like the least crafty person alive haha. This is AMAZING! Well done :)

  39. Michelle says:

    Love it! Awesome job and what a difference! Thanks for posting and for the inspiration!

  40. Felechia says:

    Brilliant. I really appreciate your detailed instructions and photos.

  41. Dana says:

    Wow! Thank you! I’m in the process of re-doing our master bath and will do this exact thing with our vanity. Can’t wait to see the final result.

  42. Babbie says:

    OMG i have been looking for the perfect mosaic for the backsplashes in my new home to match my granite. i am acutally a tile retailer, and have not had any luck. i have looked all over texas for the right match. after reading your blog, i decided to sashay myself down to Lowes late last night. Voila, i found the perfect glass/stone mix and it’s only $10!!!! it would have been $30 in my store! best thing is they have 130 sq ft of it too. thanks for your inspiration and saving CENTS!

  43. Lynne says:

    Wow! That is such a fantastic idea! I wanted to replace the vanity in the main bath of our house, but knew it wasn’t a necessity. This would be such an inexpensive update! I’m going to show this to my hubbie and beg him to do it for me! Great job! Thanks for sharing your idea!

  44. Michele Owens says:

    This is awesome! There you go inspiring me again!

  45. Christine F. says:

    Ok that’s genius. And I think I can do that with my perfectly good vanity in my bathroom but one that needs a style upgrade. Thanks for the idea, Kate!

  46. JUURI says:

    That is simply to die for! Thanks for telling how to do this. I want to do this to a dresser we have.

  47. swooooooon! Lately I’ve been loving furniture with feet but thought that adding my own would be nearly impossible. Good for you for going for it. It looks fabulous!

  48. Deb Hrabik says:

    Love how you tackle the big projects. When you break it down like that, then “I think I can!”
    Thank you for sharing!

  49. Sonya says:

    Oh my gosh you are brilliant! I too, HATE the bottom of bathroom vanities. I would have simply painted out the toe kick or lined it with mirror and added the feet. Your idea (while more time consuming) is SO much better. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

  50. Looks so great! The added feet add a ton of character to the vanity.

  51. Peggy says:

    What a great eco update. This is something a lot of people will be doing – in fact, I would if only I had more floor tile! Another amazing tutorial, Kate!

  52. What a great idea! One question, does your tile run all the way under your vanity or do you need to retile now that it will be off the ground?

  53. Fantastic, as always! Can’t wait to see the finished bathroom.

  54. Rachel says:

    That looks amazing! We just have one bathroom remaining with that style builder basic vanity and this has totally motivated me to do something about it!

    I also have what I think is potentially a stupid question….how did you remove the hanger bolts from the feet to put in the new ones? I recently bought a small ottoman that has feet that I don’t want to replace, but I want the hanger bolts to be longer because the pets and kids are using it as a playground and I want it to be a little stronger. I tried turning the bolts to see if they would budge but they didn’t. Is there a trick you used to remove yours?

  55. Melissa says:

    Oh my goodness! This is awesome! It really looks so custom now. Great idea and execution!

  56. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Rachel, those bolts are rather tight, but if you use pliers and twist it carefully, it winds its way out and then you can replace it with a longer hanger bolt, just make sure they’re threaded the same and are the same width! You may be able to grab it with the end of a cordless drill too if it’s long enough and put it in reverse to help twist it out.

  57. Jenn says:

    This just struck a chord with me this morning…I MUST do this in our bathroom! Thank you for taking the time to write out the tutorial and share with us. Can’t wait to see the final product!

  58. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Kim, yes we will need to repair the tile so that it goes all the way to the back wall, which certainly complicates matters but we have the tile to do it. If you have a linoleum or tile floor in your bathroom, you will need to have enough material or pieces to patch underneath.

  59. CentsationalGirl says:

    Fantastic news Babbie, yes I too was pleasantly surprised at all the variety of tile over there at Lowes and great prices!

  60. Ann V. says:

    Reading your blog makes my project list grow ever longer!! Really would love to do this and save some money $. Fabulous…love, love, love it!

  61. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Debora, we couldn’t salvage the existing base, it was a 1/2 inch MDF box that wouldn’t support the new legs which was the reason we built the new frame with 2 x 4s.

  62. This blows my mind!! I totally want to try it with my guest bathroom!

  63. You did a fabulous job! Amazing.

  64. Lindsay says:

    Wow that looks amazing! I can’t wait to have a house of my own instead of my crappy apartment so I can make it look beautiful :)

  65. Kristen says:

    Oh my goodness! I have been following your posts since I stumbled across you on Pinterest (LOVE that!!) and this is PERFECT for our first floor 1/2 bath! THANK YOU!!!! I have already emailed my hubby the link and fully intend to start this project very soon! Love it! :)

  66. mimi says:

    Oh-emmmm-geeeee! You guys are amazing! Really amazing and creative and I love it. hope it turns out well…keep us posted :)

  67. Sara says:

    This is awesome!! It is SUCH a huge difference, and it looks fantastic!

  68. Lisa says:

    Love it! Saving this idea as potential for our master bath. It hit me as I was re-scanning your post that you went to the trouble to reassemble the vanity and put the knobs back on for the pics – devotion, ha!

  69. I love that look use it often on built in cabinetry. The only thing is…dust and stuff that accumulates underneath can be a chore to keep up with. But the look is so worth it.

  70. I absolutely love this! What a great way to save some cash and make the piece look more custom! Thanks for sharing!

  71. Love this idea! And it’s saving you so much $ too. Can’t wait to see if you paint it white or a fun color!

  72. GinaE says:

    This looks soooo great! You and hubby did a beautiful job. How about a visit to San Antonio……I could really use you guys! Your bath is going to be so pretty!

  73. Lorrie says:

    What a fantastic idea! It really adds something special to the cabinet, great work!

  74. Brilliant. Do you love it? Way to think “outside the box”… literally! It looks great.
    I love that you collaborated with Ana, too.
    How many Kreg jigs do you think she has “sold”? We bought one last week, with an “Ana” project in mind. I hope she gets a little something from those folks!

    Can’t wait to see what is next on the bathroom agenda.

  75. Jessie says:

    I absolutely love this idea, Kate! We have been scheming on what we could do to our master vanity and this may be the answer!

  76. Nancy says:

    WOW Kate!! What a looks great and saved your a lot of money..

  77. Amy says:

    It looks amazing! This is exactly what I was envisioning in my head for my vanity. Thank you so much for making it a reality and thanks so much for posting it so quickly! :D

  78. Paula says:

    Wow, your cabinet looks great! I love when I can reuse something that is already in the house.

  79. Elizabeth H says:

    I love what you guys did to the vanity. Sharp looking. Can’t wait to see what is next.

  80. JSF says:

    Your projects continue to completely awe and inspire! It looks like a substantial amount of work, but how satisfying it must feel to come up with such a cool idea and then actually see the tangible results…Love what you did here…

  81. Really gorgeous. I’m not sure about the feet, though. Still, quite an improvement!

  82. Emmy says:

    Oh can’t wait to see the final result, looks great!

  83. This looks really great! I am amazed at the difference the feet add to the cabinets. It changes the look entirely.

  84. Sandra says:

    SOOOO pretty!!

  85. Karen says:

    What a great idea. This is going to look wonderful and its nice that you didn’t have to buy an entire until. Way to go!

  86. Melody says:

    I’m so impressed! This looks beautiful & about 1K cheaper than PB! I’m SOO showing this to my hubby tonight for our MB. Thanks Kate for all your inspiration!

  87. I love this idea! Although I would have gone about it a bit differently. Personally, the idea of needing to sweep clear to the back of my vanity would drive me bonkers, so I would have made a solid piece about 6 inches back that ran the whole length of the vanity. You could still have those awesome feet, but no need to sweep so far!

  88. Robin says:

    Sarah, all of you weekend DIYers amaze me. You’re house is just beautiful.


  89. Oh course! Brilliant to think of doing that with a perfectly good vanity that already exists. Beautiful job.

  90. It looks fabulous! I love it… what a great idea.

  91. voted and wish i could until you win!!! still waiting for your tv show to arrive-it will happen!!

  92. Lori says:

    It looks so great so far! I love how you changed the base to make it look more like furniture with those cute legs.

  93. Linda Russell says:

    Brilliant idea! I can’t wait to see the finished product, please post soon! :)

  94. Gale Barnett says:

    You could also trim the outside edge off door with table saw to get door to fit inside cabinet frame to make look like a custom piece of furniture. You would need to replace hinges but very doable. Thanks

  95. Angela says:

    We have a similar builder grade cabinet in our bathroom which is too new and nice to ditch but I’m not in love with it. This is such a great idea that I would have never thought of!! I’m sooo excited to see what you have done and I can’t wait to see the finish!! Thanks for the inspiration!!!!

  96. Karen says:

    What a difference adding feet made! It looks fantastic.

  97. Theresa says:

    Wow, what a difference! What a difference that will make! Great info on how to do it yourself, thanks!

  98. radiya says:

    hi Kate,

    Love your tutorial and i am hoping i can try it out soon. Do you have any steps on how to remove the existing vanity? this would be a first for me in many ways.


  99. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Radiya, disconnecting the plumbing is the most challenging part, and like I said, I’m no expert but my dude figured it out with some internet research. When in doubt, hire a professional, but once that’s done, you should be able to unscrew it from the wall and pull it right out, assuming you’ve already removed the countertop.

  100. Judy says:

    Love this idea. We’re actually just now getting our plans together to redo our bathroom and love the idea of building up the cabinets with legs. We’re getting new vanities but I don’t see why we couldn’t add new feet and stain them to match.

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