Converting a Used Dresser into a Bathroom Vanity

Going green does not always mean you need to replace your floors with bamboo or buy new energy efficient appliances. It can also mean reusing or repurposing existing items.

Reuse old furniture, save money, and turn a bathroom remodel into a fun and creative home improvement project by converting an old dresser into a bathroom vanity. There are several options for the style of vanity you’ll create – depending on your needs, space, dresser, and bathroom size -ranging from all-in-one mirror/sink/cabinet units to simply prepping a dresser to withstand bathroom humidity levels.

If you don’t already have an old dresser to use, a quick online search will give you a list of antique stores, thrift shops, and other establishments that sell used furniture in your area. You can also try searching Craigslist and visiting yard sales, estate sales and auctions.

Prepping Your Dresser

The humidity from your bathroom shower will ruin the finish on most dressers over time, so you’ll want to decide how to protect your new vanity. You can choose an eco-friendly, non-toxic finish to waterproof the dresser and preserve its natural wood look, or paint the dresser with an odor-free, natural ingredient paint in a pearl or semi-gloss finish. One advantage to choosing paint is that the color can be easily changed each time you update the room.

If you’re using a weathered antique or heavily worn piece of furniture, you may choose to sand and then stain (for a natural wood finish) or primer (for a painted finish) the dresser to make it look new again. But you can also capitalize on a dresser’s seasoned look to give your vanity the appearance of an antique, by either minimally sanding it or skipping this step altogether before applying a protective finish.

Choosing Your Style

The type of vanity you choose may be largely determined by the dresser you have to work with and your bathroom upgrade needs, which can range from replacing your current sink to improving the space for morning routines in bathrooms used by more than one person. In any case, try to fashion your vanity according to the bathroom problem you’re trying to solve. Here are two common examples:

No Countertop or Cabinet Space: This may be your problem if your bathroom has a pedestal sink or basic vanity cabinet that doesn’t hold much more than the plumbing. You may want to simply refinish an old hutch or smaller dresser to add stylish linen and toiletry storage to your bathroom.

Inadequate Sink, Cabinets, and/or Mirror: If you’re looking to replace any combination of your current sink, vanity, or mirror, the dresser-mirror combo unit naturally converts into a vanity. You can use a router to cut holes in both the top and bottom of the dresser to add a drop in sink or a vessel sink and plumbing. If you don’t have the tools or knowledge to do this yourself, a local carpenter or handyman service can do the work at an hourly rate.

About the Author: Joaquin Erazo, Jr., senior vice president of Marketing and Public Relations for Case Remodeling/Design, blogs about a variety of green and eco-friendly home improvement projects on his company blog, including tips about your next bathroom remodel.