No dream bathroom is complete without a centre piece, and whilst some favour a big, luxurious tub or a walk-in power shower, a simple vanity unit where you can get ready in the morning and neatly tuck away your beauty spoils does the job just as well.
From free-standing units to wall attachments to dainty corner pieces, with basins or with toilets, the variety of vanity unit designs these days is such that it's simple to find one to fit your bathroom - no matter how small or cluttered it may seem.
The biggest complaint people have about their bathrooms is a lack of space - and a lot of that is down to perception more than anything else. You can make your bathroom look and feel bigger by opting for a vanity unit with a large amount of storage space - that way you can keep everything hidden instead of having reams of shelves all over the place.
When it comes to materials, bear in mind that glass cabinets - whilst offering a unique aesthetic - are very susceptible to surface damage such as scratches and even cracks, not to mention the spots and marks that can ruine the nice look. If you're fitting a vanity unit for your main family bathroom, where kids could be running around all the time, it's better to make it more secure and opt for wooden or plastic cupboards. When choosing wooden unit, make sure it is covered with quality paint that will prevent from water and damp, or place it away from showers.
Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with bold colours. Bathrooms which stick exclusively to beiges and whites are often the least appealing because they lack that personal touch. A vanity unit should be just that - somewhere you enjoy getting ready before a night out.
You may be tempted to look for a slick continental design, but remember that British bathrooms tend to be smaller than some of those found elsewhere in Europe - so try to stick to British retailers where possible.
Your choice is essentially between a made-to-fit unit, for which you can request special custom features (dual mirrors, extra storage space, etc), or a generic design fresh from the catalogue.
For the latter, we recommend sticking to stores that have a reputation for quality - the best examples of which, in the British market, are Ikea, Homebase, Victoria Plumbing, Wickes and B&Q. For a basic product like this, you should cap your budget at around £300 or £400.
A little more towards the pricey range, Marks & Spencers also have a solid range of storage units and mirrors (meaning you can make your own vanity unit from disparate purchases). They also offer accompanying accessories like shower rails and towel racks - which really help your bathroom come together as a complete room.
If you are looking for a special, personal touch, then companies like Aspenn Furniture are worth visiting. Websites like these carry some additional cost, but you're also paying for customer care (in some cases, that will include helping you set everything up).
Most importantly, remember to get a warranty with your product that protects you against design faults that result in irreparable damage (not only to the vanity unit itself, but also your bathroom floor and walls).
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