The classic bathroom vanity measured about 32 inches high (with countertop) by 21 inches deep and about 30 inches wide. But bath cabinets are growing -- new offerings may be up to 36 inches high by 24 inches deep and 48 inches wide. You can make longer cabinet runs by joining units together.
Some bath cabinet lines include wall cabinets and tall storage units; otherwise, look to kitchen cabinet manufacturers for ideas.
Within each line, costs are largely determined by the style of the doors and drawers you choose. The simplest, least expensive option is often a flat or "slab" door, popular for seamless European designs. Frame-and-panel designs are more traditional and come in many versions, including raised panel (both real and false), arched panel, beaded panel, and recessed or flat panel.
To determine the quality of a cabinet, first look closely at the drawers. They take more of a beating than any other part of your cabinets. Several drawer designs are shown at far right. You’ll pay a premium for such features as solid-wood drawer boxes, sturdy dovetail joints, and full-extension, ball-bearing guides.
Are cabinet pulls included? If not, you’ll pay more for them, but you’ll be able to choose exactly what you want.
Door hinges are critical hardware elements. European or "invisible" hinges are most trouble-free; consider these unless you need the period look of surface hardware. Check for adjustability; hinges should be able to be reset with the cabinets in place.
Most cabinet boxes are made from sheet products like plywood, particleboard (plain or laminated), or medium-density fiberboard. Though solid lumber is sometimes used, it is usually saved for doors and drawers.
Hardwood plywood is surfaced with attractive wood veneers on both face and back. The higher the face grade, the more you’ll pay. Particleboard costs less, weighs more, and is both weaker and more prone to warping and moisture damage than plywood. Generally, particleboard vanities are faced with high-pressure plastic laminate or with a softer material called melamine. Medium-density fiberboard (MDF), a denser, furniture-grade particleboard, is available with high-quality hardwood veneers.
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