Upcycled Vanity for our Bathroom

There is no surprise that I couldn’t find a vanity unit that would 1) be right for the space and 2) was within our budget. Everything I found online was either way over our budget or just didn’t suit the space. I also struggled to find exactly, what I had in mind so in the end decided to make our own vanity unit from an old sideboard I sourced locally. I have put the costings at the bottom of the post, so you can see exactly how much it all cost in the end. I wanted a nice high end finish, so I splurged on the hardware and the taps, but if you were on a budget choosing cheaper options would save you even more money.

Searching for ready made vanity unit

When I was designing the bathroom,  I knew we would have quite a bit of space so I had a vanity unit in mind what I wanted to have. However, having looked around I realised that I couldn’t find one that would have everything on my list (2 sinks, brass taps and lots of storage). Anything that did come close to my dream vanity would cost over £1,500. I did not want to spend that much money, so instead decided to DIY the vanity unit that would be perfect for the bathroom instead for half the price. 

Finding the perfect upcycling piece

The search began for the perfect sized upcycling piece, that I could turn into a vanity unit with plenty of space! I did miss out on a unit at a charity shop when I first started searching as I wasn’t 100% sure of the measurements. It was £150 so I didn’t really want to risk it. By the time we got the bathroom measurements and went back, the unit had gone. I was a little disappointed as the unit would have been perfect for the space. Never-mind, a few weeks later we stumbled upon a potential vanity unit, which was even better. It was solid wood and only cost £75. We ended up getting a little discount and paid £65 in the end. 

Designing the vanity

I had a vision in mind including colours and finishes for the bathroom and I knew I wanted to keep some of the original wood, but paint the body in black paint to tie in with the rest of the bathroom. I really wanted the vanity unit to be a stand out piece in our bathroom. I measured the size of the top and checked the size of each sink to make sure it would work. I sourced the brass items for the unit and once it was all done, I started upcycling the unit.

Prep work

I don’t care what anyone says, always prep your furniture!! Whether it is chalk paint, “no need to prep” paint, always do some prep work I promise it is worth it!  The sideboard was smelling a bit musky, so I started by putting a few mini dehumidifiers inside. A few weeks later, I could still smell it, so I put some coal and onion cut in half (which usually works to draw out the moisture and smell). It was obviously very old and been kept in damp conditions so even once dry, the cabinet had a bit of smell, so I washed it using Murphy’s wood cleaner (affiliate). Once I was happy the smell had gone, I sanded the unit. I made sure I sand the whole of the varnish from the top to make sure there is no orange tinge left on.

I roughly sanded the cabinet doors. Once everything was sanded, I washed the unit using sugar soap to make sure all dust and dirt was gone.

Finishing touches

I initially painted the body using oil based paint, which I have used before without any issues. This time, however, I had the worst experience and regretted using this paint as soon as I started painting. The paint just didn’t want to co-operate at all. Second coat was even worse. After a little meltdown, I decided I needed to start all over as I was just not happy with the result.  I sanded the paint off (I didn’t remove all the paint, just the majority and washed using sugarsoap). I painted  one of the doors using Frenchic to see if this would work. Thankfully, it did! The paint went on like a dream (phew). It was so much easier to work with this, and I am never using oil based paint again!! 

I used Polyvine heavy duty varnish for the top to make sure that the top is waterproof and had the best protection. 

Our two top drawers on either side are “dummy” drawers and are actually cut with fronts screwed in to allow the plumbing and pipes to run underneath. The middle draw is absolutely fine and the 3 cabinets have lovely shelves so plenty of storage!

We pretty much halved the cost by doing this ourselves and got a one off piece which fits perfectly in this space.

Cost breakdown:

Vanity unit – £65 sourced locally from Noel’s Emporium

Taps – £149.99 each£299.98 (purchased additional taps and replaced originals see below) Dowsing & Reynolds

Sinks – £ 59.99 each£119.90 from Bathroom Mountain

Waste – £49.95 each £99.90

Solid Brass Knurled Brass 224mm Pull Bars x3 – £49.98 

Solid Brass Knurled Brass T-Bar x 3 – £24.98

Paint – Frenchic Al fresco paint (already had)

Varnish – already had

Total: – £659.74 EDITED: we ended up swapping the taps and got brand new ones from Dowsing & Reynolds as the ones we installed initially actually didn’t match.

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