How to turn a Dresser into a Bathroom Vanity

How to turn a dresser into a bathroom vanity - Domestic Imperfection

Dressers are super versatile,  you can transform them into a host of things. I’ve seen them made into media centers, changing tables, buffets, benches, bookshelves, toy storage, and last but not least, bathroom vanities.  When we decided to start renovating our bathroom last month I knew I wanted a dresser as my new vanity. I liked the idea of the vanity looking like a piece of furniture and I wanted the storage.

I’ve written a few posts about the process so far, but this post has all the information in one spot, including cutting space for the drain pipe (the most daunting part).

Step one – Find a dresser that is the right size.

If your bathroom doesn’t have walls on both end of the vanity than this will be fairly easy,  if it does (like mine) this may take a while. I hunted for weeks before I realized that the dresser in my boy’s room (which we had been using as a changing table) fit perfectly. Seriously perfectly, it is about half an inch shorter than the space between our walls.

Turning a dresser into a vanity

Step two – Make it pretty.

My dresser was handed down from my grandma and it was bright yellow. I painted it white a few years ago, but for my bathroom I wanted it to be a pure green. You can read about the dresser transformation by CLICKING HERE.

Dresser Makeover

Step three – Cut a hole for the sink.

For us, this step included building a whole new top for the dresser, but depending on your dresser and the sink you choose this step may not be necessary. We wanted a larger sink, but the problem was that any decent sized sink was too deep for the counter (as in it hung over the dresser in the front.) We decided to build a countertop out of hardwood flooring, which is a great solution for those of you (us) that don’t own a ton of tools. You can read about that process, including cutting a hole for the sink, in THIS POST.

How to cut a hole in wood

Step four – Remove the old vanity.

This is easy…just unhook all the connections (have a towel handy!) and get to ripping.

Demo a bathroom vanity

Just FYI, the drain pipe that sticks out of your wall will stink. Bad. Adam swears it not just us (he worked as a plumbers assistant a long time ago) and that all drain pipes smell horrid. Whew.  Just cover the pipe with a plastic bag and rubber band until its time to hook everything back up.

Step five – Install your faucet.

You can read that process HERE. You can obviously skip this step if you are using your old sink and faucet, but if you bought a new one of either you will want to install the faucet (before you install the sink!)

installing a bathroom faucet

Step six – Put your new vanity in place, assemble everything, and cut a path for your drain pipe through the drawers (this is where this post kicks in).

This part is going to be different for every dresser, but the general idea is the same. Hers is our dresser all stripped down, and you can see that the drain pipe is right in the middle of everything. Bad news for the drawers.

Turn a dresser into a vanity

This is where you get out your jigsaw and go to town. That’s really about as much advice as I can offer, but I think these pictures might give you a better idea of what is involved…

convert dresser to bathroom vanity

dresser into vanity

I know, those pictures makes this look like a daunting task. The drawers do complicate things, and if you could find a dresser with a door in the center it would make this part much simpler.

After everything was cut we just put it all together – installed the drain and made sure it was leak free, put the countertop on and screwed it in place, dropped in the sink, caulked around the sink, and then organized all the drawers.

Quick tip about caulking the sink. You want your caulk lines to be straight because they will be right out there in the open. The best way to do this is to use painters tape along both sides of where you are going to caulk (I wrote a tutorial about that HERE).  Also, I found that smoothing it out with a baby wipe works great.

How to caulk a sink

Also, make sure you wait until the sealer on your countertop is cured (so like 72 hours) before you put painters tape on it…it WILL pull up the sealer. Trust me on this.

And that is that, our master bathroom vanity is complete!

Turn a dresser into a bathroom vanity - Domestic Imperfection

Bathroom vanity made from a dresser

It has a ton of room for storage…

(We thought about adding surrounds around the holes to keep stuff from falling in the holes, but decided to see if it’s a problem before we make more work for ourselves. It’s been a few weeks and we haven’t had any “incidents”, so I think we may just leave it.)

bathroom storage

and is WAY better looking than our old vanity…

Vanity Before and After

(It is nearly impossible to take a decent picture in this bathroom – I had to stuff myself in my linen closet and take a million photos to get that after shot!)

Next, we tackle the rest of the bathroom….

My bathroom is ugly and boring

You might be wondering “Ashley, what the heck is up with the green? Where are you going with this?”  Well, I’ve never decorated our master bedroom (this bathroom is in our room) but I do have a plan and have bought a few things for it. Here is the quilt for our bed, this is where I am drawing my color inspiration.

The Company Store - Cordova Quilt

Don’t get too excited, I don’t think I’m going to get to the bedroom for a long time…but at least now you know where my colors are coming from!

To read the other bathroom remodel posts click the thumbnails below…

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  1. Ooooooooooooooooh I’m so excited to finally see your master bedroom! I saw it that one time when you told about the spider-fiasco (or was it wasps?), but still….And I love love love this post so much, for so many reasons. All of which you know! Perfect, girl! Pinning! xo
    Virginia @ LiveLoveDIY recently posted..Our 2013 House TourMy Profile

    • It was wasps, but after a month in the front yard there were plenty of spiders too :) Your bedroom is probably your most blogged about space, and mine is a big mystery. I can’t wait to start, but first I have to finish the bathroom AND the boys room. Sooo, yeah…it might be awhile.

  2. Love this project! I’m planning to do this in our bathroom and I’m bookmarking this when I find the right piece. Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer @ Town and Country Living recently posted..Tips for Building a White Ironstone CollectionMy Profile

  3. Great job! I love it! I am in the process of doing similar. I am very grateful for your little tutorial. One thing I would do though, is put some surround around the gap for the pipe so nothing would fall through. Can’t wait to do mine now!

    • Thanks Maria! We thought about adding surrounds (and still might), I’m going to see if it’s a problem first. Most of the stuff in the drawers is pretty big or in a container so hopefully it will be fine.

  4. I love the pop of green! There’s no doubt it’s a truly unique & custom piece. Also love the quilt…there are so many directions you can go with the colors in it! Looking forward to seeing the masterpiece you’ll create for your bedroom, even if it takes a while!

  5. I don’t want to complicate what looks to be an already complicated process, but I think I would have to put some ‘sides’ around those cutouts in the drawers. I would be concerned about things sliding during open and closing, and falling through into the drawers below.

    • We thought about adding surrounds (and still might), I’m going to see if it’s a problem first. Most of the stuff in the drawers is pretty big or in a container so hopefully it will be fine. Kinda ready to be done with this part :)

  6. man, all that storage is great! love it
    kelly thompson recently posted..Spring time hair clips/broochMy Profile

  7. Ashley,
    I love your blog! The reason why: its normal… it looks like a normal house where people live ie. children that love to play outside and husband that can get just as dirty. I’m all over your style. I like that I feel like I can achieve a similar look without breaking the bank. I LOVE IT! keep up the great work sister! And keep keepin it REAL!

  8. Girl, that is amazing! And gives me hope for our guest bath! I’m getting sick of that ugly builder’s grade vanity… blech!
    Gwen recently posted..Gluten Free Friday: Easy Cheesy MacMy Profile

  9. Great job putting this all together, Ashley
    Cindy recently posted..Spring Fever is Here!!!My Profile

  10. Jan Elizabeth says:

    You guys did an amazing job! Wow, night and day from your old vanity. I love the colour, and also the other colours in the quilt – the bedroom will be fun to do (and well-deserved! Busy parents need a relaxing space to call their own.)
    Jan Elizabeth recently posted..Early Days – and How They Can Shape the FutureMy Profile

  11. That came out amazingly well! Absolutely love the color too. This makes my cheapo hardware store vanity feel very very vanilla!
    Kathryn recently posted..Re-cover-y timeMy Profile

  12. It looks fantastic. I love that you added the feet. Great project.

    Warmly, Michelle

  13. 2Momma2 says:

    I love this! It looks great! Drawers are so much nicer for keeping things organized! I actually have a custom top drawer cut out around the sink in my vanity. It is so nice to have!

    You guys did a great job and your little one is so cute in picture #1. :)


  14. I love your new vanity! Truly unique. The pop of green is awesome. If you get a chance, please share this on my link party

  15. that settles it-put legs on anything, and I like it 10 times better! and gorgeous quilt!

  16. This is amazing!!! I love how it turned out and the color is great!

    • Thanks Kaysi! I’m loving the green too. I’m in the process of putting a turquoise stencil on the walls (stenciling takes!) and they are so fun together…or as my husband says “very interesting”, haha.

  17. WOW! I love it that it was a dresser! you did a very good job; it looks very nice!
    so glad to have stopped by your lovely blog today from The 36th Avenue party!

  18. Looks awesome and great tutorial! I would love if you stopped by my linky party happening now to share this!
    Stacey of Embracing Change
    Stacey recently posted..Crabby CupcakesMy Profile

  19. I would love for you to share and link up at my TGIF Link Party. The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday’s at midnight.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs, Cathy

  20. What an amazing transformation! The color is beautiful, and the knobs you chose are perfect!
    Toni recently posted..Customizable Bakery Style Frosting RecipeMy Profile

  21. Looks great, girl! So much work. DEFINITELY worth it!! Good job to you + hubby! (:
    Lolly Jane recently posted..Do Small Things with Great Love |free printableMy Profile

    • Thanks! It was a bit more work then we were expecting, mostly cause we had to make a new top. But now that’s its in there and functional we have forgotten about the pain…kinda like childbirth, lol.

  22. You did a great job. I will be featuring this tonight at my Swing into Spring party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I’ve Been Featured button. Thanks.
    Judy recently posted..How to Transfer Text to Fabric for EmbroideryMy Profile

  23. I love the vanity!! But then I’m a little partial to green since I painted mine the same colour! So fresh feeling!
    I love how your husband had the same reaction to the colour as mine. He likes it now though!

  24. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I will have to start looking for an old dresser.

  25. Love it! We have three vanities that need major help here.

  26. I’ve seen this on Pinterest and loved, loved, loved it! I can’t get over the green and am so encouraged by your tutorial — maybe I really can do it in my master bath. Thanks for breaking it down for me.

  27. Turning a dresser into a bathroom vanity is very popular these days. It provides a wonderful piece which you can set any room of your home apart.

  28. No one else asked….WHERE did you get the quilt? I LOVE it! I also love the dresser/vanity!! I’m obsessed with all of your remodeling projects! I’m smack dab in the middle of starting a MAJOR house overhaul. We’ve gutted the house from the upstairs ceiling down to the main floor.(Seriously..I look straight up at the tin roof!) We have two bathrooms and a bedroom left. We currently reside in a 30ft camper! It’s a crazy life here in the camper with two teens, a preK, a Kindergartener, a pom, and a westie pup! But, this too, shall pass!! I’ll begin blogging about it as soon as work commences =) Oh, did I mention that I’ll soon have my older son home in 8 days? Not sure where we’ll put him……! Haha!
    Tori recently posted..Seizing the day…in a most unhappy way.My Profile

    • That is a major overhaul! That’s funny because my husband and his family of seven lived in a camper for a year while they were building their house. Even more surprising is that I never hear horror stories about it from any of the kids (thought it might be a different story if I asked his parents about it!).

      Oh, and I got the quilt at The Company Store, they have great bedding. The one I bought was on final closeout, but they come out with new bedding each season.

  29. Oh my goodness, I had the same dresser! It was from a bedroom suite my parents bought for me in the 60’s and it was a wild red-orange. It was actually really nice pecan furniture sold in some unfortunate colors: yellow, red-orange and white. My husband & I refinished my dresser 10 years ago for our guest room. Weren’t those plasticy daisey leaves on the drawers weird?

  30. This post is a life saver for me! We are about to start remodeling and I urgently needed pics to show my uncle about gutting the dresser. Bless you!!


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