Bathroom Vanity Upcycle

By October 12, 2015 ,


The vanity in our master bathroom when we moved in was short, oak, and featured a floral frosted glass door. See my full first budget bathroom update here.

I knew I wanted to replace it with something taller but with 2 drawers still, since this bathroom is tiny I couldn’t upgrade from a 24” wide to a 28” wide vanity. I quickly learned the 24” wide options were slim and all the options were white laminate. We had white laminate cabinets in our townhouse and had issues with the thermoplast panels pulling off the backer, no thank you. So I measured the vanity in our guest suite, 24” wide, two drawers, and GASP actual wood!

Once we completed our Guest Suite bathroom update we started on ‘upcycling’ that  vanity for our master bath.Guest Suite

First we removed the sink top, since it was marbled and covered in paint droplets, we replaced it.

Then I sanded the whole vanity down, including the laminate over plywood sides.

Two coats of Zissner Stain Blocker Oil Based Primer

3 coats of the Behr satin off white paint we used on our kitchen cabinets.

Then we raised the vanity up 5” to be counter height. To do this we added 6” wide boards, ripped down to 5” to the bottom of the vanity using corner brackets and straps, like so. We also Liquid Nailed everything as well. The key to doing it this way is to find a board the same width as the bottom of the vanity, in our case this was 1/2 inch.

Then cut a hole in the bottom of the vanity since our shut off valves in this bathroom sit on the floor.

For the vanity top I originally wanted to do marble to go with our ‘'marble floor” but the $300 price point vs. the $54 white top just wasn’t justifiable. It looks great! 

Then we placed the vanity in the bathroom, installed our new Pfister Selia faucet in the vanity top, got the plumbing in place and quickly learned that the “Glacier Bay Newport Vanity Top” doesn’t have a overflow which caused our push and seal drain from Pfister not to work. One $20 overflow less drain later, our $54 sink top was saved.


With the plumbing figured out we focused on the trim.

We cut bead board to fit the new taller kick plate and side of the vanity. The vanity front extends past the side so the breadboard edge was not visible. For the seam with the wall we added left over cap molding from our wainscoting project.


On the other side we added pvc outside corner molding to fill the gap against the wall, we also used this for the corner of the kick plate. This worked out great since our corner wasn’t a perfect cut.

To finish the inside of the cabinet, I cut cardboard to fit around the supplies, then I taped it down with some blue tape, then covered the whole bottom with contact paper. In the event we need to turn the water off we’ll quickly tear it out and replace the contact paper. This worked out well since we made the access hole oversize to make it easier, with the ‘cover’ I can still use the entire cabinet.


To finish off the project we tacked our corner round back down and caulked everything with Alex Plus.

It was a lot of work to ‘save’ our ‘free’ vanity but I think it was worth it, especially since there weren’t any out of the box options I loved, and some of the issues we had were tied to our bathroom and couldn’t have been avoided.

Supplies & Cost

Total $191.38

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  1. It looks great. I love the beadboard on the side!

    1. Thanks Lisa! That extra beadboard step really "ups" it to be higher end, it wasn't terribly hard either since we just liquid nailed it!