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Converting a Cabinet into a Bathroom Vanity

I think this was the mother of all DIY projects in our house. It’s by far the most ambitious one we’ve ever tried at least, and my husband did an amazing job! When we renovated our master bath, we had a really hard time finding a bathroom vanity that fit our vision for the space. We have a small bathroom, but we wanted to maximize the space we had, which meant that we needed a vanity that wasn’t a standard size. We also loved the idea of having a marble counter top. Those two things together meant that we were looking at spending $2,000 on the vanity alone, not to mention all of the other bathroom expenses.

So when we came across the perfect sized cabinet on clearance at HomeGoods for $250, we decided we could do it ourselves for less. And we did. With the custom-cut carrara marble counter top, we ended up spending about $800 total. Yes, we could have gotten a smaller, standard vanity from Home Depot for cheaper, but it wouldn’t have been exactly what we wanted. This project let us achieve the look we were going for while keeping an extra $1,200 in our pockets!

Here’s how you can DIY: 

1. When you choose your counter top and sink, request the sink template from the vendor to use as a guide for cutting out the top of the furniture. You may need to coordinate this with your vendor to make sure you’re cutting the void for the sink in the correct location.

2. With all measurements accounted for, tape the sink template to the top of the furniture and trace it using a pencil or marker. You may want to add an additional ½” – 1” to the outside of the template to account for the brackets that attach the sink to the bottom of the counter top.

3. Assess the supporting points on your furniture and plan your cuts to retain structural integrity.  If cuts are necessary that may compromise the structure, plan to install new supports to help bear the weight of the new top. In this case, we added 2 x 4’s cut to length for support. You will want to reassess the stability after you cut out the section as well.

4. Drill a starter hole near the center of the traced template, and then use a jigsaw to cut out the top of the furniture.  If you are able to cut the full sink void, do so.  If your furniture has a center support, then you may need to cut the void out in sections. You can then use a hole saw to cut your faucet voids.

5. Measure the depth of your sink.  If a center support exists, transpose the measurement to the support and use your jigsaw to cut away the appropriate section.  If there is a shelf near the top of the furniture to support drawers (as was the case with our piece), cut out the appropriate void in this shelf as well to account for the depth of the sink.  Be sure to reassess the supporting structure to verify the furniture’s stability and strength.

6. Measure the section of plumbing on your bathroom wall.  Transpose those measurements to the back of the furniture (remembering to mirror the measurements) and mark out a section large enough to accommodate the plumbing. Cut out your marked area, and reassess the structure’s support and stability. At this point, you can add your extra supports if necessary.

7. To attach your new counter top to the furniture, dollop the appropriate adhesive around the top of the furniture. If needed, get assistance in placing the new top on the furniture and adjust to final position.  Be sure to allow for proper drying time. Once it’s dry, you can install the sink and faucet hardware.

8. Our furniture had two drawers at the top that now ran into the sink, but we wanted to utilize at least a portion of these drawers. If your furniture is similar, you can measure the area that the sink now occupies and subtract that from the previous drawer layout.

9. If possible, try to utilize the existing drawer sides and simply cut the bottom and the back of drawer to achieve the new size. Using wood glue and small nails, reconstruct the drawers. Because you are essentially losing the built-in track on one side of your drawer, you may need to install new drawer tracks to allow for proper movement. You can find these at any hardware or big box store for pretty cheap.

10. Finally, move your new vanity into place and secure it to the wall. Attach your plumbing, and you’re done!