Bathroom Vanity Upgrade

By Kate Riley March 6, 2012

So the hall bathroom remodel continues, and one of the projects we needed to tackle was reworking the existing vanity.  As much as I wanted to buy a new one, it didn’t make financial sense since the vanity was in really good condition. It would have been easy to simply paint it, but I had a slightly different plan.

I was eyeballing this turned leg console over at Pottery Barn with its fabulous furniture feet and came up with the idea to rework our existing vanity by building a new base different from the builder grade base we already had – one that shared this modern style lifted up off the floor and with those fantastic furniture feet.

pb turned leg console


Last weekend that’s just what we did.  After we pulled out the vanity, we brought it downstairs into the garage and built a new base to raise it up and add those furniture feet so that it looked more like the inspiration image above.

vanity before and after cg

It’s only a “semi-after” since it’s just been primed, and I haven’t painted it yet, plus it still needs a solid surface countertop, but we think that little change from a standard builder grade base with a toe kick to the new look with furniture style feet gives the vanity a more modern vibe.

How’d we do it?  Well I’ll show ya!


My friend Ana White (you’ve heard of her right? Of course you have!) is a carpenter extraordinaire! I emailed her and asked her if she could think of a way my idea would work and not only did she tell me it would but she worked up a quick plan for the new base.  Thank you Ana !!

ana white base

The first thing we did was demolish the existing base.

demolish base


Next, we cut the 2 x 4’s to the exact width and depth of the underside of the cabinet with a compound miter saw.

dewalt compound miter saw


Rather than building the base separate from the vanity, we flipped it upside down and cut the wood to the exact measurements of the width and depth of the cabinet, then attached the 2 x 4 cuts with screws to form the base.

screw 2 x 4s to base


For the middle supports we used pieces of 2 x4 and cut them to the same height as the furniture feet.

middle supports


Note, if you’re reworking an existing vanity that’s smaller like this one below, then you really don’t need the middle supports, but since ours was 70” long and needs to support the weight of a countertop too, we added the middle supports for stability.

pb sink console


For the middle stabilizers we used a tool called a Kreg Jig, which allows you to drill pocket holes to make stronger joints for your wood building projects, it’s really cool.

kreg jig

This is what your pocket holes will look like after using the clamp and guides on a Kreg Jig and quickly drilling them with a bit.

kreg jig pocket holes

This tool makes it easy to attach the middle stabilizers after the 2 x 4 frame is attached to the vanity. If you don’t have a Kreg Jig, and need to add stabilizers, then you’ll have to screw them in from the side which isn’t as stable or build the frame completely separate from the vanity and screw the stabilizing feet to the frame from the top before you attach it to the vanity.  A Kreg Jig just makes the job quicker and easier.

kreg jig screws into stabilizers

Next it’s time to attach the furniture feet which are available at various home improvement stores.  These ones came from Home Depot and cost $8 each – they also come with their own hanger screws.

furniture feet

But we bought longer ones (5/16” x 3”) for $2 for even greater stabilization.

hanger bolts


Just remember to turn them around so the pointy end is the one you actually screw into the new frame.  Decide where the feet will go by carefully measuring its location, but be sure you have clearance on all sides so that when you turn your vanity right side up, the curve of the new feet will not prevent the vanity from being flush with the wall.

screw feet into base


There was a slight difference in elevation in the front of the cabinet between the new base and the front edge so I covered it up with a piece of quarter round glued on and then secured with small brad nails.

wood glue for trim

trim on ledge

Just about any imperfection can be hidden with the right piece of trim!

Adding the new base added another 1 ½ inches to the height of the vanity which is what we wanted, but if duplicating the project pay attention to all your measurements that will add up to your final countertop height .  Bathroom countertop heights range from 29” (standard) to up to 35” for taller individuals, so consider all the measurements that will add up on top of your new vanity, including the plywood base required for many solid surface countertops, and whether your sink will be overmount, undermount, or a bowl or vessel sink.

Here’s what the new base looks like from underneath.

bottom of new vanity base


As a last step, I primed the doors and the vanity with my favorite spray primer.

spray primer


The vanity sits in our garage waiting to be painted and installed in the upstairs bathroom.

frame and furniture feet vanity


Now comes time to choose the right paint color and countertop and install it, but I’m so glad we were able to save some cash by reworking the vanity in the about-to-be remodeled bathroom space.

Next up, a bureau before and after that I think you’ll really love!  And if you would pretty please, vote for CG in The Homies for Best DIY Blog and/or Best Home Design Blog – but be sure to sign in with Apartment Therapy first through email, FB or Twitter. Thanks so much!


kate signature image



  1. Wow, it looks great! Can’t wait to see until the bathroom is completed. It’s going to look awesome! By the way, I can’t believe I’m the first person to comment on this post! :-)

  2. Oh my goodness you are good girl, love this idea and am now thinking this would look great in our master bath. Thanks for the little tips, they are very handy and much appreciated.

    • I can’t seem to open any of your attachments with the pictures. Can you explain me how I do this please?

  3. love the feet!! great tutorial also – thank you.
    gives me an idea for a cabinet I’m fixing up.
    cheryl xox.

  4. Great tutorial! I was wondering though, none of the wood from the old frame was salvageable instead of buying new 2×4’s? Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Debora, we couldn’t salvage the existing base, it was a 1/2 inch MDF box that wouldn’t support the new legs which was the reason we built the new frame with 2 x 4s.

  5. Love, Love, Love it!! Thank you for the inspiration, great directions with all the details and fabulous pictures! Keep ’em coming!

  6. Wow this is genius & I love it! I would be taking out our vanity tomorrow to do this to it if we owned our place… really, such a great idea.

  7. Kate, what a transformation! I bet that is heavy to lift; especially if you have to go up any stairs. It looks really like professional workmanship. Can’t wait to see the finished project completed. We have a 1977 builder’s model in our bathrooms..and I’m considering trying to paint them first and see what it looks like, especially the one in the Master Bathroom..but will replace with new cabinet in the Main bath that guest use when they come to our house.

  8. I really WISH I had an 1/8th of your talent. You’re amazing and the vanity looks awesome.

  9. Okay Kate, that is just brilliant…this is an incredible makeover of that cabinet!

  10. Oh I love this idea! I have a dark brown vanity that is looking a bit dated….I wonder….

    Lovely Man is going to ban me from blogs and pinterest soon…getting too many ideas leading to too many ‘honey do’ lists!

    You’ve done a great job here…don’t suppose I could borrow your hubby? LOL!

  11. This is such perfect timing! We are in the middle of renovating our guest bath, and I had really wanted to tweak the base of the vanity so that it wasn’t so obviously builder stock. I had just about given up on the idea, as my husband is up to his ears in tile and my adding carpentry to the project was not exactly met with enthusiasm. (HA — understatement of the year.) However, this? It’s even cuter than what I was thinking of, and easy enough that I can do it myself. Thanks!

  12. HI Kate,
    What a great idea, this looks amazing!!!!. I want to do a reno in my masterbath and get rid of the ugly yellowed marble counter. I love the look of the vanity with the feet. I am saving this post and have also pinned it to my reno ideas board on pinterest. Thank you for all the great photos on how to do this. Your bathroom is going to be wonderful.

  13. I’ve been looking forward to this post ever since you mentioned it a few weeks back. I am hoping to do the same thing with the vanity from our bath. Thanks so much for the easy to follow instructions!

  14. Beautiful! You “youngsters” have the strength and determination to get that down the stairs! It’s truly a great update.

  15. Ummmm…INSPIRATION. I have the world’s shortest vanity and I have no $$ to buy a brand-new one. I never thought of adding furniture feet. As usual, excellent ideas and tutorial! :)

  16. Looks great! I love that look of being a piece of furniture, and I really think it’s awesome that you are recycling. I got a kreg jig, but I haven’t used it yet. I have soooo many furniture things that I want to build once I move into a new place. Your site is giving me lots of inspiration.

  17. Can’t wait to see the finished bathroom. I am new to your site and am already voting for you!

  18. Awesome idea….Need to show my hubby this and try to convince him to upgrade our pedestal vanity…I have no storage!

  19. Looks fabulous!!! I would love to know about the small single door vanity. Where did you get it? I have a very small bathroom that is tucked under my staircase and it looks like that vanity would fit. The small vanities I usually see look cheap with a capitol C or else the special orders I’ve see are 800 to 1500 which isn’t happening on my budget. Thanks.

  20. This is such a great way to make use of an existing vanity. I would love to do this if my husband and I ever get around to replacing the tile floor in our bathroom. It really gives it a custom look and looks like you paid a bunch of money for it. You are going to have so much fun enjoying your “new” bathroom!

  21. I left a msg previously but I don’t see it. Absolute love this, but my only hesitation is having to clean underneath it. I do have a question, however. Throughout our entire house we have stained wood trim and wood doors. My husband would die if I were to paint them. If I were able to convince him to be able to paint our master vanity antique white, would that look silly with all of the stained trim work, etc? We also have that builder grade big mirror, but thanx to on-line blogs, I whipped out the liquid nails and a mitre saw and and put wood trim around it painted antique white. I’d appreciate your opinion because you have such a wonderful eye.

  22. Wow! Thank you! I’m in the process of re-doing our master bath and will do this exact thing with our vanity. Can’t wait to see the final result.

  23. OMG i have been looking for the perfect mosaic for the backsplashes in my new home to match my granite. i am acutally a tile retailer, and have not had any luck. i have looked all over texas for the right match. after reading your blog, i decided to sashay myself down to Lowes late last night. Voila, i found the perfect glass/stone mix and it’s only $10!!!! it would have been $30 in my store! best thing is they have 130 sq ft of it too. thanks for your inspiration and saving CENTS!

    • Fantastic news Babbie, yes I too was pleasantly surprised at all the variety of tile over there at Lowes and great prices!

  24. Wow! That is such a fantastic idea! I wanted to replace the vanity in the main bath of our house, but knew it wasn’t a necessity. This would be such an inexpensive update! I’m going to show this to my hubbie and beg him to do it for me! Great job! Thanks for sharing your idea!

  25. Ok that’s genius. And I think I can do that with my perfectly good vanity in my bathroom but one that needs a style upgrade. Thanks for the idea, Kate!

  26. That is simply to die for! Thanks for telling how to do this. I want to do this to a dresser we have.

  27. Love how you tackle the big projects. When you break it down like that, then “I think I can!”
    Thank you for sharing!

  28. Oh my gosh you are brilliant! I too, HATE the bottom of bathroom vanities. I would have simply painted out the toe kick or lined it with mirror and added the feet. Your idea (while more time consuming) is SO much better. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

  29. What a great eco update. This is something a lot of people will be doing – in fact, I would if only I had more floor tile! Another amazing tutorial, Kate!

    • Hi Kim, yes we will need to repair the tile so that it goes all the way to the back wall, which certainly complicates matters but we have the tile to do it. If you have a linoleum or tile floor in your bathroom, you will need to have enough material or pieces to patch underneath.

  30. That looks amazing! We just have one bathroom remaining with that style builder basic vanity and this has totally motivated me to do something about it!

    I also have what I think is potentially a stupid question….how did you remove the hanger bolts from the feet to put in the new ones? I recently bought a small ottoman that has feet that I don’t want to replace, but I want the hanger bolts to be longer because the pets and kids are using it as a playground and I want it to be a little stronger. I tried turning the bolts to see if they would budge but they didn’t. Is there a trick you used to remove yours?

    • Hi Rachel, those bolts are rather tight, but if you use pliers and twist it carefully, it winds its way out and then you can replace it with a longer hanger bolt, just make sure they’re threaded the same and are the same width! You may be able to grab it with the end of a cordless drill too if it’s long enough and put it in reverse to help twist it out.

  31. This just struck a chord with me this morning…I MUST do this in our bathroom! Thank you for taking the time to write out the tutorial and share with us. Can’t wait to see the final product!

  32. Reading your blog makes my project list grow ever longer!! Really would love to do this and save some money $. Fabulous…love, love, love it!

  33. Wow that looks amazing! I can’t wait to have a house of my own instead of my crappy apartment so I can make it look beautiful :)

  34. Oh my goodness! I have been following your posts since I stumbled across you on Pinterest (LOVE that!!) and this is PERFECT for our first floor 1/2 bath! THANK YOU!!!! I have already emailed my hubby the link and fully intend to start this project very soon! Love it! :)

  35. Oh-emmmm-geeeee! You guys are amazing! Really amazing and creative and I love it. hope it turns out well…keep us posted :)

  36. Love it! Saving this idea as potential for our master bath. It hit me as I was re-scanning your post that you went to the trouble to reassemble the vanity and put the knobs back on for the pics – devotion, ha!

  37. I love that look use it often on built in cabinetry. The only thing is…dust and stuff that accumulates underneath can be a chore to keep up with. But the look is so worth it.

  38. This looks soooo great! You and hubby did a beautiful job. How about a visit to San Antonio……I could really use you guys! Your bath is going to be so pretty!

  39. Brilliant. Do you love it? Way to think “outside the box”… literally! It looks great.
    I love that you collaborated with Ana, too.
    How many Kreg jigs do you think she has “sold”? We bought one last week, with an “Ana” project in mind. I hope she gets a little something from those folks!

    Can’t wait to see what is next on the bathroom agenda.

  40. I absolutely love this idea, Kate! We have been scheming on what we could do to our master vanity and this may be the answer!

  41. WOW Kate!! What a looks great and saved your a lot of money..

  42. It looks amazing! This is exactly what I was envisioning in my head for my vanity. Thank you so much for making it a reality and thanks so much for posting it so quickly! :D

  43. Wow, your cabinet looks great! I love when I can reuse something that is already in the house.

  44. I love what you guys did to the vanity. Sharp looking. Can’t wait to see what is next.

  45. Your projects continue to completely awe and inspire! It looks like a substantial amount of work, but how satisfying it must feel to come up with such a cool idea and then actually see the tangible results…Love what you did here…

  46. What a great idea. This is going to look wonderful and its nice that you didn’t have to buy an entire until. Way to go!

  47. I’m so impressed! This looks beautiful & about 1K cheaper than PB! I’m SOO showing this to my hubby tonight for our MB. Thanks Kate for all your inspiration!

  48. I love this idea! Although I would have gone about it a bit differently. Personally, the idea of needing to sweep clear to the back of my vanity would drive me bonkers, so I would have made a solid piece about 6 inches back that ran the whole length of the vanity. You could still have those awesome feet, but no need to sweep so far!

  49. It looks so great so far! I love how you changed the base to make it look more like furniture with those cute legs.

  50. Brilliant idea! I can’t wait to see the finished product, please post soon! :)

  51. You could also trim the outside edge off door with table saw to get door to fit inside cabinet frame to make look like a custom piece of furniture. You would need to replace hinges but very doable. Thanks

  52. We have a similar builder grade cabinet in our bathroom which is too new and nice to ditch but I’m not in love with it. This is such a great idea that I would have never thought of!! I’m sooo excited to see what you have done and I can’t wait to see the finish!! Thanks for the inspiration!!!!

  53. hi Kate,

    Love your tutorial and i am hoping i can try it out soon. Do you have any steps on how to remove the existing vanity? this would be a first for me in many ways.


    • Hi Radiya, disconnecting the plumbing is the most challenging part, and like I said, I’m no expert but my dude figured it out with some internet research. When in doubt, hire a professional, but once that’s done, you should be able to unscrew it from the wall and pull it right out, assuming you’ve already removed the countertop.

  54. Love this idea. We’re actually just now getting our plans together to redo our bathroom and love the idea of building up the cabinets with legs. We’re getting new vanities but I don’t see why we couldn’t add new feet and stain them to match.

  55. That is fabulous! Thakn you so much for sharing. I’m dying to try something similar with our kitchen island.

  56. This is amazing! One of our future projects is to revamp our master bathroom… this would be an awesome project for the vanity! Thanks so much for sharing the details!

    • Hi Cami, I’ve found mine in several places but you should find it at any Home Depot or Lowes or Ace or True Value, they all carry it!

  57. Kate, this is absolutely brilliant. I love the furniture feet! I’ve seen folks add feet to the bottom of a cabinet without removing it, which sometimes turns out well–and sometimes just looks awkward. One trick, though, is to paint a toekick board with a flat black or other dark paint–then it sort of disappears and that contributes to the illusion. Much better, though, to take out the cabinetry and actually add real feet. Awesome!

  58. Hi Kate,
    I was wondering if you had tile under your vanity, when you took it out? I would love to do the same thing with our master bathroom vanity but we do not have tile under the vanity just sub flooring.

    • Yes Tara, we do have to repair the tile (there was none underneath) but I do have enough pieces to do it.

  59. I LOVE this. What a great example of repurposing. It looks fabulous, and not only did you save money, but you kept an old cabinet out of the landfill!

  60. What do you think of this super shortcut – just installing the feet – even just glueing them in place without creating a new base? I might give it a try and just see.

  61. I’m new to your blog and am loving all of your ideas!
    I’ve never seen the trigger spray attachment for the spray paint (primer). Is this available at stores like Home Depot / Lowe’s?
    Thanks for all of your inspirations!

  62. Great idea! I have an old cabinet that is currently just sitting in the garage. I’m wondering if adding the frame now allows the cabinet to stand alone, or does it still have to be leaning against a wall to be properly balanced?

    • Hi Alison, your cabinet should be fine freestanding on its own!

  63. Wondered if there are any updates to your vanity – ie paint color. We have copied you by repurposing our old vanity and adding feet, and I’m trying to decide if I should just paint it white or go a darker gray. New wall color is BM Silver Chain and floors are light gray tile with some variation. New counter top will be kashmir white granite.

    • Hi Dana, I love both gray and white, I think either would look beautiful!

  64. Well I am waiting to see your end result. What color did you choose?? We are working on doing the same in our bathroom and I can’t wait to finish this, I know it is going to look amazing!

  65. Hi Kate, This is beautiful, and I will be doing the same as we remodel our master! Can you tell me where you found the feet. I have been looking online and these are my favorite so far. Thanks!

  66. Did you ever post a final picture of your vanity in the bathroom? Would love to see. You’ve motivated me and we are currently building a frame and adding feet to our vanity. Anything you would add to this project, now that you are a few years in? Thank you for the inspiration.

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