The star of the DIY powder room transformation that we completed for my in-laws was…the DIY floating vanity. We had seen a similar one during the Parade of Homes a few months prior and had been envisioning building it ever since.
Alright, let’s dive in and DIY a floating vanity!
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How to Build a Floating Vanity With Drawers
Prefer printable plans with 3D renderings of each step? We’ve got you! Grab your DIY floating vanity printable plans HERE.
- Miter Saw (we use this blade with ours)
- Kreg Jig (not sure which to get? Check out which Kreg Jig to get)
- Circular Saw
- Random Orbital Sander
- Brad Nailer
- Iron (to apply edge banding)
- Measuring Tape (new to DIY? Be sure to check out this post with measuring tips)
- Safety Equipment
- (1) ¾”x4x4 sheet of plywood (we used red oak)
- (1) ½”x4x8 sheet of plywood (we used maple and just barely needed more than a 4×4 sheet)
- (6) ¼”x3x4 boards (we used red oak)
- Wood glue (this is our favorite type)
- Wood filler (we use this one, but be sure to check out our wood filler experiment to decide which might be best for your project)
- Sandpaper (120, 180, and 220 grit)
- 1″ softwood Kreg screws
- 1.25″ softwood Kreg screws
- ¾” iron-on edge banding that matches your plywood type
- ⅝” nails
- 3” wood screws to install to wall
- (2) drawer pulls
We bought the sink first and then built the vanity to match it because we didn’t want there to be much overhang of the sink. With the sink installed, the vanity is 29 15/16” W x 17 3/4” D x 22 5/8” H. The sink bowl bumps out a bit, which is why the depth is so much deeper than without the countertop.
Without the sink installed, the vanity is 29 5/8” W x 13 1/2” D x 17 1/2” H. We think that building this vanity with a vessel sink similar to what we used on this DIY bathroom vanity would be beautiful. It would also make installation a little bit easier, but we’ll get to that part a little bit later.
This is the sink that we used on our floating vanity build.
STEP 1: MAKE THE CUTS
Make your vanity cuts according to the cut list in the printable plans.
As noted in the plans, we recommend cutting a single piece for the two drawer fronts rather than cutting both of the drawer fronts to size right away. This will allow us to have a continuous pattern between the two drawer fronts similar to what we did in these DIY nightstand plans.
Our sink hung on the wall by itself and is not technically supported by the vanity. If your sink/countertop is not going to hang independently of the floating vanity, we’d recommend cutting the top stretcher at a 45-degree angle and creating a french cleat to help support more weight of a countertop.
STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES
- 2 on either end of your top and back stretchers
- 3 on either short end of your bottom piece
STEP 3: ADD PATTERN TO DRAWER FRONTS
Roughly cut your boards down to size. For the most part, you don’t need to cut these down exactly because we will trim off any excess from the sides after the glue has dried.
We cut 6 pieces down to 12” to start the pattern and then roughly measured the rest from there. Again, you just want them to be long enough to extend past the piece of the plywood slightly.
Mark the center of your plywood. This is where you’ll line up the tips of your boards.
Mock up the entire spacing before adding glue. Once you’re happy with the placement, remove all but 3-4 of the pieces. Outline the pieces that are remaining on the board so that you have an “exact” spot to line your pieces back up with.
Remove the remaining pieces and cover the plywood in a generous amount of wood glue. Be sure to spread it so that it’s an even layer everywhere.
Place your boards back onto the plywood, starting with the few pieces that you outlined.
If you would like to, you can add a ⅝” nail or two into a few (or all) of your pieces as you place them. This will help prevent them from sliding around as you add more pieces.
If you do decide to add nails, avoid the center and very edges of the plywood. We will be cutting this plywood soon and don’t want to run into a nail!
After completing the herringbone design, wipe off any glue that has seeped through and then place something heavy on top of the plywood as the glue dries.
Let dry overnight if possible.
STEP 4: APPLY EDGE BANDING
Apply edge banding to the following pieces:
- 1 long edge of ONE of the top stretchers
- 1 long edge of both of the side pieces
- 1 long edge of the bottom piece
STEP 5: ASSEMBLE THE MAIN STRUCTURE
We’ll use glue and 1.25” Kreg screws for this step.
First secure the bottom to one side. The pocket holes should be facing towards the inside of the vanity.
Then secure the top stretchers. The front stretcher should be flush with the front of the sides and the side with edge banding should be facing out.
Please note: it’s much easier to apply the edge banding to the vanity first. We rushed into the assembly and forgot to do the edge banding first, so you won’t see it in the pictures.
If you’re using the same sink as ours, you’ll need to place the back stretcher so that it’s 4.5” from the back of the vanity to account for the faucet. We realized that issue after installing it initially.
Now attach the second side to the bottom and top stretchers.
Finally, you can add the back stretchers, one at the top and one at the bottom. We ended up installing these much later because we weren’t working on the project at our house and weren’t sure the plumbing would get in the way of the positioning.
STEP 6: CUT DOWN THE DRAWER FRONTS
Flip your drawer front over so that the plywood side is facing up. Place the front of the main vanity structure on the plywood and trace it.
Since we are making full-overlay drawer fronts, this will ensure our drawer fronts precisely cover the vanity frame…and this method doesn’t require any math!
Cut off the excess plywood and herringbone design using a circular saw. As you’re cutting the height, you can err on making the piece a hair smaller than the vanity frame rather than a hair larger since you will need to drop the top drawer down about 1/16 – ⅛” from the top to ensure it opens and doesn’t scrape the countertop.
Once you have it trimmed down, it’s now time to turn this into two separate drawer fronts. Place a piece of painter’s tape down the middle of the drawer and mark the halfway point. Cut your drawer into two separate pieces.
The kerf of the saw blade will now be your required gap between the drawer fronts.
Once you have your drawer fronts cut, apply edge banding around each side of the drawer fronts.
STEP 7: MAKE + INSTALL THE DRAWERS
These drawer boxes are different from a traditional drawer box because we need to work around the plumbing. Our sink is not centered, so our drawer boxes will be different sizes on the right and left side. Be sure to look at the placement of your plumbing and make any modifications to account for the exact location of your lines.
We essentially built 4 separate drawer boxes and will later connect them using two stretchers. We recommend installing the drawer slides first and then measuring between the two boxes to determine the exact length of the stretchers.
When it came time for the drawer front install, we first installed the hardware. Because of the location of the stretchers, we can’t screw in the hardware after the drawer fronts are installed.
Once the drawer pulls were installed on the fronts, I tried out the Rockler drawer front clamps. Honestly, I was pretty impressed! They really did a great job at helping me get things lined up and held everything in place nicely as I secured the drawer front to the drawer box.
STEP 8: INSTALL THE VANITY
Whenever you are installing things into the wall, you need to proceed with caution. The wall we were putting this vanity only had one stud that would hit the vanity and there were several water lines and electrical wires behind the wall.
Being that this is a floating vanity, we wanted to ensure that it hit at least two studs. We ended up cutting the wall open and adding additional support boards to the studs to “bring them in” enough so that we could install the vanity into solid wood.
The sink that we got for the vanity was also extremely heavy. They don’t mention this when you buy it, but it is designed to be installed into a “solid” wall aka a concrete wall. Ours was not made from concrete or masonry, so we needed to add some additional reinforcement.
The sink we used has very specific placement for where it can be installed, so we glued and screwed additional 2x4s to the existing studs until we had 2x4s in the correct areas.
If you don’t have too much plumbing and electrical behind your vanity, you can install a single 2×4 as a stretcher between the existing studs so that you don’t have to worry about doing the math on the exact placement.
If you are using the same sink as us, install it into the studs using the provided hanger bolts. We found that the sink sloped too far forward to work with the vanity base, so we added some felt pads (like the ones you put on the bottom of furniture) on the bottom side of the sink to kick it out a bit. Adding a couple of these worked like a charm so that the sink was level enough for the vanity base.
We removed the drawers from the vanity base and then dry fit it under the sink. Once we were confident with the placement, we added silicone to the top of the vanity and stuck it to the sink. We added some clamps to help hold it in place while we screwed the vanity in place.
We added a screw into each available stud through both the top and bottom stretcher.
We ended up not using the French cleat design as we had anticipated because of how the sink had to be installed. If you are using a different sink, we would install the French cleat to the wall and then hang the vanity in place.
Once the vanity was hanging on the French cleat, we would add screws into the studs for further stability and then install the vanity top.
When figuring out your placement for the vanity and the sink, the general rule of thumb is that the top of the sink should be 32-36”. We opted for 34.5” from the floor.
For the DIY bathroom vanity, we sanded the project with 220 grit sandpaper and then stained it with Minwax Mocha stain. We then sealed it with 2 coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane in Satin, sanding with 220 grit sandpaper between coats.
There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own DIY floating vanity with drawers for added storage. If you’re ready to start building, grab the printable plans here.