DIY Vessel Sink Bathroom Vanity For A Small Space

In the spirit of finishing things, it’s about time I wrote up the tutorial for the DIY vessel sink bathroom vanity that we built for our small bathroom. After researching so many beautiful bathroom vanity designs, we created our own DIY bathroom vanity plans inspired by the Arhaus Conrad line of furniture.

A DIY bathroom vanity for a small space, custom built to look like Arhaus Conrad furniture, stained dark with a white vessel sink on top

I LOVE the design of the Arhaus Conrad tables but my tight budget and small space constraints in the bathroom just didn’t justify purchasing a piece to convert into a bathroom vanity. So we came up with our own design and built it ourselves. It’s a smaller bathroom vanity that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

Today, I’m walking you through how we built it but I’m going to preface this tutorial with a little story. Our bathroom renovation project was part of the One Room Challenge and we built this new vanity with a looming deadline. Meaning, we hustled through it. Typically I build in conjunction with Colby as the official project photographer (personal paparazzi?!) but for this project, it was divide and conquer.

DIY small bathroom remodel, white subway tile, turkish towels hanging from gold hooks, swan art print, dark wood vanity with white vessel sink

Thus, it was a hard tutorial to write because I wasn’t part of some of the project and I also relied on photos from Colby as he toiled in the wood shop late at night while I put the children to bed. I’m trying my best on this tutorial but it’s probably not my best work. You’ve been warned.

How To Build The Vessel Sink Bathroom Vanity

Before we dive in on how to build this vessel sink vanity, I thought I should share the dimensions. Our bathroom is tiny with two doors, meaning an out-of-the-box traditional vanity just wouldn’t fit. Neither would a flea market old dresser find work. There just wasn’t enough space to make either work. Hence the custom vanity build.

The new bathroom vanity is just big enough for the vessel sink and as big as possible to leave access for the attic closet doorway. We wanted to leave plenty of space around the vanity to get in and out of the attic closet.

If space wasn’t our biggest limitation for this project, I would make the vanity bigger for extra storage space. It’s ample space for the bare minimum of things to store in a bathroom but it leaves no room for extras.

Bathroom renovation DIY project reveal. White subway tiled shower and walls with black grout. Wood vanity with white vessel sink. Gold shower hardware.

If you’re building your own DIY vanity, steal the overall design and building steps, but adjust your design and cut list to the size of your space.

Bathroom Vanity Dimensions:

  • Vanity Top: 26-1/2″ wide by 19″ deep
  • Overall Height: 31-3/4″
  • Turned Leg Length: 10-1/2″
  • Square Legs: 19-3/4″ long by 2-1/2″
  • Inside Cabinet: 21-1/2″ wide by 15-3/4″ deep by 14-1/4″ high
  • Cabinet Apron: 1-1/2″
  • Door Width: 9-3/4″
  • Door Height: 19-3/4″ longest point and 16-1/2″ shortest point



Build The Vanity Top

The first step was to build the vanity top. Start by cutting down pine boards to the desired size of the vanity’s top boards.

We used 1 x 10″ pine boards and cut lengths down to fit our 26-1/2″ x 19″ desired vanity top size. To attach the two boards, use a Kreg Jig on the bottom to create the pocket holes. Then apply wood glue where the two boards will join, clamp the boards together, and screw them in place using 1-1/2″ pocket screws.

Building the DIY vanity top using pine boards and a kreg jig to screw them together to form one big pine top

After letting the glue dry, we opted for a day or two, it’s time to give the top a decorative edge. First, round the two front corners of the vanity top using a jig saw.

Rounding the corners of a vanity top using a Dewalt corded jig saw

Then using a router with a 1/4″ roundover router bit, gave three of the four vanity top edges a rounded finish. We wanted our own vanity to sit flush against the wall, so we left the back edge as is.

A router with a 1/4" roundover bit was used to make rounded edges on an in-progress vanity top being built out of pine boards

At this point, you could give the top a sanding since it’s easier without anything attached, or wait until later and give the entire piece a good sanding.

Build The Square Legs

To build the square legs, we got a little creative and made the legs look like big chunky blocks of wood but they are made from regular old 3/4″ pine boards.

Using 3/4″ pine, rip down the boards to 2-1/2″ wide by the length of the square legs you want. For us, that looked like 2.5″ x 19.75″. You should have four of these boards per leg so 16 total.

Making square table legs using regular 3/4" pine boards, ripping boards down to 2-1/2" wide

Next, rip each side of those 16 boards at a 45-degree angle using a table saw. The end of your boards will look like a trapezoid at this point.

Boards ripped at 45-degrees on each side so the end of the board forms a trapezoid

When you fit four of these pieces together, they form a square with the middle hollow. To fill the hollow part, rip pine boards down to 7/8″ x 7/8″ x desired length. This board doesn’t have to be cut to the entire length of the square legs, just big enough to have something solid to attach the bottom legs to.

Next step, assemble the legs. Apply wood glue to one of the 45-degree angle sides and glue that edge to another 45-degree angled edge. Nail the two boards together using a nail gun and brad nails in three spots. Repeat this for the next two boards so it forms a square.

Assembling vanity square legs by nailing together the four boards cut at 45-degree angles to make a square

Finally, add the 7/8″ square piece in the middle of the larger, hollow square leg you just made. Apply wood glue to the square, slide it into the middle, and nail it in place using a couple of brad nails so it doesn’t slide up and down.

Adding the middle 7/8" x 7/8" board to the empty middle piece after assembling the exterior of the square legs using lots of wood glue

Repeat this process for the other three legs so you end up with four square legs.

Assembled square vanity legs using regular 3/4" pine boards, cut and assembled to 2.5" square

On a couple of the legs, the 45-degree cuts didn’t quite come together exactly. We didn’t worry too much about this for a few reasons. One, we could put the best ones in the front with the non-perfect ones in the back where nobody sees them. Two, after sanding, staining the vanity dark, and applying poly, it’s barely noticeable.

It is fixable though. To fix this, you can clamp the leg together and the whole thing will tighten right up. You just have to do this step right after assembling, before the glue dries.

Build The Vanity Cabinet

Next up is building the bathroom vanity cabinet, essentially a basic pine box.

Start by building and framing the back of the vanity cabinet. It will look like this when you’re done framing the back.

Building the back of the vanity cabinet using 3/4" pine boards and joining parts with Kreg Jig pocket holes

Start by building the back panel of the vanity to the dimensions of your cabinet. This piece is built the same way the vanity top was built. Cut the pine boards to size, create pocket holes, glue boards, screw them together in the pocket holes, clamp, and let dry.

Next up is to prepare the cabinet framing. For our project, the framing boards are 3/4″ x 2-1/2″. Precut your framing: two for the back panel and four for the side panels.

Prep each of the cabinet framing boards with pocket holes.

Using a Kreg Jig for pocket holes to pre-drill the vanity cabinet framing for easy assembly

Next, start assembling the cabinet, starting with the back. First, attach one of the square legs to the back framing. You need to leave space to attach the back panel so cut a spacer to sit under the framing to help you attach it to the legs.

Attaching cabinet framing to square legs using pocket holes and spacers under the framing to keep room for the back panel of the cabinet

Continue attaching the framing to each leg until you have two square legs with two framing boards attached in between. The back of the cabinet is now framed.

Next, flip the framing over so you can attach the back panel to the framing. We attached the panel using 1-3/8″ wood screws.

Finally, attach two cabinet framing boards on each side for the sides of the vanity. Like so:

Building the back of the vanity cabinet using 3/4" pine boards and joining parts with Kreg Jig pocket holes

Here’s the part where I lack pictures so I’m going to try and walk you through the next steps. We’ll be taking the cabinet from the photo above to this:

Building a basic bathroom vanity cabinet with chunky square legs using 3/4" pine boards for most of the project. Vanity framing, sides, and shelf with the top and the doors missing

The next steps use the same techniques from the building instructions before.

First, attach the front legs to the cabinet side panel framing using the pocket screws.

Next, attach the framing between the front two legs. One piece at the top and a second piece at the bottom. All the framing should line up and be level with each other.

Then build the side panels to your cabinet size dimensions. Build these panels the same way you built the back panel and the top.

After letting the glue dry on the panels, attach each side panel by screwing them on using wood screws straight through the framing and into the back side of the panels. Be sure you use the right screw length so it doesn’t go straight through the panel.

Finally, build and install the bottom shelf. Build the bottom piece square and then measure, mark, and cut out notches. We used a jig saw to cut out the notches for the leg. Screw the shelf to the framing from underneath.

Generally speaking, whenever possible, screw and nail from the side that won’t be visible. Sometimes that’s not possible and that’s what wood putty is for. But it makes for a better finish if you can hide the screw holes and nail holes whenever possible.

At this point, we gave the entire cabinet a good sanding using fine grit sandpaper on an orbital sander, along with some basic hand sanding with sanding blocks.

Attaching Turned Legs To Vanity Cabinet

The vanity is starting to look like a vanity and before we can build the doors or attach the top, it’s time to attach the turned legs to the cabinet.

One of the reasons we built the large square legs was because we couldn’t source table legs with a long enough square section. We also couldn’t source just the turned legs part. I’m sure we could have if time was on our side but we were limited to what we could get at our local stores to meet our deadline.

So first, we cut the square part, the top of the legs, off and sanded down the cut part.

Cut turned table legs to remove the large square part at the top

To attach the turned legs to the square legs of the cabinet, we used 5/16″ x 2-1/2″ dowel screws.

For installing the dowel screws, first measure and mark the center point of both the table leg and the square leg. Find the right place to screw into.

Drill a pilot hole into each square and turned legs using a 1/4″ drill bit for 5/16″ dowel screws. Be very careful to drill the pilot holes straight down into the legs. If the pilot hole is crooked, the turned legs will be crooked.

Next, remove the drill bit from your cordless drill and insert one of the dowel screws into the drill just as you would a drill bit.

Dowel screws attached to a cordless drill for installation

Drill the dowel screws into each of the square table legs first. Then just screw on the turned table legs. This is the point that Colby recommends praying to the woodworking spirits that the pilot holes went straight in and everything is level and lined up.

Attaching turned legs to chunky square legs on a bathroom vanity using dowel screws

With the legs on, now is a great time to finish any sanding or touch up any areas that aren’t quite right. It’s amazing what a solid round of sanding can do for a project.

We sanded the hard corners of the square legs so they almost looked like they were cut at 45-degree angles. You can see where we did that in the photo above.

I also sanded any spot where two boards don’t line up evenly. Like the bottom of the cabinet where the back panels aren’t even with the framing. Sand those down for a more professional look.

Attach Cabinet Top

Now is the time to attach the cabinet top that you prepared. But first, let’s add some bracing in the corners. It’s a great way to keep the cabinet square.

Add bracing to the cabinet corners, just underneath the vanity top, to keep the cabinet square and from shifting

Using pine scrap wood, cut the boards at a short length with 45-degree angles at each end. Screw the bracing into the framing with wood screws, just underneath where the vanity top will go. This bracing will help keep the cabinet square and prevent any twisting.

Cabinet bracing added to the corners underneath where the bathroom vanity top will be installed to keep the cabinet square

Give the cabinet a good sanding using an orbital sander, on all sides. Lay the top on a smooth surface, line up the cabinet on the upside-down top, and screw the top on from inside the cabinet. Go straight through the framing and into the vanity top.

Be sure to use the right length of screws for this step to keep the end of the screw from poking through the top.

Building The Cabinet Doors

The signature style of the Arhaus Conrad cabinets is the reeded-style doors. There’s so much more to the piece of furniture that makes it gorgeous and unique but that’s the design element I wanted to bring to our own bathroom vanity design.

DIY bathroom vanity built but unfinished, traditional style legs and reeded door fronts with a curve

We found some wood screen molding from Home Depot that we anticipated would give us the desired effect for the doors. But to use it, we first needed a cabinet door base.

To build the cabinet inset doors, we started by making a paper template. The template allowed us to play with the curve until it looked just right to us.

We started with 3/4″ pine boards but had to plane down the thick wood to 1/2″ to make sure the doors would be flush with the legs once the molding was added to the front. If you don’t have a planer, you can buy 1/2″ pine boards but it’s typically a special order.

After planing a pine board to 1/2″ and cutting the board to the cabinet door dimensions, we drew the curve onto the boards and cut it using the jig saw. Sand everything with a fine grit sanding disc attached to an orbital sander.

To attach the hinges to the doors and the cabinets, and set them flush, route out or chisel into the wood where the hinges will go. First measure and mark the hinge locations, trace the hinge onto the wood, then chisel or route.

Making curved cabinet doors and attaching them to the cabinet with hinges

We chose to use chisels which aren’t the best thing to use for mortised hinges. But we didn’t have the right router bit.

Finally, attach the hinges to the door and then attach the hinges/door to the cabinet.

Adding Molding To Cabinet Doors

Here’s the fun part, and also another part I don’t have pictures of. Attaching the screen molding to the fronts of the cabinet doors.

To do this, we pre-cut all the pieces to the longest length of the cabinet doors. Then one piece at a time, applied wood glue and clamped it down to the front of the door.

After giving the doors a day to dry, we used the jig saw to cut the excess molding off, following the original curve of the door.

The molding did splinter and peel off in a couple of places. To remedy this, we sanded and re-glued/clamped the molding back down to the door.

And voila!

Reeded bathroom vanity doors on an unfinished pine DIY bathroom vanity

Finishing The Vanity

Now for the best part of the project, the finish work. If you haven’t already, fill in any nail holes with stainable wood putty and sand everything down using fine grit sandpaper. You want a nice, smooth finish without any jagged edges before staining and finishing the piece.

Next, select your stain. I briefly thought about getting fancy with layering stains to get that Arhaus look of a vintage piece with some color dimension. But I needed to finish the piece quickly so I went with Minwax Dark Walnut.

Staining a DIY bathroom vanity using Minwax Dark Walnut stain

After staining, I applied two coats of water-based poly on the entire piece.

One thing I wish I had done was apply more than two coats on the vanity sink top. It gets wet regularly as it sits underneath a vessel sink. Extra coats of poly or using an oil-based protective finish would have been a better choice.

Attach your cabinet door pulls and done.

Installing The Vanity

And finally, it’s time to install your vanity. Because our old bathroom floor is so unlevel, we started by adding leveling feet to the bottom of the legs. It’s a great option for any old furniture piece sitting on an uneven floor.

Then we put the cabinet in place, measured and marked where the plumbing fixtures, water lines, and drain pipes need to go, and used a hole saw to drill into the top of the vanity where needed.

Cutting into a wood vanity with a holesaw for the plumbing and sink faucet

Then we installed the vessel sink and the faucet and scene! A finished DIY bathroom vanity perfect for our small space. It’s a stylish vanity with a unique look that we never would have got out of the box.

A DIY vessel sink vanity for a small bathroom built from pine boards and finished in a dark walnut stain, paired against a white subway tile wall

And one more finished photo:

DIY bathroom vanity with reeded trim front, white vessel sink, and white painted wood for a plumbing pipe cover

This project was an absolute labor of love but we are obsessed with how it turned out. It’s the perfect fit for our small space and a beautiful focal point when you enter the bathroom.

It’s so much more special than those out-of-the-box bathroom vanities in our budget. Speaking of costs…

How Much Did Our Small Bathroom Vanity Cost?

Here’s the budget breakdown.

  • (4) 1″ x 10′ x 8′ Pine Boards – $64
  • 40′ of Pine Screen Molding – $49.60
  • (4) Farmhouse Table Legs – $51.76
  • Vanity Door Pulls – $9.68
  • Vanity Door Hinges – $2.93
  • Leveling Feet – $4.93
  • Vessel Sink – $52.46
  • Bathroom Sink Drain – $23.21
  • Vessel Sink Faucet – $56.99

Grand Total – $315.56

Pssst…Please, please, please feel free to reach out with any questions about building the bathroom vanity. I want to make this post as clear as possible for anyone interested in building a similar piece. Either leave a comment below or email me.

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