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"Standard" bathroom vanities are 30", where as kitchen counter tops are typically 36".

For me (6' tall), the 30" vanity is rather low. Is there any reason to leave vanities that height, or can they be installed higher? Is there any practical downside to having a higher vanity (eg, kids)?

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In your case (6' tall), vanity height might not be the problem but definitely make sure you have a tall enough mirror. You can make the mirror giant and not have a problem with kids or resale. –  Jeff Widmer Jul 28 '10 at 11:44
    
Higher counter would make a huge difference, it isn't that we can't reach down that far, it is just annoying to do it all the time. I like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but even that counter height drives me mad, I've thought about tossing resale out the window and investigating getting taller counters. –  ManiacZX Jul 28 '10 at 11:56
    
Get a vanity with legs, so a kid can slip a small step stool underneath. –  Chris Cudmore Jul 11 at 19:08

7 Answers 7

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I've seen lots of houses that use standard kitchen cabinets as a master bath vanity -- around here at least it's considered an upgrade. A 36" height is not uncomfortably tall for anyone but small children (which is why they're only used in the master bath). My wife is 5'2" and loved the 36" double vanity in our old house.

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Yes, it's more than possible to have a vanity be taller than 30". Depending on your height, most people would find a taller vanity to be more comfortable. The standard height of a bathroom vanity is 32" but comfort height vanities are raised by 4" for a total height of 36".

http://www.tradewindsimports.com/blog/bathroom-vanities/standard-height-bathroom-vanity/

You can read the article above if you have more questions. It will answer all of your questions and give you diagrams with standard dimensions listed.

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Standard bathroom vanities were made at 32" years ago when many homes typically were 2/1's with a shared bathroom. That means parents and children would be using the same vanity. To accomodate children, vanities were lowered to 32" which is standard height. Now that many homes have multiple bathrooms and even a dedicated bathroom for each room in the house, Comfort Height is the new norm. Comfort height vanities are 36" but this height can vary +/- a few inches either way. There is no downside to upgrading to a comfort height vanity. In fact, it's preferred in most cases. It reduces stooping and strain on the lower back.

Here is my research on both types. You can read here for further detail.

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Taller bathroom vanities are typically advertised as "comfort height". My 5'6" wife strongly agrees that the 36" counters are far more comfortable. Few people complain about kitchen counters being too tall, so I don't know why there's so much concern that they'll be unusable in bathrooms.

For small children.. they're not going to be small forever. Get a cabinet with a built in pullout stepstool and then it can be comfortable for them when they're not small any more too.

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While I was house shopping at the beginning of the year, I saw several houses that had his and hers vanities, with the 'his' (also known as 'shaving height') vanity several inches higher than the 'hers' vanity. The height for a shaving vanity ranges from 34-36", while the 'hers' vanity is the standard 30." This forum also discusses the topic.

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If you are doing a double sink, I've seen in some homes where one portion of the vanity counter is raised.

That way you have the normal height for the not so tall and a raised height for us normal people :).

Being 6' also, I saw that and thought "I will have that in my house", having the counter half way between your knees and waist gets very annoying...

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You could make them as tall as you like, but you may run into problems when it comes time to sell. Also as you mentioned kids may have trouble using them, and would need taller step stools.

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Whenever you move away from established standards, resale will become an issue. –  Jeff Widmer Jul 28 '10 at 11:42

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