I have one long double vanity in my master bathroom. It is approx 122" with a 53" vanity on the left (butts up to soaker tub) and a 49" vanity on the right (butts up to wall when entering bathroom). In the middle is a 20" open section where you would sit on a stool to do makeup. It looks pretty outdated, so I'm thinking about switching it out for 2 furniture style single vanities as part of our remodel. My question is, how big can they be? How much room should I leave on the left next to the tub, the right next to the wall and in between?

And depending on the answer to that question, I am trying to figure out if I need to move the plumbing as well. How many inches can I move the center of the vanity to the right or left of where it is currently before I have to also move the plumbing?

Bathroom Vanity

  • The answer to the first part of your question(s) is very much design related rather than the type of practical how-to that we specialize in. It is not amenable to right answers (and you know we are always right) and very opinion based. The second part (how far can you move ...) is much more up our alley. You might consider narrowing the question.
    – bib
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 15:34

3 Answers 3

  • You mentioned that you are retiling and I think your tile extends under so that doesn't matter.

  • your hot and cold for each sink are already probably close enough or were they need to be. Maybe you have to move them over a foot or two... This is an easy DIY

  • drain pipes for sink. May have to move these over a little but maybe not. Unless there is something really odd going on in the wall where you can't move a drain over a foot or two, again no big deal and maybe no issue at all. This really depends on what kind of cabinet you get and if it has drawers that would get in the way.

  • Know that your plumbing can be anywhere really. Need to just make sure your cabinet if functional and plumbing meets code - for instance you can have your hot/cold shutoff in the corner of the cabinet if it fits there.

  • Also if you do have to change these things your wall doesn't have to look perfect after with a cabinet going over. Throw up some drywall and a bad mud job.

  • Maybe you get taller cabinets for the modern look? So what you have to think about is the mirror has to go up and then possibly the vanity light. Still moving this is taking out a couple of very small squares of drywall.

  • How much space from tub? Doesn't matter as long as it doesn't create a safety factor. I personally would make it none or a lot (at least a foot). Very weird having 3-4 inches to clean there.

And my take as a cheap flipper... Tile has to go. Cabinets aren't bad and mirror looks nice. Paint the cabinets - maybe they need new doors. So I might order new doors. The counter goes. I cut out the middle section. I throw on granite on each cabinet, install undermount sink, and backsplash. Right under 1K. Can usually pick up granite and undermount sinks on craigslist as leftover or overstocks. Your 49" is an easy find. 53" a little harder but they are there too.


There are a couple factors to replacing the cabinets/countertop: Where is the existing plumbing, and is there tile underneath? Depending on those, it will help guide to what the cabinets should be replaced with.


If the tile doesn't extend all the way underneath, I'd be sure the new cabinets covered any untiled areas (unless you are replacing tile as well). You could probably remove the toe kick to check, if you can't see from somewhere else.

Tile is nearly impossible to "add to". If you're super lucky, maybe you have some of the same tile and grout left over and it would be possible to add and have it not look completely different. More often, it's impossible to find an exact match, and so the only way to make it look right is to completely replace all tiles.


I'd also ensure they were big enough and positioned so the plumbing wouldn't have to be changed. It's not impossible to change plumbing of course, but moving it even a few inches could add anywhere from a couple hours of work, up to a multi-day job that includes re-tiling the entire floor (if you have to open the sub-floor and break tiles to do it).

As long as you have a couple inches between where the plumbing comes in to either side of the cabinet, it's doable. You just need enough room to actually work on the pipes.

So to answer your direct questions:

Leave as much space as you feel looks okay in the space, which could be as little as none (like it is now).

I'd tend towards finding something that is big enough that prevented me from re-tiling the floor, and from moving any plumbing. It would take a lot to convince me personally to change to a vanity that required those types of changes, assuming they weren't happening anyway. Most of the time as far as the look goes, it would be possible to find a similar looking vanity that is slightly wider/has a closed-in base/etc, so the design is essentially the same but extra work and expense is avoided.

  • Thank you so much for your input! I should have mentioned this, but we are definitely planning to retile the floor as we have to retile the shower due to a leak. hence is one of the reasons to replace the vanity while we are at it b/c I don't want to do it down the road and not have the new tile running all the way underneath. There is 26" open in the back of the vanity we are looking at, so I'm thinking I will have enough wiggle room with the plumbing. The center of the new vanity might be as much as 6 inches off from the current vanity. Fingers crossed that it will work!
    – Jessica
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 16:16

Your best bet is to consult with the plumber who is going to to do the plumbing. You can move the vanities but you will also have to relocate the plumbing. This requires cutting open the walls (sounds scarier than it actually is). I'd leave 6" of space between the tub and the left vanity. Water damage can wreak havoc. If you enjoy the added counter space, keep it! If not, you can shorten them down or even go with 1 long 72" double vanity.

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