A Beginner’s Guide to Styling Spaces – 5 Steps to Choose your Perfect Vanity, Lighting, and Mirrors

Do you feel uninspired by your bathroom, curious about renovating, but not sure where to start? Maybe reading about 2022 Bathroom Trends or How To Design Your Shower has you thinking about upgrading your sink cabinets as well.
It can help to think through the project section by section. Make your decisions based on your needs, measurements, and personal preference, and then use these decisions to transform the rest of the bathroom. Today we will focus on the styling space. This space includes the bathroom vanity area, mirror or medicine cabinet, and lighting. This space is utilized daily, so you want it to be organized, easy to use, and also look good.
When you work with us online, in person, or with your contractor on TradeConnect. please take all of your bathroom measurements beforehand to ensure a perfect fit. Find our measuring guide here and check out our Curated Collection Catalog for more product recommendations.
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Part 1: Choosing your vanity

Choosing your Vanity Step 1: Measuring the space

Your first task is to measure the dimensions of your bathroom and make a note of your plumbing and electrical outlets. This can be a simple drawing or a photograph with dimensions drawn on it.
What does your vanity share a wall with? You may need to measure the distance between existing toilets and showers to make sure everything can fit. Measure your current vanity’s width (side to side), and depth (front to back) and height (top to bottom).
Account and leave room for the swing of the bathroom and shower doors as well.

Choosing your Vanity: Step 2 What do you need?

Your second step will be to determine your needs. What functions does your vanity need to have?
For example a children’s bathroom may need extra storage space for toys and towels and steps, whereas a home’s primary/master bath may need extra counter space for grooming, and a powder room may need to be easy to clean.
Answer the questions, “How do you use your vanity?” and  “What kind of functional upgrades would help you and your family the most?”

Choosing your Vanity Step 3: Configuration

At this stage you should decide if you want a vanity or pedestal sink, and whether you want a freestanding or wall-hung vanity. Pedestal sinks can be an elegant choice, though are usually better in smaller powder rooms since they don’t offer much counter space.
If you want extra storage and counter space, go with a traditional cabinet-style vanity if you can.
Most vanity styles can be configured in a variety of vanity sizes, and most are available as both freestanding models or wall-hung versions. Using your measurements and keeping your needs in mind, pick the size and installation type that makes the most sense for you.
Freestanding vanities offer slightly more drawer space, but wall-hung vanities can modernize a space and keep an extra-clean look.
Keep in mind the most common vanity widths are 24, 30, 36, 48, 60, and 72, but custom configurations are also available.

Choosing your Vanity Step 4: Style

This step will be different if you’re looking for a pedestal sink, since options are limited, but you can choose between a traditional or contemporary styles.
For cabinet vanities, there are millions of possibilities to choose from. It’s easy to get lost in all of the color, size and style options, so it is always helpful to talk to one of our Studio41 and TradeConnect experts to help you narrow things down and make suggestions.
Understanding how you’ll be utilizing a room is just as important as the aesthetics, so doing steps 1 and 2 before this is key.
Choose a door profile for your vanity first, this is the biggest factor when establishing the room’s style. There are sleek options like the Allure Metro series, more transitional door frames like Allure’s Alma White doors, and traditional frames like Kohler’s Tresham style. Or, skip the doors altogether for a more industrial look like in Stone Forest’s Elemental console vanities

Choosing your Vanity Step 5: Top it Off

To top your vanity off you’ll need to determine what countertop and sink material and color you want. Natural stone is an option here, but composite material is easier to clean and is available at a lower price. Many vanity tops are available with built-in sinks, but a contrasting basin color or material may help your space pop.
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Ready to create your dream vanity? Talk to our experts at Studio41 or ask your contractor to get started with TradeConnect today!

Part 2: Lighting & Mirrors

Now that you’ve picked the base of your styling space, the vanity, it’s time to add the lighting and mirrors. Build off the style you chose for your vanity for these, whether thats traditional, contemporary, or transitional.
Lighting brightens your bathroom and makes it welcoming, and we’ll differentiate between ambient lighting, which brightens the whole room, and task lighting, which gives you a clear view for tasks like applying makeup and grooming. Both are necessary in the bathroom, and there are a few ways to incorporate them cleanly into your design.

Sconces

Sconces help with both ambient and task lighting, and can be used in conjunction with overhead ceiling lights. While putting a row of double or triple sconces above the mirror is the most common way to light styling spaces, we actually recommend installing two single sconces on either side of your mirror. This softens the shadows and creates a more flattering and naturalistic light for your personal grooming.
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Mirror or Medicine Cabinet

Medicine cabinets offer extra storage space for small items, and can either be installed recessed into the wall between the studs, or flush-mounted, where the cabinet will stick out a few inches instead of cutting into the wall.
When choosing a medicine cabinet, keep in mind which side the hinges are on, and how far the hinges will open. Choosing to forego the storage space opens up more shape options for your mirror, like round, oval, and extra tall mirrors.
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Lighted Mirrors and Lighted Medicine Cabinets

If you’re looking to keep your bathroom walls extra clear, or just prefer a minimalistic look, lighted mirrors and medicine cabinets may be perfect for your task lighting. These medicine cabinets require an electrician to install, but other than that function like any other mirror. These lights can also be dimmed for night time use.
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Smart Mirrors

One of the most popular smart technologies for the bathroom right now are technology-equiped mirrors, like those from Kohler and Electric Mirror. These smart mirrors can play music at your request, respond to voice commands using Amazon Alexa, give a weather report, offer buit-in electrical outlets and USB ports, and some can play live TV. Since these mirrors require an electrician, a renovation is the best time to upgrade your medicine cabinet.
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Makeup Mirror

These are smaller, usually round mirrors on a flexible mount near your styling space, and usually offer some magnification to help with grooming. Having these installed can help reduce countertop clutter, since they can be returned to their folded position by the wall. There are lighted versions that require an electrician to install, but also battery powered and unlighted versions that can be installed by anyone with a drill.
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 This list should help you get started imagining your future space, but we know that sometimes renovation can be daunting. That’s why our teams at Studio41 and TradeConnect are extensively trained to be experts on the products we offer as well as current trends in interior design. We’re here to help at any stage of the process, and look forward to helping with your bathroom renovation!

Ready to create your dream bathroom? Talk to our experts at Studio41 or ask your contractor to get started with TradeConnect today!

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