What is a Bathroom Vanity? Floating vs. Freestanding Vanity Guide

What is a Bathroom Vanity? Floating vs. Freestanding Vanity Guide

Published by Ossy Chandiyana on Jan 6th 2023

Floating vs Freestanding Vanities: Floating vanities seem to be a trending bathroom renovation item - but does that make them better than freestanding vanities?

While we offer both freestanding and floating vanities, floating vanities have recently taken attention due to their sleek, clean, and minimal look and can be a great way to elevate your bathroom decor to something more modern and aesthetically pleasing.

Yet, both freestanding and floating vanities have important pros and cons that should be fully considered - before making the big purchase.

Below lists the significant pros and cons of a floating vanity vs. a freestanding vanity. What exactly is a bathroom vanity, different vanity styles, and models, as well as how both freestanding or wall-mounted AKA floating vanity models compare in terms of aesthetics, storage, installation difficulty, long-term value, and more.

What is a Bathroom Vanity?

LANDSCAPE Better Vanity Floating Vanity Example

First things first: for those who are new to bathroom vanity options, exactly what is a bathroom vanity?

A bathroom vanity is a station where you can wash your hands and will typically feature things such as:

  1. Mirrors
  2. Cabinets
  3. Bathroom Sinks
  4. Bathroom Products
  5. Towel Racks

Generally, the traditional term "bathroom vanity" consists of sink + mirror + cabinet, although cabinets or storage space is not technically required for a "bathroom vanity."

Moreno Bath | Pedestal Sinks can be a great and simple way to redecorate your bathroom with a clean, minimal look.An example of this would be a pedestal sink, which can be considered a bathroom vanity if paired with a vanity mirror.

Why is it Called "Vanity"?

Vanity can be seen as shorthand for vanity mirror. These are mirrors placed atop bathroom sinks and are used to apply makeup or perform skincare routines, such as night or day routines. As such, vanity mirrors give us a place where we can take care of ourselves and inspire a sense of pride or admiration for our appearance.

Some of the more modern vanity mirrors include LED lights, and bathroom variants are known as medicine cabinets or medicine cabinets with LED lights.

Although first referenced to mirrors, we now use "bathroom vanity" as the term generally means mirror, sink, and cabinet. However, depending on where you order your bathroom vanity, a mirror may not be included with the purchase or must be purchased separately.

This term has been around for a few hundred years, dating back to the 1750s when a mirror was attached to the dressing table and considered a glamour item [2].

Quick Tip: Purchasing Your Bathroom Vanity Sets

There are many providers that can offer bathroom vanity sets of both the bathroom vanity and sink top together.

If you want a truly customized experience, you can purchase separate bathroom vanity cabinets and sink tops separately, provided that the bathroom vanity storage cabinet and sink top are compatible in size.

Generally, it is recommended to purchase bathroom vanity cabinets and sink top sets to ensure easy and compatible installation together, especially if you are a beginner in DIY home improvement.

Bathroom Vanity Styles

Bathroom vanities can take many shapes and forms.

Some sink vanities or vanity tops include a single-mounted sink, or a double sink to make it a double-sink vanity. All in all, there is a wide selection of bathroom vanity types to choose from.

As long as there is a bathroom sink and support below it, or storage, paired with a bathroom mirror, it can be considered a bathroom vanity.

Mainly vanity styles can be grouped into 2 different categories:

  1. Floating AKA Wall-Mounted Vanities
  2. Freestanding or Cabinet Freestanding Vanities

Floating AKA Wall Mounted Vanity

Modern Floating Bathroom Vanity Example. The Max 24" Floating Wall-Mounted Vanity comes in multiple sizes starting at 24" across, as well as in multiple diverse colors from Teak Oak, Gray Oak, Glossy White, Gloss White, and more. Modern Floating Bathroom Vanity Example: The Max 24" Floating Wall-Mounted Vanity comes in multiple sizes starting at 24" across, as well as in multiple diverse colors from Teak Oak, Gray Oak, Glossy White, Gloss White, and more.

A floating vanity or wall-mounted vanity is a vanity that seemingly "floats" above the bathroom floor - without standing on any legs. This is achieved by fixing the bathroom cabinet to the bathroom wall.

"Floating" and "wall-mounted" or even "wall-mount" vanity generally refer to the same thing.

Floating vanities can be a beautiful addition to your bathroom, particularly if you are going for a clean, minimal, sleek, modern look as seen in the floating bathroom vanity picture examples below. In bathrooms where stone, tile, or marble are used floating vanities can add dimensions and layers to your bathroom sophistication.

Check out our new, amazing contemporary-designed floating vanities that have taken the world by storm.

Pros of Floating Vanities

  1. Ultra-modern and contemporary look suited for similar homes, bathrooms
  2. Does not stand on floor tiles - will allow tiles to show fully as part of the display of your bathroom appearance
  3. Easy-to-clean underneath
  4. Gives the appearance of a larger bathroom due to its "float"
  5. Depending on the make or model, plumbing is sometimes not hidden - which can be good if you are looking for a "rustic" sort of bathroom

Cons of Floating Vanities

  1. Vanity positioning may be more limited depending on the existing plumbing
  2. Generally more limited in terms of storage space than freestanding vanities
  3. Structurally robust walls are required to hang a floating vanity: drywall and weaker materials will not work

Freestanding Vanity

The Elsa Freestanding Vanity is a popular freestanding vanity. Note that it does not require wall-mounts as it is standing freely on its base. The Elsa Freestanding Vanity is a popular freestanding vanity. This freestanding Elsa vanity is 84" in length across and comes in several different colors and sizes. Note that it does not require wall mounts as it is standing freely on its base.

Opposite of a "floating" vanity, the freestanding vanity stands on its own: using its legs, its own storage cabinet bottom as support, or both.

Simply put, a freestanding vanity is a bathroom storage cabinet with a bathroom sink on top of it, generally paired with a vanity mirror on top of it to complete the look.

Pros of Freestanding Vanity

  1. Classic and timeless vanity style that will work with almost any bathroom design, layout, etc.
  2. Comes in a wide variety of styles and pieces that can work with any bathroom new or old
  3. Generally holds more storage space compared to floating vanities
  4. Less floor space to clean when the floor is connected to the vanity using a kickboard
  5. Covers up 100% of all plumbing work within the cabinet
  6. Easier to use particularly for the elderly and children
  7. Possibly slightly easier to install than floating vanity due to the lack of need to provide structural support

Cons of Freestanding Vanity

  1. Freestanding vanities take up more space and do not offer the "large" bathroom feel that a floating vanity can give
  2. May leave permanent marks on the floor when dismantled

Installation: Floating vs. Freestanding Vanity (Video Guide Example)

If you are very new to DIY bathroom remodeling and may be wary of possible DIY installation troubles, rest assured that installing both floating or freestanding vanities even for beginners is possible. At the most, you can hire a handyman or a professional to help you install your floating or freestanding vanity securely.

Ease of Installation: Freestanding vs Floating Vanity

Generally, freestanding vanities are usually the easier out of the two to install because it is not required to provide structural support to the freestanding vanity as opposed to a freestanding vanity which may require a bit of drilling or work to secure it to the wall.

In either case, it is important to secure the vanity to the wall so that it doesn't move once the plumbing is connected for both floating and freestanding vanities.

Although it is generally a bit easier to install a freestanding vanity, this shouldn't detract you from looking at floating or wall-mounted vanity options for your home or project.

The Best Vanity to Choose is the One That Makes You Smile

Although cost can be a factor, having a great-looking bathroom with a pleasant, matching aesthetic can do wonders to help raise your home or property value.

  • Moderate remodeling of your bathroom can increase your home property value by an average of 3%

When planning to remodel or renovate your bathroom, it is always good to plan long-term ahead into what you want to see, and possibly wake up to every day in your future!

For any more questions or help in relation to bathroom vanities, and other bathroom accessories, please feel free to email us at or call us directly at +1 (909).536.2222.

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