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  • Writer's pictureElla S

Bathroom Furniture: The Ultimate Guide

An often-forgotten element in the bathroom, furniture can sometimes be that finishing touch that fully completes the bathroom. This guide will show you how bathroom furniture can add an extra depth to the overall bathroom design. Bathroom furniture offers a range of opportunities to showcase style while still being functional.


Choosing your Bathroom Furniture

To make the most of your bathroom furniture and select pieces that will work well within your bathroom you first need to decide on a few things. By preparing a bathroom design, you will be able to play around with the layout and identify where pieces of bathroom furniture could sit. This will also help you identify the size of units you can choose. You should also be thinking about what you are going to store in the unit. This may relate to the style of unit you go for and whether it is a door or drawer unit. Then you can start looking at how you want it to sit within the décor of your bathroom if you want it to highlight certain design elements or blend in as much as possible.

Styles of Bathroom Furniture

There are two styles of bathroom furniture: fitted and stand-alone pieces. Fitted furniture is much like kitchen cabinets and is made up of runs. These sit against the wall and can be configured so that they suit the individual user’s needs. Stand-alone pieces are perfect for when you don’t want a full furniture run, you may just want an individual piece such as a vanity unit or mirror cabinet. You can still create cohesive looks with both types if you match the pieces across brand collections.


Types of Bathroom Furniture

The Difference Between Vanity Units and Washbasin Units

Designed for use with basins, vanity units are possibly the most common piece of bathroom furniture. There is a key difference between vanity units and washbasin units, however, they both serve the same purpose as being used with basins. Vanity units are standalone pieces that can either be floor or wall-mounted and can be used with a range of different styles of vanity basins. Washbasin units are for use in fitted furniture runs and are to be used with semi-recessed washbasins due to the depth of the units. For more information on vanity units, check out our vanity unit guide.

WC Units - What Are They?

WC units are suitable for both back-to-wall and wall-hung toilets for concealing a cistern. Most commonly found in a run of furniture they can also be used as a stand-alone piece. WC units have a cistern within them, some manufacturers include this whilst others allow you to choose your own. They are operated on the outside either by a push button, lever or sensor switch. Access to the cistern is usually reached by removing the front facia panel or in some instances (mainly stand-alone installations) by lifting the worktop. They are often used in runs of fitted furniture or in conjunction with a washbasin unit in a smaller bathroom.

Mirror Cabinets - Functionally Beautiful

Mirror cabinets offer dual functionality within the bathroom, they are a practical yet stylish addition offering valuable storage. Often placed directly above the basin, they add extra light to the bathroom especially those with inbuilt illumination. Coming in a wide range of sizes, large multiple door options can really add extra depth to a bathroom’s décor. For a luxurious minimalistic look, recessed versions sit within a cavity wall and are ideal for those who feel the depth of a mirror cabinet directly above their basin will look bulky. For more information on mirrors and mirror cabinets check out our mirror guide.

Do I Need a Column Unit?

For those who want to be able to tidy everything neatly away in their bathroom, column units offer a large amount of storage. These units are considerably tall, adding height to the bathroom design as well as providing practical storage. The colour and finish of column units vary between manufacturers, and they are usually part of a coordinating collection. They are generally divided by multiple adjustable shelves to give you the opportunity to personalise the storage. Available with single or spilt doors, other options include mirrored and open-shelf designs.

When to Use Wall Mounted Cabinets/Side Units

Wall-mounted cabinets and side units are ideal for when you just want a practical piece of bathroom furniture. These can be placed anywhere around the bathroom and help in adding that little bit of extra storage where required. A stylish look is when they are placed offset from other pieces of furniture such as a vanity unit to create a feeling of space in the bathroom.

What are Base Units?

For use in fitted furniture runs, base units add extra storage and able runs to fit the whole length of the room. In matching designs to the rest of the fitted furniture they are usually wall-hung, and a plinth can be added to cover any pipework much like in a kitchen. Coming in various sizes, base units enable fitted furniture runs to be made to fit any size of bathroom.

Toilet Roll Units - Are They Necessary?

These are narrow units that are designed to be used in conjunction with WC units. Placed next to a WC unit they have an in-built toilet roll holder, storage for spare rolls or a waste bin depending on the size. The roll is either visible or concealed and can be easily pulled down when the paper is required.

How to Perfectly Finish Your Bathroom Furniture

Once you’ve decided what furniture you require in your bathroom you are going to want to have a think about the finishing touches. For most furniture items everything is included for a complete look, however, some manufacturers give you the option of personalising the finish. The first choice will be around the colour of the furniture. Colour finishes can vary by manufacturer and so it is worth looking at individual manufacturer finishes before deciding. Other choices around the aesthetics of the furniture include handles and feet. Certain furniture items and designs require you to select handles to perfectly finish your furniture. Feet can be both aesthetic and practical, brands such as Laufen offer stylish metal feet if you don’t want a wall-hung look.

When using fitted furniture to create that flawless finish you may require plinths and side panels. These are in matching colours to the rest of your furniture and ensure a cohesive finishing look. Plinths sit at the base of the furniture and concealed unsightly pipework; legs are required on the base units to attach the plinth too. While the majority of fitted furniture units are the same colour all the way round, certain cabinets have a different colour carcass that may be visible on the outside, depending on the installation. When you don’t want to see this, you may require a side panel or cladding panel to cover the carcass material to complete the finished look. Filler panels are also an option for tricky spaces where cabinets may not fit the whole space, this is especially true when fitting furniture in an alcove. These panels help in adding width to make the run fit the alcove perfectly. A final finishing touch is countertops, these come in various colour finishes, materials and heights. They are specifically made in certain lengths and depths to suit the style of furniture they are being used with.


We hope this guide has enlightened you about the variety of bathroom furniture out there. For more information feel free to contact us at James Hargreaves Bathrooms where will happily advise you on the options available for your bathroom.

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