Big Style in a Small Bathroom: Beautiful Bathroom Vanities Under 30″

Decorating a small, high traffic bathroom is a bit of a juggling act. Finding a vanity that fits in the space, with all the storage and features you need is hard enough – to say nothing of getting one that looks good, too. But being “small” and “functional” doesn’t mean a bathroom vanity can’t be beautiful – even a centerpiece of your space. There’s more variety in bathroom vanities under 30″ than you might think. Choosing the right style can go a long way to making your small space shine.

If You Go Traditional, Don’t Compromise

It’s easy to assume that all very small bathroom vanities look and work about the same; when you’re talking about something 16″-28″ wide, there’s not much canvas to work with. And admittedly, the default is often a pretty minimalist modern style. That said, there are a goodly number of more traditional options in this smaller size range. Mostly, they’re designed for delicate, pretty powder rooms. Aka, they’re small enough but not necessarily as functional as you might like. Traditional vanities are a particularly bad offender when it comes to faux drawer panels, oversized cabinets, and wasted space. Always double and triple check. A traditional style will make your bathroom pop, but don’t pay for the privilege of too little storage; make sure the one you choose has all working drawers, and preferably a shelf or two.

If You Go Simple, Stage It Right

For the widest variety, though, you really will get the most mileage out of a minimalist vanity. But insisting on your ideal configuration of drawers doesn’t mean you have to settle for a boring bathroom. If the vanity itself isn’t much to look at, the key is to stage it to help maximize its charm. First, pick something other than your typical black, white, or espresso. Then make sure that color or wood tone has a nice contrast with your wall or tile. I prefer warm toned wood set against a light, warm-toned stone for a cozy look, but feel free to play around to get something you like. A nice mirror or matching cabinets will help dress up and draw attention to the vanity; use included or bundled pieces to create an eye-catching geometric layout.

Say Goodbye To Symmetry

One of the tried, true, and almost-universal standards for bathroom vanities is that they should be laid out symmetrically. No matter how big or small, most vanities can be split right down the middle into two almost identical parts. The good news for you is, the vanities that break that mold come with a built-in dose of eye-catching pizazz. On many designs (especially small ones) the look isn’t especially daring, but it’s different enough to feel stylish. For bathroom vanities under 30″, look for spa-inspired features, like open cubbies, that combine style and functionality.

Pay Attention To Paneling

Chianti 16" Single Bathroom Vanity Cabinet in Glossy White and Natural Cork from James Martin Furniture
Chianti 16″ Single Bathroom Vanity Cabinet in Glossy White and Natural Cork from James Martin Furniture

As both kitchens and bathrooms trend more modern, I’ve been seeing a big uptick in very simple slab cabinets. That is, cabinets and vanities with doors made from a single solid piece – no detailing, no hardware, and as little seam between pieces as possible. In a kitchen, this can make for a stunningly smooth finish. But in a small bathroom, on a very small bathroom vanity, the effect is almost totally lost. Instead of leaning into the hyper-modern here, look for some kind of detail work on the cabinet door faces. Basic paneling, a decorative texture, a second material, or even just elaborate hardware can lend loads of style to a small, simple vanity.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Bold Colors or Finishes

Using bold colors is a surefire way to make any vanity more interesting. I’ll admit it may not be the kind of “interesting” that everyone wants; a hot pink vanity might not be the first thing you want to look at every morning. But don’t cross color off your list as too daring without considering it. Bold blue and green gem-toned vanities are quite popular right now, and pack a big punch without being quite as in-your-face as red, orange, or yellow. For a more subtle use of color, look to your hardware. Warm metals like gold, brass, and copper, or even darker finishes like oil rubbed bronze or matte black stand out rather than blending in like silver-toned metals. Paired with the right vanity, the contrast can really make your space pop without feeling garish.

Go For Something A Little Weird

If you’ve been shopping bathroom vanities under 30″, you’ve probably been doing a lot of browsing and scrolling. If you haven’t realized it yet, you soon will: vanities that stand out tend to be few and far between, but will leap to your attention from a sea of samey, utilitarian espresso brown vanities. And they’ll bring that same pop of style to your bathroom. So while we always follow rule #1 first (no compromising!), if something grabs your attention, give it a harder look. Chances are it will be a little pricier than the vanities on either side. But if the vanity has a pleasing impact, it may well be worth the higher price tag.

There truly is no such thing as a perfect vanity for a small bathroom. But narrowing your search to bathroom vanities under 30″ shouldn’t mean resigning yourself to something that merely works. Instead, really think about your bathroom as a stage, choose a vanity that deserves to be front and center, and arrange the space to put it in the best possible light.