DIY Table-Style Bathroom Vanity With Drawers (Part 1 — The Basic Build)
I finally built up enough courage to start building the vanities and storage cabinet for our master bathroom remodel, and I got one of the vanities almost finished. I still need to make drawer fronts, and then the whole thing needs a clear finish to seal the wood. But the basic build on this DIY table-style bathroom vanity with drawers is finally finished. Here’s how the first one looks so far…
The build was fairly easy, but this first one took a while since I was figuring things out as I went along (and I was nervous). The second one should be faster. Also, I used a combination of walnut and pine to cut down on costs. (Walnut is so expensive!!) I used pine on the areas that don’t show, and walnut on all of the parts that will be seen once everything is finished.
So let me show you how I did it!
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I ordered the Federal Kitchen Legs in walnut from Tablelegs, and they have 3.5-inch-wide blocks at the top.
After figuring out how wide I wanted the finished base of the table, and subtracting the width of the legs, I cut a piece of 1″ x 5″ pine to that width. The width ended up being 39.5 inches. Then using my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig (this is the one I have, and I highy recommend it!), I drilled four pocket holes into both ends of that board.
With one of the legs lying face up/back side down on the floor, I placed the board against the block on the leg so that the board was flush in the top and the back with the leg block, and then I clamped the two pieces together using a right angle clamp and screwed the pieces together using 1.5-inch Kreg screws.
I then repeated that on the other side.
Assembling those three pieces gave me the back side of the table. The reason that I put the board flush against the back side of the leg blocks is because this board would sit against the wall and give me something to screw to table to the wall to secure the vanity into place.
Next, I assembled the sides. These pieces were cut to 16 inches long, and I drilled four pocket holes into each end of these pieces as well. Then I clamped these into place and screwed them to the leg blocks.
You’ll notice that on the side pieces, I attached those so that they were flush with the inside edge of the leg blocks. Obviously, if you’re building a table where this apron will show on all four sides, you want the apron to be placed at the same spot on the leg blocks all the way around.
However, this isn’t a regular table, and when the vanity is installed, only the front will show. So I placed these side pieces flush against the inside edge of the leg blocks to give me a flat surface for the drawer slides in later steps.
If this were going to be a regular table where all four sides were going to show and I wanted it to have drawers, I would have used two pieces on each side — one for the standard apron placed at the same spot on the leg blocks as the other apron pieces, and these inside pieces to provide support for the drawer slides. But since these sides won’t show, I only needed to use one piece on each side.
Here’s a closer view so that you can see how everything is lined up. The back board is flush with the back of the legs blocks to sit against the wall, and the side boards are flush with the inside of the leg blocks so that the drawer slides can be installed on those boards.
And then I attached the front legs in the same way — clamp the board to the leg so that it’s flush with the inside edge of the leg, and screw the pieces together.
At this point, a table base was starting to take shape.
Next, I cut two pieces of walnut 1″ x 2″ lumber to the same 39.5-inch width as the back piece of pine. I drilled two pocket holes into each end of these walnut pieces.
And then with the wide side placed against the floor, I clamped the first 1″ x 2″ piece so that the inside edge of the board was flush with the inside edge of the front legs, and screwed them together.
And then I repeated that on the other side, screwing that same board to the other front leg.
Next, I cut two spacers out of scrap pine, and placed one on each end of the walnut board I just attached.
Then I set the second 1″ x 2″ walnut board on top of those spacers, clamped it into place, and screwed the pieces together.
And, of course, I repeated that on the other side.
With that walnut board in place, I could then remove the spacers on either side.
At this point in the construction process, this is what the (upside down) table base looked like…
Next, I needed to section off the interior of the table base for the two drawers and the sink. Using my speed square and a pencil, I marked those sections on the back board and the two front walnut pieces. (I made the marks darker using my photo editing software so that you can see them.)
And then I cut two pieces out of the same 1″ x 5″ pine, drilled pocket holes only into one end of each board, and set them into place using those guidelines so that the pocket holes were against the back pine board.
I clamped and screwed those boards to the back pine board, but I didn’t use pocket holes on the front.
Instead, I nailed the front of that board into place by face nailing through the walnut boards and into the edges of the pine boards in the four places circled in the picture below.
I know it’s not ideal to face nail through a piece of wood (especially something like walnut) on the front of a piece like this, but I don’t feel comfortable putting a pocket hole screw into the edge of a 1″ x 2″ piece of wood (which is only 3/4-inch thick). I would rather deal with wood filling four little holes than take the chance of splitting and wasting a piece of walnut lumber.
This is what I used to fill those four little holes. It looks very dark when it’s wet, but it lightens as it dries. It was a perfect match.
And the final step before moving on to the drawers was to cut a piece of walnut to fit vertically against those pine boards. I edge glued those pieces to the pine…
And then put one nail through the top and into the edge of that piece, and through the bottom and into the edge of that piece.
At that point, I was ready to put the table base into place in the bathroom and be sure everything was just right. And it was!
To install the drawer sides, I clamped a scrap 1″ x 2″ piece of wood flush against the bottom edge of the side skirt piece, and set the drawer slide right on top while I screwed it into place.
These drawer sections are so narrow that I had to use this flexible attachment on my drill to get the screws in. It worked great! And then I repeated that process three more times so that I had all four drawer slides installed.
I didn’t take pictures of my drawer-making process because I y’all have seen me make drawers about ten times already. Plus, I don’t make fancy drawers. I don’t have the tools for fancy dovetails or anything like that. I just build boxes, and I’ve used three different methods, depending on what the drawer will be used for.
In this case, I wanted the drawers to take up as little space as possible since I was only working with three inches of height to begin with. Plus, these drawers aren’t going to be holding anything heavy. They’ll hold toothpaste, toothbrush, contact lens solution, contact case, etc. So I kept these as simple as possible.
Using 1/2-inch plywood, I cut the following five pieces for each drawer. I needed the finished outside dimensions of my drawers to be 6.5″ wide, 18″ deep, and 2.5″ high. So I cut these five pieces, and then glued and nailed the front and back pieces to the edge of the bottom piece, then glued and nailed the side pieces to the edge of the bottom piece, and finally, glued and nailed the side pieces to each other. Super simple!
And then once I attached the drawer slides to the sides of the drawers and slid the drawers into their compartments, I had an actual functional vanity base.
All of the pine parts will get stained in a walnut stain during the finishing process so that they won’t be so glaringly bright and obviously pine. But really, the only parts that will ever show are the actual drawer boxes.
And speaking of drawers, I’m so glad I decided to do the drawers. At one time, I had considered having no drawers at all and keeping all of the storage to the main piece that will go between these table-style vanities. I thought that these drawers would end up being too small for anything actually functional.
But wow! Was I wrong! These are the perfect size to hold all of those small thing that I listed above, and that I use on a very regular basis. I’m so glad I didn’t skip this step!
So the final step in this build will be to make the three drawer fronts. And then this one will be ready for a clear finish and a quartz top.
So that’s one vanity down, and one to go. I’m saving the big storage cabinet for last because that’s the one that really intimidates me. 😀
You can click here to see Part 2 of this project showing how I made the drawer fronts.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
So amazed by your abilities — like thinking ahead enough for the placement of the back piece to be able to attach it to the wall, how to measure for the drawers, all of it is over the top.
Love it. One question. If the back sits flush to the wall, will you have room for the baseboards behind the vanity legs?
Yes, because I don’t have standalone baseboards. I will have wainscoting, so really, this vanity will sit against the top board that makes up the wainscoting (about chair rail height), and the bottom “baseboard” piece of the wainscoting sticks out the same amount. The only extra space I’ll need is for the piece of trim that goes at the bottom of the wainscoting, and it fits easily behind the bottom part of the legs with room to spare.
If that doesn’t make sense, you can go back to the pictures of the water closet walls, and imagine that same wall treatment shrunk down to fit half the wall, so that the top board is only halfway on the wall rather than up at the ceiling.
All the worry and apprehension for nothing!! It looks fantastic! I love walnut, there is no prettier wood! Keep the momentum, I have no doubt you will succeed on the center cabinet.
Why do you not set up sawhorses and a sheet of plywood for a work surface? Don’t you get tired, or your knees sore from working on the floor?🙁 seems like things would go more quickly/and easier if you weren’t on the floor🤷♀️
It’s just the way I’ve always worked, so I’m used to it. It’s my method. 🙂
So so pretty!
Love, Love! I know you will work your magic on the floor, but for every scratch in those photos, I cringed. LOL
Rest easy! That’s the gym floor and she’s covering it with foam tiles! 🙂
Kristi, this is beautiful! I appreciate your excellent tutorial. I’m intimidated by drawer slides and as I refinish an antique oak bureau, I’ve realized I’d like to install slides so the drawers are not always stuck and tough to open on my old joints. How and where do I measure for the correct slides?
Gosh, I’d like to know this too since I have an old dresser with those same issues! Would be neat to fix that, wouldn’t it?!!
You make it look so easy and logical! It’s really coming together. I am intrigued by the flexible drill attachment as I have had the tight space problem before! Can you share the brand?
Kristi! You did it! It looks great and I can’t wait to see how the rest of it comes together. I was thrilled for you when I came to check today’s post and saw you finally got over that hump and started on the vanities.
Nicely done! You’ve inspired me and given me courage to build several traditional storage units by myself! Thank you!
Between the new van and this glorious bathroom both of your lives are changing so much this year. I’m so happy for you all.
You are such a pro – I really admire your work. You make this look so simple yet for those of us without your talent and experience we would struggle to make something so elegant. Well done.
Man, is that ever pretty!!
Kristi, this is beautiful! THANK YOU for sharing all the details, step-by-step instructions, pictures and diagrams! This gives me confidence and understanding to do future builds. I’m such a visual learner, and you’ve explained it so well! Please don’t change!
All the heart eyes!
Love it! I also have skinny drawers in my bathroom vanity. Can I make a suggestion? You should cut a leftover floor tile to fit inside the drawer if you’re going to be using that drawer to hold your toothbrushes or anything that will be wet. By doing this, the floor tile will protect the wood inside the drawer. After all you hard work, you wouldn’t want to ruin the drawer. 😉
Well done! Your explanations are so clear I’m not at all afraid to try myself!
I knew you could do it, don’t know why you didn’t! LOL! Just be sure to finish the walls before final install, because you won’t be able to do it after! These are going to look so pretty!
You aren’t worried about the relatively large load of a granite countertop and full sink on that 1x lumber?
Not at all. It’s not the 1” lumber that holds the weight. That job goes to those rather substantial turned legs. The 1” lumber just needs to hold the legs in place, and those pocket screws are more than capable of doing that.
You do beautiful work. Those vanities will be Awesome when complete. Love watching the process you go through.
You never cease to amaze me! Girl genius- designer extraordinaire! I wish I had a fraction of your talent. These are going to be beautiful n your new master bath!
Kristi, you simply blow me away. Your work is amazing, and you write beautifully. I would never attempt anything as challenging as this project, but I love reading about your process. Thank you.
Beautiful! SO well done!
You did such a good job, Kristi- the vanity is beautiful! I love walnut and want these for end tables!