Bathroom Vanities: An Historical Evolution | Blog | ABI Interiors




The resourceful bathroom vanity has undoubtedly evolved over the centuries. What was once a primitive Victorian era washstand that held a bowel and pitcher of water for washing your hands and face has gradually turned into something far more comprehensive.

An essential everyday item in any bathroom space, the vanity is worth exploring in terms of its aesthetic transformation to better appreciate how it has broadened in functionality while remaining pleasing to the eye.

From freestanding bedroom washstands to wall-mounted sinks, console vanities to the integrated bathroom amenity of modern times, let’s delve into the evolution of the indispensable bathroom vanity.


Beginning life as unassuming wooden washstands that were situated in your bedroom for easy accessibility, the first vanity was a rather humble piece of furniture. Before the concept of the bathroom was established, these small table-like pieces would generally accommodate a pitcher of water and a bowl for face and hand washing convenience. A handy shelf below could easily store towels along with any other indispensable accessories.

Gradually the washstand became more sophisticated both aesthetically and from a practical perspective. They incorporated hot and cold taps with a spout and a drawer beneath to store handy, easily accessible items. Some of these surviving neoclassical carved wood pedestal sinks or console vanities are now proud collector items. In certain cases, they have been cleverly repurposed or upgraded with modern plumbing to function in a contemporary environment.


The washstand eventually evolved into the dry sink, which essentially was a cabinet with a recessed area on top to account for any spilled water from the washbowl. As a consequence, it could be incorporated into the kitchen for preparing produce too.

Once the private bathroom came into its own toward the end of the 19th century, the vanity gradually moved out of the bedroom and into this new space. The modest washstand favoured by the middle or wealthy classes slowly went out of favour due to modern indoor plumbing advances that came with bathrooms. The Victorian era also brought a more considered approach to the bathroom due to a better appreciation of hygiene.


In contemporary times, bathroom vanities function as a convenient cabinetry amenity that seamlessly combines the sink and an overlooking mirror. Its aesthetic purpose is either to blend effortlessly with your décor or stand out as an alluring focal point to strengthen the bathroom space.

Modern bathroom vanities combine a countertop, a mirror (with optional cabinet), a top or undermounted basin sink, along with convenient storage in the form of sliding drawers, door cupboards or a combination of both. There is also a trend in imaginatively building a vanity from other pieces of furniture.


Combining a contemporary design with minimalism in mind, most of our bathroom vanities are conveniently wall-mounted to open up your space and provide a plush presentation. We also have an floorstanding vanity available. The cabinets are custom made and assembled to order, to ensure reassuring flexibility. You will be able to customise your bathroom vanity to suit your individual space and personal preference.

Our modern bathroom vanities are available in a range of colours and materials, including pure oak, white ash oak, marble, matte white, walnut and black oak. They range from either a compact or elongated one-drawer design to an array of larger two-drawer styles, including several resourceful ‘his and her’ double vanity options. All sizes also include several design options that incorporate an open pigeonhole if desired.

Our vanities also provide an opportunity to personalise the colours of the top, sides and drawers to suit your personal preference.

Why not also browse through our extensive selection of mirror cabinets, basins, bathroom tapware, freestanding baths, shower sets and range of various bathroom accessories to bring your bathroom space to life.

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