It was an easy choice for me to hunt down an antique piece of furniture to become my new vanity cabinet. However, figuring out how to install a vessel sink on a dresser was a bit more complicated than I was envisioning. Let me tell you how I did it and save you some time.
Using a Repurposed Dresser as a New DIY Bathroom Vanity
I love antique dressers, really all antique furniture. All old furniture is unique, well made, and a level of fancy modern bathroom vanities just can't compete with.
While renovating my small guest bathroom it was clear I needed a new vanity. And buying new is just not in my vocabulary.
If you're interested in the process of my antique washstand turned bathroom vanity check out these posts:
The First Thing to do is to Find the Right Old Dresser
I thought the search would end quickly because they're literally everywhere. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in your search that I didn't consider at first.
Considerations Before Creating a Repurposed Vanity
- Vanity Height. It's best if you can find one close or at countertop height.
- Type of Sink. It is best to pick this after you've chosen a dresser. Bowl shape and size, style, etc. I'll explain more about this later.
- Your Space Measurements. Because it does have to fit. Whether you're needing large or small vanities it's good to keep this measurement on you and a measuring tape should the perfect piece present itself.
- The Style of the Space. Are you wanting it to blend in, or be the focal point? You may want to consider if you want a simple piece or one with a lot of character.
- Countertop Choice. There are vanities, washstands, and dressers, that come with a marble countertop. Or will you be cutting a hole in the wood on the top of the dresser?
Tools and Supplies
All of these supplies and tools can be purchased from your local Home Depot or most other local hardware stores. But I've linked them from Amazon for your convenience.
- Power Drill or Impact Driver & Bits
- Hole Saw Kit
- Utility Knife
- Adjustable Wrench
- Circular Saw, Miter Saw, or Table Saw
- Countersink Drill Bit
- Measuring Tape
- Silicone Caulk
- Plumber's Tape
- Plumber's Putty
- New Faucet
Watch a Video of me Installing My Vintage Bowl Vessel Sink
Making Your Own Bathroom Vanity
To use a vintage dresser, antique dresser, or even a new dresser as a vanity there are a few things you're going to need to do to retrofit it. The first step is to purchase a dresser to turn into a vanity. My favorite place to find antique or vintage dressers is one of these four places.
- Thrift Stores
- A Local Antique Store
- Flea Markets
- Facebook Marketplace
Choosing a Dresser
I'm not afraid of a project and I'm happy to save some money in exchange for purchasing a dresser that needs some work. It doesn't take much effort to strip the old finish off of a dresser or give it a new color with a fresh coat of paint.
A few things I considered when I chose my dresser for a vanity cabinet were
- The Dresser Top. It needed to be a marble top, solid wood, butcher block, etc. But definitely not any type of pressed wood.
- Good Solid Condition. No water damage and solid dresser frame.
- Storage Space. One good thing about dressers is they can add a good amount of storage space to a bathroom. However, once you install a sink certain dressers will lose most of their storage space.
- Perfect Fit. Obviously, measure your space and only purchase a piece that fits well in the space.
4 Steps to Turn a Dresser into a Vanity
In this post, I'm making the assumption you've already disconnected the plumbing and uninstalled the previous vanity. But let's do a quick rundown of what steps you'll need to take when turning a dresser into a bathroom vanity.
For more in-depth instructions keep an eye open for How to Turn a Dresser into a Bathroom Vanity.
01 Retrofit the drawers
To accommodate the plumbing pipes you will have to cut the top drawer, middle drawer, and possibly even the bottom drawer.
You'll need to make sure when the drawer is closed that there's enough room for the sink drain pipe. And the back of the drawer won't run into it when closed. Unless you don't need functional drawers then you could simply keep the drawer fronts.
02 Add Additional Support for the Weight of the Sink
The main reason you may want extra support would be to hold up the weight of any sink you're installing, especially if it's an under-mount sink. But the good news is the supports can be created using a scrap piece of wood on either side under the countertop.
03 Drill Holes in the Back of the Dresser
You'll need to drill three holes using either a hole saw or a jigsaw for the water supply lines and drain pipe. But before you drill you will measure their placement on the wall so you drill the holes in the correct spot on the back of the dresser. However, you could simply cut a large enough area in the back with a jigsaw for easy access.
04 Attach the Dresser to the Bathroom Wall
To make this an easy installation you'll want to check for your studs first and mark them. Then simply secure the dresser bathroom vanity to the back wall with screws straight into a stud.
How to Install a Vessel Sink on a Dresser
If you're apprehensive about this next step, don't worry, it's really a very simple process. So follow this step-by-step guide to learn the best way to install a vessel sink on a dresser.
Step One - Drilling a Faucet Hole and Drain Hole
Note: Before you measure, mark, or drill ensure you're accounting for where the plumbing sits on the wall. You will want to line the plumbing up directly to the sink drain for the easiest installation.
- First, line your vanity up exactly where it will sit on the wall.
- Then measure to find the center of the dresser's width and depth.
- Next, test your sink in that position with the drain hole right on your mark.
- Then place your faucet in a good position accounting for where the water will fall.
- Adjust as needed. If no adjustment is needed use a pencil to outline your drain hole and faucet drain.
- *Use a hole saw the same size as your drain pipe to cut the drain hole. Cut the second hole using a hole saw the same size as the internal part of your faucet as the template size. (Not the outer part of the faucet).
- Alternately you can drill pilot holes and use a jigsaw to make the holes as well. Just try to not cut at an angle, hold it straight up and down.
* This is assuming your faucet is separate from your sink and not mounted on your sink itself.
Step Two - Installing the Sink to the Countertop
Be aware if you're installing an under-mount sink these steps will be completely different. And in this tutorial, I'm going to only give instructions for a vessel sink.
For my bowl sink, I actually had to install the faucet drain before the sink. Because the rim around the underside of the bowl made it impossible for the drain to make contact with the countertop.
Installing a Vessel Sink
- First, turn your sink upside down.
- Then apply a bead of silicone caulk around the drain hole at the bottom of the sink.
- The next task is to turn the sink over and set it down over the drain hole.
- Then wipe away any excess silicone caulk with a dry rag or paper towel.
Step Three - Installing the Sink Drain
Installing the sink drain is typically done after the sink. However, if you're using an unusual DIY sink as I was you may need to do this process in a different order. But use your best judgment.
- First, apply a bead of silicone caulk around the underside rim of the drain.
- Then press the drain into the drain hole.
- Next, thread the rubber gasket, friction washer, and locknut onto the drain pipe and tighten with channel lock pliers.
- Also, be sure to wipe away any excess silicone caulk around the top of the drain with a damp cloth.
- Lastly, allow the silicone caulk to dry for 24 hours.
Step Four - Installing the Faucet
You don't have to use a new faucet if you're worried about the additional cost. It works just as well to reuse an old faucet or purchase one used as long as it has all the parts.
But if you are buying new make sure you open up your new faucet and ensure you have no missing parts before you start this process.
Directions to Install a Faucet to a Countertop
Depending on the type of faucet you've purchased the directions may vary slightly. But it's probably a good idea to follow the directions that came with your specific faucet. However, these general directions should help clear up any possible confusion.
Installing a Vessel Sink
Before you tighten your faucet ensure it is in the right position to have the water flowing into the sink.
- To start, clean the countertop surface.
- Then add the rubber gaskets (if the faucet and valves have them) onto the faucet where the directions indicate.
- Then push the faucet’s tailpiece up through the mounting hole you've drilled in the counter.
- Next, thread the washer and mounting nut onto the tailpiece.
- Then drop the valve assemblies into their holes and tighten them in place.
- If your faucet doesn’t come with rubber gaskets, seal around the base with some plumber’s putty before you insert it through the countertop hole.
Connect the Valves
- Wrap the threaded ends of the valves and connect the piece with a couple of turns of pipe-wrap tape.
- Then screw the parts together.
- Tighten them by hand, and then finish tightening them with an adjustable wrench.
Installing a Drain Pop Up
It's pretty common for bathroom faucets to have a drain pop-up valve. Mine didn't, it came with a push pop-up drain which is installed very easily in comparison. Here is a helpful link if you need directions on how to install a drain pop-up valve.
Connect the Flexible Water-Supply to the Faucet
- First, connect the flexible water-supply tubes to the tailpieces.
- Then proceed to screw them on, turning the nuts clockwise.
- Lastly, tighten the nuts with a wrench.
Connect the Faucet’s Hot and Cold Water Supply
- First, be sure you're connecting hot to hot and cold to cold. Typically hot is on the left and cold is on the right.
- Then, connect the faucet’s hot and cold water supply tubes to the shutoff valves at the wall, gently bending the flexible supply tubes as required.
- Turn the compression nuts or flared fittings clockwise until finger-tight, and then tighten them tighter with a wrench.
- Turn on the water at the shut-off valves by turning the valve handle counterclockwise.
- Then turn on the faucet to flush the faucet and line of debris.
- Last, check for leaks from the faucet or supply tubes.
Apply a bead of silicone caulk around the drain hole on the bottom of the sink. Turn the sink over and set it on the countertop over the drain hole. Wipe away any excess silicone with a damp cloth.
It's a combination of the silicone caulk applied to the underside of the drain rim on the bottom of the sink and the sink drain pipe itself. The sink drain is installed using silicon washers, silicone caulk, and a metal locking nut.
Basically any solid surface. You can install a vessel sink on granite, marble, natural stone, quartz, concrete, laminate, tile, and even wood. Just ensure you're properly waterproofing any surface before installing your sink. Especially concrete and wood.
Vessel sinks are probably the easiest sinks to install without any previous experience or knowledge required. Most vessel sinks can be installed in 3 basic steps. 1. Drill a sink drain hole. 2. Apply silicone caulk. 3. Install your sink drain.
You only need a mounting ring for specific types of vessel sinks. If your vessel is glass or if it does not have a flat bottom. If the bottom of your vessel sink is curved, then you will need to use a mounting ring. This gives your vessel something to sit flat on.
Yes. You will need a separate faucet. Also, keep in mind how tall your vessel sink is when purchasing a faucet so you ensure your faucet is tall enough. You will need a faucet that is either deck mounted or wall mounted.
Yes. However, if you're replacing a drop-in sink you will need one that covers the hole or to replace the countertop. Also, keep in mind the weight of the sink in either of those situations may require additional support under the countertop.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope I have equipped you with all the information you need to make this process less intimidating and successfully install a vessel sink on a dresser.