The Joanna Gaines-Inspired DIY That'll Add Vintage Charm To Your Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the few areas in a home that is meant to feel a bit sterile — at least in the literal sense. However, feeling bright, clean, and sanitary doesn't mean that a room has to come off as cold, unwelcoming, or even lacking in personality. In Season 2, Episode 2 of the beloved HGTV home renovation series, "Fixer Upper", Joanna Gaines saw an opportunity to bring some vintage charm into a bathroom and didn't stop until the mission was accomplished.

Rather than installing a standard vanity in the home, Gaines took a less predictable approach by sourcing and reusing a vintage dresser. By adding vessel sinks and wall-mounted faucets, the designer was able to preserve most of the drawer space inside and save on the costs of retrofitting the unit. The result was a charming bit of vintage flair that nearly anyone (or their favorite contractor) can DIY into the perfect bathroom vanity

How to DIY a vintage dresser vanity

The first step to creating your dream vintage dresser vanity is to remove the dresser's backing. This will allow it to be placed against the wall, over the pipes and plumbing fittings. If you'll be using a countertop, you will need to remove the dresser's top panel as well. Then, each sink will need a hole to fit into. If you're using vessel sinks, only drain holes will be required.

You (or your contractor) will also need to use a jigsaw to create cutouts in the back and sides of each drawer that would otherwise interfere with the placement of the plumbing and/or sink(s). The last step to repurpose your vintage dresser is to insert the sink(s) and connect the faucet and drain to the existing plumbing. Secure and seal the sink(s) with silicone caulk. Once you've wiped away any excess silicone and returned each dresser drawer to its rightful place, your new vintage dresser vanity is ready to use. 

Factors to consider

When searching for the right vintage dresser to convert into a bathroom vanity, look for quality first and foremost. Sinks can be very heavy, especially when filled with water. It is essential to use a dresser that is constructed out of heavy-duty solid wood. It's also important to make sure that your vintage dresser is deep enough to house your sink(s) and plumbing while still leaving enough space for at least a few of the drawers to remain usable.

When it comes to converting a vintage dresser into a functional bathroom, choose craftsmanship over aesthetic when selecting your furniture. Don't be scared away by a rough exterior. As Joanna Gaines said in her book, "The Magnolia Story", "if you can't find happiness in the ugliness, you're not going to find it in the beauty, either." A dresser can always be sanded and painted or stained to change its appearance, but a piece that hasn't been created out of high-quality solid materials can't be expected to support the weight of a sink indefinitely. If your solid dresser needs a makeover, consider a distressed painted look to bring out its vintage charm. Gaines went with a cool blue-gray in the episode, but the possibilities are endless.