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Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

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Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

For the last 2 years, we have been renovating our home and we have just finished the first room, I know what you’re thinking but it’s a big renovation and with all the delays and trying to do most of it ourselves it’s taking a few minutes.


This bathroom will be shared by our 3 kids so I wanted to add a larger vanity, this was proving expensive so I decided to get creative. After searching for some time on marketplace I finally found the piece I was looking for.


It was the size and structure I wanted but aesthetically it wasn’t hitting the mark and I had to figure out what to do with the counter as wood in a bathroom with 3 kids, 5 and under would be disastrous.


You can view an overview video here 


Here's what it looked like before


IMG_0832 2.jpg


Happy DIY'ing 




Orbital Sander 

Palm Sander




Step 1

Step One: Remove the Varnish

I used my favourite hack and sprayed oven cleaner all over the vanity and drawers and left it for 30 - 60 minutes. I hosed it off and left the cabinet to dry completely. If the varnish is really thick and heavy you may want to repeat this step, in this case I only needed to do it once.


Oven cleaner to remove varnishOven cleaner to remove varnish

Step 2

Step Two: Sand

Once the cabinet was completely dry I sanded it. For a more even finish, taking the wood to raw I would suggest giving your wood a fine sanding. I used grit 220, a fine sanding pad using an orbital sander. You can use a sanding block, but it will take a little longer 


TIP: When sanding move the sander continuously at a smooth steady pace, do not leave the sander in one place or apply too much pressure as you can gouge the wood.



Step 3

Step Three: Bleach

I poured some household bleach into a container and using a chux cloth I wiped down the cabinet and drawers like you would a stain. Once it’s completely dry you can see the impact of the bleach, to get the look I desired I repeated this step.


TIP: Don’t do the inside of the drawers. I did and couldn’t get a nice even finish so I ended up staining the inside a darker brown.



Step 4

Step Four: Sand

Lightly sand the cabinet 

Step 5

Step Five: Make any repairs

Our cabinet had been handmade and some of the drawers were sticking. We noticed the carpenters had filled between the structure of the desk and once we removed these the cabinet was able to sit square. We also removed one of the back legs, the one against the wall that wouldn’t be seen and nailed it to the front of the cabinet in the middle. We replaced the back leg with some pine we had left over from another job.

Step 6

Step Six: Remove the counter

After some inspection, we noticed the counter was screwed on, We removed the screws and then ran a blade between the counter and cabinet to remove any glue.

Step 7

Step Seven: CounterTop

We found an amazing piece of white quartertone (exactly what I was looking for) on the market place. We cut it down using a grinder, keeping it wet during the cut. Then measure out our plumbing holes and made 4 incisions on both sides of the stone, and made the final cut. As this was something we had never done before, we opted for surface-mounted sinks in case we weren’t able to get a neat line, it also meant we didn’t have to build the cabinet up. 


We left the stone its original width as we were worried about it cracking, meaning that the counter went from 540 to 620. This worked out wonderfully as the plumbing had been installed from the floor, so it left a void behind the cabinet for the pipes, saving us from losing several drawers. So it wasn’t wasted space, we added some pine at the end of the cabinet by the toilet to create a hidden shelf.


We added a frame at the back of the cabinet to help with the weight.




Step 8

Step Eight: Sinks

We decided to install the sinks longways, this meant they were more practical with the deeper counter and it left more useable space between sinks

Step 9

Step Nine: Stain the vanity

I love the colour of the vanity but it needed a finishing touch to even out the finish and add a waterproofing finish to the vanity.


I decided to use Liming White by Feast Watson and applied 3 layers, waiting at least 2 hours between coats.



Step 10

Step Ten: Handles

I didn’t like the handles that came with the cabinet, so decided to replace them.


For the top drawers, I bought some basic black mushroom handles from Bunnings and painted them using Dulux Metalshield primer and Dulux Metalshield Hammered Bronze.


I made the bottom pulls using a piece of dowel and copper plumbing tees. I painted the plumbing tees with Dulux Metalshield primer and Dulux Metalshield Hammered Bronze. 


I cut the dowel for the middle bar, the ends and the middle to connect to the cabinet and secured them using hard as nails. I stained the dowel using Feast Watson Liming White applying 3 coats.


Top handles view here

Bottom handles view here


IMG_0353_jpg 2.JPG

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

Hello Claire (@Renowayoflife),


Congratulations on such a beautiful transformation! That cabinet looks barely recognisable and makes for such a classy feature in your bathroom. That hidden shelf is a clever inclusion too. It won't be surprising to see this project make its way to a great Top Ideas article like Bathroom vanity makeovers one day.


A special thanks for including those tips, product links and hacks. I'm sure our members would find this info really handy. 


Well done and looking forward to seeing what you tackle next. 




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Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

thank you @Akanksha 


I love how it turned out, it was a lot of trial and error as I haven't lightened wood before.


So glad you like it :smile:

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

Hooray @Renowayoflife!


I am LOVING your upcycled cabinet into vanity and how you put so much thought into each element. It was very clever of you in using the extra width of your counter top on the backside for your piping and not compromise on any storage. The stain colour choice is just stunning and your handles suit the vanity perfectly.


Well done!




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Kind of a Big Deal

Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

So beautiful @Renowayoflife 😍 

Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

hi @KatieC 


Thank you Katie, I and so glad you like it. I wasn't sure how it was all going to come together but I'm delighted with the colour and finish, it' exactly what I ha d envisaged 

Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

Thank you @mich1972 !

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

Hi @Renowayoflife 


This one is definitely going into my bookmarks. What a beautiful finish!




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Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

Aw thanks @EricL so glad you like it.


I really had no idea what direction to take with this one it was a lot of trial and error but we got there in the end and I couldn't be happier

Making a Splash

Re: Upcycled cabinet into bathroom vanity

Gorgeous piece of furniture!! Your bathroom is stunning!!

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