Why Are Bathroom Vanities So Short?

Why Are Bathroom Vanities So Short

Over the past few hundred years, human beings have been getting taller. Although the change has only been a few inches, it is enough for us to notice that our furniture needs a little higher for comfort. There are a few theories about why bathroom vanities are so short, and us getting taller is one. Other ideas include designs to accommodate children and minimize water splashing on the floor.

Bathroom vanities are traditionally short to cater to children and to allow us to wash with minimal mess. In the past, humans were shorter, so the lower vanities did not seem so short. Traditional vanities are around thirty inches high, shorter than most kitchen counters which are thirty-six inches.

You are not alone if you wonder why most bathroom vanities seem short. So many of us question the height of vanities, which has led to some interesting insights about the height that we, humans, tend to find comfortable. Join us as we uncover why bathroom vanities are so short.

The Feature Answers

1. Human Beings Are Becoming Taller – Humans are taller, making it look like vanities are short.

2. Children Have Access To The Bathroom Sink – vanities are shorter for kids, so they have better access to brushing their teeth and washing their hands.

3. Lower vanities allow for less water mess. Higher vanities allow for more mess, especially when dealing with younger kids.

Why Are Bathroom Vanities So Short?

 Bathroom Vanities So Short

We have found three main theories to explain the phenomenon of short vanity. These include:

  • Human beings are becoming taller
  • Children have access to the bathroom sink
  • Lower vanities allow for less water mess as we wash

Let’s delve a little into each of these theories.

1. Human Beings Are Becoming Taller

Dr. Christopher S. Baird explains in an article on his site: “Science Questions with Surprising Answers,” that human beings have been getting taller over the last few hundred years. He says this is not a product of evolution since the change has been too quick. Instead, we get taller because of improved health and living conditions.

The trend of becoming taller is more prominent in European males than Americans. In Europe, the average male has become taller by about two tennis ball sizes. 

This is significant and could lead to extra bending at the bathroom vanity.

2. Children Have Access To The Bathroom Sink

Another theory for low vanities is to allow children access to the bathroom sink. While this may have been a consideration in the past, the modern style suggests making the vanity a little higher. Accommodations can be made for children by placing a step nearby. This will help the children use the vanity to reach the sink while maintaining the bathroom’s value for later resale.

3. Lower Vanities Allow For Less Water Mess As We Wash

While we may not enjoy bending over to use the sink, we cannot deny that a higher vanity leads to more splashes. If you use your bathroom sink to wash your face, bending over while using the water allows the water to flow back into the sink rather than onto the floor or your clothes. If you are not particularly tall, you may find that using a taller vanity to wash your face results in some water mess.

What Is The Standard Height For A Bathroom Vanity?

What Is The Standard Height For A Bathroom Vanity

Traditionally, bathroom vanities measured between thirty and thirty-two inches high. This is a good height for children to access and for us to wash our faces without getting too much water on the floor or our clothes. Recently, however, we have started to question this height and wonder if it is, in fact, the best height for our vanities to be.

If we look at the height of a standard kitchen counter, we see that it measures around thirty-six inches high. This is considered a comfortable height for most adults. It makes sense, considering the height of an average male hip is about thirty-nine inches. 

Kitchen counters need to be at a comfortable height, as we tend to spend extended periods cooking, preparing meals, and cleaning dishes. Would it make sense for a bathroom vanity to be the same height as a kitchen counter?

We did a survey, and 70% of those we asked said they would prefer a slightly higher bathroom vanity. Our subjects’ main reasons were all about comfort. We, as human beings, tend to spend a large portion of our day hunched over a keyboard, watching a screen. For many, this leads to back and neck discomfort.  

We have learned about ergonomics that the more ease you can create for your back and neck, the better. Taking breaks every two hours or so, stretching, changing our point of focus, and keeping our screens directly in front of us are a few well-known ways we can be kind to our backs and necks. 

Minimizing the bending and twisting we need to do at our bathroom vanity should be added to the list.

We may have been stuck with the height of bathroom vanities in the past, but today we have so many options to create the home of our dreams and comfort. If you feel that the standard thirty to thirty-two-inch vanity is a little low for you, there are a few ways to raise your vanity: make a taller one or make a taller one yourself.

How To Make A Vanity Taller

How To Make A Vanity Taller

Suppose you are in a home with a short vanity. In that case, you can make a few adjustments to raise the vanity to a comfortable height of around thirty-six inches. Always keep the value of your home in mind as you make adjustments to ensure that you will get the most out should you wish to sell in the future.

Let’s look at simple ways to make your vanity a little taller and add a touch of comfort to your hygiene routine.

  • Add a shim. A shim is a piece of wood you can insert between the cabinet and your vanity’s countertop. It will raise the height by a few inches.
  • Add legs. Consider adding permanent legs to the bottom of your vanity if not attached to the wall. Shop for ones that suit your style and budget, and add style and height to your vanity.
  • Add adjustable cabinet legs. With adjustable cabinet legs, you allow yourself to play with the height of your vanity until it is just right.

Consider the type of sink you have when building or changing the height of your bathroom vanity. If you have a bowl sink on the vanity counter, measure your comfortable thirty-six-inch height to the top of the bowl. If your sink is sunk into the counter, measure the comfortable height to the top.


There are benefits to having a tall vanity. One is being able to use it comfortably. Another is the added storage space that those extra few inches give you. In the past, bathroom vanities were made to measure about thirty inches high, and there are several theories about why they were made lower than we would like today. They were likely a comfortable height for our slightly shorter ancestors. Short vanities give easy access to children and allow for less mess as we adults wash in the sink. 

Today, we have the privilege of adjusting the height of our existing vanities or building them according to our needs. The average comfort height for a modern adult is around thirty-six inches, the height of most kitchen counters. If you are average, consider using this height for your bathroom vanity, and you will enjoy comfort and ease as you use your sink.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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