How we transformed a £25 chest of drawers into our dream vanity unit

How we transformed a £25 chest of drawers into our dream vanity unit

One item that gets a lot of love on our Instagram feed is our upcycled bathroom vanity unit. We have taken inspiration from similar vanity units that are for sale, but they all seem astronomically priced and we thought there must be a cheaper way of doing it. We decided that if we could find the right unit surely it wouldn’t be too hard to convert it ourselves. The issue that kept holding us back from doing it was… where the hell do you put the bloody pipes?? After a bit of research we realised that a lot of vanity units have the pipes hidden in the walls. This was not an option for us as we had only just re-tiled that particular wall in the bathroom. Somehow we needed to hide the pipes within the unit without losing the storage to hide a multitude of brightly coloured kids toys.

After perusing the auction sites for what seemed an age we eventually stumbled across what seemed the perfect article from Ebay. It was the right size, had a bit of age, three drawers with beautiful handles, was only 5 minutes down the road from us and was only £25!! So we thought lets buy it and even if we cock it up we haven’t lost too much. Once we got the unit home we couldn’t wait to get started with the up cycling. Firstly we gave the unit a good sand to get rid of the varnish on the top using an electric sander (sand paper and elbow grease will do the trick if you don’t have one) and a light sand on the sides. We then painted the sides in Farrow and Ball Railings and used a good quality gloss varnish on the top to help protect against any water that an unruly two year old leaves behind. This was the easy bit done; we now had to work out how we were going to plumb it in without losing the use of the drawers.

We took a bit of plumbing advise from a friend who said the plumbing should be fairly easy to take on ourselves (it might be easy for a qualified plumber but nothing seems easy when you have never done it before). He recommended we used an ‘in-line space saving waste trap’, what is one of those I hear you ask; well until recently I didn’t know either. It basically replaces the standard ‘U’ bend trap that takes up a lot of room and is the secret behind still being able to use the drawers! Yay! All we had to do was cut a small section out of the back of the top drawer to allow for this. With this purchased (from any good plumbing merchants) we were good to try and plumb in the basin and taps that we had bought from Victorian Plumbing. And you know what, it was much easier then we ever imagined. We cut the pipes to fit around the back of the drawer and the in-line space saving trappy thing worked perfectly. The vanity unit sets the bathroom off beautifully and adds an interesting focal point to a traditionally pretty boring part of a bathroom! You can shop the look below (the unit itself was from Ebay but do check there for similar).

The costings for this project were: Vanity Unit: £25.00 from Ebay Plumbing: £25.00 from B&Q Sink and Taps: £100 from Victorian Plumbing Paint: (Left over from an old project) Farrow & Ball Railings Wood varnish: £9.00 from B&Q



  1. Claudine
    February 24, 2018 / 7:48 am

    Wow it’s looks amazing, I think I will try and have a go myself. The wall is lovely.

    • StaceyDyer
      February 24, 2018 / 7:57 am

      Good luck x

  2. Lesley
    February 24, 2018 / 7:49 am

    I love your unit. The paint colour is gorgeous. I just wish I’d had the guts to do something like this, when I had my new bathroom put in.
    However, I now feel inspired to try and upcycle a console table that I’ve bought for the hall…Thanks for the inspiration! ?

    • StaceyDyer
      February 24, 2018 / 7:57 am

      Give it a go, it’s so satisfying x

  3. Jessica
    February 24, 2018 / 8:06 am

    I would love to do something like this, I’m just thinking of the drawers? Did the pipework running through the unit get in the way or did you have to do something to the drawers too? X

    • StaceyDyer
      February 24, 2018 / 8:14 am

      No we had cut a little hole in the top drawer to allow for this but other than that they are fully functional and have lots of space in them x

      • Jessica
        February 24, 2018 / 8:23 am

        Fantastic! Thanks so much.
        Think I’ll be taking some inspiration from you ? x

  4. Annie
    February 24, 2018 / 8:10 am

    I just wanted to say a huge thanks – I enquired about how you achieved on this on your Instagram and you kindly replied. Thanks to you I now have a refurbished unit in our new ensuite! You were so helpful, thank you again xxx brilliant blog!

    • StaceyDyer
      February 24, 2018 / 8:19 am

      That’s amazing!! So happy for you. Bet it looks great x

  5. Emma Emeny
    February 24, 2018 / 9:07 am

    Love love love this!!!! ? thanks so much for the blog, it looks absolutely stunning, may summon up the courage to have a go my self one day. One thing though does the pipe not stop the drawers from fully closing? ?keep up the blogxxxx

    • Stacey
      February 24, 2018 / 9:11 am

      That’s very kind of you, thank you. No because we cut a small section out of the drawer it allows the drawer to fully shut.x

  6. February 25, 2018 / 9:17 am

    I absolutely love this unit and would love to give something like this a go when we do our bathroom – so glad you’ve decided to start a blog!

    • Stacey
      February 25, 2018 / 9:23 am

      Great news, thanks so much x

    • Stacey
      March 23, 2018 / 12:30 pm

      Thank you, glad you like the blog!

    • Stacey
      December 31, 2018 / 2:33 pm

      Thanks so much for reading x

  7. Claire
    March 12, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    I absolutely love this, so much so I have my eye on a unit at the moment. I do have a question though. How tall is yours? I’m looking for the ideal height and yours looks perfect. (Is that a really strange question? Lol )

    • Stacey
      March 12, 2018 / 7:16 pm

      Hi I’d say it’s around 3ft height. We’re away from home this week so I can’t measure but I’ll check at the weekend for you. I’m 5ft 2 and I’d say it comes to around the top of my hips (that’s probably not much help!)

  8. Hannah
    May 10, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    Hello.. love the bathroom.

    One question I do have is what colour grout did you use for your tiles? It’s the perfect shade!

    Many thanks

    • Stacey
      May 10, 2018 / 8:01 pm

      Hi it was the grey grout from Topps tiles

  9. Katie
    June 18, 2018 / 5:44 pm


    I’m looking in to doing something like this and was wondering if there’s been any issues with dampness in the wood or problems with humidity on the wood?

    Thanks xx

    • Stacey
      June 18, 2018 / 6:05 pm

      Hi, so far so good ??

  10. Helen
    August 8, 2018 / 6:30 pm

    Hey, just read your blog and have been thinking of doing this for ages. Thank you for the inspiration and your wonderful blog.

    I will send you a picture when it’s been created X

    • Stacey
      August 8, 2018 / 8:33 pm

      Amazing! Thanks so much. Can’t wait to see it x

  11. July 16, 2019 / 11:54 am

    Looks stunning and I love the space saving pipe work !
    This must be how they do it in Europe beucase they manage to have the use of full draws.
    A year on, have you had to retreat the wood and is the pipework still ok ? Any problems you would now forewarn if someone was to try this?

    Many thanks ?

    • Stacey
      July 16, 2019 / 3:00 pm

      No we haven’t although the paint does need a little touch up where it’s gotten bashed

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