How I hacked a freestanding bathroom vanity for $60

I hacked a $59.99 IKEA kitchen cart into an open shelving, freestanding bathroom vanity. Did this way back in 2019 and it’s still holding up well.

Here’s a look at the space I wanted to fit the vanity in.



IKEA item used:
bekvam cart

BEKVÄM kitchen cart |

  • Sandpaper (180 grit or higher)
  • Wood stain
  • Marine varnish (for waterproof finish)
  • Vessel sink
  • Faucet
  • Jigsaw or similar cutting tool
  • Plumber’s caulk
  • Decorative baskets (optional)
  • New p-trap in coordinating metal finish (also optional)

IKEA hack freestanding bathroom vanity:

1. Firstly, cut the two non-wheeled legs to the same height as the shorter pair. Then, assemble the cart. But DO NOT put the top shelf on. (See what I did in the progress photo?  I had to rip that out.  It will get in the way of the installation of the under sink plumbing.) Ed note: The shelf may be okay for sinks with other types of plumbing fixtures, so do check with your plumber.

2. Next, sand the kitchen cart. (However, I only really bothered to sand the top piece of wood.) Start with the lower grit to knock out the rough bits, then finish with a higher grit sandpaper.

3. Stain the cart (optional) and let dry, according to the instructions on the can.

freestanding bathroom vanity

Related: Kids bathroom sinks with tall and short vanities

4. Lastly, apply AT LEAST 3 coats of marine varnish, leaving it the dry (as specified) between coats.  I did 4 on the top piece.  People use marine varnish on boat decks — it will provide much better water resistance than typical polyurethane.

5. Place cart in bathroom where you want it to sit.  Determine where you want the plumbing to fit through and cut a hole in the countertop for the drain pipe.  OR even better: ask the plumber to determine where the plumbing should go and have him take care of it. lol.

freestanding bathroom vanity

6. Have plumber install the vessel sink and plumbing.  Make sure he has everything properly sealed and caulked. Of course, you can do it yourself too, if you prefer.

~ by Corinne