How to Convert an Antique Washstand to a Sink


If you love country-style decorating, have a home full of antiques or own an old farmhouse, modern bathroom fixtures may stick out like a sore thumb. One easy solution for blending your bathroom with the rest of your home is to retrofit an antique washstand with modern plumbing fixtures. These instructions assume your sink area has an existing water supply and drainage installed.

Step 1

Measure the width and depth of the space where the sink will be installed to make sure your vanity will fit.

Step 2

Remove the drawers and set aside. Most vanities have one or two drawers over a single or pair of doors.

Step 3

Check to see it the water supply and drain pipes come from the floor or the wall. If they come from the floor, an opening will need to be cut into the bottom of the washstand. If they come from the wall, the opening will need to be cut into the back of the washstand to accommodate the pipes. If the washstand's height is too short, a hole may need to be cut into the back and the bottom to accommodate the pipes. A simple square opening is the easiest.

Step 4

Turn your attention to the drawers. The drawer bottoms must be removed and the drawers made stationary to accommodate the plumbing.

Step 5

Remove the drawer bottoms. Sometimes this can be done by sliding the bottom out. If not, use the drill to cut a pilot hole in the bottom of the drawer. Then use the jigsaw to saw around the perimeter of the drawer bottom. Do not cut into the walls of the drawer. You may want to sand the cut edges with sandpaper.

Step 6

Slide the drawers back into the washstand. Turn the stand on its back. From the door opening(s), use wood screws to permanently attach the drawer(s) to the back of the stand. Two or three screws in the back wall of the drawer should be ample to hold the drawer. You may want to add screws to the sides, but be careful to choose screws shorter than the combined width of the drawer and the wall of the washstand.

Step 7

Cut the hole in the top of the washstand for the sink bowl. Use the cutting template that came with the sink bowl to mark the intended opening. It is always better to err by cutting the opening too small, and then enlarge it as needed.

Step 8

Cover the washstand with a coating of polyurethane to protect the finish from water damage. You may want to put more than one coat on the top, as it will be exposed most to water.

Tips and Warnings

  • When working with polyurethane, follow the label instructions, work in a well-ventilated area and wear rubber or latex gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Power drill
  • Jigsaw and blades
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Wood screws
  • Polyurethane wood sealer
  • Disposable paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Drop-in sink bowl and faucet kit


  • How to Build a Vintage-look Dresser Vanity
Keywords: dresser washstand, retrofit washstand, old washstand

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Rose Talbot began writing in 1991 for local newspapers. Her work has appeared “Asthma and Allergy Today,” the American Moving and Storage Association's “Direction,” “Antique Week,” “Chesapeake Family,” “Southern Maryland This is Living,” and “The Country Register.” She holds a degree in journalism from Radford University.

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