Bathroom Vanity with Built-In Step Stool

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 05/07/2019 - 00:19
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Add a built in step stool to your vanity!  Just remove the toekick and replace with a slide out step drawer.

bathroom vanity with little girl pulling out hidden step drawer
bathroom vanity with little girl pulling out hidden step drawer
bathroom vanity with little girl standing on pullout step drawer

Moms high heels are not just for dressing up.

They are actually quite useful.
Especially for brushing teeth and washing hands at a too tall bath vanity when you are four years old.
Unless of course your mama trades the high heels in for a hammer, and does a quick mod on your builder grade vanity
To get you a much needed boost
But only when you need it.
You can also build the vanity - the free plans for this vanity are here.


Shopping List

1 set of Heavy Duty 16" drawer slides 1 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long 1 - 3/4" plywood 16" x width of drawer

Common Materials
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
Tape Measure
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

You may need to modify or alter this tutorial depending on the type of vanity you use. Optimally, use a vanity with 6" toekick, as shown, with a full overlay door. Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Remove any doors from the vanity as shown in the picture.

Step 2

Depending on how your toekick is installed, remove it with a hammer, taking great care to not damage the toekick. My toekick was held in place with plastic corners, stapled, no glue.

Step 3

Measure the opening left from removing the toekick. In my case, that's 22 3/4" wide. I also took a height measurement to confirm I would need to use 1x3 boards to build the step drawer.

Also take a second to confirm that the opening is at least 16" deep - otherwise, you will need to adjust your drawer depth and use shorter slides.

Step 4

Once you know the overall width of the step drawer, cut a 1x3 to this length. Then cut two 1x3s @ 15 1/4" for the sides. If your toekick is not cut out like mine, you could also add a front to the step drawer box, so a second 1x3 the width of the opening, minus 1".

Step 5

Step 6

Once your step drawers have been built, attach the slides as directed by the slide manufacturer. Preferably, use side mount slides, with a weight rating exceeding 100lbs.

Step 7

With the step drawer built, install in the drawer opening with drawer slides, placed to the tallest possible position. Attach toekick to step drawer (I used a couple of 2" finish nails to hold it on, removed the drawer and marked it, and then attached with the Kreg Jig).

If your vanity has inset drawers, you may need to adjust how deep you install the drawers.
And that's it - you've got yourself a built in hidden step.
Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Guest (not verified)

Thu, 07/07/2011 - 01:39

When did she get so big? :)

Do you think it would be better to install on casters rather than put all of the weight on the slides?

In reply to by Guest (not verified)


Thu, 07/07/2011 - 03:10

I have been looking in to doing this and also a drawer variant for cookie sheets and such in the kitchen. I have been thinking about using library stool casters that float when no weight is applied yet retract when you step on it to give it a solid base and protect the floor when opening & closing it. Regular casters would not be safe because the drawer could slide out from under you resulting in a potential traumatic head injury.


Thu, 07/07/2011 - 04:49

The weight should be mostly on the toekick (which sits on the floor effectively keeping it from flying out from under the child). You can get slides rated to 75 lbs also.

In reply to by Guest (not verified)

Ana White

Thu, 07/07/2011 - 09:29

Tell me about it!

Definitely thought about the casters, but because my toekick actually rests on the floor in the front, there was no need. But if you expect high weight loads, definitely consider adding casters for additional support, or heavy duty slides.

Kerry Stafford (not verified)

Thu, 07/07/2011 - 06:23

You are so amazingly clever! You come up with such brilliant ideas and things that would never even cross my mind! Wonderful!

Brian (not verified)

Thu, 07/07/2011 - 07:04

Great idea! As an additional precaution, the vanity should be affixed to the studs of the wall to prevent tipping and/or undue stress on the plumbing.

sarah r. (not verified)

Thu, 07/07/2011 - 08:11

Brilliant! I have no idea why this isn't already mass-produced. I guess these are the changes that women and moms bring to furniture production, right? Thank you a million times over, Ana. You are truly making so many lives better with the work you do.

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