Shaving Cabinet Height Above Vanity Australia

When designing or renovating a bathroom, one crucial consideration is the placement of a shaving cabinet above the vanity. The height at which this cabinet is installed can significantly impact both the functionality and aesthetic of the bathroom space. This guide provides comprehensive insights into the optimal height for installing shaving cabinets above vanities in Australia, taking into account ergonomic principles, design trends, and practical considerations.

1. Ergonomic Principles

Ergonomics and Human Factors: Ergonomics plays a vital role in determining the height at which a shaving cabinet should be installed. The goal is to ensure ease of use and accessibility for all users. The average height of an adult in Australia is around 175 cm (5 feet 9 inches) for men and 162 cm (5 feet 4 inches) for women. Therefore, it is essential to consider these dimensions when deciding on the height of the shaving cabinet.

Eye Level and Comfort: Typically, the middle of the mirror in the shaving cabinet should align with the average eye level of the users. For most adults, this would be approximately 150 cm (59 inches) from the floor. However, this can vary depending on the height of the family members. It is often recommended that the bottom of the mirror or the cabinet should be about 120 cm (47 inches) from the floor to accommodate a range of heights comfortably.

2. Vanity Height Considerations

Standard Vanity Height: In Australia, the standard height for a vanity, including the countertop, ranges from 850 mm to 900 mm (33 to 35 inches). This standard height is designed to provide a comfortable working surface for the majority of adults. It’s important to ensure that the shaving cabinet is positioned at a height that complements the vanity height, providing a seamless and functional bathroom experience.

Countertop Material and Thickness: The material and thickness of the vanity countertop can also influence the height of the shaving cabinet. Countertops can vary in thickness from 20 mm to 40 mm (0.8 to 1.6 inches) or more. Thicker countertops will raise the overall height of the vanity, which may require adjusting the height of the shaving cabinet to maintain optimal usability.

3. Practical Considerations

Storage and Accessibility: Shaving cabinets often double as storage units, housing essential toiletries and medications. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the cabinet is accessible to all users. If the cabinet is too high, shorter individuals may struggle to reach the upper shelves. Conversely, if it is too low, it may intrude on the countertop space and make the vanity area feel cramped.

Electrical Outlets and Lighting: Modern shaving cabinets often come with integrated lighting and electrical outlets. The height of the cabinet must consider the placement of these features to ensure they are convenient to use. For instance, power points for electric shavers or toothbrushes should be within easy reach but also safely positioned to avoid contact with water.

4. Design Trends and Aesthetics

Minimalist and Contemporary Designs: Current trends in bathroom design often favour minimalist and contemporary styles. Shaving cabinets in such designs are typically sleek and frameless, installed flush with the wall for a streamlined look. The height in these designs is usually consistent with the ergonomic guidelines but may also be adjusted to create a visual balance with other elements in the bathroom.

Traditional and Ornate Designs: In contrast, traditional and ornate bathroom designs may feature more decorative shaving cabinets with mouldings and trims. The height in such cases may be influenced by the design elements of the cabinet itself, as well as the overall aesthetic goals. These cabinets may be positioned slightly higher or lower depending on their style and the visual impact desired.

5. Customization for User Needs

Families with Children: In homes with young children, it may be necessary to lower the shaving cabinet slightly to ensure it is accessible to them. However, this should be balanced with the needs of adult users. Adjustable shelving within the cabinet can help accommodate the varying heights of family members.

Special Needs and Accessibility: For individuals with special needs or disabilities, the height of the shaving cabinet must be carefully considered to ensure accessibility. Compliance with the Australian Standards for access and mobility (AS 1428.1) may be required in these cases. This standard provides guidelines for the installation of fixtures and fittings to ensure they are accessible to people with disabilities.

6. Building Codes and Standards

Australian Building Code: While there is no specific regulation mandating the exact height for shaving cabinets in residential bathrooms, compliance with the general requirements of the Australian Building Code is essential. This includes considerations for safety, accessibility, and functionality.

Local Regulations: Local councils may have additional regulations or guidelines that influence the height of bathroom fixtures. It’s advisable to check with local authorities to ensure compliance with any specific requirements in your area.

7. Installation Guidelines

Measuring and Marking: Accurate measurement and marking are critical steps in the installation process. Measure the height of the vanity and decide on the optimal height for the cabinet based on the guidelines provided. Mark the wall with a pencil to indicate where the bottom of the cabinet will be installed.

Securing the Cabinet: Ensure that the cabinet is securely mounted to the wall. This typically involves using wall anchors and screws suitable for the wall type (e.g., plasterboard, masonry). It is important to check for studs behind the wall for added stability, especially if the cabinet is heavy or will hold significant weight.

Leveling: Use a spirit level to ensure that the cabinet is perfectly horizontal during installation. An uneven cabinet can not only look unsightly but also cause practical issues with the doors and internal shelving.


Determining the optimal height for installing a shaving cabinet above a vanity in Australia involves a careful balance of ergonomic principles, practical considerations, design trends, and compliance with building standards. By considering the average height of users, the standard vanity height, and specific needs of the household, one can achieve a functional and aesthetically pleasing bathroom setup.

The recommended height for the bottom of the shaving cabinet is typically between 120 cm and 130 cm from the floor, ensuring that the middle of the mirror is at eye level for most users. However, adjustments may be necessary based on individual needs and design preferences. Ensuring accessibility, practical storage, and compliance with local regulations will lead to a well-designed bathroom that serves its purpose effectively.

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