11 BEST Small Bathroom Organization Ideas (Baskets, Cabinets, Shelves…)
It’s contractor Steve from SKG Renovations here again with 11 of the BEST SMALL BATHROOM ORGANIZATION IDEAS
In this post we will show you how to utilize all areas of your small bathroom to create a more organized, efficient and comfortable space for you and your family.
VANITY CABINET STORAGE
- FLOATING VANITY – Modern stylish and practical
- VANITY CABINET DRAWERS – The most popular upgrade
- FREE-STANDING CABINETS – Adds elegance without sacrifice
- THE NON-VANITY – Cool but still practical
- COUNTER TOP STORAGE – A necessity for many
WALL MOUNTED STORAGE
- THE MEDICINE CABINET – Not necessarily boring
- TOWEL STORAGE – From basic to luxurious
- ABOVE THE TOILET – Very efficient storage
VANITY CABINET STORAGE – THE FOUNDATION OF SMALL BATHROOM ORGANIZATION
Different people have different vanity organizing preferences. Do you prefer to hide things under the sink, use containers, or leave the most well used items on the vanity counter top?
Here are some great vanity storage options to stay organized:
FLOATING VANITY – MODERN, STYLISH AND PRACTICAL
If you’ve found yourself short on floor space, a “floating vanity” is a wonderful way to reclaim an area if you are willing to embrace a small remodel lasting only a couple of days.
This wall-mounted design provides all the benefits of vanity cabinetry or shelves while leaving 8″-12″ of space available below. It’s a great place for storage baskets, your bathroom scale, or a short laundry hamper that will stay out of the way.
The under cabinet space also contributes to a more open and spacious feel in the bathroom. There is nothing like those out of the way storage nooks to keep your small bathroom tidy and organized.
VANITY CABINET WITH DRAWERS – A POPULAR UPGRADE
VERY popular in small bathroom organization is the vanity cabinet with drawers. It seems that everyone wants these cabinets… and for good reason I think.
Vanity drawers are valued so highly in a small bathroom because they allow you to organize and access your personal items without having to crouch down and rummage among the pipes beneath the sink. Perfect for small bathrooms with very little room to open doors and access items. These cabinets also allow you to immediately double, or even triple the effective storage space under your counter, without increasing the size of the vanity cabinet. Utilizing this space more efficiently really helps with small bathroom storage and organization.
The only downside to a vanity cabinet with drawers is that a gap must be created in the upper drawer to allow room for the “tailpiece”, the vertical drain pipe & “p-trap” connected to it. This gap significantly reduces the storage efficiency of the upper drawer but it still serves as a very useful storage level for organizing all your smaller items.
A fancy alternative to this is what is called an “offset drain” which is actually a 90 degree horizontal tailpiece section that carries the water toward the back of the cabinet (past the drawer) before it drops into the vertical section of the drain pipe.
A great place to look for a floating vanity with drawers is IKEA. The IKEA Godmorgon cabinet is very reasonably priced (pictured above), but also attractive and durable. I have installed it dozens of times for many happy customers. If you purchase the Ikea Godmorgon cabinet with their recommended Ikea bathroom sink, it also comes with an offset drain piece because their upper drawer does not have a gap for a standard bathroom sink tailpiece. I would recommend a metal version of this piece which you can find at most plumbing wholesalers.
Vanity cabinets with drawers are likely the most effective and efficient of all the small bathroom organization solutions.
FREE-STANDING CABINETS – ADDS ELEGANCE WITHOUT SACRIFICE
Free standing cabinets are a great alternative to the floating vanity or the standard floor mounted vanity cabinet. Installing one of these cabinets can create a more bespoke look in your bathroom compared with other cabinet styles because it looks more like a fine piece of furniture. A very nice look indeed.
In the past, free-standing cabinetry has been available in mainly more classic designs but now they are available in various colors, styles, and materials; everything from an old-fashioned Victorian look to modern and sleek.
They also have the floating vanity benefit of having a little room underneath for a bathroom scale or some slippers. Every little bit of extra space can help your large or small bathroom organization efforts, by getting items out of the way.
THE NON-VANITY – COOL BUT STILL PRACTICAL
One unusual and dynamic option for you’re the most basic bathroom storage cabinet, is to eliminate the cabinetry entirely.
Instead, you could have a single wall-mounted counter surface made of wood, marble or granite with a surface-mounted (deck mount) sink, and a built-in open shelf beneath. A shelf like this can provide a surprising amount of bathroom storage space under your sink. This type of under sink bathroom storage can look great as long as you choose to store larger items such as towels and/ or baskets and/ or containers.
You should also keep in mind that this is considered a high-end vanity option, not often installed in small bathrooms…… but it is definitely worth considering if you have other bathroom storage / organization options.
COUNTER TOP STORAGE – A NECESSITY FOR MANY
There are always a few items that are used so regularly that we like to leave them on the counter.
Unfortunately, because the bathroom is a damp place, this isn’t always a good idea. With the incidental splashing and puddling of water on the counter, some of these items may become waterlogged or even damaged. There is also a big risk of making your bathroom look too cluttered.
If done correctly vanity top storage can be a easy, convenient and even elegant small bathroom organization option. Consider mounted shelves, hooks, drawers, and even elegant little boxes for your vanity top to ensure everything is both accessible and tidy.
WALL MOUNTED STORAGE – “OUT OF THE WAY” SMALL BATHROOM ORGANIZATION
Your small bathroom organization would not be complete without at least one wall mounted storage feature.
Attached with screws, bolts, and braces, these items hang from the walls in order to create more floor space and keep things dry.
The most common things mounted on bathroom walls are shelves, towel racks, toilet roll holders, and cabinetry to hold your medicines, cosmetics, and linens.
Your bathroom organization preferences and the shape & size of your bathroom will influence what you choose to mount.
Here are some examples:
THE MEDICINE CABINET – NOT NECESSARILY BORING
The space above your sink is typically left to a mounted mirror or a mirrored medicine cabinet, allowing you to store medications, dental hygiene, and cosmetic products in a convenient place and above the reach of small children.
If you choose to combine shelves with a medicine cabinet with mirror, you can create a contemporary look with all the benefits of concealed cabinet storage. This allows you to store the more tidy (often larger) items on the open shelves and everything else out of site behind the mirror.
Either way, incorporating a medicine cabinet into your small bathroom organization plan does not have to look dated, but instead can be both very practical as well as attractive.
TOWEL STORAGE – FROM BASIC TO LUXURIOUS
Everyone has a different preference for how to store their towels. Most small bathrooms have at least one towel bar for drying, but many enjoy installing several bars on which dry towels can be stored as well.
Cabinets are a practical option for closing your linens away from the rest of the room as it steams up, while cabinet shelves provide easy retrieval without having to open a cabinet door.
Open shelves are popular in many hotels for convenient access to your towels. You can choose between many attractive finishes to match your bathroom design scheme such as chrome, nickel, brushed stainless steel, and wood finishes. As long as you routinely stack your towels in a tidy manner, you too can utilize this option with equally attractive results.
Have you ever thought about a heated towel bar?
It’s not really as crazy as it sounds. There are many models available online that you can purchase for under $200, so this luxury towel storage option is no longer reserved for only hotels and high end homes.
One of the best things about things about a heated towel bar in a small bathroom is that you can store (and dry) several wet towels on a relatively small rack, making your towel storage very compact, tidy and efficient.
Heated towel bars and towel racks can actually be a very practical and beautiful small bathroom organization idea.
ABOVE THE TOILET – VERY EFFICIENT STORAGE
The space over your small bathroom toilet is a fantastic potential area for a wall mounted or a floor standing bathroom storage cabinet or storage tower.
And what better way is there to organize your small bathroom than by taking advantage of this valuable, unused space, don’t you think?
This valuable storage space is the best place for cabinets, towel shelves, and occasional bath time treats like scented oils, bubble bath, and perhaps a rubber ducky within easy reach of the tub/ shower.
Many people use floor standing storage racks over the toilet (storage towers) instead of wall mounted because they are super easy to install and relatively inexpensive. They can be made of lightweight chrome wire, or a more substantial wood cabinetry style storage tower, depending on your tastes and your organizational plan.
The attached pic shows how a cabinet that matches the style of the vanity cabinet can really enhance the look of your compact bathroom space as well as keeping it extremely organized.
With open shelving you can even keep potted plants, bowls of potpourri, or sculptures and pictures if you already have enough room for towels and personal items.
A downside that some people complain about is that storing items over the toilet can make your small bathroom look a bit cluttered if your using open style storage like shelves. Another common complaint is that it can also make a small bathroom seem a bit cramped.
ACCESSORY STORAGE – SMALL THINGS ORGANIZATION IN YOUR SMALL BATHROOM
Do you have a lot of smaller items that need to be stored out of sight, instead of cluttering up your counter top?
What about box, container, or basket or storage to improve your small bathroom organization?
CONTAINER STORAGE – KEEP CLUTTER TO A MINIMUM
Sometimes closed cabinet storage can make your already small bathroom feel more cramped and even more disorganized. Open shelving that includes container storage is the perfect solution.
Decorative boxes or baskets are the answer to keep your small bathroom organized and uncluttered. They can contain almost anything that you don’t want immediate access to in the bathroom, but are still easy enough to access if you need some supplies.
An open shelf with several cubbies holding attractive open top baskets is a very attractive option (see pics).
SHOWER STORAGE – THE MOST IMPORTANT SMALL BATHROOM ORGANIZATION?
Is your shower the most disorganized place in your bathroom?
Wouldn’t you love to not have to rest your shampoo bottles and soap on the tub edge or shower floor?
Consider a handy shower caddy!
Or if you are planning to remodel, consider installing a shower niche to improve your small bathroom organization issues.
SHOWER CADDIES – USEFUL WITH A FEW DOWNSIDES
For those that struggle with keeping their showers tidy and organized (virtually everybody), an innovative retrofit device called the shower caddy or bathroom caddy can really help.
There are dozens of innovative designs for shower caddies and shower racks. Some are flimsy and cheap, and some are high quality, and designed to hold a significant load.
The least effective are those connected purely by suction cups (suction shower caddy), which seem to always detach at the least opportune moment.
Shower storage caddies that hang from the shower head (shower hangers) are the most popular by far because they are the least expensive of all the caddies, and they stay mostly out of your way. A disadvantage is that they can expose the shower head arm to a significant amount of stress. Because these arms were not designed to carry any significant load, disaster could result from loading them with too much weight.
There are also vertical pole caddies (shower stands) which fasten between the tub-edge and the ceiling to provide several layers of wire shelves. These are very helpful for showers that are used by several members of the household and need a lot of storage.
The best shower caddies are stainless steel shower caddies because they resist corrosion, can carry higher loads, and can organize the many different products you require in the shower.
The bamboo shower caddy can also carry significant weight yet is also very attractive, especially if you can incorporate a few other bamboo accents elsewhere in the bathroom.
The problem with most the caddy designs is that they are designed to be somewhat temporary, eventually damaging the ceiling, shower floor and tub deck with long term use. They can also be quite obtrusive and unattractive. Even if shower caddies solve a critical small bathroom organization dilemma, they are not generally considered to be an ideal solution.
SHOWER NICHE – THE PERFECT SOLUTION
Tired of wrestling with, or running into your rickety shower caddy?
Are you frustrated with the huge dents in your ceiling, scratches on the tub deck?
Enter the Shower Niche.
The shower niche is really the perfect large and small bathroom shower storage and organization solution (as long as you are planning a shower remodel, that is…).
A shower storage niche is a recess in the shower wall which creates a shelf (or shelves) for your shampoo, soap, razor, or a cool tropical drink during bubble bath time.
Unlike the shower caddy, the shower niche is recessed between the wall framing so it stays out of your way while showering. Shower niches are also generally incorporated into the structure of your shower, so they are designed to last (some more than others).
You can choose between many different sizes and styles of tiled or finished shower niches.
When you are considering recessed wall storage in your shower, you must first decide how much recessed space you need. Then whether you want a long horizontal shower niche or a much more subtle, but efficient vertical niche. Do you want one or two niches? His and hers shower niches are becoming increasingly popular in modern bathroom designs.
The downside to shower niches is that they tend to be fairly expensive to build, waterproof and tile (if built correctly, that is).
There have been some modern innovations that have lessened the burden and cost of building a custom tiled shower niche. Preformed shower niches are water sealed foam boxes that attach to the shower wall framing, can be tiled just like a custom shower niche, and are available in several convenient sizes (Schluter Systems).
An even more innovative new style of shower niche, are the few finished shower niche products out there that are attractive, take very little time to install, and are built to be fully waterproof for a lifetime (see stainless steel shower niche below)
If you are planning to install a shower niche, read this article: Find the Perfect Shower Niche Position – 2018 Shower Niche Planning Guide
When it comes to a beautiful bathroom, the primary difference between elegance and clutter is how you design your storage.
As your own interior designer, you have the power to shape how your bathroom looks, feels, and flows from one activity to another.
Whether you base your theme around dark wood cabinetry, natural stone, or stainless steel and chrome, your elegant storage solutions are sure to create a delightful experience for both your morning routine and evening relaxation.
If you liked this post about Small Bathroom Organization, please leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading!
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