Bathrooms are designed for switching off, unwinding and relaxing, but this can be a challenge if you don't have clever bathroom storage ideas in place to keep the space simple and clutter-free.
In order for your bathroom ideas to look as stylish as possible, your storage needs to work hard to house all of the essentials in a way that's easily accessible for daily use. This is even more important if you have a large family with a huge amount of bathroom products or you regularly have guests over.
‘When thinking about storage, especially in a smaller bathroom, utilise all the space available to you,’ says Anna Wiatr, CRM and sales and marketing manager at Villeroy & Boch. ‘For example, if there are already alcoves in your bathroom, you should make as much use of them as possible.'
'Small alcoves are ideal for made-to-measure built-in cabinets or shelves. Avoid the visual chaos caused by visible pipes, protruding cabinets or angular, open shelving units that draw the eye all over the place and prevent a clear overview. Instead, have the installations and as much of the furniture as possible fitted directly into the wall.'
Bathroom storage ideas
When thinking about how to plan a bathroom, storage should be at the forefront of your mind so you have a stylish but practical space. This can easily be done on a budget and you don’t need a large square footage to make an impact.
These bathroom storage ideas make it easy to tidy up your bathroom with everything having its proper place and to give yourself that serene space you’ve been craving - without a stray towel in sight.
1. Add style into storage
Style can be just as much a priority as storage in a bathroom design, so don't feel like you have to compromise. Many units now come in fashionable colours and patterns to meet the latest bathroom trends, such as ribbed or cane designs, so you can easily create a chic space.
The front of a storage cabinet can quickly alter the entire aesthetic of a bathroom design, and the good news is that many of these are available to buy in standard sizes. This means it's even simpler to fit a new cabinet without needing to go bespoke.
2. Leave no wasted space
If you're working out how to plan a bathroom renovation, you're likely to be left with empty spots in your layout that could be utilised for additional storage.
A false wall next to these his-and-hers basins zones the vanity, and creates a spot for smart bathroom shelving ideas that can be used to stack fresh towels or as an overflow for toiletries (particularly handy if you’re sharing your bathroom with teens!). You can even use offcuts of your bathroom surface materials to save some money and ensure the design looks cohesive.
3. Be smart with sloped ceilings
Whether you have an attic bathroom where storage is at a premium, or you're looking for more savvy solutions for a compact downstairs washroom, you need to get clever with the space you have.
Section off sloped ceilings to create a false wall, then add doors for access so that the empty cavity behind doesn’t go to waste. Swap knobs or handles for push latches for a more streamlined look. If there isn’t room to open a hinged cupboard, consider tambour doors for a stylish space-saving alternative.
4. Raise the style levels
Wall-hung vanity units give the illusion of extra space and allow your flooring to feel airy and clear - or to reveal a statement flooring pattern if that's your style. For a modern bathroom design, choose a handleless vanity unit that reduces visual distraction but remains easy to get in and out of.
Wood tones, from oak to walnut, will add warmth to your bathroom but for a sleek, contemporary look, mirrored bathroom cabinet ideas will extend the feeling of more room.
5. Go for gold to reflect light
Bathroom storage ideas are as much about style as they are practicality. You want your products to be hidden from plain sight but the storage has to add to an aesthetic too.
Standout brass doors will turn your storage solutions into the star of the show, making a statement but also reflecting light around the room to increase the feeling of space. Custom Fronts will give you a high-quality design, but you can also try a money-saving hack using self-adhesive vinyl or brass-effect spray paint. Oh, and don't forget to match your metal to your bathroom mirror ideas.
6. Rethink towel storage
Bathroom storage isn't just required for products, it's just as necessary for towels and extra linens. This is where a ladder comes in - it's a savvy storage solution that takes up almost no room and acts as a chic design feature.
You can style it up so that it looks perfectly undone while making it easy for yourself, or guests, to find a towel. Position next to a faux or real bathroom plant and your space will look super zen and expertly curated.
7. Source storage secondhand
Shopping for secondhand furniture doesn't have to be reserved for the living areas of your home, there are so many vintage cabinets that can be restored for use in a bathroom.
If you're looking to achieve a country bathroom aesthetic, then opting for an antique dresser or storage unit will fast-track you to a classic interior. All you need to do is create a hole in the top (potentially with the help of a professional) for the sink and plumbing.
8. Go for a freestanding unit
If you have a large bathroom with ample space for furniture, consider choosing a freestanding storage unit. Not only does this give you plenty more space to work with, but it also gives you the flexibility to choose a non-bathroom specific item.
Freestanding wardrobes can easily be repurposed into linen cupboards within a washroom, offering plenty of room for spare towels, bath products and even extra linens. If you're trying to achieve a DIY bathroom idea on a budget, then you can even move around furniture you already own to create a new storage system.
9. Opt for top and bottom units
To maximise storage potential in a small bathroom, make the most of the space above and below the sink. Including wall and base units in a design will provide double the amount of room as well as creating a cohesive design.
This will also be a clever choice for those looking for family bathroom ideas, as it offers both parents and children their own dedicated spot for essentials without leaving it on show.
You can even make the top unit a mirrored cabinet for twice the practicality. 'If your bathroom is on the smaller side and space on the wall is minimal, why not opt for a bathroom mirror cabinet? This will allow you to maximise space as rather than having a separate mirror and storage cabinet, you can have both with one compact product,' advises Dominic Lees Bell, bathroom expert at Drench.
10. Draw the curtain on mess
The cafe curtain trend is one we've seen gain popularity in kitchens and bathrooms primarily for the privacy it can offer to windows that are overlooked. However, if you're keen to avoid a row of cabinetry, then adding a curtain instead of a door will lighten up the look while also hiding any mess.
The whimsy appearance of cafe curtains makes them a great choice for vintage bathroom ideas and you can choose from a variety of colours and patterns to suit your style.
11. Incorporate wicker baskets
When storing items in your bathroom you don't need to break the bank, especially if you're focusing on budget bathroom ideas. Budget storage ideas offer an easy and quick solution to keep your items in order.
Wicker baskets are a neutral colour that will blend in well with your other bathroom storage ideas and come in a variety of shapes and sizes so can fit in all spaces big and small. Lucy Ackroyd, head of design at Christy advises using wicker baskets to store towels and face cloths, so they are easy to access and look good.
‘If you don’t have storage space in your bathroom, wicker baskets are a perfect solution,' she explains. 'Not only are they super affordable, but they’re also aesthetically pleasing - a great way to add a touch of nature to a room.'
'To be extra organised, and if you like everything in its own place, you can buy specific baskets for different-sized towels. A small basket next to your sink, for example, would be the perfect place to store your face cloths.’
12. Create a display with glass fronts
Not all storage needs to hide things away, glass fronted cabinets are a great way to display beautiful toiletry bottles or your stash of luxury towels. If you have the space opt for a full glass cabinet to store your favourite bathtime treats. In a smaller bathroom consider adding a glass front to one key cabinet.
However, beware a glass front will mean you'll need to keep the space behind the cabinet door neat and orderly. If you want a little leeway in hiding chaos behind the cabinet door, on-trend fluted glass will offer the same lightness and aesthetic of a glass cabinet but slightly obscure messy shelves.
13. Take advantage of stud walls
Stud walls can be used to your advantage to incorporate extra storage. Natalie Bird, brand marketing manager at Roca says often toilets with concealed cisterns will use a stud wall and these can be adapted to contain recessed shelving. This shelving can be used to store essentials such as toilet rolls, or for decorative items like a reed diffuser or bathroom plant ideas.
Bird recommends recessed shelving because it, ‘makes use of otherwise wasted space and means you don’t have to find room in cupboards for these items. If you’ve also had a stud wall built to conceal pipes in the shower or bath, you can do the same to create shelves for shower gel, shampoo and other toiletries.’
Building a false wall is a neat way of hiding unsightly pipework in a bathroom and can be tiled over so that it blends in with the décor.
14. Add a lazy susan
A bathroom cabinet or drawer may start off tidy and organised but can descend into chaos, making it hard to find the products you really want. A lazy susan or a turntable as they are also known, is a way to streamline and keep your toiletries neat and tidy. By placing your items on a lazy susan it is easy to spin it round till you find what you need without knocking things over in your bid to find your favourite moisturiser.
Lazy susans come in different shapes and sizes and with raised edges so products don’t fall over when you spin it round. A lazy susan also makes it easy to see what items you have and if you’re running low on anything, without any danger of buying uncessary products which will only make keeping yout storage in order harder.
15. Double up on storage and style with a bath tray
A different take on your bathroom shelving ideas is to use a bath tray which can be used to store bath essentials. If your bathroom includes a bath, slowing down and taking a hot soak can be a great way to unwind at the end of the day. If you want to keep the corners of your bath clutter free, a bath tray can hold your essentials such as shower gel and shampoo.
If you’re really feeling indulgent, it is also a great spot to hold a scented candle, or even a cheeky glass of wine for when you’re having a more indulgent bath. There are bath trays for every type of bathroom, from grey metals ones which would fit it with grey bathroom ideas, to bamboo ones which provide a natural finish.
16. Repurpose a shelving unit
Some of the best bathroom storage ideas are the easiest ones, like using Ikea hacks to transform a shelving unit side unit into a clever towel ladder. Attach jute webbing along its sides and rungs to hide any unsightly screw holes or scuffs, and give it a tactile finishing touch.
To give it a twist, why not paint it a complementary colour, or make it pop with a fun sunshine yellow or fuchsia pink.
17. Use a kitchen trolley as a bathroom caddy
This compact trolley fits into the smallest of spaces, perfect for housing all your bathroom items in one portable unit. Use the bottom shelves for towels and top for the products that you want to keep within easy reach such as your essential toiletries.
Plus the trolley can be transformed quickly and easily with a can of spray paint to colour match with your other bathroom paint ideas.
18. Turn a spice rack into a loo roll holder
An Ikea spice rack, a couple of leather handles, cup hooks and a length of dowel together create this ingenious loo roll holder, creating space to keep your favourite bathroom products and a scented diffuser too.
Alternatively, hang the spice rack upside down and use it as a shelf and towel rail instead. Either way this is a great budget small bathroom idea that takes little work but offers lots of style.
19. Squeeze in a slimline shelf unit
Open shelves give an instant overview of the products you have and those you are running low on. A nifty bathroom shelving idea would be a tall, freestanding shelf unit like this Vito Shelving Unit, 80, Ikea, which will take up minimum floor space and can slot in beside a basin, bath or shower. Keep daily-use items, such as soap and toothbrushes, at hand height for easy access and stack bulkier things, like spare towels, lower down.
If you’ve squeezed all the essentials into a tiny ensuite but have no space for bathroom storage ideas, try this lofty solution. How about this as a small bathroom idea: Fix a shelf bracket either side of the door and secure a slimline shelf on top – it’ll come in super-handy for storing small-scale odds and ends.
20. Organise make-up and toiletries
Clutter-free counter tops will help your bathroom to feel calm and clean. Store make-up and smaller bits and bobs out of sight in clear, lidded boxes inside a drawer. With everything in its place, you’ll spend less time looking for what you need when you’re getting ready. These Godmorgon storage boxes with lids, £10, Ikea will allow you to easily categorise your toiletries and make it easy to see what you have.
21. Make use of an empty corner
Store toothbrushes, soaps and other essentials within grabbing distance of the wash basin. This Bronx corner cupboard, £90, Next is compact three-sided cabinet that easily slots into a corner, so takes up minimal floor space - or can be wall-mounted to leave the bathroom floor completely clear. It would also work brilliantly as a downstairs toilet idea because it would work perfectly in a small space and is a neutral colour that would blend in well with minimalist or maximalist décor.
22. Fit shelves above and below a basin
Introduce shelving where ever you can in a bathroom. The twin washstands shown here incorporate a lower glass shelf for towel storage, while floating wall shelves between the basin and mantel mirror provide handy perches for toiletries. A lovely scheme made gorgeous by symmetry.
23. Turn crates into wall shelves
Look to the upcycling trend when considering bathroom storage. Turn wooden crates into rustic bathroom shelving by fixing the back of the crates to the wall. These are ideal for storing folded hand towels, loo rolls and baskets of toiletries. It is also a great budget option that won't take up precious flooring space, which is often limited in bathrooms. It also allows you to create something unique and personal to your space.
24. Mix and match monochrome
Choose black and white storage for an arresting colour combination that's stylish and sophisticated. Black floating shelves look smart against a white-painted wall, drawing the eye to the accessories artfully arranged on top of them.
A winning bathroom tile idea, disguise pipes and cisterns with a purpose-built tiled unit – it'll create a handy extra shelf, too. Sleek under-basin drawers will keep cleaning products and other practical bits and pieces out of sight.
25. Repurpose a bookcase
Use a bookcase for instant freestanding storage in the bathroom. This design is clean and simple and provides eye-catching practical storage and display space for towels, baskets, toiletries and vases. A deep wall shade and white woodwork will allow bathroom shelves, furniture and sanitary ware to stand out.
26. Storage underneath a bath
Underneath the bath is a clever place to claim back space. By raising the bath a few inches, you can add shallow drawers that provide a surprising amount of storage. ‘We store toilet rolls at one end and our daughter’s bath toys at the other,’ says Mark Dyson from Enclosure Architects. ‘This keeps them close by but out of sight.’
How do I get more storage in my small bathroom?
It can feel like there is never enough space in bathrooms and that problem is only more pressing if you have a small space. Your bathroom needs to serve multiple functions for multiple people and store things like toiletries, makeup and towels.
'By adding hooks or wire baskets to the inside of the cabinet doors, you can upgrade your under-sink storage or cabinet and create more space,' says Laura Rich, Product Developer at Furniturebox. ‘ You can hang your hair dryer, cosmetics, or cleaning supplies here. Magnetic strips are also useful for organising small tools like tweezers, nail clippers, and hair grips.
‘Tallboys are also great for making use of unused but awkward spaces as they offer a lot of shelf space while taking up little floor space. They're perfect for keeping all your essentials neatly tucked away so your bathroom feels less cluttered.’
Even window ledges offer storage opportunities. If you have limited floor space, look upwards to your wall space. An easy storage solution is to add open shelving and there are plenty of bathroom shelving ideas. You could use baskets to hide a multitude of sins.
How do I organise my bathroom without cabinets?
Not all bathrooms have the luxury of having cabinets so you need to be more creative with storage and make more of an effort to keep everything in order if it’s going to be on show.
Laura Rich from Furniturebox says, ‘Add a caddy to the inside of your shower where shampoo, soap, shower gel, hair brushes and razors can be kept together and in close reach as placing them on the shower floor or around your bath can look untidy and get pretty messy!
‘It can be wheeled in and out when cleaning and kept in your bathroom for a glamorous alternative to standard cabinets. Fold your towels on the bottom tray, store your beauty supplies in the middle, and use the top shelf for smaller items like cotton buds or face pads.’
If you want to keep your furnishings in line with your modern bathroom ideas, a bar cart is another great option for storage.
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Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.
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