Bathroom storage is essential for keeping your bathroom tidy and clutter free. If you’ve got a small bathroom or a large family – or both – then you are probably in need of some clever bathroom storage ideas to help keep clutter behind closed doors and more attractive items out on show.
However low-maintenance you like to think you are, there are so many essential bits and pieces in a bathroom that you just can’t store elsewhere: razors, hairbrushes, cotton wool pads, loo roll, spare soaps, toothpaste.. All of these must-haves need somewhere to live and sometimes more than one set of bathroom storage is needed.
Whether you need one, two or all of these bathroom ideas, our tricks and tips for squeezing a little more space out of your bathroom aren’t to be missed. The best bet by far is wall-hung storage that keeps floor space clear, or narrow shelves.
‘The bathroom is where it’s a really good idea to get your ideas down on paper, so that there’s not a hotchpotch of storage all over the place,’ advises Hugh Adlam of 3S Architects. ‘You want your nice products but not your loo rolls on display.’
We’re guessing your bathroom is spilling over with lotions and potions and a whole host of other beauty necessities. But even in the smallest room in the house, a smart storage solutions can give you plenty of room.
Bathroom storage ideas
1. Run a shelf above the bathroom door
If you’ve squeezed all the essentials into a tiny bathroom but have no space for storage, 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.
2. 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 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.
Buy now: Vilto shelving unit, £55, Ikea
3. Carve out in-shower storage
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 decor. Incorporate a ledge or recess within a shower area, wet room or around the bath and use it for storing shampoos, soaps and body wash.
4. Make use of wall space above a loo
In a bijou en-suite or cloakroom, make the most of wasted space above the loo by installing a slimline cabinet on the wall. Shallow shelves are great for keeping loo rolls and cleaning products hidden away.
Buy now: Enhet wall cabinet, £25, Ikea
5. Save space with an over-door rack
If surface space is limited in your bathroom, use the space on the back of the door to store extra supplies. A hanging rack will slot neatly over the top of a door and has rubber stoppers that will keep it securely in place. Fill shelves with everything from shower caps and face cloths to perfumes and hairbrushes. Perfect as a small shower room idea.
Buy now: Over door rack, £10, Wilko
6. Build bespoke shelving to fit tight spaces
Make the most of every inch of space in a tiny bathroom. Fill an unused gap beside a door with custom-made shelves, running from floor to ceiling and use to stack towels or store toiletries. Have narrow lengths of wood cut to size at a DIY store and slot them into the gap, using mini shelf supports to hold shelves in place.
7. 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.
8. Slot in a slim ladder shelf
For a less-permanent option to wall-mounted shelving, consider a freestanding ladder shelf. Narrower than standard shelf units (so perfect for a small bathroom) it can be propped against a wall to store all manner of bathroom must-haves.
And if you need to move it to a different spot later on, there are no holes or fixings to worry about.
9. Keep supplies close to hand
There’ll be no getting caught short with this useful loo roll stand. Made of smart woven rattan, it has a slot-in holder at the top, with basket storage underneath, so there’s plenty of space for refills.
10. Make use of an empty corner
Store toothbrushes, soaps and other essentials within grabbing distance of the wash basin. This compact three-sided cabinet 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.
Buy now: Bronx corner cupboard, £75, Next
11. 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 basin and mantel mirror provide handy perches for toiletries. A lovely scheme made gorgeous by symmetry.
12. Factor in cubby-hole display space
When space is at a premium, consider recessed shelves. Line them up in a neat row to turn them into a design feature in their own right. Paint them the same colour as the rest of the wall to make them visually blend into the scheme. To create recessed shelving, you’ll need to build a false wall, which can also be used to keep plumbing out of sight.
13. Turn crates into wall shelves
Look to the upcycling trend when considering 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.
14. Display luxury toiletries on open shelving
Display pretty toiletries on an open-shelf unit. The items that need storage, like bulky towels and numerous toiletries, can also add to the decorative look of the bathroom, so its worth thinking about how you can show them off to their best advantage.
15. Build in statement storage
For a designer feel in the bathroom, commission bespoke statement storage or get creative and build your own. This fabulous recessed under-basin unit not only brings order to the bathroom, it also makes for an eye-catching feature. Its clean, simple lines would work well with any type of tile or bathroom colour scheme.
16. 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.
17. Create a storage nook
When space is at a premium, install a set of pretty-but-practical recessed shelves. They’re an unobtrusive way to keep bathroom essentials neat and tidy without having to splash out on built-in units. Building a row of shelves into a false wall is also a clever way to hide unsightly pipework.
Remember to position shelves within easy grabbing distance of your bath, shower or basin.
18. Embrace vertical storage
If you’re short on floor space, make your walls do all the work instead. Spend time seeking out a wall-hung unit that’s the exact right size for the space you have – too big and it’ll swamp the room, too small and you won’t have enough room for all your stuff.
Wall hooks are another great space saver, especially if you use them to hang extra storage, like this pretty pretty fabric bag.
19. Mix materials
Mix and match storage in different styles to create a chic, eclectic vibe. Use rustic accessories, such as these woven baskets and wooden stools, to soften the edges of more contemporary, built-in units. The ladder shelving bridges both worlds – shape-wise it conjures up images of barns and haylofts but painting it white has given it an instant modern update.
20. Keep clutter concealed
Clad your walls and bathroom cabinet with tongue-and-groove panelling, then paint them in exactly the same shade to create a cohesive feel. Aim to line up the panels as far as possible and keep everything else neutral so that the look isn’t overwhelming.
The low slanted white ceiling helps to create a good balance of blue and white – ideally, aim for about half and half for the perfect mix.
21. Float shelving
Choose a sleek wall-hung unit – the fact that it doesn’t hit the floor will make the room seem larger. Choose one with an enormous drawer so there’s plenty of space to hide away any eyesores or practical bits and pieces. Go for a neutral colour to create a tranquil scheme that’s the ultimate in versatility.
22. Line up staging-style slatted shelving
Add well-chosen storage and it can make a huge difference in the bathroom. These simple staging-style shelves tuck easily under a sloping ceiling and can be used for all manner of bathroom paraphernalia, from towels and toiletries to wall art and loo rolls.
23. Overcome size restrictions
Make room for plenty of storage, even in a compact bathroom. Despite its small size, this room has no shortage of storage space and it’s another example of boxed-in pipework – this time with a handy shelf above the loo. The gap above the shelf is perfect for hanging a mirrored cabinet so that it’s not jutting out into the room.
There’s also a small basin unit and further shelving on top of more boxed-in pipework to make the most of the storage.
24. Introduce an open layout
Go for something a bit different with an open washstand that closely resembles furniture you would find in other rooms of the house. There’s plenty of scope for storage on the shelf – baskets and boxes will help to keep your things in order – while favourite trinkets can be proudly displayed next to the stunning mounted basin and tap.
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 sanitaryware to stand out.
26. Opt for freestanding accessories
Consider freestanding storage – it is more flexible than fitted cupboards and can be moved around your space to suit. This curvy tiered basket has a decorative feel. To prevent it looking messy, colour co-ordinate your accessories and separate into categories.
27. Fit a tiled wash station
This sleek bathroom has a neutral palette of white, grey and cream. Fancy trying your hand at figuring out how to tile a splashback? A floor-to-ceiling tiled splashback behind the basin creates a focal point. The shelves beneath the basin have also been tiled to keep the look streamlined.
28. 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.’
29. Use glass shelves to maximise light
Glass shelves help maximise light in a small bathroom, and mount a shelf in a disused space above the door to hold a stack of clean towels.
How do I add storage to a small bathroom?
Introducing storage to a tiny room can be tricky but not impossible. In a small bathroom, think about every surface – you could hang a rack on the back of your bathroom door, or add shelves above it.
If you are remodelling the space, think about creating alcoves where toiletries can be stowed neatly.
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. You could use baskets to hide a multitude of sins.
Other options include over-the-door storage – the perfect place for a shelf to store clean towels. You could also add an over-the-door hook, so there’s a place to hang your dressing gown.
A neat glass shelf above the sink is a simple, but effective bathroom storage idea, providing room to place skincare and other essentials like your toothbrush.
How do I store towels in a small bathroom?
Again, don’t be disheartened – there are many ways to keep towels to hand in a small bathroom. Consider neat hooks or knobs attached to the wall or back of the bathroom door. You could also bring in a lightweight ladder that can lean against any wall.
Why not buy a new shower screen that incorporates an hanging rail for towels. Over-the-bath racks are also available.
Make the most of your bathroom door by hanging over-the-door hooks, to store towels. Or why not neatly roll them up in a rattan basket with a lid, so they’re neatly tidied away.
If you already have a towel warmer, why not add a towel rack above it, if there’s space. Not only is this a handy place to keep towels but it’s also a great way to keep them toasty warm post-shower.
Additional words by Jenny McFarlane