Organising make-up – 10 useful storage tips for keeping all your beauty essentials tidy

Good storage is essential to keep make-up items tidy and easy to find. Here are some clever ideas to think about…

storage tower for make up
(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

Whether you put your make-up on in the bedroom or need some bathroom storage ideas, good organisation is essential to keep those smaller beauty items tidy and easy to find. For many of us, make-up is a pleasure and for some an absolute necessity, but because the items aren't big, trying to keep them neat can be a challenge in itself. 

Make-up can take up a lot of space and it can get messy, with lipsticks and mascaras rolling around loose in drawers – and generally we aren’t too good at sorting through and throwing out the dregs of blushers and dried-up mascaras we accumulate. So, to organise make-up, think about storage solutions that will keep everything in its place and make your favourite lipstick easier to find.


Organising make-up

In the bathroom or bedroom, keeping countertops clutter-free will create a feeling of calm and cleanliness – but what is the best way to store your make-up? You could try using small boxes to separate the different make-up items so that they are easy to find and storing lipsticks with the colour, or name label, face-up so that you can see what colour it is immediately. 

Remember that clear boxes are your friend. You can see items at a glance without rifling through endless drawers, where everything rolls to the back or overflows from various make-up bags. But before you put everything neatly away allow the time to have a good make drawer or bathroom declutter. If you never wear that eyeshadow or your mascara has dried up, throw it away. If you have items that are still in good condition and unused, there are recycling bins in most supermarkets so they get a second life. 

1. Have a dedicated space for your make-up

dressing table with a stool and mirror and makeup storage

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Dressing tables are the perfect place to do your make-up – it’s your own space and they're designed just for that. You can display pretty perfume bottles on the top along with family photos, a jewellery box, a pot with make-up brushes in and, of course, a mirror, which may be part of the furniture or a stand-alone version.

Drawers are great as well, as you can store your make-up out of sight and all in one place. Don't forget you'll need some good lighting for the times when you're doing make-up at night or before the sun comes up. If you can, put your dressing table near a window to take advantage of the natural light and add a lamp that you can use in the evening or when it’s a gloomy day.

‘If you require brighter lighting, white IP44 LED lights will give plenty of visibility for any beauty and self-care routines,’ says Mary Buchanan, Creative Director of Laura Ashley Lighting and Mirrors. ‘You could also consider adding LED sensor lights to drawers and cabinets to give you extra practicality and visibility that you didn’t know you needed.’

2. Opt for a Lazy Susan – but for make-up

storage tower for make up

(Image credit: A Place For Everything)

You know those turntables that go on the dining table and spin around so everyone can reach their food? Well, there are smaller versions for make-up that you can pick up from around £12 on Amazon. They're a great idea if you have lots of lotions and potions, as you can put bigger items at the bottom and smaller ones at the top. 

This one has sections for different make-up items on the top shelf and even a pot in the middle for mascara or brushes – it’s got the lot! Everything is easy to see and it doesn’t take up a lot of space on the countertop.

‘When organising make-up, think about what you use regularly and need daily as this will help how it is sorted,’ says Ann Marie Cousins, Founder of AMC Design. ‘If you use a wealth of products each day, display them in an easy-access place, such as in open containers or storage boxes on top of a dressing table, or on open shelves by the sink. 

'Alternatively, keep your surfaces free and incorporate drawer organisers – although sometimes these aren't always as functional if you need to keep opening and closing the drawers.’

3. Invest in some drawer inserts

drawer with divider for make-up storage

(Image credit: Future)

If you're not a fan of having your make-up on show, opt for drawer inserts that are designed specifically for organising beauty products and toiletries. There are sections for different-sized items and everything is easy to see at a glance, saving precious time in the morning. 

‘The best way to organise your make-up within a vanity unit is by using drawer dividers,’ says Barrie Cutchie, design director of BC Designs. ‘Dividers help to separate out items by category and you can instantly see what you have and can quickly lay your hands on what you need. 

'To get the best out of them, start by emptying out your drawers completely,' Barrie continues. 'This will allow you the space to then start experimenting with different configurations of dividers, so you can see what's best for you. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time, after a few days use you’ll be able to see what does and doesn’t work for you.’

4. Choose furniture to fit the space

dressing table with mirror, stool and make-up storage

(Image credit: Future PLC)

An alcove is the perfect spot for a dressing table or make-up station, so choose a piece of furniture that fits the area, or make something bespoke with a bit of nifty DIY if you're after storage solutions for a small space

This black metal design is unobtrusive, with a thin frame and an open base that allows you to see through it, so it doesn’t look ‘blocky' in the room. A small stool is ideal and can be pushed underneath out of the way. Glass containers on top mean you can see what is inside them – sit them on a cork tray for a neat appearance. 

5. Be clever with wall mounted storage

wood wall shelves with beauty storage

(Image credit: Future)

If you're lacking floor space, using shelves is a great idea for organising make-up. This clever IKEA spice rack hack is great for this, they are compact and have a bar at the front to stop things falling off and, should you want, you could turn one up the other way and use hooks to hang your hair dryer, towels or anything else from the wood rail. A neat, small space way of organising make-up.

‘When you lift things off the floor and use shelving as a storage solution, you create the illusion of a larger space,’ says Bo Hellberg, CMO of String Furniture. ‘The general rule is to use slimline designs, which provide an overall lighter aesthetic.’

6. Install double drawers in a bathroom vanity unit

sink vanity with open drawers and make-up storage

(Image credit: Future)

Drawers beneath a vanity unit means all your make-up will be close to hand, with each drawer having its own purpose – beauty products in the top and smaller towels and face cloths in the one below, for example.

‘With the rising popularity of minimalist bathrooms, the need for subtle storage is becoming more prevalent,' says Cameron Lowe, product manager at Lusso. ‘Not everyone has the capacity in their home for a storage cupboard, so a compact vanity unit with dedicated concealed storage beneath is ideal.’ 

7. Add wall-mounted bathroom cabinets

wall cupboard with shelves for storage

(Image credit: The Dormy House)

There's a reason why wall cupboards have been around for a long time and that's because they work. A cupboard mounted on the wall at eye-level, and with a mirrored front, is the ideal make-up station. Just open the door and take out what you need, then tidy it away afterwards – job done! 

They come in lots of shapes and styles too, whether you want a country look or something uber-modern.

‘Utilising the natural light in your bathroom is ideal for applying make-up, and a cupboard with adjustable shelves will make your morning routine easy,’ says Anna Trinder, owner of The Dormy House. ‘You want your bathroom to be a place to unwind and relax, so good storage with plenty of room for toiletries and make-up is essential.’

8. Use shelving for the overflow

wood shelves for makeup and beauty products

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Bathroom cabinets with mirrors are great, but what do you do if you run out of space? If a bigger cabinet is out of the question, place open shelves nearby to display some of your prettier items and free up space in the cupboard. 

Use glass jars or canisters for storing longer items, like foundation tubes and make-up brushes, while small decorative dishes are ideal for eye-shadows and lipsticks. Add in a small mirror and voila – you've got your very own make-up organiser.

9. Sneak in some small-scale stacking storage

make-up organisers with mirror and dividers

(Image credit: Sharps)

For things you use every day, small trays are a great idea, especially if they are as pretty and functional as this storage box. With different size trays that stack inside each other and a cork-framed mirror that becomes a lid, it means it won't take up much space and you can even take it with you when you travel.


10. Build in bespoke storage

Fitted furniture with a dressing table, stool and mirror

(Image credit: Sharps)

Opt for fitted furniture and every inch of space can be utilised, allowing room for a dressing table with a slide-out drawer. Add in a comfy seat, a mirror on the wall and shelves above for storage, with recessed lighting just where you need it, and you've got yourself a dressing table area that will make organising your make-up a breeze. 

'A great way to keep your make-up organised on your vanity desk is to use decorative pots or organisers, adding both beauty and function,' says Rachal Hutcheson, National Retail manager at Sharps. 'To keep clutter off your worktop entirely, opt for a bespoke vanity that features integrated drawers and internal dividers, which can act as a dedicated space for make-up and accessories. 

We are increasingly seeing customers requesting a vanity unit incorporated into their bespoke wardrobes with secret storage hidden inside the wardrobes. This ensures that the visible vanity unit worktop remains clutter-free, creating a calm indulgent aesthetic.’

How do I organise my beauty products?

Firstly, take everything out to see what you have, then divide into foundations, blushers, lipsticks, mascaras and eyeshadows etc. Next, divide into what products you use regularly and those that you don’t. Check the period after opening date and throw out anything you haven’t used in the last six months. Then keep the items you do use grouped together so they are easy to find.

‘I'm a fan of clear organisers that allow you to see your products,’ says Darla DeMorrow, a professional organiser and owner of HeartWork Organizing. ‘After all, if you’re able to see it, you’re more likely to use it, and if you can’t see it, you won’t touch it. When you're rushed for time, you just want to grab and go, and clear organisers allow you to do this.’

Wooden wardrobes in white bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How do you organise your make-up on a budget?

Clear drawer organisers are a great way to store make-up and don't cost much, while letter organisers are ideal for keeping make-up palettes, so they're easy to see. You could also use pen pots for brushes, mascaras and eye pencils etc, which you can find at most stationery stores. Alternatively, affordable store such as Homesense, Wilko and Matalan all have a good selection.

‘Use drawer organisers to group certain product types,’ says professional make-up artist Jordan of Jordan Artistry. ‘They also stop your items from rolling around in the drawer and allow you to stack products vertically, which saves space.’

How do you organise make-up in a small space?

Again, pare down your collection to only the items you regularly use. Then choose a rotating make-up organiser, which will hold a lot of stuff and doesn’t take up much space. Stacking trays are another good idea, as are clear drawer organisers or a good make-up bag, preferably with dividers inside so you can find items easily. Mirrored glass trays are a more stylish option and can be placed inside wardrobes, on windowsills or on a shelf. 

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at