It's often our bathrooms, the smallest spaces in our homes, that frequently become the most cluttered. There's a lot of things we need to store in our bathrooms, so it's no surprise that our toiletries, linens, and medicines end up overflowing onto our counters.
But there's a better way: bathroom countertop storage. Organizers, jars, and trays can be the answer to your cluttered countertop. We spoke to two expert organizers, Lisa Lawmaster Hess and Garth McAlpin, to find out how to organize your countertops while keeping your bathroom looking great.
Meet the Expert
- Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff.
- Garth McAlpin is a designer, director, and national fulfillment manager of Classic Architectural Group.
Use The Middle
If you have a double vanity, don't waste the middle of it. Though you may think that lonely bit of countertop is dead space, it's actually the perfect spot for a small basket or tray full of essentials.
For bathroom countertop storage that doesn't look out-of-place, pick storage that matches the shape of other features in the space. For example, try a round tray alongside a round sink and mirror.
Keep It Bare Bones
Prefer a more minimalist approach to bathroom storage? We get it. "Ensure you stock the items needed in the bathroom on your countertop and place the unnecessary items where they belong," says McAlpin. For a pared-down look, try only leaving hand soap and toothbrushes out, all in coordinating containers. This will provide a cohesive and simple look.
Break Out The Flowers
Okay, so this one isn't strictly related to storage, but fresh blooms provide some visual relief amidst teeny-tiny boxes and containers. Place a small bouquet of flowers on top of your bathroom countertop to liven up your (well-organized!) space.
Reflect On It
Mirrors are a great way to spread light around and get a fun visual effect, so why not use them in your bathroom countertop storage? A mirrored container provides a fun and luxe look, and can set the tone for the rest of the space.
But before you buy a new organizer, make sure it will function well in your space: "You could use the most beautiful bathroom organizer ever, but if it doesn’t work with the way you organize, you’ll have cluttered counters," says Hess.
Coordinate Your Containers
Two great things to always keep out in your bathrooms are hand soap and lotion. But having them in different bottles can make your space look cluttered and unkempt. An easy solution to this is to keep both in matching bottles (with labels)—not only will it make your vanity look ten times more put together, you'll also no longer need to pay more for that pretty-looking bottle of soap.
Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
Bathrooms are full of small things: eye creams, concealers, pill bottles, lipsticks...the list could go on and on. But so often these tiny items are tossed into a drawer where they may be lost or forgotten. Instead, place them on a small tray or container on your countertop. They'll stay visible and easy-to-find.
If your bathroom is quite small, it's important not to have too many textures or colors. Doing so will make it look busy and even smaller. So, when it comes to storage, pick pieces that have the same texture or material as another thing in the bathroom, like the vanity or mirror.
Think Outside the Box
Trays are a popular choice for bathroom countertop storage. Looking to try something different? Use a serving board. These small, decorative cutting boards are the perfect unique addition to your bathroom.
Add a Shelf
No room for storage on your teeny tiny vanity? And no room to build a bigger one either? Break out the shelving. A small shelf above your vanity is the ideal way to create extra storage in your bathroom. And if you want to keep it low-key, go for glass. Its transparency minimizes visual clutter, and your stuff may look like it's floating.
If you need lots of bathroom countertop storage and want to be able to see what's inside, use clear acrylic storage. This allows easy access to whatever you need, and you won't have to hide your bathroom items away.
Keep it White + Bright
Let your bathroom storage shine—without detracting from the rest of the space— by keeping your bathroom bright and airy. Use light colors, like white or a barely-there blue to give your bathroom a toned down look and keep your storage feeling clutter-free.
Pick Your Palette
For an upscale bathroom storage look, pick a color scheme. Above, two colors (dark green and gold) were used to give this vanity an understated elegance. Use one color for storage and another to accessorize for the best effect.
Don't Forget The Dividers
Make your bathroom countertop storage work for you by adding dividers. "Organizers should work in service of you, not vice versa," says Hess.
These little extras will help divvy up your storage, giving every item its perfect place. Smarter storage is more effective storage.
Coordinate (Even More) Containers
You don't have to stop at coordinating your hand soap and lotion bottles—you can also go even further by placing face washes, skin treatments and other commonly used liquids in matching bottles. Talk about (the best kind of) matchy-matchy.
Break Out The Butcher Block
Another great bathroom tray alternative is a small slab of butcher block. Not only do these pretty and practical pieces provide some contrast against a white countertop, they're also water-resistant.
For an uncluttered acyrcilic storage look on your bathroom countertops, ensure that it's all the same height. This will add some coordination and give your space a smooth line.
Create Some Coordinating Storage
For storage that works for two, use coordinating containers on both sides of a double vanity. This allows each person to store what they wish, while still keeping things calm and collected, style-wise.
Stack It Up
If you don't need all your storage at once, use stacking shelves. "Rather than cramming fragrances and lotions into a cosmetics drawer, arrange them neatly on a shelf and exhibit them for all to see," says Garth.
The top shelf can hold your most important things, while the bottom shelves can be pulled out as a temporary placeholder for other items.
Try a Tiny Tray
Only have a few things to store on your bathroom vanity? Use small trays to hold items. The trays will make your items' placement feel purposeful, and they'll provide some great style.
Add Some Height
If your vanity is small or narrow, don't waste precious counterspace on wide containers. Instead, use taller ones—they'll be more efficient space-wise, and they'll provide some height to a tiny space.
Match the Hardware
For a beautifully bespoke look, match your bathroom storage to your hardware. A brass faucet is the perfect inspiration for trays and jars, while nickel drawer pulls can look great alongside some jars and lids.
Don't Forget the Classics
There are some things that will always look good on a bathroom counter—and one of those is a simple glass jar. Jars provide functional, affordable, and stylish storage, and are the perfect finishing touch to many a space.
Use Contrasting Colors
Implementing multiple trays or baskets in your bathroom countertop storage? Instead of having them match, try picking them in contrasting colors. They'll provide visual interest and they'll look great too.
Try a More Maximalist Approach
Of course, you don't have to only place one or two things on your bathroom counter either. You can display a whole host of items on your vanity, as long as they complement one another.