Asking for a Friend: Small-Bathroom Storage Ideas?

Updated 10/03/17

Whoever has lived with an insanely tiny bathroom knows the frustrations that can arise in a small space: bumping into the vanity at every turn, no space whatsoever for beauty products, and certainly not an inch of space for towels or bath linens. Sounds familiar? The luxury of a large bathroom is certainly one of the great pleasures in life, but a large bathroom can be worthless if it fails at one simple thing: adequate storage.

Organization and storage are possibly the most important things to consider in a bathroom (save for plumbing, perhaps), and they're some of the most overlooked details in bathrooms everywhere, especially rental ones. But we're determined that with little effort, you can turn any space (even the smallest bathroom) into a functional one. Don't go another week with your collection of bath products spilling over into your bedroom or falling out of your medicine cabinet at every turn.

Whether you're renting or gut-renovating, here are six small-bathroom storage ideas that will transform your space.

Conceal Your Storage

Small Bathroom Storage Ideas — Medicine Cabinet
Courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts

For a minimal look, pay careful attention to concealed storage like a sizeable floating vanity with large drawers or an extra high medicine cabinet behind the vanity mirror. Every little inch counts, so prioritize these built-in storage solutions above a pretty pedestal sink that holds nothing. And for a little extra counter space, consider using wall-mounted faucets, as architect Elizabeth Roberts did in this beautiful Brooklyn townhouse.

Inset Unbeveled Electric Medicine Cabinet
Rejuvenation Inset Unbeveled Electric Medicine Cabinet $1999
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Use Your Wall Space

Small Bathroom Storage Ideas — Shelves and Hooks
Tessa Neusdtadt ; DESIGN: Brady Tolbert

If you're dealing with a rental bathroom and you can't make significant changes to your space, do as stylist Brady Tolbert did in his Los Angeles rental bathroom, and use your wall space as storage by adding small shelves above the toilet, for example, or hanging a small towel rack. It's those little details that will make your space feel more personalized and functional.

Schoolhouse Brake Angle Shelf $149
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Make Space for Bath Products

Small Bathroom Storage Ideas — Shower Shelves and Bath Caddies
Tessa Neusdtadt ; DESIGN: Emily Henderson

Another important place where people often forget to consider storage is the bathtub. The result: bottles of shampoo and conditioner end up precariously lining the bath's edge and slipping every time a product is moved. Sound familiar? Pay careful attention to the design of your shower when renovating, and add a built-in shelf or nook wherever possible. If you're renting, a simple bath caddy can do the trick to hold all your beauty products, and it won't slip and rust like a generic showerhead rack will.

Reclaimed Oak Tub Caddy
Rejuvenation Reclaimed Oak Tub Caddy $165
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Go Wall-to-Wall

Small Bathroom Storage Ideas — Vanity Storage
Courtesy of Studio McGee

Building a new vanity in a tight space? Don't be afraid to go wall-to-wall, even if it means building it from scratch. The extra bit of space can make a huge difference. Also consider mixing up your storage with drawers, cabinet doors, and open shelving. Each storage space serves a unique purpose, from holding towels to cleaning products or taller bottles or holding everyday essentials like toothbrushes and cotton balls.

Wire Storage Basket, Small, Industrial Gray
Spectrum Diversified Wire Storage Basket $11
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Hang a Lot of Hooks

Small Bathroom Storage Ideas — Hooks
Tessa Neusdtadt ; DESIGN: Amber Interiors

Is your bathroom short on towel storage? While it's true that towel bars tend to help towels dry a little more evenly, adding smaller hooks can free up a lot of wall space. What's more is that you can add some behind your door to hang bathrobes when not in use. Want to avoid that musty smell of a towel that hasn't dried properly? Swap heavy bath linens for lighter Fouta towels, which are just as absorbent, but dry in half the time.

Pottery Barn Convington Hook $24
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Go to the Ceiling

Small Bathroom Storage Ideas — Shelving
Courtesy of Septembre Architecture

Don't neglect to use all the wall space you can, even if it means going all the way up to the ceiling. In this petite bathroom in a Paris apartment, Septembre Architecture built a narrow shelving unit next to the sink for everyday essentials. The higher shelves can be reserved for rarely used products, like a collection of perfume bottles or extra cotton balls and Q-tips. In a pinch, a narrow bookcase can do the trick as well.

stairway grey 96
CB2 Stairway Wall Mounted Bookcase $399
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Next up: Could this new bathroom trend be the next claw-foot tub?

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