Wash away storage woes with these clever design ideas and organizing tips.
Baths suffer a double whammy when it comes to storage -- limited space and a lot of stuff. Small items, such as cosmetics and medicine containers, seem to clone themselves, while bulky towels and paper products must stay dry yet handy.
Browse these pages for storage solutions you can incorporate into your baths.
1. Use furniture for best-dressed storage options. Turn a dresser into a vanity. Protect the wood from possible water damage with polyurethane. Remember you'll lose some storage room inside the dresser to plumbing; recess pipes and use a wall-mount faucet, if needed, to gain space.
2. Select storage units that have triple storage uses. Go to the ceiling for maximum storage potential with a mix of shelves behind doors, drawers, and open display space.
3. Scale the walls with open shelves. Walls that don't interfere with traffic flow, doors, or fixtures can host shelves. Attractive containers that match your decor can sit on the shelves, holding items that need to be out of sight. For decorative or less-used items, use shelves near the ceiling.
4. Add extra shelves inside medicine cabinets. To make use of space inside existing cabinets, install extra brackets to hold additional glass shelves, which can be cut to fit at most hardware stores.
5. In an apartment, mount storage accessories without damaging your walls. Try containers and racks that attach to nonporous surfaces with suction cups. Their holes and hooks provide perches for razors and washcloths. Tension-pole shelves are another no-nails-required option.
6. Look down for untapped storage potential. A console unit is a great look to take the place of a traditional vanity, yet storage space can be lost. Look for console styles with handy shelves, towel bars, or other storage features.
7. Use stackable bins within cabinets or drawers for flexibility. Rarely used items can occupy bins underneath or behind those holding contents used more often. These containers help keep items sorted and organized (hair products vs. washcloths, for example).
8. Put dirty-clothes disposal where you need it. Choose cabinets with a built-in hamper feature. Even better -- easy removal of the hamper will allow you to tote laundry to your washer and dryer.
9. Label containers and bins. Labeling cuts down on overbuying (and storage dilemmas), since each item has its own "zone" to live in.
10. Add storage to doors. Hooks, racks, and towel bars can be mounted on the bathroom door to save precious wall space. Or place smaller versions of these helpers inside cabinet doors or in a vanity.
11. Expand into nooks and crannies. Especially in smaller bathrooms, niches provide much-needed storage space without invading elbowroom. Partial walls that enclose plumbing and the space between wall studs are more prime candidates for storage.
12. Give each family member a personal plastic tote. For a family bathroom, each member can store bathroom basics in a personal tote, which can be stored in a bedroom or linen closet after use.
13. Hide clutter and reflect light with frosted glass or mirrored doors. Stash your toothpaste and shaving cream behind vanity cabinet doors with mirror inserts to create an unobstructed view of your reflection and handsome cabinetry. Tall cabinets almost reach the ceiling, making smart use of vertical space.
14. Design room dividers that do double duty. This divider has nooks near the toilet for towels, supplies, and a phone. On the other side, near a treadmill, the divider houses a combination TV-VCR unit.
15. Try over-the-toilet options in small spaces. Cabinets and shelves can occupy space over the toilet without interfering with its use. Allow enough clearance between the shelf and toilet to remove the tank lid for repairs.
16. Combine undersink storage with the airy effect of a pedestal sink. Two sinks enjoy extra landing space, thanks to the glass countertop. Underneath, a slim drawer unit keeps supplies at hand.
17. Employ wall-mount storage. Shelves and window seats offer plenty of storage with a small footprint. Storage cubes with removable bins are also a handy way to boost storage.
18. Put items within easy reach. Provide storage near a pedestal sink by using freestanding drawer and shelf units. Or bring in a chest or small armoire to hold towels, soaps, and cosmetics.
19. Keep countertops clutter-free. When they're not in use, stow items in containers that can tuck inside drawers, behind cabinet doors, or on shelves so even small countertops can feel more spacious.
20. Learn to say goodbye to outdated cosmetics, medicines, and cleaners. Are you holding on to unused products in the bathroom because of the cost of those items? Consider not only the space issues, but safety issues as well when keeping old products with chemicals that may be dangerous to kids and pets.
21. Claim shallow spaces. This slim wall creates a lot of storage for small bottles and jars. When the door is closed, the items are concealed from view.
22. Don't cut corners. Make use of awkward angles by filling them with corner shelf units. Clear-glass shelves are see-through, helping your space to look more open.
23. Transform a decorative panel into tilt-out storage. New cabinetry often offers such built-in features, or you can use a kit complete with hinges and a bin to modify an existing vanity. Include a hidden electrical outlet for extra convenience. Make sure all bath outlets are ground fault circuit interrupted for safety.
24. Build in a step stool. The toe-kick of your vanity can house a slide-out platform to help children reach the sink. When it's not being used, the platform tucks back underneath the vanity.
25. Create storage near a pedestal or console sink. A niche above the console top, and a decorative corner etagere, add storage options in this narrow powder room, while maintaining room to maneuver.
26. Boost the storage potential of nontraditional vanities. This airy custom vanity boasts a towel bar convenient to the sink, and a shelf beneath for folded towels. A nearby niche with shelves keeps toiletries tidy.
27. Tackle toys. Use a corner stand, shelves, or a net that drips into the tub to hold rubber duckies and other bath toys. It's best to store toys near the floor so children don't risk a fall by reaching or climbing high.
28. Exile anything you don't use every day. These items can be stored elsewhere in your house, perhaps in a linen closet near the bathroom, to save valuable space for things used daily.
29. Make the most of vertical space behind closed doors. You may have more storage options than you realize -- try additional shelves, racks, and hanging baskets inside an existing vanity or closet.
30. Let windows lighten the storage load. Use transparent glass shelves to span a window, creating display space without blocking too much light.