It’s a rare day when a client tells me they have plenty of storage in their bathroom and that more is not needed. On the contrary, I’d say the number one request is to “maximize storage.” Fortunately there are many ways to do just that, even in a small bathroom. Here are some ideas:
- Custom cabinetry, which I use in 99% of my design projects, allows me to create very specialized solutions to storage problems. With custom cabinets, I can:
- Create “tower” cabinets in between two sinks, or on each side of a side. I design mine to be 8” deep so that there is still room on the countertop. I sometimes mount my towers to the wall, and sometimes let them sit on the countertop, depending on the needs of the clients. When it sits on the counter, I often have electrical outlets installed in the base of the tower, a very convenient location.
- Create tall linen cabinets on one side of the vanity, or in an alcove where a small shower is removed.
- Create cabinets to fit into tight spaces. In one bath, I designed a shallow cabinet between the shower and free-standing tub, providing lots of new space for toiletries bought in bulk.
- Create wall-to-wall cabinets for toilet alcoves, making the most of that space.
Create recessed cabinets in between the wall studs— I do this often, behind the bathroom door. While these cabinets are not deep (about 3” on the interior, like a medicine cabinet), I can make them almost as tall as I want, providing lots of storage for small items like medicines, vitamins, shaving cream, extra shampoos— anything you would put into a regular medicine cabinet.
- Install specialty inserts into cabinets, such as pull-out hampers, or holders for hair dryers, or tilt trays just under the sink for toothpaste and other small items. The pull-out hamper is a popular feature, as it eliminates the need for a hamper taking up floor space, yet keeps it in a very handy location. In large bathrooms, I can specify the same types of cabinet inserts found in kitchens— “Lazy Susans”, blind corner organizers, and more.
In the world of ready-made items, there are many options available also. One of my favorite items is a replacement medicine cabinet that looks like a framed piece of art. “Concealed Cabinets”, as they are called, can go on the wall next to the sink, like a regular medicine cabinet, of course, but I also often install them above towel bars, for a little extra storage. Instead of hanging a framed print, you can eke out a little extra space. This is particularly helpful when you have two or more people sharing a bathroom— each person can have their own wall cabinet. You can see these at www.concealedcabinets.com.
Ready-made wall cabinets in all design styles and colors that can be installed above a toilet. I use these if I don’t need the cabinet to be a very specific size, or if I do not need it to match the vanity, or if the price of custom is out of reach.
Re-Think the Bathroom Layout
In many older homes, there might be a separate tub and very small stand-up shower. If you have a situation like this, I suggest removing the narrow shower altogether, creating either a large walk-in shower in the tub space, or a tub/shower combination. If you do this, then you’ll have a great spot to install a linen closet, or extra cabinets, or a make-up area.
Sometimes a bathroom has two sinks, where one sink is sufficient; the benefit of one sink over two is that you can get more counter space and also more storage in the cabinet. I always ask my clients if they really need two sinks, and often the answer is that they would rather have the extra storage.
In one recent project, there was a small clothes closet just outside the bathroom. We took over that closet space using it instead for a large vanity. We then turned the former small vanity into a makeup area.
With resourcefulness and creativity, you can maximize the storage in any bath.