Every time we entertain and I have to clean off my vanity, I stand in our bathroom and wonder why none of our four bathrooms have proper storage. Our master bathroom is so lacking in proper storage; our 84-in.-wide double vanity top becomes the place to store everything. I would take a photo to share with you, but seriously, it’s too embarrassing. Besides, I’m sure most of you have seen it in your clients’ homes, or you live it as well.
When most of the bathrooms in America were built, they were not designed to hold the products and appliances of the modern day man and/or woman. We know women have many products and appliances, but, even though most men won’t admit it, their list of items is growing.
So, what do we do to add storage space in these small bathrooms? Be creative with the space you have to work with. Here are just a few ideas to help you design those small bathrooms to be more usable and, at the same time, add a bit of design aesthetic.
1) Better utilize space below the sink. If your clients’ cabinet is anything like mine, it has a pair of doors and an open space with bunch of junk thrown in. Better utilize this space by adding rollouts on either side of sink for toiletries such as facial wash, lotions, hair products, makeup, shaving kits and the like.
2) If your clients prefer a pedestal sink, then you could add a couple of free-standing shelving units below the sink or stack some decorative boxes for storage. Just because you’re a contractor doesn’t mean everything has to be builtin.
3) If there is room for additional cabinets, be sure to add drawers with dividers for smaller items such as toothpaste, makeup and razors. My favorite inserts are the removable kind that can be pulled out and washed when needed.
4) Add some type of storage cabinet above the toilet. This could be a perfect place for larger items such as extra shampoo/conditioner, hair spray, lotions, toilet paper and other items you don’t need right next to you as you’re getting ready in the morning or in the evening. This cabinet would also be perfect for storing items with cords. Add a few hooks to the back of the cabinet and use them to hang a hair dryer, curling irons, electric razors and similar corded items. A phone charger could also be hung here.
5) Don’t forget to look up and utilize higher spaces. Why not take advantage of the open space above the entry door? This would be a perfect location for extra towels and could add color and texture to the bathroom’s décor.
6) Add a shelf above the showerhead for towels. The benefit is that by the time someone is done showering the towels will be nice and warm, and who wouldn’t want that?
7) Do your clients still have those wall-to-wall mirrors with little metal brackets? Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Tear them out and replace them with more personal-sized mirrors and back them with a shallow (medicine) cabinet. This could be built in or surface-mounted depending on the situation.
8) Add a shelf above the faucet with small buckets or cups dropped in for toothbrushes, toothpaste, makeup brushes, eye liners and mascara, razors, cotton balls, cotton swabs and floss picks to name a few items.
Not everything has to be custom-built and, in some cases, will be better suited for your client’s project. For example in a small bathroom, a built-in linen cabinet would look too heavy, but a ready-made “ladder” shelving unit might be perfect in function and form.
These are just a handful of ideas for small bathrooms, but don’t forget to utilize accessories that are already available to you, especially in these small bathrooms that test every client’s budget.
Lisa Loushin launched Haute Kitchens, Plymouth, Minn., in 2007 and has served locally for NKBA as vice president of communications, long-range planner, and second-term chapter president and certified instructor.