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Six Smart Ways To Add Extra Storage To Your Small Bathroom

I’ve spent most of my life living in places with bathrooms so small they’re practically an afterthought. Now, I love a good long soak in a big, deep whirlpool as much as the next gal, but I know from personal experience that sometimes the most pressing matters in bathroom design don’t have anything to do with bubbles. Even with a very well designed, storage smart bathroom vanity, storage space is at a premium in a small bathroom. Every little bit of added storage helps, but every new piece of storage you add takes up a little space, too – sometimes space you don’t really have to spare. So, if you’re having trouble streamlining your small bathroom, here are a few storage options to help you maximize your space.

Wall Mounted Storage Cabinets

Knox Wall Cabinet From Avanity
Knox Wall Cabinet From Avanity

If you’re looking for a way to add storage to your bathroom, I’m willing to bet that a medicine cabinet was the first thing that came to mind, if you don’t already have one. But medicine cabinets are restricted in size, shape, and placement. While they should be the bread and butter of a small bathroom design, you should consider adding wall mounted storage cabinets as well. These are much more flexible, available in versions tall and short, wide and narrow, deep and shallow, even some recessed right into your wall. Because they’re usually mounted between waist and head level, and hardly ever protrude more than a foot from the wall, you can easily install several without noticeably reducing your floor space, and they can be easily combined and coordinated get you exactly the type of storage you want right where you need it.

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Linen Cabinets

Solid Oak Transitional Linen Cabinet From Design Element
Solid Oak Transitional Linen Cabinet From Design Element

Standalone linen cabinets are a great way to add a lot of storage in a very small amount of floor space. Unlike wall mounted storage cabinets, you will need to have at least a 20″ or so square of space to sacrifice, but in exchange you’ll get a nice combination of cabinets, shelves, and drawers, either open or behind closed wood or glass doors. If your vanity and medicine cabinet simply aren’t cutting it, and especially if you don’t have a separate linen closet, these tall storage cabinets can offer both a high storage capacity and a nice variety of types of storage in a relatively small space.

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Storage Cabinets And Carts

Modena Waist High Bathroom Storage Cabinet From Sagehill Designs
Modena Waist High Bathroom Storage Cabinet From Sagehill Designs

In some cases, though, a waist-high storage cabinet is actually preferable to a full height linen cabinet, despite the fact that on the surface they offer less storage in the same amount of floor space. A shorter cabinet may not offer the same internal storage, but they do offer a flat counter top surface that can be used to extend your bathroom vanity. These are especially useful in traditional bathrooms where a pedestal sink is used to save space, as they can offer both cabinet storage and a convenient counter for things like curling irons or hair driers. Some models even come with wheels, making them a little more versatile in a cramped space.

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Over The Toilet Storage

Dexter Space Saving Over Toilet Cabinet From Carolina Accents
Dexter Space Saving Over Toilet Cabinet From Carolina Accents

Over the toilet cabinets are among my favorite types of bathroom storage. They go in a space that’s underutilized, and if they come with a built in towel bar, they do double duty, not only acting as a second medicine cabinet and shelf, but do it without taking away space for storing hand or bath towels. Most models need to be mounted directly to your wall, like other wall mounted storage cabinets, but many also come as part of tall stands that straddle the tank of your toilet. This is the best (and sometimes only) option available to renters that can’t put heavy duty screws in their walls, as they’re totally freestanding and need no other installation. But be aware that stand models can be a little rickety and can occasionally be a bit of an awkward fit if you don’t measure carefully.

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Shelves

Cosmo Double Shelves With Towel Bar From Avanity
Cosmo Double Shelves With Towel Bar From Avanity

This is, perhaps, the least original or innovative item on this list, but even so I think it bears mentioning. From clear glass shelves (whose transparency makes them seem to take up less space than they do) to simple wooden ones, shelves are basically the perfect way to add storage to your bathroom. Why? Because you can buy them in any size, install them anywhere, in any number, and in any orientation to one another. Need one small shelf under your mirror for your toothpaste? Easy. Larger shelves for folded towels? Done. Above the toilet, beside your mirror, with a built in towel bar, or otherwise, bathroom shelves are almost infinitely versatile, inexpensive, and easy to install.

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Cubbies

Blox Mini Storage Cabinets From Xylem
Blox Mini Storage Cabinets From Xylem

I’m starting to see these more often in modern design, and I have to say, I couldn’t be more pleased. These small wood squares – some with backs and some without – are not only a great way to add a little extra storage to your bathroom while taking up almost no extra space, but they also make a really great decoration. Because they install individually, you can hang as many or as few as you want, creating dots, grids, or even asymmetrical patterns and showing off some of your favorite oft-used items, from perfume bottles to a pretty jar of cotton swabs.

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What are your favorite storage solutions for a small bathroom? Any types of storage cabinets I haven’t mentioned here that are worth looking into? Let me know in the comments!