There’s tons of advice out there about how to make the most of a small bathroom, from making smart choices when choosing big fixtures like a bathtub, toilet, or vanity, to working in smaller details to make the bathroom easier to use. But some of the most effective ways to save space are ones that are seemingly simple, but that have a larger impact on the bathroom as a whole. One of my very favorites is exactly that: hanging a towel bar directly on the bathroom vanity. Not only will this add a place for you to hang a towel or two, it can free up storage space in other crucial areas, ultimately streamlining the way you use the whole bathroom.
Traditional Towel Bars Are Inefficient
Of any common item stored in the bathroom, towels are the biggest space hogs: they’re big and awkward to store, and the more people use the bathroom, the more you need to have on hand at once, which just means taking up more space. But they’re also one of the few things that you really can’t store outside the bathroom. What that means is that bathrooms of all sizes come standard with towel bars and towel rings, which can occupy a good portion of the wall space, especially in a smaller bathroom. But the space taken up on a wall by a big, hefty towel (or even a set of hand towels) is space that can’t be used for anything else.
Towel Bars On The Bathroom Vanity Open Up Wall Space
The solution is both surprisingly simple and unusual enough that not many people think of it: put the towel bar on the sides of the bathroom vanity. Unless your bathroom vanity is pressed directly up against the wall (more on this in a moment), chances are the sides of it are left bare. Even the nicest bathroom vanities aren’t much to look at from the side, and what that means is there’s a ton of usable surface area that’s simply going wasted. Mounting a full sized towel bar to the side of the vanity makes it possible to take those towels down from the wall, opening up the rest of the bathroom simply by moving one small piece of metal.
Save Wall Space
This is a small but very important change, since in a small bathroom most of the usable real estate is vertical space rather than horizontal space. When floor and flat surface areas are limited, the best and sometimes only way to amp up storage is to build it onto (or sometimes into) the walls. When you relocate a towel bar or even a single, smaller towel ring from the wall to the side of the bathroom vanity, all that space can be used much more efficiently. In fact, many of the bathroom vanities that come with built in towel bars are also paired with small wall mounted storage cabinets to hang in place of the old bars, maximizing your practical storage without having to move anything out of the bathroom.
Keep Your Hands Dry And Your Counter Cleared
The best part is, you won’t be sacrificing anything by sticking a towel on the side of your vanity. Unlike the walls, there aren’t many other ways to use a bathroom vanity, and certainly not many ways to add storage to one (though this Washington vanity does double duty by incorporating a small shelf in addition to the towel bar). And on a very basic level, having your towels next to the vanity just plain makes sense: it makes it more convenient to dry your hands after washing them (no drips!), gives you a place to leave hand towels to dry, and by extension keeps small towels from cluttering up your counter space.
Where WON’T It Work?
Admittedly this technique isn’t 100% perfect in 100% of bathrooms. Most of the vanities I’ve mentioned here are ones that have a towel bar mounted on one side or the other, and while this is generally the most convenient spot for one, if your bathroom is small enough that your vanity is butted up against a wall on one side and a toilet on the other, there simply isn’t room to spare for a towel bar. A simple modification is to install a towel bar to the front of the bathroom vanity. How well this will work will depend a little on the style of the vanity, but increasingly bathroom vanities are designed with towel storage in mind. Minimalist modern vanities in particular feature towel bars and rings as their primary form of storage, making them a perfect option for a guest bathroom or half bath, where you want towels and toilet tissue to be easily accessible, but don’t need many other toiletries on display.
Adding a towel bar to your bathroom vanity might seem like an insignificant change, but in a small bathroom it’s a great way to add much-needed functionality without sacrificing precious surface space.