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Six Clever Ways To Sneak A Little Extra Storage Into Small Bathroom Vanities

No one likes a small bathroom, but plenty of us are stuck with one; a highly-trafficked powder room, a shared second bath, or even a master bath that just isn’t quite up to snuff. But these days it’s easier than ever to whip a small space into shape. More and more, small bathroom vanities are designed with smart, innovative storage to help you fit a lot of toiletries in just a little space. The catch is, the best storage solutions are almost always invisible from the outside. We’re here to help you figure out what to look for.

Replace Your Cabinets With Cabinet-Sized Drawers

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On the outside, most small bathroom vanities don’t have a lot going on. After all, they’re for small spaces; a streamlined, minimalist modern aesthetic can help keep a crowded room from feeling cluttered. That means a lot of designs seem like variations on the same simple, square cabinet. The secret? Not all of them are. Many modern vanities replace the traditional cabinet with a large, full-extension drawer. These drawers are typically a little odd, with a U-shaped design to accommodate the underside of the sink and plumbing. But they make it possible to fill your vanity to capacity and still have easy access to everything inside.

Double Check For Hidden Shelves And Drawers Inside Your Cabinet

Monaco 24" Bathroom Vanity Set 000-24-15-MC from Blossom
Monaco 24″ Bathroom Vanity Set 000-24-15-MC from Blossom

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Even if a vanity has a cabinet rather than a drawer, it’s worth opening the door to see what you find inside. Extra shelves or even hidden drawers are a common addition to small bathroom vanities, and are great for helping you make better use of the cabinet space. Plain cabinets are often too tall to fill completely. But ones with an add-on shelf or a drawer directly beneath the sink can help you keep smaller items organized, and even store more total stuff in the same amount of space.

Small Bathroom Vanities That Fit Your Needs

Marla 30" Single Bathroom Vanity HD-6868G-30-CR from Stufurhome
Marla 30″ Single Bathroom Vanity HD-6868G-30-CR from Stufurhome

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It’s also pretty common to find small bathroom vanities designed with two drawers – one u-shaped drawer to accommodate the plumbing and a traditionally rectangular one beneath it. Depending on the design of the vanity, either of these drawers can be larger or smaller (or exactly the same size). Which one will work better for you depends a little on what you want to store in your vanity. A large, deep, U-shaped drawer is great for storing larger items (like hair spray or lotion bottles). Smaller ones are better for keeping little items organized (like makeup containers, hairties, or razors). Similarly, a large rectangular drawer is ideal for storing towels or TP, while a smaller one is better for sorting smaller items.

Don’t Restrict Yourself To Contemporary Design – But Don’t Skimp On Drawers, Either

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It might seem like contemporary-styled vanities have a corner on the market when it comes to smart storage. But this is a lot less true than it was a few years ago. While many storage innovations started out as exclusively part of a contemporary design, many of them have been adopted by (and even improved upon) by more traditional designers. It used to be rare to find anything but a single large cabinet in the 24″-30″ range, but increasingly manufacturers are offering attractive, traditional and transitional vanities with a good combination of scaled-down cabinets, shelves, and drawers.

Say No To Faux Drawer Fronts – And Always Double Check

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If that weren’t enough, a rare few transitional vanities have one smart, sneaky upgrade that even most contemporary vanities skip: tip out drawers. Most traditional vanities simply ignore the awkward space directly beneath the sink – the one that contemporary designers fill up with a u-shaped drawer. But newer small bathroom vanities turn what is traditionally a faux drawer panel into something a little more functional – a door that tips open to reveal a little bit of shelf storage inside – perfect for stowing away your smallest toiletries.

Remember: Less Isn’t Always More

Milan 20" Vanity Set 014-20-20-MC from Blossom
Milan 20″ Bathroom Vanity Set 014-20-20-MC from Blossom

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Many modern bathroom vanities can be wall mounted – especially ones on the smaller side. But while a little extra white space and a minimalist, floating design really are great ways to help make a cramped space feel more open, I would caution against discounting the usefulness of having a simple, open-shelf style vanity instead. The distinction might seem silly. After all, there’s certainly nothing stopping you from stowing a basket or two of towels underneath your wall mounted vanity. That said, an open shelf design can make the look feel a little more intentional and less cluttered. That’s doubly important in a smaller space.

Choosing the right vanity for your small bathroom isn’t an exact science. But taking an extra moment to interrogate what’s inside the vanity can be the difference between ending up with so-so storage, and something that makes your small bathroom a joy to use.