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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 – whether it’s 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, but we’re going to help you figure out what to look for.

Replace Your Cabinets With Cabinet-Sized Drawers

Levi 24" Gray Oak Modern Bathroom Vanity L600GO from KubeBath
Levi 24″ Gray Oak Modern Bathroom Vanity L600GO from KubeBath

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On the outside, most small bathroom vanities don’t have a lot going on. After all, they’re designed for a small space, and 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 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 the entire cabinet hasn’t been converted into a drawer, it’s still worth opening the cabinet door to see what you might 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. Where a plain cabinet is a little too tall to be used in its entirety, one 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.

Find Storage That’s Divided Up In A Way That Fits 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), and 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), while a smaller one is 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

Brittany 30" Single Bathroom Vanity in Burnished Mahogany 650-V30-BNM from James Martin Furniture
Brittany 30″ Single Bathroom Vanity in Burnished Mahogany 650-V30-BNM from James Martin Furniture

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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

New Brittany 30" Single Vanity 655-V30G-VV-AF from James Martin Furniture
New Brittany 30″ Single Vanity 655-V30G-VV-AF from James Martin Furniture

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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" Bathroom 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 are wall mounted – especially ones designed for a smaller bathroom. 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 – which is doubly important in a smaller space.