tiny bathroom :: storage needed


Liz Jenkins


Small Bathroom Needs More Storage Space: Check Out My Solution!

I was reading a great post (as usual) by Org Junkie and ended up coming up with an idea for my own post while commenting on hers. She was talking about organizing her bathroom (cosmetics, hair products, etc.). I had tossed out my thoughts on having a small bathroom and our solution to it which I will now share with you!

Our house is less than 1100 square feet. Cute as all get out, but small. We have only 1 bathroom which is 5′ x 8′ including the tub. So we needed to make the most out of the space we have. I did have couple of things going for me:

  • I AM a Professional Organizer and can design spaces properly
  • My husband is quite handy and is a former contractor and home remodeler – so he’s good with the power tools
  • We had to gut the bathroom due to mold under the house – it was down to the studs.

However, these are not requirements for doing this project. Any handyman or finish carpenter can do this, and if you are creative (and measure properly) you can use pre-made furniture or cabinetry pieces and trim them off to look built in. An unfinished furniture store is a good option, and so are big box hardware stores.

I’ve included in the post a shot of the bathroom before the remodel. You can see the wall on the left side is, well, just a wall. The bathroom had a cabinet style sink (ugly) and that was it for storage. You can see from the after photo that we now have tons of storage – simply by building INTO the wall. Yes, that’s right – we knocked out the wall and built between the wall studs. We had to do some extra supporting at the top as we made the shelving system go across the whole wall. We ended up losing only a few inches of floor space.

We’ve also done this same thing in our kitchen/office. Floor to ceiling bookcase built into the wall. An unused space that now holds books and art pieces.

Here’s what to consider when looking at doing this type of project:

  • what do you need to store in the space? In ours, we store everything from toilet paper to towels to hair products to bandaids. You may need a place for storing extra toothpaste , hair dryers and shampoo, or perhaps just towels.
  • what is the space available? Almost any wall space will do that isn’t being used. It doesn’t have to be a full shelving system like ours, but it could simply be a niche in the wall. We built one into the shower for shampoo and soap . It’s only 17″ x 17″ but holds everything we need in the shower. Our wall unit is 3′ wide but 7′ tall. We decided to use every bit of space we could due to our limited overall storage space in the house.
  • how handy are you? If you aren’t great with things like building furniture or measuring or power tools, hire someone who is or it just won’t look that good and could jeopardize the integrity of your wall or ceiling.
  • Be aware of what is behind your chosen wall – electrical or plumbing can cause issues with the project. On the plus side, you can incorporate electrical outlets into your shelving unit as we did: my husband charges up his hair trimmer on his shelf with an outlet we wired to the side of the cabinet.

So check out our bathroom:

You can see that the before on the left has just an empty wall space, and the shelves (sorry – it’s hard to get a great shot as the space is pretty tight) in the photo to the right makes all the difference.

I gave a lot of thought as to what we were planning on storing here before we built them and it’s worked out beautifully. We originally considered doors on the upper and lower sections but have since decided against it.

On our shelves, we have the following:

  • basket for hair dryer, flat iron & hairbrush
  • basket for bath toys for our daughter along with her shampoo, sunscreen, etc.
  • basket for husband’s toiletries and his electric razor (this is the shelf with the outlets)
  • lower left shelf for bathroom cleaning supplies including toilet bowl brush & dog washing supplies (I made this one taller to accommodate the toilet bowl brush)
  • shelf for toilet paper
  • 2 shelves for neatly folded towels including a basket for washcloths
  • basket on shelf up high for medical items like bandaids, cough drops, rubbing alcohol, etc.
  • basket on shelf up high for personal items
  • shelf for hair spray and other hair products
  • basket for dental items on shelf with nail products

If you are having issues with storage in your bathroom – think about using empty wall space for a built in shelving system. As a side benefit, you can get out your frustrations by bashing at the wall with a big hammer! So win-win all the way around.

By the way, if you live in the Nashville area and need a good handyman, I can make some good recommendations. My husband is out of that business and I can barely get our own projects done – so I’m not lending him out to you! But there are some great guys around here that can easily do this type of project and I’d be happy to refer!