Innovative Storage Ideas for Small Bathrooms

A wicker basket with a lid on a narrow timber shelf in a bathroom.

Bathrooms are notorious for being short on storage space. Of course, sometimes they can be remodeled, but that's only possible if you have the money and are willing to deal with the hassle of a major remodeling job. Usually, a cramped bathroom is something you have to live with, but there are ways to make them tolerable. The trick is to be innovative and find solutions that allow you to use every spare inch of space without making it look cluttered.

Wine RacksEverybody knows about cabinets and space savers that can be installed over the toilet, not to mention the organizers that hang on showerheads. Those ideas are great, but not really very innovative. They're not always enough to fix severe storage problems. Here are some creative and attractive ways to make better use of space in your bathroom.

Wine Racks

That's right. Wine racks don't always have to hold wine. Hang one on your wall and fill it with rolled towels. Not only do the towels fit perfectly in the curved bottle holders of a wine rack, but the wine rack also makes them a decorative part of the bathroom. In addition, moving the towels out of the cabinets gives you extra storage space to hide smaller items.

Shower Curtains With Pockets

If your shower curtain is just hanging there and not doing anything, it is time to put it to work. Purchase a shower curtain that has pockets for storage. It is the perfect spot for soap, sponges, and extra razors. These shower curtains cost around $15. If you are concerned with how it will look, keep reading because the next item will give you a suggestion on how to hide it.

Dual Shower Curtain Rod

A dual shower curtain rod can be used in several ways. First, you can use it to hide a shower curtain with pockets. Simply hang the shower curtain with the pockets on the inside rod and a more attractive shower curtain on the outside rod. The outer rod could also be used to hang your towels. These rods are available in tension mounts, which don't require any hardware to install, or they can permanently be mounted to the wall. They are capable of holding about 10 to 15 pounds of weight.

Mesh Shower Organizer

If you are in love with your shower curtain and don't want to change it or install a dual shower curtain rod, consider purchasing a mesh shower organizer designed to hang from the shower curtain rings. The mesh is specially treated to prevent mildew growth and is machine washable. It may not be the best place to keep items you use every day, but it is perfect for lesser-used items such as weekly conditioner, extra razors, and kids' toys.

Mesh Laundry Bag

If you have kids that love their bath toys, consider purchasing a simple mesh laundry bag. These bags will allow you to gather the still wet toys and then hang them above the tub to dry. Later, you can stash the bag out of sight in a storage bin.

Towel Racks

Replacing your towel racks with racks that have shelves above them will help free up valuable counter space. Some of these include hooks that allow you to hang your bathrobe or extra towels. If wall space is limited, consider purchasing a towel rack that fits over your door. Some of these are even designed to fit over shower doors.

Instant Bathroom Shelves

If you cannot afford to replace your towel racks or are renting, try Instant Bathroom Shelves. Instant Bathroom Shelves allow you to add a shelf anywhere you have a towel rack. The chrome-plated shelves are 6-inches deep and adjust from 12 to 20-inches wide. They slide behind the towel rack and don't require any hardware to remain stable. They cost about $10 to $15 and can be found at most retail stores or on the Internet by searching for "instant bathroom shelves."

Cubbyhole Shelves

The more shelves you can add to your bathroom, the better off you'll be. If you are fairly handy, consider using the empty space between the wall studs as a cubbyhole for your shelves. This will allow you to have deeper shelves than you might normally be able to have. The average wall is about 3 to 4-inches deep, but walls with plumbing can be up to 6-inches deep. Make sure the area is free of pipes and electrical wire. You can build your framework out of ordinary wood and then tile it to match your bathroom, or use better quality wood and stain it.

Decorative Displays

Baskets, boxes, and other similar containers are great ways to hold and hide items on shelves. Boxes can be painted or decoupaged to coordinate the décor and even labeled with their contents. Baskets can be decorated with different ribbons that will clue you into their contents. This is usually much better looking than having items sitting out in the open. If you are worried about bumping them off the shelves, use Velcro to hold them into place. You can purchase it in strips and it should be just enough to keep the box or basket steady while still allowing you to pick it up.

Toilet Storage

Among the better items, I have seen was a decorative tissue holder that sat on the back of the toilet. It was designed with 3 compartments that had flip-up lids. The center compartment held a boutique-sized box of tissues while the outer compartments were used to hold spare rolls of toilet paper. There is a wide range of similar items designed to fit on the back of the toilet that will make it a decorative storage area.

There are also specially designed magazine racks that hang on the side of a standard toilet tank. This is a great way to keep reading material close at hand, while still keeping it off the floor and somewhat out of sight. Some are even designed to hold spare rolls of toilet paper as well as reading material.

Hanging Baskets

You can purchase baskets designed to hang from your towel bar. There are also clip-on baskets available for about $5 that slide onto any type of shelf. Either of these can help make use of areas that otherwise would be wasted. You might also consider investing in a nicely decorated hanging plant basket minus the plant. Hang it from the ceiling near your sink and it becomes the perfect place to store your hairdryer. This will keep it out of the way and somewhat out of sight, but still within reach.

Behind the Door

We all know about the devices that hang on the door and provide storage. They can be okay, but not always what you need. In addition, some of them can ruin the molding around the door or cause the door to close improperly. A better idea is to use standard hooks and place several rows of them on the door. These can then be used to hang your bathrobe, pajamas, extra towels, baskets, or mesh bags.

If there is not enough room for hooks, consider investing in a specially designed towel rack that attaches to the hinges of the door. That means that you do not have to worry about damaging the door or smashing items between the door and the wall. These racks usually have several 18-inch long hooks that pivot independently from the door. Among the more common brands is called "Hinge-It Hanger." This allows you to replace other towel racks with shelves or cabinets.

Shaker Pegs

Adding a row of Shaker pegs onto the wall will make sure everyone in the house has a space for their towel, but take up less space than most towel bars. Moreover, they are inexpensive and easy to install.

Under the Sink

Underneath the bathroom sink lies space that is not always effectively used. Fix this problem by purchasing shelves designed to fit inside the cabinets around the drainpipe. Most of them are adjustable. Look for shelves that can be screwed into the floor or sides of the cabinet because this will make them sturdier. Some even have drawers under the shelves that allow you to use almost every inch of space inside the cabinet.

Handled Totes

You can get more space is to remove any unnecessary items from the bathroom. This includes anything that is not used daily or every other day. By placing them in handled totes, you can then bring them into the bathroom when they are needed while storing them somewhere else when they are not being used. For example, bathroom-cleaning supplies could be kept in a handled tote or basket and stored elsewhere.

Having a small bathroom means that you have to be creative and find a way to use every square inch of space that you can. Consider it a challenge that you need to conquer and imagine how great it will be when you do. Remember, by organizing your bathroom, you make it look nicer and make it easier to use.