19 genius space-maximizing tips for your small bathroom

Homes & real estate
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19 genius space-maximizing tips for your small bathroom

Homes & real estate

Why is it the room with the most stuff in it—soaps, scrubs, shampoos, gels, towels galore, candles, balms, toilet and tissue papers, cleaning products; really it never seems to end—is also the room with the least storage?

Whoever thought a couple of towel racks and a medicine cabinet would be enough was clearly taking, “Less is more” to absurd lengths.

So, let’s declare today Make More Bathroom Day.

If your local building codes or your budget won’t allow you to add actual square footage to your bathroom, here are 19 tips for maximizing your space while minimizing the hit to your checking account.


Your walls aren’t there just to hold up the roof.

Magnetic strips: Much like the one you use to keep your kitchen knives tidy, use adhesive magnetic strips to move tweezers, nail clippers, safety pins, etc. out of the way but still close at hand.

Stick-on Organizers: From spray bottles to brushes to small knick-knacks, adhesive hangers can keep lots of small stuff from taking up big space.

And “adhesive” doesn’t have to mean “sticky mess.” Tooletries offers moveable, reusable storage featuring “silicone grip technology” that doesn’t leave a residue.

Medicine cabinet: If all your bathroom has is a flat mirror, swap it for a medicine cabinet and gain tons of storage space.

Magnetic organizers: Make sure your new medicine cabinet has adjustable shelves so you can move or remove a couple and place a magnetic organizer inside to hold brushes, make-up, and much more.

Pegboards: The Skådis is IKEA’s attractive and highly functional pegboard. Paired with the many storage accessories available it can turn a wide swath of wall into a wide swath of attractively stored stuff.

Doors: Or rather, the backs of them. Your actual bathroom door can hold hooks for bathrobes and towels, and cabinet doors are perfect for trays and baskets.

Add more shelves: There’s no rule limiting you to one row of shelves. Add a second or even a third. Buy one long and two or three smaller ones and stack them asymmetrically.

Bar Bathroom cart: Many bathrooms have a narrow open space between the sink and wall that’s just right for a bar cart. And bar carts are just right for holding towels, toilet rolls, hairdryers, and the like.

Baker’s Bathroom rack: Many manufacturers offer a variation on a baker’s rack that fits right above your toilet and adds two or three shelves.

Under-sink: If you’ve got a pedestal sink, you’ve got a wide-open palette of storage options. Find a shelving/basket system that maximizes the available real estate.


The best way to maximize your flat space is to organize and contain.

Baskets and Trays: From towels to toilet paper and loofahs to lipstick, keeping everything in a basket—or even a shower caddy under the sink—will keep clutter to a minimum and space to a maximum.

Sliders and Lazy Susans: The back of a cabinet is frequently terra incognita. Installing pullout sliding shelves or a lazy Susan can bring what’s hidden into the light.

Buy a Second Shower Rod: Who says you can only have one shower rod in a shower? Place your extra by the wall, grab some S-hooks and caddies, and you’ve got hanging space galore.


Space, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Soft, Bright Colors: Think whites, creams, and rich pastels for the walls and vanities. Dark colors tend to “shrink” a space while strong colors are best as accents (towels, candles, and the like).

Dump the Curtain: An opaque shower curtain or door can cut off anywhere from 50 to over 100 cubic feet of bathroom. A glass door or clear curtain gives you all of that space back.

Mirror, Mirror: The bigger, the better, when it comes to the illusion of space. Pro tip: put two mirrors on opposite walls from each other.

Mirrors, and really any reflective surface, will also reflect the lights and wall colors and help reinforce the sense of space.

Recessed Lighting: Recessed lights get the bulbs and fixtures out of the way while still providing plenty of light. The room may actually feel taller if you had hanging fixtures.

Natural Light: Swap a small window for a larger one, or install a skylight, “solar tube”, or glass-block window. You can’t beat the big ball of gas in the sky for lending everything a wide-open feel.

Swap Out the Vanity: If you’ve got the room for linens and whatnot outside of the bathroom, and the above tips have given you all the storage space you need, you can open up the floor space by replacing your cabinet sink with a wall-mount or pedestal sink.


Just as buying a home today more often requires a creative solution than a monetary one, making your bathroom “larger” can be accomplished with a little ingenuity and without a lot of your hard-earned money.