Increase storage space and create the right look and feel for your bathroom with our bathroom storage buying guide below.
Table of Contents
Bathroom Storage Buying Guide
Chances are you start and end your day in the bathroom.
It’s where you shower, brush your teeth and get ready for the day. Accomplishing those tasks takes a lot of tools – so where are you going to store them all?
Bathroom storage enables you to tuck essential items like toothbrushes, medicine, makeup, towels, extra toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and more out of plain sight.
The best storage methods are not only functional, clearing up valuable space, but they also add to the overall look and charm of the room.
We look at each specific storage type, including over-the-toilet, vanities, medicine cabinets, and much more, below to help you find the right option for you.
A. Bathroom Storage Type
The first and most important factor to consider is the type of bathroom storage.
Select the option that works best for your needs and preferences. Your choice should also reflect the look, layout, and overall design of your bathroom.
The type of storage you choose dictates the additional design options that are available.
1. Over-the-Toilet Storage
Source: Home Depot
Over-the-toilet storage is one of the absolute best ways to add more space to a small bathroom.
This option is available in numerous forms, notably shelves and racks. You can also opt for an over-the-toilet shelf with a built-in bar for hanging towels.
As the name implies, over-the-toilet storage consists of a shelf or rack that’s placed overtop your toilet. The base of the product simply sits behind and at the sides of your toilet.
The main benefit of these products is their space-saving design. Most people don’t utilize the space above their toilet – so why not make better use of it?
As mentioned above, your two main choices are an over-the-toilet shelf or an over-the-toilet rack.
The shelf option adds multiple shelves above your toilet. Sometimes a cabinet with doors is included to increase visual appeal.
The rack option is much more barebones. It adds multiple wire racks, usually made from metal, above your toilet. Doors and cabinets aren’t common with this style.
Most over-the-toilet shelves and racks are standalone products. They aren’t permanent and don’t need to be professionally installed.
Thanks to the popularity of these products, you have numerous options to choose from. The most popular design options include modern, contemporary, and traditional styles.
You’re all but certain to find over-the-toilet storage that meets all your needs and looks absolutely great.
2. Bathroom Vanity
Source: Signature Hardware
A bathroom vanity not only adds valuable organizational space to your bathroom, but it also spruces up the look of the area as a whole.
Choose from a wide range of vanities to find the model that best suits the room’s overall design, whether that be modern, contemporary, traditional, or something else altogether.
Buying a vanity starts with thinking about how much space you have to work with. You don’t want to install a model that takes up too much room and disrupts the flow of your bathroom.
Once you’ve decided on the best size for your vanity, it’s time to think about countertops. Some vanities have countertops while others don’t. The right choice is all about your personal preferences.
Vanities without a countertop simply include a sink. These are a great choice for very small bathrooms. The downside is limited storage space.
Vanities with countertops include a sink and additional counter space. These are best for large bathrooms, especially those that multiple people use on a daily basis.
If you decide to buy a vanity with a countertop, remember that you can either buy a pre-made vanity or create your own with the type of bathroom countertop of your choice.
Also of note is that vanities come either as prefabricated products that are just set in place (not installed) or those that are installed permanently in place.
An additional model to consider is the double sink vanity. As the name implies, these come with two sinks. They’re a good choice for a primary bathroom shared by a couple.
As far as storage goes, most vanities utilize a cabinet underneath the counter/sink. Sometimes this cabinet area is complemented by a handful of drawers.
Additional factors to consider include color, finish, and material type of your vanity as well as the drawer and handle hardware. Think about which sink fixtures and mirrors work best with it too.
For the most cohesive look, buy a bathroom vanity collection. These come with the vanity itself as well as the sink (and faucets) and mirror.
Lowes provides an excellent bathroom vanity buying guide to help you sort through all the specific options available.
3. Medicine Cabinet
A medicine cabinet is another very effective way to add additional storage space to your bathroom.
Use a medicine cabinet alone or combine it with a vanity for even more space. These products are best for small items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and prescription medications.
People love medicine cabinets for their streamlined look. These small shelving units are usually hidden behind a mirror that swings outwards on a hinge.
The three most common types of medicine cabinets to choose from include:
- Recessed Cabinet – Set back into the wall, this type gives the illusion that there’s nothing behind your mirror.
- Surface Mount Cabinet – Mounted to the wall (rather than set inside), you can tell there’s something behind the mirror with this type, but it’s the easiest to install.
- Corner Mount Cabinet – Installed in the corner of a room, this type utilizes the often underused spaces in the corners of bathrooms.
Each of these three types of medicine cabinets is available in a variety of designs, ranging from modern to contemporary to traditional.
Further design options include a variety of colors, finishes, and sizes.
Of utmost importance is the number of shelves. More shelves might mean more space for smaller items, but they also mean less space for tall items like hairspray bottles.
Invest in a medicine cabinet with adjustable shelves to customize the interior design to your preferences.
4. Linen Tower
A linen tower is a type of bathroom storage designed for storing towels and other linens, though they can be used to store any toiletry items.
Think of a linen tower as a tall, narrow freestanding cabinet. They stand in the range of 4 feet to 8 feet in height.
However, most linen towers are only between one and two feet wide. They’re around the same dimensions deep.
The tall, narrow design of linen towers gives them a lot of organizational space without creating much of a footprint. Though they’re more intrusive than over-the-toilet products, they’re still a good option for smaller rooms.
Another benefit of linen towers is that they utilize cabinet-like doors, drawers, and shelving. This ensures all your towels, toiletries, and other items are tucked away behind doors, reducing clutter in your bathroom.
Certain models are available that do include exposed shelving though. Often, these models have a bottom portion that’s a cabinet with doors for small items and an upper portion with exposed shelving for towels.
Linen towers are available in numerous materials, colors, and finishes. Styles available range from contemporary to modern to traditional – and everything in between.
Remember that linen towers don’t have to be placed in your bathroom. Most models work just as well located in a bedroom or hallway.
5. Floor or Wall Cabinets
Source: RTA Cabinet Store
Cabinets are a stylish way to add more storage space to your bathroom.
They are available in two main varieties: floor and wall. As the names imply, floor cabinets sit on the floor while wall cabinets are mounted on a wall.
Most floor cabinets are freestanding. They can be moved around as needed. You can also take them with you when you move.
Wall cabinets are more permanent. Although they can be moved, it’s easier to install them in the place that they’ll stay.
Floor cabinets are a lot like vanities without the accompanying sink or mirror. Some have a plain wood top while others come with an actual countertop.
There is a vast selection of cabinet styles available. Some have doors that hide all shelves while others have one or two exposed shelves. Drawers are another option
Some freestanding cabinets are even designed for corners. They’re shaped to perfectly fit into tight corners.
Like most bathroom storage options, floor and wall cabinets are available in traditional, contemporary, and modern designs to suit all types of décor.
6. Wall Shelves
Not all bathrooms have the space required for free-standing storage options that sit on the ground.
Wall shelves are the perfect solution for bathrooms with a minimal footprint. Simply mount them to a free wall for a place to store all your important items.
The wide variety of bathroom wall shelves suit all preferences. They’re made from materials ranging from wood to glass to metal in modern, contemporary, and traditional styles.
In addition to increasing storage space, wall shelves look great. They can add that touch of character you need to take the room’s style to the next level.
Most wall shelves are exposed. In other words, you can see what’s on each shelf. Those with doors tend to fall into the territory of wall-mounted cabinets. Many wall shelves include a rod to hang towels from.
Because of their exposed nature, many people prefer to use wall shelves as a place to set decorative items. Mason jars, small plants, and other décor pieces are great ideas.
7. Storage Bench
Source: Top Home Designs
A storage bench is a great addition to any large bathroom.
Due to their large size and extensive footprint, it’s essential to ensure that a bench won’t disrupt the flow of the room before purchasing one.
These benches are so useful because they have three purposes. They offer a place to sit, a place to store items, and enhance the décor of the room.
Though storage benches come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, there are three main models are available. These include:
- Flip Top Bench – A large trunk with legs and a comfortable seat. The top of the bench flips open to reveal the inside.
- Cubby Bench – Storage space beneath the seat is accessed by exposed cubbyholes (add wicker baskets to create a more streamlined look).
- Drawer Bench – Drawers line the space underneath the seat for easy access.
Like most of your other options, storage benches can be found to match almost any style of décor including modern, contemporary, and traditional.
8. Decorative Ladder
Decorative ladders look great in any room – especially bathrooms!
Though they also offer plenty of additional storage space, the drawback is that all of this extra space is visible.
A decorative ladder is usually not the best place to store toiletries and other such unsightly items. However, they do work well when paired with other storage methods such as hampers, baskets, jars, and containers.
The rungs on most decorative ladders are flat, more similar to shelves. Some do have more traditional round rungs.
Round rung decorative ladders offer a style place to hang towels.
9. Hampers and Baskets
Source: Signature Hardware
Dirty clothes and towels quickly pile up when there’s no place to put them.
A hamper or basket offers a perfect solution for your bathroom. Easily move it to your laundry area when it’s full.
Hampers and baskets are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles to match your needs and preferences.
That said, there are five main types of hampers and baskets to choose from. These include:
- Laundry Hamper – A basic hamper with one area for all types of laundry.
- Laundry Sorter – Consists of three separate hampers. One for whites, one for darks, and one for towels.
- Rolling Hamper – Consists of a hamper or sorter on wheels to easily roll from bathroom to bedroom to laundry room.
- Laundry Basket – Just a simple plastic basket to throw dirty clothes and linens into.
- Laundry Bags – Perfect for small rooms where space is at a premium. Hook from a door handle or rack and toss dirty items inside.
10. Towel Racks
Source: Signature Hardware
Towels have a way of piling up where you don’t want them to.
Solve this problem by adding a towel rack to your bathroom. These racks offer a perfect place for you to hang your towels to dry.
Several different varieties of towel racks are available. There are freestanding models that stand on the ground on their own. Then there are wall mounted models that connect to your walls.
Some towel racks also come with built-in shelves. These are a great place to store clean towels or other items.
Your towel rack can be as simple and straightforward or as elegant and complex in design as you like.
11. Door Organizer
In small bathrooms where extra space is minimal, a door organizer is an efficient way to add more storage.
The most basic models simply consist of a small hanging basket to store items in. Other models incorporate towel rods or hooks to hang towels.
Most door organizers fit over the actual door to the room. However, models are available that are designed to fit over the inside of cabinet doors.
12. Makeup Organizers
As anyone that regularly wears makeup knows, the amount of makeup supplies you own can quickly get out of control.
Invest in a makeup organizer to keep all of your makeup products together. Countertop, standalone, and wall-mounted models are all available.
Some models display your items while others keep them hidden away. You can even buy makeup organizers with built-in mirrors and lighting.
13. Shower Caddies
Organizing your shower items with a shower caddy reduces clutter and keeps your shower essentials in one place.
One type of shower caddy mounts over your showerhead fixture. It comes with several wire shelves to store items like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. The wire design allows water to run through the shelves without pooling up.
Another common model is the wall-mounted shower caddy. These attach to your shower walls with suction cups.
Another popular model is the pole-mounted shower caddy. This type utilizes a vertical pole mounted between the ceiling and floor of the shower. The pole contains several shelves for easy storage of your shower items.
Those with a lot of shower items can combine two or even all three of these shower caddy models for the ultimate in shower storage space.
If you’re in a situation where you don’t want to keep your items in the bathroom all the time (such as a college dorm room), consider a hand-held shower caddy.
A hand-held shower caddy consists of a basket with a handle. Store your items in the basket and carry it from your bedroom to the bathroom each time you need to use them.
14. Jars and Containers
Not everything you need to store in your bathroom is large.
For those small items, consider jars and containers. These jars and containers are perfect for little items like cotton balls, Q-tips, Band-Aids, etc.
Keep the jars and containers on your counter or vanity. Or place them on a shelf or in a cabinet.
15. Built-In Closet
The last type of bathroom storage is a built-in closet.
If your bathroom comes with a built-in closet, there’s no reason not to make good use of it. Add shelves, hampers, and organizers inside the closet to make the best use of the space available.
The DIY Network provides an excellent guide on easy organization for linen closets and medicine cabinets.
Don’t have a built-in closet? It’s often possible to install one. Though it will cost a pretty penny (HomeAdvisor lists the average cost at $1,830), adding a closet definitely increases storage size.
Adding a built-in closet to is definitely worth consideration if you’re already planning to remodel your bathroom anyway.
There are a few important factors you should keep in mind beyond the type of bathroom storage.
First up is design options. These range from color to style (modern or traditional or somewhere in between) to size and more.
Next up is installation type: do you prefer DIY or hiring a professional? Finally, we discuss how all your decisions affect the final price you pay for your project.
A. Design Options
The same design considerations that come along with selecting any furniture also come along with choosing bathroom storage.
After you select the general type of product that’s right for you, it’s time to think about materials, color style, and size.
Materials range from metal to plastic to wood and everywhere in between. The specific materials depend upon the specific type of product you buy.
The color is mainly related to the type of materials. For pieces constructed from wood, you’ll have a broad range of wood types and finishes to choose from. Plastic and metal pieces can be found in just about any color imaginable.
Style relates to the overall look and design of the product. A few of the most popular include traditional, modern, and contemporary. Other options include rustic, transitional, and Victorian.
Buy a piece whose style matches the style (including that of other décor and furniture) of the rest of the room.
The final design element to consider is size. Not only does the size of the piece affect how it looks and functions, but it can also affect the usability of the rest of your bathroom.
Don’t choose a piece that’s too large and interrupts the flow of the room. Likewise, don’t choose a piece so small that it’s unsightly or unusable.
The difficulty of installation depends on the type of product you’re adding.
In fact, some types don’t require any installation at all. Shower caddies and makeup organizers are two examples.
Other types require so little work to set up that it can’t really be considered installation. Door organizers are a good example.
Those products that do require some installation include over-the-toilet shelves and medicine cabinets. Over-the-toilet products usually come in several pieces that must be put together. A medicine cabinet must be securely mounted to a wall.
The most complex installation comes with vanities and cabinets. Though these are both doable DIY projects, it might be worth investing in professional help, especially if you don’t own the tools needed for the job.
Lowes is a good place to learn how to install a vanity or sink.
Of course, a built-in closet also requires an installation of a sort. However, this is more of a construction project as it usually requires at least a partial remodel.
Hire a professional contractor if you decide to create a built-in closet.
C. Cost and Budget
Every individual type of bathroom storage costs a different amount upfront.
Wayfair is an excellent place to browse products ranging from over-the-toilet to decorative ladders to vanities.
The cheapest form of storage runs between $10 and $100 for a towel rack. Over-the-toilet products are available from around $25 to $150. Linen towers are slightly more expensive, generally between $100 and $500.
Finally, you have vanities at the upper end of the scale. Just the base will likely cost between $250 and $2,500. Custom countertops, sinks, fixtures, and mirrors all add to that price.
Expect to add between $500 and $750 to your vanity for professional installation, according to Homewyse.
Where to Buy Bathroom Storage Online
A quick Google search for “bathroom storage” comes back with dozens of results for retailers hawking all kinds of vanities, medicine cabinets, shelves, and more.
We’ve narrowed down your options to a handful of the very best. These online retailers have the best selections at the best prices. Helpful search tools enable you to select specific search terms to find what you need faster.
Here are five of our favorite places to buy bathroom storage online: