Let’s talk about bathroom storage when a vanity is not an option. For many reasons, a vanity isn’t for everyone or for every bathroom. You may love the classic look of a wall-mount or pedestal sink. You may be trying to cut costs, or you may simply not have the space. You may also have unusual hurdles like a wall vent directly under the sink as in the case in our guest bathroom that we’ve yet to tackle. Whatever the reason, nixing a bathroom vanity doesn’t leave you without storage options.
As we’ve outlined in past posts, we went round and round about whether or not we’d be able to squeeze a vanity into our master bathroom. When the end result ended up being no, we were secretly thrilled. We love the aesthetic of a wall-mount sink and knew that it would make the bathroom feel so much more open. Naturally, we obsessed over ways to make this as practical as possible so that we’d be able to love our bathroom for years to come and not feel frustrated every morning at the lack of function. Through this journey, we saw a variety of ways people incorporate storage into bathrooms that don’t have a vanity with drawers and cabinets for every odd and end. We’ve also figured out some key practices on our own.
In the world of minimalist obsession, this probably isn’t new news. There are a million tips and tricks out there for eliminating the clutter in your world to fully transform your life. I have to say that in a tiny bathroom it really does make a huge difference! Before we moved into our home, I took the time to evaluate the products we use on a daily basis and got rid of those that were expired, not all they were cracked up to be, or untouched for whatever reason. Items we love but use less regularly like special bath salts, face masks, etc. stayed, but were relegated to a separate pile. Left with the items we use day in day out, it really seemed much less daunting to find an easily accessible space for these items.
While paring down to the bare essentials was key for us, we still needed some wiggle room. I haven’t completely earned my minimalist card and will be there first to admit that I have a few favorite versions of my day to day items. However, this doesn’t mean they all have to be displayed all the time. Generally, we keep one of each item we used displayed regularly on or near our sink and the rest of the items tucked away in baskets or in our closet. When we use up an item or want to switch it up, we rotate out. Having only the items I’m currently using at my finger tips really does seem to help my mornings feel more seamless. No more digging around in drawers through three different types of moisturizer to find the one I want.
We are huge fans of open shelving. We loved the functionality of it so much in our kitchen that we knew it would be a good fit for us in our bathroom as well. One look that I’m really into is a simple glass shelf above the sink. I like to imagine myself using this shelf for fancy French perfume I spritz on daily and a small bud vase of white roses. In reality, it would probably be more for a hairbrush and toothpaste, but nonetheless, I love the look. We installed a glass shelving unit from Pottery Barn to the right of our sink, and it holds a lot more than you’d think. Adam and I each have a shelf and a shared shelf at the top. We also used more substantial open shelving above our toilet. This type of shelving gives the chance to hold larger items and incorporate bowls and baskets that can conceal more unsightly items.
Bring in Furniture
While the area your sink is in may not be able to accommodate a substantial vanity, other areas of the bathroom may be able to house storage pieces that play a similar role. Whether you have space for pieces large or small, furniture not only adds storage but it can add a level of character. Antique pieces can bring in warm, aged wood tones, that contrast nicely to the clean look of tile and porcelain. For us, we took the chance to use the small table we added in to add a pop of blue.
Use Every Bit of Space
Small spaces and limited storage give the chance to think creatively about the space you do have. The floor is a great place for stools and baskets (we use this one for the hair dryer and odds and ends). Walls are great for hooks, ledges, and shelving. The back of the toilet and windowsills can also be a nice storage nooks set apart with trays and baskets. Even the space behind your walls is worth considering. If we could change one thing in our bathroom, it would be that we didn’t add any built-built in storage. Wall niches by our tub and sink would have proved very useful. However, we were trying to do so many things in such a short time frame that it just didn’t happen. I’d recommend you consider these additions if you have the time and resources. The same is true for medicine cabinets. They can be so beautiful and a great storage option, but I really think it’s worth recessing them if you have that option. We ordered this one from Kohler that has a mirror on both sides of the door and tons of storage, but wall mounting it looked so bulky. So, we switched it for a flat mirror instead.
Maximize Sink Surface Area
Not every sink is created equally. In researching our sink, I came across a number of sizes and surface shapes. If you have the space and want to have more room to spread out your stuff each morning, it could be worth choosing a sink that has a large flat area around the bowl to give room for a glass of water, products you’re using, etc. Another option that we’re considering for our upstairs bathroom is a marble top that gives some of the benefit vanities offer in terms of counter space, but they still feel open and simple but give a bit more work space.
What tips and tricks do you use? Are any of you debating a nixing the vanity option?