Last Updated on 11/05/2022
It can be a major challenge finding space for everything in a small bathroom. If you have a hanging or pedestal sink, for example, and lack a medicine cabinet for storage, it can start to feel cluttered and claustrophobic really fast in a tiny bath. An untidy bathroom filled to the brim with stuff can actually appear smaller than it already is.
Where do you stow towels and washcloths, let alone cosmetics, makeup, brushes, combs, hygiene items, the hair dryer and curling iron when you’ve got no drawers or under sink storage? How can you organise all of the inventory in your bathroom without storage?
Small bathrooms are indeed relatively common in many flats, condos and houses. My own master bath has no medicine cabinet, no under-sink storage, no drawers—nothing except a single ledge above the sink which encases the plumbing. There are still a bunch of workarounds though! I’ve gathered my favourite tips and products in this post to help you organise a bathroom without storage, and make it appear larger.
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Table of Contents
Utilise Niche Space
There’s hardly a better place in your home to take advantage of niche storage space than in the bath. Perhaps you have a slim space between the wall and sink where seemingly nothing fits. Or maybe a gap next to the toilet. A narrow rolling cart with drawers, a skinny shelving unit, or a repurposed bar cart might fit here and open up new storage space. Have a good look at your niches and measure the space to see if there is a workaround out there for you.
I use this unit from Muji in my bath, and it holds a ton. Everything from cosmetic supplies and extra toilet paper, to my daily makeup and big hairbrushes. If you don’t have a Muji close by, you can find a variety of slim options on Amazon, some of which also work well in the kitchen:
This cart of drawers is similar to the Muji style and very slim at just 18cm wide:
Two more options that could work well next to the toilet, for example:
Hang a Shelf Unit
If you don’t have any drawers or cabinet space beneath your bathroom sink, you might be able to place a shelving unit next to it. If the shelves open to the side, the room will appear more tidy and you can easily reach what you need when you’re standing at the sink.
Alternatively, if you have dead wall space above the toilet, you can hang a shelving unit with minimal depth above the loo. This space is often overlooked, so use it if you can! A shelf here is great for displaying perfume bottles or storing other toiletries in decorative baskets or containers.
The area above the bathroom door is also often overlooked, yet it’s another great space to add a solitary shelf. I used a simple white Lack shelf from Ikea in my last flat to store all my towels and it worked great since I had no linen closet. Admittedly though, I am very tall so if you’re on the petite side you might find it hard to reach up there everyday for fresh towels. You could, however, still store more seldom used things up above the door and then grab a stool to fetch them down when you need them occasionally. Spare beauty supplies, for example, or curlers you only use twice a year, or perhaps festive hair accessories you tend to only wear to holiday parties.
Towels, bathrobes, pajamas and other daily items can all be hung on hooks if you’ve no drawers or shelf space. Hang ’em high, hang ’em low. There’s a hook to be had for whatever decor style you favour, from bohemian, antique looking, or modern. If you live in a rental and are unable to drill holes in your walls, get yourself some extra strong, double-sided adhesive tape. You can remove both the hook and the tape when you move out.
Max Out Shower Space
When you’re low on space in the bath, opt for a shower caddy or two to keep all of your shower items organised. There are corner caddies, over-door caddies and freestanding, slip-free caddies with rubber feet. These units work great in tight spaces. Corners of the shower are often wasted space and you can find a number of options in various forms and materials to fit your particular shower situation. I like these from Yamakazi Home:
Slip-free caddy with rubber feet
Here are some other options for corners and over the shower door. A corner caddy that can be drilled or glue mounted:
Over-door caddy in rust-proof aluminum:
The classic caddy which fits over the shower head:
You could even add a regular horizontal tension rod to your shower. Hang some rust-free hooks from it to keep sponges and razors handy, as well as a caddy for your shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, shaving cream, etc.
Corral Items With Trays
If you are lucky enough to have countertops or if you’ve hung some shelves, trays are a great way to corral your favourite and most-used products. You’ll have them within easy reach, and the tray adds a decorative touch. Plus you’ll save space, making these flat surfaces look less cluttered and easier to clean.
In my own bathroom, I’m a huge fan of the PP organisers from Muji. I use these to corral my daily beauty creams and hair products, as well as store Q-tips and cotton pads.
Mount a Mirrored Medicine Cabinet
If you have an empty wall above the sink and are able to hang a cabinet, do it! Opt for a mirrored cabinet. It will really open up the small space by reflecting light, making it appear larger. These cabinets were popular in the 70s and 80s and have made a comeback. Rightfully so! For one, they make the bathroom look bigger. They also make it easier to do your hair and makeup, plus they hold a ton of toiletries, medicine, and beauty supplies. I love the clean hotel look of them, too. A friend of mine installed two of the inexpensive Godmorgon mirrored cabinets from Ikea side by side and they really gave his bath a five-star luxury hotel look.
Amazon has some similar options:
You can even stick slim magnetic organisers inside the doors of the medicine cabinet for additional storage. These are great for lipsticks and eyeliners, for example.
Finally, if you have a big budget (and a good electrician), you can even go all out with a mirrored cabinet that has an integrated LCD TV, Internet connection, USB ports and a defogging function. You’ll never be bored whilst flossing your teeth again. YLighting has some neat examples on its site here.
Baskets are another flexible storage solution that are fantastic for organising. You can use a large, freestanding basket to tuck away rolled towels and appliances like the hair dryer or flatiron.
Smaller baskets can be stowed on a shelf or ledge to hold Q-tips, cotton balls, makeup, dental piks and floss, face creams, beauty utensils, hair and hygiene products. The range of baskets available is endless. You can get them in wood, wicker, polymer, metal, and in a variety of sizes.
And if you’re really tight on space, you could even hang a multi-tiered basket set from the bathroom ceiling, within easy reach of the sink. These are often used for hanging plants or fresh produce, but can certainly be repurposed in the bath.
Another way to organise a bathroom without storage is to take advantage of your vertical space. Using wall space is a great approach to maximise your storage capacities. For instance, shelves can be stacked up to the ceiling to hold baskets of extra toilet paper, paper towels, or extra shampoos you scored on sale. Wall caddies can house smaller items such as eye creams, contact lens solution, and makeup.
Ladder storage is yet another super vertical option for towels and robes. You can also hang baskets from them for additional toiletry or cosmetic storage. These slimline ladders have been on trend for some time now and are a popular decorative element in baths. They don’t protrude too much from the wall and simply lean against it. Because they’re tall as opposed to wide, they fit very well in many tiny bathrooms. Plus they’re flexible and you can move them around or even use them as a standing helper when you’re sorting out your closet.
Finally, don’t forget to use the back of the bathroom door! This is probably the most inconspicuous place to organise a bathroom without storage. You can fit so much here, and I’m not just talking hooks, although over-the-door hooks and baskets are two great options for this space. Hang your robe and towels on the back of the door with slimline, easy-mount hooks, for example:
Over-the-door baskets are another good option for extra storage:
Over-door hanging organisers with multiple pockets are another great way to organise a bathroom without storage. Tuck away your hair brushes and combs, body lotion, facial creams, washcloths, hairbands, shaving supplies, and makeup in these practical storage pockets. Here are three types of simple hanging organisers for doors, including a pantry organiser which can be repurposed in bathrooms. You can click through for details and measurements:
If you’re in a small rental you can’t modify, these organisers are an inexpensive storage option that don’t require drilling.
Making a Small Bath Look Bigger
Apart from decluttering and organising, there are other things you can do to make a small bathroom appear more spacious. If you’re moving into a brand new place or are planning on re-decorating the bath, here are a few tricks you can use to make your small space appear larger.
Add Mirrors and Reflective Surfaces
Reflective surfaces like glossy tiles and large mirrors reflect the light in your bath and give the illusion of a bigger space. In similar fashion, you can also go with chrome fixtures, glass, and other shiny elements to trick the eye.
Stick With a Light Wall Colour
I personally prefer a white bathroom over any colour. It’s the place where you clean yourself up everyday and white makes the space itself look clean and fresh. You can still use dark or bright colours as an accent if you don’t like the all-white sterile look. Light greiges and beiges work equally well in the bath. At any rate, staying clear of dark wall colours will make the room appear automatically larger.
Swap Out Bulky Lighting Fixtures
Outdated, clunky lights are an eyesore. If you’re painting the bath, now’s a great time to swap them out for more streamlined, modern options with energy-efficient bulbs. Your bath will look more airy and fresh.
Opt for Large Tile
Finally, to create visual continuity in the bath, opt for large-format, floor to ceiling, uniform tiling. Having fewer grout lines in your line of vision makes the room look larger, as does a monochromatic colour choice. In addition, large tiles are easier to keep clean because they have less grouting!
I hope you found this run-down of ideas and tips helpful. Tiny spaces can be tough to keep tidy, but there are definitely a lot of tricks and products out there to help you organise a bathroom without storage.
If you have any other tips or feedback to share, please leave a comment!