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Design Inspo

Over-the-Toilet Storage Ideas for Small Bathrooms

If you’re overwhelmed by a disorganized small bathroom, let these over-the-toilet storage ideas get your place feeling spacious and in order fast!

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If the clutter in your small bathroom is driving you crazy, you are not alone. A lack of storage is one of the biggest complaints amongst new homeowners, and nowhere is this more acutely felt than in a small bathroom. 

A well-designed small bathroom comes down to organization and smart bathroom storage ideas. Make the most of your storage space and your bathroom decor with these over-the-toilet storage solutions. (We know, it doesn’t sound the most glamorous — but we promise they are useful!)

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Hang a Curio Cabinet 

While a traditional bathroom storage cabinet would probably do the trick for holding all of your towels and extra toilet paper, why go the traditional route when breaking the rules is so much fun?

Curio Cabinets for Any Style

Small curio cabinets come in every style imaginable: boho rattan, mid-century painted metal, or vintage shadow box styles. Take advantage of the fun shapes and colors your curio cabinet adds to your tiny bathroom. Every square inch counts here, so you want the few pieces you decorate with to make a big impact. 

A Kitchen Wall Cupboard Repurposed

Create a bathroom cabinet from a distressed milk paint cupboard that once hung in the kitchen. The depth that was once perfect for holding flour, spices, and canned goods is more than enough space for your toilet paper and toiletries, possibly even towels. The charm of intricate woodwork and the rich patina of age can make it a special feature in an area that isn’t normally special. 

Antique Medicine Cabinets

You may have a retro medicine cabinet that includes a lovely mercury glass mirror and a tiny drawer beneath the cupboard. No one says your medicine cabinet has to go over the sink. Take advantage of the fact that everything old is new again, and use your cabinet space-saving cabinet any way you like. 

Freestanding Shelving Unit

A shelving unit over the toilet is one of the top over-the-toilet storage solutions for renters who don’t want to make holes in the wall, but also want the features homeowners can appreciate. 

Work With Your Home’s Decor Style

Over-the-toilet shelving units come in various styles that can work with the look you already have in your space. Choose glass shelves with gold metal for a glam bathroom or a bamboo option for a boho bathroom design.

Shelving Units Maximize Vertical Space

Since it’s freestanding, a shelving unit can scale heights at which you might not feel comfortable installing shelves. With multiple shelves for holding knick-knacks, many of which may be closed behind doors, you can see why this big space saver might make your bathroom feel less crowded.

DIY Wood and Pipe Shelving

Open shelving made of rustic wooden bathroom shelves supported by plumbing pipes is a minimal (and very farmhouse-inspired) storage option. Make sure to screw your pipe supports into wall studs to ensure sturdy shelves. You may even want to use curved fittings to create a towel rack for a hand towel that hangs from the bottom of your lowest shelf.

Try this look out before you shop for parts by creating a mock-up with Spoak’s room visualization tool

Open Floating Shelves

Floating shelves make perfect over the toilet shelves in a small bathroom because they take up zero floor space. The more of your floor you can see, the larger your room will appear to be.

over the toilet bathroom storage design
Photo Credit: David Tsay

Use Glass for Your Toilet Storage Shelf

Take the visual effect over the top by using glass for your floating shelves. Glass open shelves seem to disappear and give a feeling of extra space. If you curate your glass shelves wisely, using delicate containers to corral all the bits and bobs while toiletries in amber bottles sit out, your shelves will keep an airy yet maintained look. 

Try a Picture Ledge

When keeping decor to a minimum is of the essence in a small bathroom, consider hanging some simple picture ledges on your bathroom wall over the toilet for additional storage.

Hang Baskets on the Wall

Want to lean into your home’s boho look? Attach the bottoms of a couple of sturdy baskets onto the wall above the toilet. Their shape is perfectly suited for easy access to rolled-up towels and washcloths waiting to be used.

Baskets Add Texture and Interest

Baskets attached this way are an excellent way to show off the woven souvenirs you brought back from summer vacation. Or maybe you wove them yourself and want to show them off. Besides being functional, baskets add depth and interest to your space. 

Lean a Ladder Shelf or Storage Rack

A leaning shelving unit is similar to the freestanding type we mentioned earlier, but the angled nature keeps it closer to the wall at eye level, making the whole room feel more open. You may want shelves only, or your leaning ladder shelf may have a towel rack on it for extra storage.

Branches for Bathroom Towel Holders

Craft an angled ladder rack out of branches for a natural and minimal towel rack. Branches are a fantastic way to bring nature into a room without having to worry about watering something and keeping it alive. Yours can double as towel bars. Keep in mind that creating this can be a significant DIY process. The branches will need to dry out, which can take up to two months or more. 

Then comes the disinfection process. Grab a paint scraper to remove the bark from the branches (where little bugs and other critters might be hiding). A paint scraper can do the trick, but a power washer or draw knife might prove faster. It’s best to do this step outside, as this is an incredibly messy process. 

Smooth the branches with 100-grit sandpaper (150 for the toughest spots). Stain the pieces and let the stain soak in for roughly 24 hours. A water-based polyurethane completes the seal and adds a bit of shine. 

Angle the branches to be wide enough to accommodate the toilet at the base, only slightly angling inward at the top. Use wood conditioner on your branches and attach your “rungs” to your outer pieces with screws. 

Try Commercial Speed Rails as Shelving

While we’re on the subject of unusual shelving options, take a look at commercial restaurant suppliers for storage hacks to use in your bathroom. Look for diminutive stainless steel shelving that could look just as at home in the bathroom as in the kitchen.

Size Is Essential

Speed rails are made for condiments and spices in a commercial environment but are also perfectly sized for lotions, shampoo, conditioner, and loofahs. Look for high-quality stainless steel that won’t corrode and has covered screw holes that won’t be quite so obvious. 

Create a small space bathroom station by hanging three individual speed rails, one atop the other, for open shelving that blends with an industrial modern feel.

Assemble a Built-In Wall Cabinet

When your bathroom has a little nook sized just right for your toilet, make use of this recessed area by building a built-in toilet storage unit that won’t interfere with the flow of movement in the bathroom.

A Shelf and Cubby for Everything

If you’re getting your built-in cabinet custom-made for your space, consider creating cubbies or slots to create an interesting shelf configuration. You may want to have cabinet doors covering your assorted bathroom necessities keeping the open shelves free for towel storage and those bathroom essentials you reach for most often — or the ones that just look nice sitting out.

Drawers for a Clutter-Free Zone

If you have enough space on either side of the toilet, bring your built-in unit all the way to the floor, creating drawers on either side of the toilet for smooth front cabinetry that hides all the chaos of a busy room.

Borrow Bathroom Organization Tools From the Rest of the House

Once your basic storage surfaces are picked out (or built if you're handy), curate your containers and small item organizers. Try using these items from other parts of your home in the bathroom to keep things tidy. (Bonus! This may help organize those other rooms.)

  • Put souvenir cups to good use. If you’re like most of us, you have mugs taking over your kitchen. Rather than getting rid of those fun gifts and souvenirs, move a few to the bathroom to hold smaller toiletries, like lotions or brushes. 
  • Brightly colored coffee cans can be just the touch of color your newly straightened-up bathroom needs.
  • Use lucite containers to give a weightless feeling to your storage shelves. Lucite shelves with dividers keep makeup and jewelry in order. 
  • Hang “S” hooks from towel racks to double up on storage. Metal cups or kitchen supply containers can be the perfect landing place for small items that tend to get lost in the shuffle of bath time. 
  • Use a decorative tray on the back of your toilet tank to corral bath bombs, lotions, and soaps so every inch of horizontal space is put to good use.

Get Your Small Bathroom Completely Organized

Are you feeling motivated to clean stuff up and take charge of that unruly, small bathroom? Us too! With these organizational ideas, nothing stands in the way of the zen bathroom we’ve dreamed up in our heads.

Photo Credit: (Left) Apartment Therapy


6 Things Recent Homebuyers Can't Stand About Their Bathroom | Realtor

Are Retro Bathrooms Back in Style? | Real Estate | U.S. News

30 Clever Ideas for Floating Shelves in Any Room | The Spruce

Rely on Spoak to help you give your bathroom space an organizational makeover.

Date Posted
September 8, 2023



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