Secrets to Bathroom Shelving

Open shelving may be just the stylish organizer your bathroom needs — if you follow these expert tips from interior designers.

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relaxing master bath oasis Open shelving makes the room appear bigger by allowing you to see all the way to the wall. Design by Joseph Hittinger.

"Soothing and simple" are the watchwords as spa- and Asian-influenced bathroom decor becomes ever more popular. In this design climate, open shelves are a natural choice for both "have to have" storage and "nice to have" decorative displays.

"Open shelving is now being integrated into bathroom designs as another architectural element, particularly in line with today's modern decorating style," says Deborah Burnett, residential design spokesperson for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Within the contemporary look, open-shelving options leave a lot of room for individual style, from free-standing floor-to-ceiling units to a cultured marble shelf running along top of a 4-inch splash next to the tub.

"One thing we're doing more and more is adding open shelving to the space on the walls on either end of big tubs or whirlpools," says Leslie L. Christoffel, a designer with Nova Kitchen & Bath in Arden, N.C. Bathers use those shelves for massage oils and candles and, of course, towels. This is where you tend to find the materials that tie in with the whirlpool: shelves made of cultured marble, tile or granite.

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